The Jamaica Archives & Records Department

The Jamaica Archives and Records Department had its beginnings in the Island Secretary’s Office (ISO) established in 1659 as the administrative and record keeping arm of the Colonial Government.  

The Jamaica Archives & Records Department

The Island Secretary’s Office was dismantled in 1879 and some of its functions transferred to the Island Records Office (IRO) in Spanish Town under the Records Law of that year.  As a Government Department, the Jamaica Archives began in 1955 with the establishment of an Archives Section in the Island Records Office and the appointment of Clinton Black as government archivist, the first such appointment in the Commonwealth Caribbean. As a Government Department, the Jamaica Archives began in 1955 with the establishment of an Archives Section in the Island Records Office.The appointment of Clinton Black, as government archivist, was the first such appointment in the Commonwealth Caribbean.The Jamaica Archives and Records Department is governed by the Archives Act, 1982 and the Archives (Official Records) Regulations, 1988.  The Department consists of the Archives Unit, Audiovisual Archives Unit, Government Records Centre and the Office of the Government Archivist.The Department serves as the main repository in the country for the preservation of government records in paper, audiovisual and electronic formats, relating to the country’s history and heritage.

It collects archival materials relating to Jamaica produced by government ministries, agencies and department and persons of national importance as well as churches, charities and other organisations to ensure that primary materials of cultural value to Jamaica are preserved.

It provides a research and reference service to the public and disseminates information on the collection to promote interest and knowledge of the nation’s history and culture.

The Government Archivist, Mrs. Claudette Thomas, is responsible for the general administration and common services of the Department.