Retirement of Archivist David S. Ferriero

After 12 years as the tenth Archivist of the United States, I have decided to retire, effective mid-April 2022.  

As I wrote to President Biden, it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve my country once more, this time to lead the Executive Branch agency charged with ensuring that the American people can hold their government accountable and learn from the past by accessing the records of our country.  My time at the National Archives and Records Administration has been filled with opportunities, challenges, and awesome responsibilities. Over the past several months, as I contemplated retirement and reflected, I am humbled and awestruck and so deeply grateful to the staff, partners, stakeholders, and you, the customers we serve.

I’m extraordinarily proud of what we have accomplished together during my tenure and hope that you too take pride in our efforts and results. We have become a leader in the government’s transition to a digital future, electronic records management, and the principles of Open Government. We’ve served you, our customers, in new and innovative ways, including increasing public access and engagement through the online catalog and social media; streamlining how we serve veterans; expanding access to museums, exhibits, and public programs in person and virtually; and establishing civic literacy initiatives. We’ve fostered strong relationships with partner organizations, and increased outreach to traditional and new stakeholders. Throughout, we’ve put the customer at the center of all that we do. 

It is not easy to leave the National Archives with so much exciting work in progress. However, this profession is one of stewardship, where despite our enduring responsibilities, we are here for what amounts to a brief period of time. The National Archives has come a long way since 1934, and we have made great strides in the last 12 years, but the need for thoughtful and deliberate progress and transformation remains. As the Archivist of the United States, I know that the staff, partners, stakeholders, and our customers will build on our work together in ways I cannot imagine; as a citizen and veteran, I am thankful for those who will continue the noble work of the National Archives and Records Administration with skill, passion, and resiliency.

Deputy Archivist Debra Steidel Wall will serve as Acting Archivist until the President nominates and the Senate confirms my successor.

It’s been a privilege to work on your behalf. The strength and success of our organization would not be possible without your support and dedication to the National Archives’ mission. I wish you all the very best for the future and remarkable personal and professional success in the years ahead.


Archivist of the United States

Formal Swearing In Ceremony of David Ferriero, 10th Archivist of the United States. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and David S. Ferriero, 1/13,2010. National Archives Identifier 210375533

22 thoughts on “Retirement of Archivist David S. Ferriero

  1. Thank you for your service to the Archives! I was delighted to briefly meet you at a genealogy convention a few years ago. I worked as a volunteer at the St Louis facility (no volunteers now because if Covid!). I was proud of the work I did; enjoyed learning so much! Thank you for allowing me to serve just a while. I certainly only got a glimpse of the vast responsibility you handled so well. My best to you and your family in your retirement!

  2. David:

    Thank you so much for your service for the past twelve years. It has been a true comfort to know that a man of your integrity, intelligence, and humanity has been at the helm of the National Archives. I’ve so loved keeping up on this blog with the books you’ve read each year. You’re a wonder.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, John. You are Carrie are old friends whose fiction I loved from page one. And now your photos! Keep up the good work!

  3. Best of wishes on your retirement. I hope you have many,many years of adventure, laughter, and health.
    Go have fun!

  4. Congratulations, David. “Well done, good and faithful servant..”. Such an appropriate quote (from Matthew 25:23) for your service to your nation and to the US citizens who rely on their National Archives to hold their government accountable through the careful management of its historical record, now and into the future.
    May your future plans bring you as many pleasures and rewards as your wonderful career.

  5. It has been wonderful to have you as our Archivist. I love your blogs, your garden photos and thoroughly enjoyed your talks that I was able to attend. The work you have done to upgrade the archives will give the next archivist a wonderful base to build on. Hope you have a wonderful retirement and all the best to you and your family.

  6. As a native of Beverly it has been great to see all you have accomplished in your 12 years. You were kind enough to speak to the Historical Society when you were in town.
    I wish you a happy and healthy retirement!

  7. David,
    I was surprised to read this – but so pleased to see your accomplishments recognized. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for your commitment and vision. Best wishes on the next chapter!
    Marie Oedel

    1. Thanks, Marie. And thanks to you for your skill and expertise in ensuring that our history is preserved.

  8. David has been a role model for National Archivists all over the world. Courage and vision. He will be missed by all colleagues.
    Dr. Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada Emeritus

  9. You will certainly be missed but know you will certainly enjoy retirement. Serving as a member of the Electronic Records Archives Advisory Committee when you first arrived at the National Archives, I knew immediately that you would effectively lead a very capable staff well into the future. Equally as important was your creation of the Citizen Archivist project as part of your larger agenda not just to safely store records but also to share them. From the outside, you gracefully led the National Archives through many challenges and well-entrenched obstacles to create a much stronger repository for the nation’s greatest treasures.

    1. Thanks, Kelly. And thanks for your service to the cause in those early days. You made a difference.

  10. David:
    Thanks for your excellent leadership at NARA and in particular for the assistance that the NHPRC has provided over the years to North Carolina and other state programs. Wishing you all the best in retirement.

  11. Dear Archivist Ferriero,

    Thank you for your service. The Guardians of Democracy need not always carry firearms, because “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
    M.B. McFarland

  12. Thank you David for all your service to our county. I’m proud that I got to serve with you in Vietnam on AH-17. Still grateful for you getting me home two weeks early. Godspeed into your well earned retirement journey.

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