Leland was a historian and archival theorist. He co-authored The Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (1904). In 1907, he revised and expanded the 1904 edition. He was known as the leading authority on federal archives. He collected letters of the Continental Congress delegates. He served as Carnegie’s representative in France from 1907-14 and 1922-27. He wrote about libraries and the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He directed foreign copying program of LC for French manuscripts relating to the US.

Leland was best-known for the documentation and backup assistance he provided for Franklin Jameson’s campaign to establish the National Archives. He helped to form the International Committee of Historical Sciences (1926). He was also involved in the formation of the ACLS. He oversaw the publication of the Dictionary of American Biography (1927-36). He was interested in international cooperation.

Offices held:

American Historical Association: General Secretary (1909-1920)

ADI/ASIS&T: President (1947)

International Community Health Services: Treasurer, President (1938-1948)

Society of American Archivists: President (2 terms in the 1940s)

UAI: President (1940s)

American Council of Learned Societies: Secretary (1927-1939); Director (1939-1946)

Waldo Leland Papers:

Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C. (45 ft., ca. 55,000 items (1879-1966); correspondence, diaries, articles, reports, memoranda, notes, and miscellaneous papers concentrating on periods: 1915-1928; 1948-1966; ACLS (1919-1928); UNESCO (1954-1964); and material relating to his “Guide to Materials for American History.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY (ca. 50 items (1938-1952); correspondence, speeches, surveys, plans, publications relating to the establishment of the FDR Library; access restricted).

Columbia Oral History Research Office, Butler Library, New York, NY (oral history, with transcript (63 leaves, 1972) interviewed by Dean Albertson, discusses American Historical Association, and American Historical Review; state and regional historical societies; public Archives Commission; International Committee of Historical Sciences; Origin of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Dictionary of American Biography; access is open, copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1972; permission required to quote, cite, reproduce).