A Historical Commission was established by the General Assembly in 1891 to obtain transcripts of the colonial records from England. When the commission completed its work it recommended a permanent commission be established. In 1905 the Historical Commission elected its first Secretary. The Commission became the South Carolina Archives Department in 1954.
The duties of the Department of Archives and History are to preserve and administer the noncurrent records of the state and its county divisions, to preserve private records the department is authorized to accept, and to improve standards of preservation and care of public records. It also publishes documents on the history of South Carolina, administers a historical markers program and promotes state history, genealogy, and archaeology.