In 1975, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) enacted regulations (36 CFR 1206) requiring each state, territory, and the District of Columbia to establish a State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) in order to fully participate in the NHPRC grant program. Members of the SHRABs are intended to represent the full range of repository types and historical records advocates in each state: state and local governments, universities and colleges (public and private), community-based organizations (historical societies, public libraries, historic sites, museums), genealogists, and professional historians. In turn the SHRABs provide advice and services to an equally broad range of constituents.
Each SHRAB is chaired by the official responsible for the archives of the state or territory (usually the state or territorial archivist), who is designated by the NHPRC regulations to serve as State Coordinator. Individual State Coordinators serve in this capacity without remuneration from the Commission for the benefit of historical records programs within their states. Likewise SHRABs are also composed of volunteer members who serve without compensation.
Council of State Historical Records Coordinators
Through the 1980s, the State Coordinators as a group were loosely connected through a steering committee that worked with NHPRC staff and helped conduct occasional meetings. In 1989 they formally organized as the Council of State Historical Records Coordinators (COSHRC) prompted, in part, by a desire to have a voice in determining NHPRC’s funding priorities. The State Coordinators developed their first Mission Statement in 1989 which emphasized COSHRC’s strong connection to NHPRC.
COSHRC began holding regular annual and midyear meetings in the early 1990s and undertook a succession of needs assessments and other projects during the ensuing decade. Most of COSHRC’s meetings and project work, to date, has been funded by grants from NHPRC. The data gathered and evaluated during these projects has served the ends of both NHPRC and COSHRC. NHPRC needed the data to respond to its own stated mission to report periodically on the “state of the American record.” The findings also helped the State Coordinators identify the many concerns that cross state lines and recognize that solutions developed in one state could be fruitfully adopted and applied in many others.
COSHRC Becomes a 501(c)(3) Organization
At their 2001 annual meeting, COSHRC members voted to incorporate as a nonprofit organization. COSHRC was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in May 2002 and received a letter of determination from the IRS confirming COSHRC's status as a 501(c)(3) organization in March 2003.
COSHRC members adopted a new Mission Statement and Strategic Plan in July 2003 emphasizing the organization's interest in advocacy and collaboration. It was updated in February 2004, July 2007, and again in October 2014.
COSHRC Becomes CoSA
In July 2005, the members voted to change the name of the organization to the Council of State Archivists (CoSA). The new, more descriptive name has helped the Council with its increasingly visible work in outreach and advocacy.