At ACARM’s Annual General Meeting in Mexico City, on November 25th, 2017, attendees voted unanimously to accept Michael Roper, ACARM’s Honorary Secretary from 1995 to 2000, as an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Association.
Halifax-born Michael Roper, who received his BA from the University of Manchester, worked at the Public Record Office for 33 years, from 1959 to his retirement in 1992, including serving as
- Assistant Keeper, 1959 to 1970
- Principal Assistant Keeper, 1970 to 1982
- Records Administration Officer, 1982 to 1985
- Deputy Keeper of Public Records, 1985 to 1988
- Keeper of Public Records, 1988 to 1992.
Michael also served as Secretary to the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee from 1963 to 1968.
While at the PRO, Michael developed an expertise in Foreign Office and War Office records, creating both a guide to records of the War Office and related departments from 1660 to 1964 (1998) and a guide to records of the Foreign Office from 1782 to 1968 (first published in 1969 and expanded and revised in 2002).
While Keeper, Michael undertook several notable initiatives, including conducting an efficiency scrutiny in 1990, which led to the establishment of the PRO as an Executive Agency in 1992. Michael also undertook much of the planning for the second Kew Building, which opened in 1995. He was an active member of the International Council on Archives, playing a central role in organising the ICA conference in London in 1980 and serving as Secretary General from 1988 to 1992. Michael was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1992.
While at the PRO and after his retirement, Michael taught on the University College London archives course, serving as part-time lecturer from 1972 to 1987. In 1994, he was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He also served as General Editor of the multi-volume Management of Public Sector Records Study Programme modules, published by the International Records Management Trust in 1998. He consulted widely around the world and participated in the delivery of many training programmes in countries including Nigeria, China, Australia, Malaysia, Malawi, Yemen, Japan and Trinidad and Tobago.
From 1995 to 2000 Michael served as Honorary Secretary to ACARM. Michael was at the forefront as the association broadened its scope to promote the development of both archives and records management standards and best practices across the Commonwealth. His service during that pivotal time helped reposition ACARM, moving it away from the custodial archival orientation that had guided archival efforts for many years, instead helping the association focus more vigorously on the important challenge of managing records from the time of creation, a critical change in professional orientation necessitated by the new information technologies that have defined the digital age.