The basic task of the SASA Archives involves systematic collection of archival materials related to the history of the Academy and the Serbian people in all regions and areas where the Serbs live. It also receives, stores, keeps, processes, protects and publishes archival materials and makes them available to scholars and other interested individuals. The SASA Archives performs tasks related to the technical protection of archival materials (conservation and restoration) in cooperation with the National Library of Serbia and the Library of Matica Srpska. Pertinent SASA administrative services are in charge of its general affairs (legal, financial, security).
The SASA Archives was founded in 1841, at the same time as the Society of Serbian Letters, which paid particular attention to collecting sources and materials relating to Serbian history. The Serbian Learned Society inherited the materials collected and continued the work on collecting documents and archival materials, and, at the end of 1870, it started processing and inventorying them. When the Serbian Learned Society and the Serbian Royal Academy merged (based on an amendment to the Basic Law on the Academy of Feb. 10, 1892), the Archives became the property of the latter. It comprised 263 old manuscripts and printed books (Old Collection) and 1,397 inventoried documents in the Historical Collection, each assigned an accession number.
After it had moved from Brankova Street 15 to Kneza Mihaila Street 35 in February 1952, the Archives, being a public institution, became accessible to any interested scholars and public figures. At the time, the Archives was provided with an office, a depot for the materials and a reading room. Its management consisting of administrative clerks was replaced by professionals, which included its Director and archivists. Four years later, the SASA Presidency adopted the Rulebook on the Organization and Activities of the SASA Archives and the Rulebook on the Work in the Reading Room of the SASA Archives. These changes allowed for procurements of state-of-the-art equipment and hiring more staff. The reading room of the Archives was equipped with card catalogues, a microfilm reader and a reference library.
The Archives contains the holdings (administrative archives) of the Society of Serbian Letters (1841–1864), the Serbian Learned Society (1864–1892), for which there are also card catalogues, the Serbian Royal Academy (1887–1944), and the two abolished SASA institutes – the Institute for Literary Studies (1947–1954) and the Institute for Rural Studies (1948–1954). There are also the minutes of the sessions of the Executive Council of the Presidency of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the minutes of the sessions of the Presidency of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the minutes of the regular, extraordinary, ceremonial and electoral sessions of the Assembly of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, all from the 1945-1998 period, and files on the deceased members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
The following publications related to the archives have been published: Vodič kroz arhiv Društva srpske slovesnosti (1842, 1845–1863) (A Guide Through the Archives of the Society of Serbian Letters, Zapisnici sednica Društva srpske slovesnosti (1842–1863) (Minutes of the Sessions of the Society of Serbian Letters), and Vodič kroz arhiv Srpskog učenog društva (1864–1892) (A Guide Through the Archives of the Serbian Learned Society. In 2002, the Archives also included the Archive of the Institute for History, retaining its document accession numbers. The latter archive includes copies of archival materials from Serbian and foreign archives and the legacies of Jovan Ristić, Matija Ban, Vladimir Ljotić, Konstantin Nikolajević, Paja Mihajlović, Janko Šafarik, and Svetozar Popadić, and the respective personal correspondence of Milan Đ. Milićević and Čedomilj Mijatović, as well as the “World War I” collection, mostly containing clippings from foreign press related to Serbia.
The Archives also includes the Cabinet for Dubrovnik Studies, which contains copies of archival materials, letters, newspaper clippings, photographs, microfilms, books, literature on Dubrovnik studies from the Middle Ages to the present day, all collected thanks to the efforts of Academician Miroslav Pantić.
In addition to the above, the Archives also includes four collections of documents as separate wholes, each with their own accession numbers. They are the Old Collection, the Historical Collection, the Ethnographic Collection, and the Oriental Collection.
The reading room of the Archives is equipped with card catalogues, a microfilm reader and a reference library. It is open to researchers on workdays from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm.