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Unlocking America’s oldest secrets

Beverly-bred archives director pushes for openness

David Ferriero directs the National Archives. Appointed by President Obama, he is the first librarian to hold the post. David Ferriero directs the National Archives. Appointed by President Obama, he is the first librarian to hold the post. (Brendan Smialowski for The Boston Globe)
By Bryan Bender
Globe Staff / March 13, 2012
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As the United States “collector-in-chief’’ in Washington, Beverly native David Ferriero is now guardian of 12 billion pages and 40 million photographs that make up America’s documentary heritage, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This is not a job spent simply cataloguing records, or imposing fines for overdue books. The former MIT librarian and New York Public Library director also is the referee in labyrinthine efforts to pry loose some of America’s oldest secrets, from the formula for invisible ink to battle plans for the Spanish-American War.

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