From a secret archive to a House of History Today's "Hesse Main State Archives" did not become a Hessian archive until 1945. It was with the establishment of the Federal State of Hesse that it took responsibility for the federal state ministries and the central public authorities, among others.
The history of the archive, however, goes back far into the past. It originated from the Ducal Nassau Central Archive, which was established as a secret archive in Idstein after the duchy was founded.
The latter, in turn, comprised the inventories of several territories that had been annexed by the Duchy of Nassau in the beginning of the 19th century. The inventories therefore date back to the 10th century.
After Prussia had annexed Nassau, the archive was installed as the State Archives for the Prussian District of Wiesbaden in 1867. This is also where the archive was moved to in 1881.
In 1945 the Prussian District of Wiesbaden, which had been the Prussian Province of Nassau since 1944, became part of Hesse. In 1963 the archive was officially named "Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv", i.e. Hesse Main State Archives. In the spring of 1985, it was moved from its former address in the Mainzer Straße to the Mosbacher Straße. The new building meets all demands of a functional, modern archive.
Owing to its responsibility for the supreme federal authorities it is the most important documentation centre for Hessen's history. The Main State Archives today is a House of History that contributes to the research, study and teaching of the sources it preserves.