Record Groups 3 through 41
Guide to Archival Holdings at the National Archives at Philadelphia
- Alphabetical List of Record Groups
- Numerical List of Record Groups
- Record Groups 3 through 41
- Record Groups 52 through 96
- Record Groups 104 through 188
- Record Groups 202 through 293
- Record Groups 313 through Donated Materials
The U.S. Housing Corporation (USHC) was incorporated July 8, 1918, to provide housing, local transportation, and other community facilities for industrial workers. Incorporated in New York and Pennsylvania, the USHC acted as executive agent for the Bureau of Industrial Housing and Transportation, established in the Department of Labor on February 12, 1918, to carry on work begun by the Council of National Defense. The USHC Division of Surveys and Statistics conducted general surveys of industrial communities for the Joint Board on Industrial Surveys of the War Industries Board. The USHC also planned and contracted construction projects to provide housing and other facilities to war workers. Construction activities were completed in 1919, and thereafter, the USHC was concerned with the operation and sales of properties and the liquidation of other assets. The USHC was transferred in 1937 from the Department of Labor to the Procurement Division of the Department of the Treasury and in 1939 to the newly created Public Buildings Administration of the Federal Works Administration. Finally in 1942, it became part of the Federal Home Loan Bank Administration of the Housing Agency (now the Federal Home Loan Board).
Volume: 2 cubic feet
Records of the Transportation and Municipal Loan Division, Philadelphia. The records primarily relate to transportation projects managed by A.L. Drum and Co., consulting engineers. They consist of correspondence, inspector's reports, and newspaper clippings. Nontextual records include blueprints.
Records of the Town Planning Division for Erie, Pennsylvania. The records relate to the activities of Erie's town manager and assistant town planner and include correspondence, instructions, plans, and progress reports.
Entries 205 through 208 in Katherine H. Davidson, Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Housing Corporation, PI 140 (1962).
The U.S. Food Administration was created by an Executive order of August 10, 1917, to assure the supply, distribution, and food conservation during World War I; facilitate the movement of foods and prevent monopolies and hoarding; and maintain governmental control over foods chiefly by means of voluntary agreements and a licensing syste. Federal food administrators were appointed for each State to implement the Administration's programs. After November 11, 1918, the Administration was gradually dismantled and its rules and regulations revoked. An Executive order of August 21, 1920, terminated all branches of the Food Administration still in existence, and the majority of its records were placed in the custody of the U.S. Grain Corporation.
Volume: 185 cubic feet
Records of food administrators in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; Divisions of Investigation and Enforcement in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; Divisions of Dairy Interests, Conservation, and Press News for Pennsylvania; and State Library Director and State Merchant Representative in Maryland. The records primarily concern complaints against individuals, local merchants, and restaurants for violations of rationing and other regulations. They document public attitudes toward U.S. participation in World War I and governmental control. The records are primarily letters.
Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-1921 (1943).
Almon B. Wright, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Food Administration, 1917-1920, Pt.1: The Headquarters Organization, PI 3 (1943).
The Grain Corporation, an agency of the U.S. Food Administration, was created on August 14, 1917. On July 1, 1919, the Corporation was reorganized as the U.S. Grain Corporation, which continued the functions and organizational structure of its predecessor. The central office of both agencies was located in New York City, with zone offices throughout the country, and by 1919, in Europe. The main functions of the Corporations were to regulate the grain trade by purchasing, storing, and selling grain and grain products and, in cooperation with the War Trade Board, to control grain imports and exports. They played a significant role in the administration of American food relief for Europe after World War I. At various times between 1918 and 1922, the Corporation served as the fiscal and/or purchasing agent for the Commission for Relief in Belgium, the American Relief Administration, and the Purchasing Commission for Russian Relief. The U.S. Grain Corporation had been in the process of liquidation for several years when it was abolished by an Executive order of December 31, 1927.
The Corporation assigned a vice president to each of the 14 grain zones, which were located in important grain terminal and seaboard markets.
Volume: 6 cubic feet
Records of the Second Vice President for the Baltimore Zone Agency. The records document grain procurement, storage, handling, and distribution and consist of correspondence, milling agreements, and reports.
Entries 104 and 105 in Carolyn D. Fagan and Philip R. Ward, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Grain Corporation, NC 143 (1966).
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was created by an Executive order of June 16, 1933, to rehabilitate industry and trade in the United States, expand employment, and improve labor conditions. The NRA drafted codes of fair competition to govern industries and trades.
The Administration created district recovery and local compliance boards. In January 1934, a system of State compliance offices reporting directly to the Compliance Division in Washington, DC, superseded the district offices. Many of the State offices set up branches with a resident field adjuster in charge. A regional office system was established on December 28, 1934, by authority of Field Letter #190. The 1935 Supreme Court decision in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. declared many provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional. After this decision NRA activities were confined to promoting industrial cooperation and preparing a series of economic studies. On January 1, 1936, the NRA was terminated, with most of its divisions transferred to the Department of Commerce for liquidation by April 1, 1936. The field offices were terminated on January 31, 1936.
Volume: 17 cubic feet
Records of Region III, which had jurisdiction over Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The records document enforcement policy and procedures and personnel administration. They include administrative and legal files, correspondence, and reports.
Entries 512 through 520, 522, and 523 in Homer Calkin, Meyer Fishbein, and Leo Pascal, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Recovery Administration, PI 44 (1952).
The present Veterans Administration (VA) is the result of policies and programs that date back to the American Revolution. In 1789, the First Congress enacted legislation to continue paying pensions provided in acts of the Continental Congress. An act of August 9, 1921, created the Veterans' Bureau which became part of the Veterans Administration established by an Executive order of July 21, 1930. The VA became the Department of Veterans Affairs effective March 15, 1989.
In the field, the VA and its predecessors have operated a network of facilities intended to aid veterans, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers, as well as national homes for veterans. One of the predecessors of the VA, the Federal Board for Vocational Education, divided the country into 14 districts in 1918. These districts were combined with relevant Public Health Service offices in 1921 to form the district offices of the Veterans' Bureau. These were succeeded by 54 regional offices of the Bureau in 1924 and 1925.
Volume: 9 cubic feet
Records of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Southern Branch, Hampton, Virginia, 1874-1938. The records generally document facility administration and inmate supervision. Included are orders and sample case files of veterans.
Records of the District 4 Office (Baltimore), 1918-1925, and the Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Richmond regional offices of the Rehabilitation Division, 1925-1926. The records document training and employment of disabled veterans in Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Included are correspondence, reports, and rosters.
Entries 70 through 73 (Southern Branch, Hampton, VA) in Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the National Homes Service of the Veterans Administration, NM 29 (1964).
Entries 16, 17, and 47 in Preliminary Checklist of the General Administrative Files of the Rehabilitation Division, PC 15 (1944).
Access to some files or portions of documents may be restricted due to privacy concerns.
Record Group 16
Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture was established by an act of May 15, 1862, and became an executive department under a secretary in 1889. Its functional responsibilities have increased throughout its existence and now include agricultural adjustment, conservation, education, marketing, production, regulation, research, rural development, and surplus disposal.
Volume: 6 cubic feet
Records of the regional office of the solicitor, Philadelphia. The records relate to claims made against the Department of Agriculture by individuals and corporate groups. They document property acquisition, possession, sale, and remuneration. Included are correspondence, legal documents, and reports.
Box contents list.
Record Group 17
Records of the Bureau of Animal Industry
The Bureau of Animal Industry was established in May 1884 to prevent the exportation of diseased cattle and to eradicate contagious diseases among domestic animals. It replaced the Veterinary Division created by the Commissioner of Agriculture in 1883. The Bureau conducted scientific investigations and administered statutes and regulations to protect the public from infected or diseased meat products, eradicate animal diseases, and improve the livestock of the country. In 1953, the Bureau was abolished, and its functions were divided among the branches of Animal Disease and Parasite Research, Animal and Poultry Husbandry Research, Animal Disease Eradication, Animal Inspection, and Quarantine and Meat Inspections of the Agricultural Research Service.
Volume: 4 cubic feet
Records of the Baltimore field station. The records relate to meat purchase, inspection, handling, and packaging; and to the destruction of diseased animals. Included are correspondence and reports.
Entries 24 and 25 in Harold T. Pinkett, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Animal Industry, PI 106 (1958).
Record Group 18
Records of the Army Air Forces
The Army Air Forces (AAF) originated August 1, 1907, as the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. After various reorganizations and name changes, the Army Air Forces was established on March 9, 1942, under the Secretary of War and the War Department General Staff. It served as the primary land-based air arm of the American armed forces until it was detached from the Army and became the U.S. Air Force in 1947.
Until the onset of World War II, most field installations of the Army Air Forces and its predecessors, such as airfields, schools, and administrative agencies, were located within the borders of the United States and its territories.
Volume: 12 cubic feet
- Langley Field, Hampton, Virginia;
- Middletown Air Depot, Middletown, Pennsylvania;
- School for Radio Mechanics, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Entries 457 through 464, 693 through 697, and 713 through 716 in Maizie H. Johnson, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the Army Air Forces, NM 53 (1965).
Record Group 21
Records of District Courts of the United States
U.S. district and circuit courts were created by the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789. The jurisdiction and powers of these Federal courts have varied with subsequent legislation, but district courts generally have had original jurisdiction in admiralty and bankruptcy cases, suits for penalties or seizures under Federal laws, noncapital criminal proceedings, and suits exceeding $100 in value in which the United States was the plaintiff. The circuit courts heard appeals from the district courts and had original jurisdiction over actions involving aliens or citizens of different States and law and equity suits where the matter in dispute exceeded $500. In 1891, the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred to the newly created circuit courts of appeals (see RG 276). The Judiciary Act of 1911 abolished the circuit courts and provided for the transfer of their records and remaining jurisdiction to the district courts.
Most States initially had one district and one circuit court with additional districts created as the business of the courts increased. Many of the districts were divided into divisions with the court holding session in various cities within the district. In 1812, circuit courts were authorized to appoint U.S. commissioners to assist in taking of bail and affidavits. The Commissioners' functions were expanded by subsequent legislation and court rules, and their powers have included authority to issue arrest warrants, examine persons charged with offenses against Federal laws, initiate actions in admiralty matters, and institute proceedings for violation of civil rights legislation.
Territorial district courts generally were established by the organic act that created the territory and had jurisdiction over Federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy actions as well as civil and criminal jurisdiction similar to that of State courts. Records created by a territorial court acting in its capacity as a Federal court often became the property of the Federal district court upon statehood.
Volume: 30,225 cubic feet
*There may be gaps within the date spans listed below. Dates, types, and completeness of case files vary by district and division.
- Delaware, District, 1790-1972. Among the records is a 1903 case file concerning Thomas Edison and use of his name for product endorsements, the 1924 O'Henry candy bar trademark infringement case file, and numerous civil cases involving the DuPont Company.
- Maryland, District, 1790-1979. Among the records are files of cases involving treason during the Baltimore Riot of 1861; fugitive slave case papers; prosecutions of alleged Communists under the Smith Act, 1940-1955; and two major cases appealed to the Supreme Court--Glass v. The Sloop Betsey (1793) and McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), which set precedents in prize law and Federal sovereignty respectively.
- Pennsylvania, Eastern District, 1789-1990. The records include files of cases concerning the Whiskey Rebellion (1791) and Fries Rebellion (1799); the bankruptcy of financier Robert Morris, 1800; patent and copyright cases involving Samuel Morse, Isaac Singer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Edward Everett Hale; War of 1812 and Civil War prize captures; flag saluting in public schools, 1938; and Bible reading in public schools, 1959-1960.
- Pennsylvania, Middle District, 1901-1990.
- Pennsylvania, Western District,1818-1980. Among the records are those of cases involving the Erie railroad track and national standardization of rail gauges, 1854; the Ku Klux Klan, 1927-1928; and the steel industry.
- Virginia, Eastern District, 1801-1975. The records include a case file for the confiscation of Robert E. Lee's Arlington House, 1863; files for a case argued by Thurgood Marshall concerning employment rights for Norfolk schoolteachers, 1940; and law and equity case files containing deeds signed by Virginia Governors Patrick Henry and Edmund Randolph.
- Virginia, Western District, 1807-1968. The records include sequestration case files from the District Court for the Confederate States of America for the Western District of Virginia, 1861-1864.
- West Virginia, Northern District, 1819-1969. Records include case files related to the manufacturing of glass and marbles; the Weirton Steel strike and related labor issues, 1942-1951; and commerce along the Ohio River.
- West Virginia, Southern District, 1840-1969. The records document the actions of Federal district and circuit courts, which have jurisdiction over naturalization, bankruptcy, civil (law, equity, and admiralty), and criminal cases.
There are also docket books - a summary of proceedings in each case, including a brief abstract of motions and orders, a record of the fees collected, and a statement of the disposition of the case; minute books or journals - a daily chronological record of court proceedings, often including information about financial accounts and the collection of fees, lists of jury members, names of attorneys admitted to practice, and the text of orders appointing court officials; naturalization papers - declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, depositions, and certificates of naturalization; order or judgment books - the text of each order or judgment and a record of the amount of any monetary judgment; record of proceedings (only for U.S. commissioners) - a printed form that gives the name of the defendant, and summaries of the nature of the charge, the actions taken, and the disposition of the case. Nontextual records include maps and photographs. See RG 118 and RG 276 for related records.
Minute, docket, and order books often have indexes to the names of the parties involved in the proceedings. There is no cumulative index by subject, case name, or other access point. Records for a case can usually be located by case number and name of the court. The number sometimes can be determined from indexes in minute, docket, or order books but these are not available for all courts. Additional information may be available from the clerk of the court involved.
Related Microfilm Publications
M931, Minutes of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Maryland, 1795-1911;
M932, Minutes of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1790-1844;
M966, War of 1812 Prize Case Files of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1812-1815;
M969, Law and Appellate Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1790-1847;
M985, Equity Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1790- 1847;
M986, Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1791-1840;
M987, Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1801-1802, and Minutes and Habeas Corpus and Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1789-1843;
M988, Admiralty Case Files of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1789-1840;
M992, Information Case Files, 1789-1843, and Related Records, 1792-1918 of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania;
M993, Act of 1800 Bankruptcy Records of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1800-1806;
M1010, Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Maryland, 1790-1911;
M1057, Law (Civil Action) Records for the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1789- 1844;
M1031, Act of 1800 Bankruptcy Case Files of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, 1800-1803;
M1168, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions To the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for Maryland, 1797-1951;
M1208, Indexes To Registers and Registers of Declarations of Intention and Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1820-1906;
M1248, Indexes to Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1951;
M1300, Admiralty Case Files of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 1801-1861;
M1522, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1795-1930;
M1537, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania 1820- 1930;
M1626, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, 1901-1930;
M1640, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the District of Maryland, 1906-1930;
M1643, Naturalization Records of the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the Northern District of West Virginia, Wheeling Division, 1844-1875;
M1644, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. Circuit and District Courts for the District of Delaware, 1845-1929;
M1645, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Abingdon Division, 1913-1927;
M1646, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Charlottesville Division, 1910-1929;
M1647, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, 1906-1929;
M1648, Naturalization Petitions to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, 1918-1929;
T819, Records of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Containing Statements of Fact in Forfeiture Cases, 1792-1918.
Record Group 22
Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Fish and Wildlife Service was formed on June 30, 1940, by merging the Bureau of Fisheries (established in 1903) with the Bureau of Biological Survey (established in 1885). The service is responsible for administering Federal laws for the control and conservation of fish, game, birds, and other wildlife and administering national wildlife refuges.
Volume: 65 cubic feet
Records of Wildlife Research Center, Patuxent, Maryland. The records relate to sightings of birds at designated observation locations throughout the United States and Canada. Most designated observation points are lighthouses and light stations. The records consist of bird migration schedules, correspondence, and waterfowl reports.Records of the following hatcheries:
- Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery, Charles City, Virginia;
- White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, West Virginia;
- Wytheville National Fish Hatchery, Virginia.
Record Group 24
Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel
The Bureau of Naval Personnel originated as the Bureau of Navigation, established by an act of July 5, 1862. It is responsible for training and educating officers and enlisted men. The Coast Signal Service was organized within the Bureau in 1897. It cooperated with the Lifesaving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Weather Bureau in maintaining a lookout for the approach of enemy vessels and in checking the movements of American vessels. The Service was discontinued at the close of the Spanish-American War. See RG 52 for related records.
Volume: 63 cubic feet
Records of the U.S. Naval Home, Philadelphia, 1838-1942. The records relate to admission and discharge of beneficiaries, daily operations, and home administration. Records consist of correspondence, regulations, and station logs.
Records of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, 1855-1871. The records relate to the administration of the hospital and the admission, diagnosis, and discharge of patients, and consist of correspondence, daily journals, and registers.
Records of the Enlisted Naval Training School (Radio), Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania,1942-1945. The records document school administration and the training of electrical and radio technicians. The records consist of correspondence, muster cards, news clippings, and reports.
Records of the Headquarters Office, Coast Signal Service. The records relate to routine administrative and business matters of the Third District Office, Norfolk, Virginia, 1898, and the stations under its control. The district included stations at Cape Henry, Cape Lookout, Carolina Beach, and Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Records include endorsements, letters, and telegrams.
Entry 436 in Virgil E. Baugh, Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, PI 123 (1960).
Record Group 25
Records of the National Labor Relations Board
The present National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created by the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) of July 5, 1935. It was preceded by two earlier boards: the National Labor Board (NLB), established August 5, 1933, and a first NLRB, established on June 19, 1934. As the functions of the NLB and the first NLRB were closely tied to the mission of the National Recovery Administration (NRA), when the NRA was declared unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, the first NLRB virtually ceased to function.
The Wagner Act created the second (present) NLRB, which was to determine the unit of employees appropriate for collective bargaining, conduct elections for employee representatives, and force employers to end specified unfair labor practices in industries other than the railroads and, after 1936, the airlines. The functions of the NLRB have subsequently been modified by the War Labor Disputes Act of June 25, 1943, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act), and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the Landrum-Griffin Act).
All three boards utilized a system of regional boards to deal with labor controversies in the field.
Volume: 9 cubic feet
Records of the Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh regional offices. The records relate to decisions and meetings of the regional board and reflect the board's staffing and actions to investigate and settle labor-management disputes. The records include correspondence, minutes of meetings, press releases, and reports.
Records of the 4th District (Philadelphia) and 5th District (Baltimore) Offices. The records relate to district office intervention activities and analysis of labor issues, especially impending strikes in manufacturing industries. The records consist of correspondence, minutes, and reports.
Box contents list.
Record Group 26
Records of the U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard was established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of January 28, 1915, which consolidated that department's Revenue Cutter and Lifesaving Services. The Coast Guard took over the administration of lighthouses in 1939, and in 1942 assumed functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (see RG 41) relating to navigation and inspection laws and to merchant marines. On April 1, 1967, the Coast Guard became a part of the Department of Transportation and assumed responsibility for functions transferred to it from the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) pertaining to the admeasurement and documentation of U.S.
Volume: 1,492 cubic feet
Records of Coast Guard air stations, cutters, lightships, light stations, and shore units, 1962-1988. The records document daily activities. They are logbooks.
Records of the Marine Safety Office, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1927-1977, and the Marine Inspection Offices for Annapolis, 1875-1966; Baltimore, 1857-1966; Philadelphia, 1910- 1983; and Wilmington, 1917-1983. The records relate to vessel documentation and maritime activity, and include admeasurement certificates, bills of sale, enrollments, licenses, mortgages, and vessel inspection files.
Records of merchant marine vessels maintained in accord with various acts of Congress and surrendered when the vessels docked at Baltimore, 1942-1967; Norfolk, 1940-1955; Philadelphia, 1920-1963; and Portsmouth, Virginia, 1956-1964. The records include the vessel's name and number; beginning and end dates of voyages; destination(s); list of crew members; drills and inspections; and sometimes notations on significant events. They are logbooks.
Records of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, 1870-1942. The records document daily station activities for several sites in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, 1870-1942, and shipwrecks at sites in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, 1883-1919. Included are station logbooks and wreck reports.
Records of the Revenue Cutter Service, 1899-1917, Arundel Cove Depot, Maryland. The records relate to personnel, outfitting and repair of vessels, and site administration and are correspondence.
Records of the Fifth Coast Guard District Headquarters, Portsmouth, Virginia, 1848-1968. The records document lifeboat stations, lifesaving stations, lighthouses, and light stations in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Bermuda (U.S. bases only). Nontextual records include blueprints and drawings.
Item lists for some records.
William Heynen, Elizabeth Lockwood, and Margo Szabunia, comps., Lighthouse Plans in the National Archives SL 57 (1990).
Entries 68, 201A, 201B, 241B, and 245 in Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Coast Guard, NC 31 (1963).
Related Microfilm Publications
M63, Lighthouse Letters, 1792-1809; M94, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790-1853.
Access to some files or portions of documents may be restricted due to privacy concerns.
Record Group 27
Records of the Weather Bureau
The Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress of October 1, 1890, in the Department of Agriculture. It took over the Weather Service that had been established in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the War Department in 1870. The Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940. In 1965, the Bureau was consolidated with the Coast and Geodetic Survey to form the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA). When ESSA was abolished in 1970, the Weather Bureau, now renamed the National Weather Service, was incorporated into the newly formed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Volume: less than 1 cubic foot
Records of the Mount Weather Observation Station, Virginia. The records document meteorological observations and consist of numerical entries in bound volumes.
Box contents list.
Entry 78 in Helen T. Finneran, comp., Preliminary Inventory of Operational and Miscellaneous Meteorological Records of the Weather Bureau, NC 3, May 1965.
Related Microfilm Publications
T907, Climatological Records of the Weather Bureau, 1819-1892 (selected rolls).
Record Group 30
Records of the Bureau of Public Roads
The Bureau of Public Roads had its origins in an act of March 3, 1893, which authorized the creation of an Office of Road Inquiry in the Department of Agriculture. After a number of changes in title, the Office became the Bureau of Public Roads in 1918 and retained that designation until 1939 when it became the Public Roads Administration as part of the Federal Works Agency. On July 1, 1949, it was transferred to the General Services Administration and renamed the Bureau of Public Roads, which was then transferred to the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1949. An act of October 15, 1966, transferred the Bureau to the Department of Transportation where its functions were assigned to the Federal Highway Administration (see RG 406).
Under the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, the Bureau has supervised Federal-State cooperative programs for road construction, reconstruction, and improvement. It also administers the highway beautification program and is responsible for developing and administering highway safety programs, constructing defense highways and roads in national parks and forests, expanding the interstate highway system, and providing assistance to foreign governments.
Volume: 119 cubic feet
- Delaware, 1929-1970;
- New Jersey, 1957-1970;
- Pennsylvania, 1934-1972;
- Virginia, 1957-1960.
Box contents lists.
Record Group 32
Records of the U.S. Shipping Board
The U.S. Shipping Board, established by the Shipping Act of 1916, was formally organized on January 30, 1917, to regulate carriers by water and develop a naval auxiliary and merchant marine. On April 16, 1917, the Board established the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (known after 1927 as the U.S. Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation) to procure, construct, charter, equip, man, operate, and dispose of merchant vessels for the Board. Under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and subsequent legislation the Board was given additional responsibilities. The Board was abolished by Executive Order 6166 of June 10, 1933, and its functions were administered through the U.S. Shipping Board Bureau in the Department of Commerce until that Bureau was abolished by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.
Volume: 134 cubic feet
- Baltimore District Office, 1920-1929;
- Middle Atlantic District Office, Baltimore, 1919-1920;
- Philadelphia District Office, 1918-1933;
- South Atlantic District Office, Norfolk, 1917-1930.
Records maintained by authorized Shipping Board representatives for the American International Shipbuilding Corporation, Hog Island, Pennsylvania, 1917-1922, and the Merchant Shipbuilding Corporation, Bristol, Pennsylvania, 1917- 1922. Records describe contract negotiations, plant administration, and vessel construction and are correspondence, employment cards, and reports. Nontextual records include photographs.
Records of the Philadelphia office of Stephen N. Bourne, Secretary of the Fleet Corporation, 1918-1919. The records relate to financial affairs, personnel, and technical matters and consist of correspondence and reports.
Draft inventory and box contents lists.
Entries 167, 311, 312, 319, 320, 323, 324, 327, 330, 523, 527, 529 through 532, and 533 in Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Shipping Board, PI 97 (1956).
Record Group 36
Records of the U.S. Customs Service
The Customs Service, created by an act of July 31, 1789, became part of the Department of the Treasury when that Department was established in September 1789. The Service has been responsible for the enforcement of numerous laws and regulations pertaining to the import and export of merchandise, collection of tonnage taxes, control of the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft, regulation of vessels involved in the coastwise and fishing trades, the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Customs was established on March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities, and in 1942, it assumed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (see RG 41) relating to the registering, enrolling, licensing, and admeasurement of merchant vessels. This responsibility was assigned to the Coast Guard in 1967 (see RG 26).
The act that established the Customs Service in 1789 also provided for the creation of collection districts in various coastal, river, Great Lakes, and inland ports. A collector of customs in each district was responsible for the enforcement of all rules and regulations, including the protection of American seamen and passengers and the forwarding of basic data on immigration, imports, and exports. Occasionally the collector acted as the depository for Federal funds and collected taxes for the Bureau of Internal Revenue. A naval officer in each district, coordinate in rank with the collector, was required to keep separate accounts and copies of all manifests and entries and to countersign certain of the collector's accounts. A surveyor, under the collector's supervision, kept a daily record of all vessel arrivals and clearances and was assisted by inspectors, weighers, and gaugers in the collection and payment of bounty allowances and fees and the admeasurement of foreign vessels for tonnage duties.
Volume: 227 cubic feet
- Baltimore, 1939-1960;
- Chester, Pennsylvania, 1867-1923;
- Philadelphia, 1789-1971;
- Wilmington, 1829-1917.
Related Microfilm Publications
M174, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Treasury From Collectors of Customs ("G", "H", "I" Series), 1833-1869;
M175, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Treasury to Collectors of Customs at All Ports, 1847-1878 ("G" Series);
M178, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Treasury With Collectors of Customs, 1789-1833;
M255, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1891;
M326, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore (City Passenger Lists), 1833-1866;
M327, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore (Federal Passenger Lists), 1820-1897;
M334, Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Ports (Excluding New York), 1820-1874;
M360, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, 1800-1906;
M425, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, 1800-1882.
Record Group 38
Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations was established by an act of March 3, 1915, to coordinate naval operational activities. Under the Office were the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Board of Inspection and Survey, and the Naval Communication Service. On April 8, 1942, an Executive order placed under this Office the Hydrographic Office and the Naval Observatory.
The Chief of Naval Operations is the principal naval adviser to the President and the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, the principal naval executive and adviser to the Secretary of the Navy on the administration of the Department, and the naval member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is responsible for the naval operating forces and associated bureaus and offices, manpower and logistical services, research and development plans and activities, naval strategic planning, the organization and training of naval forces, their preparation and readiness, and the maintenance of a high level of quality among personnel and components of the Navy.
Volume: 2 cubic feet
Records of the Branch Naval Intelligence Office, Plant Protection Section, Pittsburgh. The records concern investigations of manufacturing plants in the Pittsburgh area and are case files.
Entries 230 and 231 in Harry Schwartz, Lyman Hinckley, and Kenneth F. Bartlett, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, NM 63 (1966).
Record Group 41
Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation
Navigation laws were passed by the First Congress in 1789 and were enforced by customs officers under the supervision of the Department of the Treasury. In 1884, a Bureau of Navigation under the control of the Commissioner of Navigation was established within the Department of the Treasury to administer the navigation laws. In 1903, it was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor along with the Steamboat Inspection Service, which had been established in the Department of the Treasury in 1852 to formulate rules and regulations for steamboat inspections. The two bureaus were merged in 1932 to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, which was renamed the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (BMIN) in 1936. In 1942, its functions relating to merchant vessel documentation were transferred to the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) while those pertaining to merchant vessel inspection, safety of life at sea, and merchant vessel personnel were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard (see RG 26). The Bureau was abolished in 1946.
Volume: 42 cubic feet
Records of collectors of customs, functioning as field agents for the BMIN, at the following ports:
- New Castle, Delaware, 1846-1851;
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1885-1946;
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1897-1941;
- Seaford, Delaware, 1875-1912;
- Wheeling, West Virginia, 1880-1913;
- Wilmington, Delaware, 1836-1915.