On August 21, 2014, the National Archives recognized Bernard Gardner’s extraordinary value to the National Archives and its customers by dedicating the Washington National Records Center research room in his honor. It is now known as the Bernard E. Gardner Research Room. This recognition is a testament to his lifetime of accomplishments, which have largely been behind the scenes, and to the values he embodies each and every day.
Bernie started with General Service Administration’s National Archives and Records Service, the predecessor to the National Archives and Records Administration, in September 1967 and, by then, had already worked more than a decade in positions at the Department of Navy and the Civil Service Commission. This humble gentleman embodied customer service and a commitment to provide access to Federal records long before it was mentioned in any Strategic Plan.
Throughout his years with the Washington National Records Center (WNRC), Bernard Gardner became a subject matter expert in some of the most complex collections stored at the WNRC—the Department of Defense overseas collection, Veterans Affairs XC claim files, and Selective Service records. Many agency records officers will attest they have Bernie on speed dial. When others have been unsuccessful with locating a case with limited information, Bernie will methodically search for the file and has a near 100% find rate. He is a walking, talking finding aid.
From left to right, Chief Operating Officer William Bosanko, Deputy Archivist Debra Wall, Executive for Agency Services Jay Trainer, Bernard Gardner, WNRC Director Christopher Pinkney, Archivist David Ferriero, and Federal Records Center Program Director David Weinberg.