You are not currently logged in.
Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:
If You Use a Screen ReaderThis content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
"Title Company v. County Recorder": A Case Study in Open Records Litigation, 1874–1918
The American Archivist
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Spring - Summer, 2004), pp. 46-57
Published by: Society of American Archivists
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40294246
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Title companies, Public records, Fees, Trust companies, Archivists, Litigation, Real estate titles, Commercial regulation, Registries of deeds, Local government
Were these topics helpful?See something inaccurate? Let us know!
Select the topics that are inaccurate.
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Preview not available
The common-law tradition inherited by the United States restricted access to public records to those with a direct and tangible interest in the information, such as parties to a lawsuit. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, state appellate courts ruled in a series of cases that revolutionized legal thought on this subject. By the end of World War I, these tribunals increasingly assumed that citizenship itself provided sufficient justification for access to public records. Abstractors and insurers of real estate titles, whose interests were commercial, led the assault upon the common-law tradition that had imposed the more restrictive standard. Suits initiated by those concerned with the misuse of public funds and honest elections played a relatively small role in bringing about this change. The story of this landmark litigation between tide abstract companies and local government officials again demonstrates that custody of public records carries with it risks and responsibilities all too familiar to modern archivists.
The American Archivist © 2004 Society of American Archivists