The Fund of Documentary Sources was established in 1996 based on the scientific archive of the National Museum of History of Azerbaijan. Prior to the establishment of the Fund, thematic plans of the exposition, reports on the work of archeological expeditions and museum staff, quotes from various publications, calendars and other documents were kept in the scientific archive. The first registration in the inventory book of the scientific archive was made on November 20, 1953. After the creation of the Fund of Documentary Sources, official documents reflecting the activities of the museum were handed over to the current archive.
In the collection of the Fund, there are currently preserved various materials covering a long period from the beginning of the XIX century up to the present, including documents and photographs reflecting the development of Azerbaijani culture and education, science and literature, and the establishment of the national press. Among these documentary sources, there are many materials reflecting the meaningful life and activity of the famous public figure and philanthropist Haji Zeynal Abdin Tagiyev. Thus, the face of this influential figure can be seen in three photo albums. Personal collections of Mirza Fatali Akhundzadeh, Hasan bey Zardabi, Najaf bey Vazirov, Rashid bey Efendiyev, Teymur bey Bayramalibeyov and others being preserved in the relevant repositories of the Fund, unique copies of “Molla Nasraddin” magazine and “Akinchi” newspaper published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, “Life”, “Irshad”, “Igbal” and others media outlets, the documents of educational societies operating at that time, and the educational institutions attached to them are extremely necessary. The Koran, being kept in the Fund and published in French in Paris in 1877, with the personal seal of the well-known Azerbaijani intellectual Abulfat bey Shakhtakhtinsky, is one of the rare pearls of the Fund. Various documents about the activity of Baku University, a facsimile copy of the 16th century copy of the medieval epic of the Azerbaijani Turks “Kitabi Dadam Gorgud” being preserved in Dresden, enrich the collection of the Fund.
Among the interesting examples of the collection of the Fund, there are the documents and photographs concerning the establishment of the National Theater and its activities up to the present. The exhibits reflecting the work of Uzeyir Hajibeyli and Muslim Magomayev, and the prominent actors of the Azerbaijani stage are of special importance.
The fund also preserves many documents related to the formation and development of the oil industry and geological science in Azerbaijan. Examples of these documents are the albums “Pitoev and Kº Joint Stock Company” (“Pitoyev və Kº Səhmdar Cəmiyyəti”), “The photos of oilfields of trading houses of Benkendorf and Kº. Balakhani, 1896” (“Benkendorf və Kº Ticarət Evinin neft mədənlərinin təsvirləri. Balaxanı, 1896”), “25th anniversary of Nobel Brothers Oil Production Society (1879-1904)” (“Nobel Qardaşları Neft Hasilatı Cəmiyyətinin (1879-1904) XXV illiyi”), “30th anniversary of Nobel Brothers Oil Production Society (1879-1909)” (“Nobel Qardaşları Neft Hasilatı Cəmiyyətinin (1879-1909) XXX illiyi”), “The commissioning of the I area of Baku-Batumi kerosene pipeline” (“Bakı-Batumi ağ neft kəmərinin I sahəsinin işə salınması”) with cartoons, tables, maps and illustrations, “Complex development of the offshore fields of Azerbaijan” (“Azərbaycanın dəniz yataqlarının kompleks işlənməsi”), “Covering the Ilich Bay with soil” (“İliç buxtasının torpaqla örtülməsi”), “Construction of the Shollar water pipeline” (“Şollar su kəmərinin tikintisi”), “Executive lines of the Petrovsk-Baku railway (1896-1902)” (“Petrovsk-Bakı xəttinin (1896-1902)”).
There are also preserved the documents, photos and postcards of local and foreign companies engaged in oil production in Azerbaijan at the end of 19th and in the beginning of 20th centuries, and the collections of M.Abramovich, D.Golubyatnikov, I.Gubkin, L.Gurvich, F.Rustambeyov, Y.Mammadaliyev, S. Vazirov, A.Bagirova, A.Alizade, A.Yagubov, I.Huseynov and others. The document on the internship of the old oilman Piri Guliyev in the United States in 1925 is of a particular interest here.
Documents of historical significance of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic are also a special collection of the Fund. Among them, the “Declaration of Independence”, which laid the foundation of modern Azerbaijani statehood and was written under the name “Treaty”, is particularly noteworthy. The first professional Azerbaijani artist Azim Azimzadeh designed the photocopy of this historical document being kept in the Fund in 1918, when the declaration was adopted.
Moreover, the original text of this document obtained from Azerbaijani immigrants and submitted to the Museum in 2014 on the recommendation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the written copies of the document translated into French are preserved in the Fund of the Museum. In general, in recent years, the Fund has collected many materials of Republican figures and Azerbaijani youth sent abroad for education. In 2018, the letters were given to the collection of the Fund reflecting the correspondence of the leader of our national movement Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh with the young representative of this ideology Suleyman Mehmet Tekiner in 1950.
Interesting articles of many full and corresponding members of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, who worked in various fields of science, also have a special place in the relevant collections of the Fund. The personal belongings of scientists who achieved great success in the field of medicine - Yakov Gindes, Fyodor Ilyin, Bahadir Gayibov, Mustafa Hajigasimov, the first president of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences Mirasadulla Mirgasimov and the first Azerbaijani ophthalmologist Sona Valikhanli are especially interesting. The collection of the first Azerbaijani topographer General Ibrahim agha Vakilov includes unique maps of that period, ethnographic photos, and rare exhibits.
The Fund also preserves numerous materials of the activities of Azerbaijan on the front and the rear during the First and Second World Wars. The materials of the 416th Taganrog National Division, which arrived in Berlin during World War II and planted the victory flag over the Brandenburg Gate are particularly worth noting.
Many documents and photos of the political activities of national leader Heydar Aliyev both during the Soviet period and the years of independence are preserved in the Fund. Three of them are particularly interesting - the application of Heydar Aliyev addressed to the director of the Museum to work at the Museum of History of Azerbaijan after the graduation of the Nakhchivan Pedagogical College, a biography and a personnel registration form. In the collection of modern documents of the Fund, there are also personal belongings of most of our citizens who died for the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Most of the rare maps that are kept in the different funds and library of the Museum were handed over to the “Sector of maps” founded under the Fund in 2014. At present, there are protected 19,222 depository items in the collection of the Fund. Many collection examples of the Fund of Documentary Sources were used as a source in the preparation of catalogs and book-albums.
The Fund was headed by Roza Pisarevskaya (1955-1965), Osman Efendiyev (1965-1970), Svetlana Medvedeva (1970-2008) and Mehriban Aliyeva (2008-2019). Currently, the head of the Fund is Esmira Rahimova.