Basic Template for Organizational History

I.        Rational for preparing and maintaining the history of community organizations

    A.    New members and officers will benefit from knowing why the organization was formed, how its mission has evolved over time, and how that heritage may or should influence current decision-making.

    B.      A narrative history is more likely to survive time and the passage of materials from officer to officer than is a set of loose papers and records.

    C.      The collective impact of accumulating many organizational histories will be to add an important dimension to the history of the community and region in which the organizations are located.

II.       An outline for preparing to write the history of a community organization

    A.      The founding

      1.       When was the organization (or local chapter if the organization is national) formed?
      2.       What was the original name of the organization?
      3.       What factors explain why the organization was formed at the time?
      4.       What was the original mission/objective of the organization?
      5.       Who were the persons most responsible for forming the organization?  If a list of charter members survives, include those names in the narrative or as an appendix entry.

    B.      The growth and maturing of the organization

      1.      Describe a typical year's worth of the organization's activities.
      2.      What have been changes in activities over the years?
      3.      What factors, including persons, have been most influential in the progress of the organization?  (If rosters of annual officers survive, consider including them in the appendix.
      4.      Beyond serving the needs of its members, what impact has the organization had upon the local community?

    C.      The organization today

      1.       What is the status/overall health of the organization today?
      2.       What factors in the future may alter the status and course of the organization?

III.   For the benefit of future researches, what is the location of the following items belonging to the organization?

    A.       Organizational Charter(s)
    B.        Membership rosters
    C.        Officer rosters
    D.        Sets of minutes of organizational meetings
    E.        Sets of organizational newsletters.
    F.        Scrapbooks
    G.        Newspaper articles describing organizational activities
    H.        Photographs of organizational activities
    I.         Typescripts, tapes, etc., of organizational events or interviews with members
    J.         Plaques and other awards received by the organization
    K.       Correspondence related to the organization
    L.        Deeds, titles, etc., describing property owned by the organization

Date this form was filled out and by whom ___________________________________________

Dates of subsequent additions/changes made _________________________________________

Questionairre created by
Dr. Stephen S. Mansfield
for The Princess Anne County / Virginia Beach Historical Society
"Community Roots" Project.  

Please Mail this form and additional pages to:

PAC/VBHS “Community Roots” Project
c/o Upper Wolfsnare
2040 Potters Road
Virginia Beach, VA  23454        FAX to:  757-467-5047. 


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