Guide to Federal Records

Records of the United States Railroad Administration [USRA]


(Record Group 14)
1917-38

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 14.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 14.2 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL 1917-35
  • 14.3 RECORDS OF THE BOARD OF RAILROAD WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS 1918-20
  • 14.4 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF LAW 1918-38
  • 14.5 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF OPERATION 1918-20
  • 14.6 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF LABOR 1917-23
  • 14.6.1 General records
  • 14.6.2 Records of the Women's Service Section
  • 14.6.3 Records of the Railway Adjustment Boards
  • 14.7 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER 1918-36
  • 14.8 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF TRAFFIC 1918-20
  • 14.9 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF PURCHASES 1918-20
  • 14.10 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL) ca. 1918

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14.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As an independent agency by Presidential Proclamation 1419, December 26, 1917, under authority of the Army Appropriation Act (39 Stat. 645), August 29, 1916. Functions: Operated such railroads, coastwise steamship lines, inland waterways, and telephone and telegraph companies as were seized by the government in the interest of national defense. Entered into compensatory agreements with seized carriers pursuant to the Federal Control Act (40 Stat. 451), March 21, 1918.

Railroads and other seized carriers were returned to private control on March 1, 1920, under terms of the Transportation Act (41 Stat. 470), February 28, 1920. USRA functions thereafter concerned with liquidation and final settlement of accounts.

Abolished: By Reorganization Plan No. II of 1939, effective July 1, 1939.

Successor Agencies: Office of the Secretary of the Treasury.

Finding Aids: Charles Zaid, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the U.S. Railroad Administration, 1917-1945," NC 9 (May 1962).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the United States Railroad Administration in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the National Mediation Board, RG 13.
Records of the Council of National Defense, RG 62.
Records of the Interstate Commerce Commission, RG 134.

Subject Access Terms: World War I agency.

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14.2 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR GENERAL
1917-35

History: USRA organization announced February 9, 1918. Consisted of the Director General of Railroads and eight major divisions and seven regional offices. First Director General, William G. McAdoo, was appointed on December 28, 1917. After January 1, 1926, the position was held by the Secretary of the Treasury, to whom all residual functions were transferred upon the termination of USRA, July 1, 1939.

Textual Records: Numerical correspondence, 1917-18. Subject correspondence, 1918-27, with index. Minutes of staff meetings, 1919. Records relating to cooperative and compensation contracts, 1918-31. Final settlement agreements with transportation companies, 1918-31. National agreements with railway labor unions, 1919-20. Equipment trust agreements, 1920-35. Waiver agreements, 1919-20. Issuances, circular letters, and press releases, 1918-27. Reports submitted in accordance with General Order 9, USRA, 1918. Fiscal records, 1918-35.

Subject Access Terms: Labor disputes.

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14.3 RECORDS OF THE BOARD OF RAILROAD WAGES AND WORKING CONDITIONS
1918-20

History: Established by USRA General Order 27, May 25, 1918, upon recommendation of the Railroad Wage Commission, to hear and investigate complaints and disputes involving wages and working conditions. Abolished by Circular 107, USRA, April 1, 1920.

Textual Records: Transcripts and digests of proceedings at hearings, 1918-20. Docketed case files and related records concerning recommendations, 1918-20. Compilations of reports, data, and working papers, 1918-20.

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14.4 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF LAW
1918-38

History: Established by the Director General, February 9, 1918, to provide general supervision over all legal activities of the carriers under federal control, to prepare contracts with the carriers, and to settle claims. Terminated upon the death of General Counsel Sidney F. Andrews, February 16, 1933, with unfinished business concluded by the Assistant Director General.

Textual Records: General files with an index, 1918-37. Executive orders and Presidential proclamations, 1934-37. Office files of the general counsel, general solicitors, special counsels, and the Chairman of the Committee on Compensation and Contracts, 1918-23. Files of cases against the Director General brought to court under the Transportation Act of 1920, 1923-30, with an index. Correspondence and other records relating to litigation and claims, including those of France against the USRA, 1921-24; and those assigned to the Director General and disposed of by the Division of Liquidation, Department of the Treasury, 1918-38. Correspondence of the director of the Southern District, 1918-20 (in Atlanta). Records of the regional counsel of the Southeastern Region, 1918-20 (in Atlanta). Dockets and orders of the Interstate Commerce Commission involving suits against the Director General, 1923-26. Financial records, 1920-21, 1931-37. Indexes, 1918-37.

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14.5 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF OPERATION
1918-20

History: Organized February 9, 1918, as the Division of Transportation, to direct the operations of all seized railroads and water carriers and to cooperate with the Division of Labor in reviewing disputes between managers and employees. Redesignated Division of Operation, June 11, 1918. Discontinued March 1, 1920.

Textual Records: General files of the Director and Assistant Director, 1918-20. Cases and reports relating to labor problems, 1918-20, with related indexes. Records of the Automatic Train Control Committee, 1919-20.

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14.6 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF LABOR
1917-23

History: Established February 9, 1918, to adjust disputes between labor and management. Abolished March 1, 1920, with responsibilities devolving on the Office of the Director General. Functioned through three railway adjustment boards established in 1918 and abolished in 1921, an assistant director for disputes involving unorganized workers, and a Women's Service Section.

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14.6.1 General records

Textual Records: General file, 1918-22, with index. Files of the director and assistant directors, 1918-20. Correspondence and memorandums, February-May 1918. Case files, 1919-23. Decisions and agreements, 1917-20 (bulk 1919-20), including copies of agreements between railroads and unions, 1917.

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14.6.2 Records of the Women's Service Section

Textual Records: General subject file, 1918-20, with index, 1920.

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14.6.3 Records of the Railway Adjustment Boards

Textual Records: Correspondence, case files, dockets, and decisions of Railway Board of Adjustment No. 1, relating to disputes involving engineers, firemen, conductors, and trainmen, 1918-23. Correspondence, complaints, amendments, interpretations, minutes, case files, and related records of Railway Board of Adjustment No. 2, relating to shop craft unions, 1918-21. Correspondence, disagreements, case files, decisions, and other records of Railway Board of Adjustment No. 3, relating to disputes involving railroad telegraphers, switchmen, clerks, and right-of-way maintenance employees, 1918-21.

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14.7 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER
1918-36

History: Division of Accounting established, January 24, 1919, from Division of Public Service and Accounting, organized February 9, 1918. Abolished in January 1920 and succeeded by the Office of the Comptroller, which functioned until February 28, 1937.

Textual Records: General file and index, 1919-24. Correspondence, 1918-36, and records, 1919-25, relating to final settlement accounts and agreements.

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14.8 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF TRAFFIC
1918-20

History: Established February 9, 1918, to supervise freight and passenger traffic, simplify railroad operations, and correct freight rate inequities. Abolished March 1, 1920. Functions transferred first to the Department of Traffic in the Division of Liquidation Claims and then, April 15, 1921, to the Division of Law.

Textual Records: Correspondence relating to freight rates governing exports and imports, 1918-19; and the assumption and relinquishment of federal control of railroads, 1918-20.

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14.9 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF PURCHASES 1918-20

History: Established March 15, 1919, from the Division of Finance and Purchasing, organized February 9, 1918. Coordinated, through regional committees, the purchase of certain types of railroad supplies and equipment. Abolished April 1, 1920, with unfinished business transferred to Division of Liquidation Claims.

Textual Records: Canceled disbursements, minutes, circulars, and related documents. Records of the Forest Products Section relating to the production and procurement of crossties, 1918-20.

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14.10 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
ca. 1918

Map: Northeastern United States showing "Eastern Group" railroads in July 1918.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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