Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Government of the Virgin Islands


(Record Group 55)
1672-1957

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 55.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 55.2 RECORDS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DANISH WEST INDIES 1672-1917
  • 55.2.1 Administrative records
  • 55.2.2 Legislative records
  • 55.2.3 Judicial and police records
  • 55.2.4 Military records
  • 55.3 RECORDS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE UNITED STATES 1917-57
  • 55.3.1 Records of the Office of the Governor and Government Secretary
  • 55.3.2 Records relating to relief and rehabilitation programs
  • 55.3.3 Records of other departments and officials
  • 55.3.4 Records of emergency and special offices
  • 55.3.5 Other Records
  • 55.4 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 55.5 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

55.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Department of the Navy, effective upon the formal transfer of sovereignty over the Danish West Indies from Denmark to the United States, March 28, 1917, under authority of an act of March 3, 1917 (39 Stat. 1132).

Predecessor Agencies:

Government of the Danish West Indies (Danish West India and Guinea Company, 1672-1754; Danish Crown, 1754-1917)

Transfers: To Department of the Interior by EO 5566, February 27, 1931; and subsequently, within that department, to Division of Territories and Island Possessions, by Secretary's Order 1040, February 13, 1936; to Office of Territories, by Administrative Order 2577, July 28, 1950; to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Territorial Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Land Management, effective July 1, 1971, by Secretary's Order 2942, June 30, 1971; to Office of Territorial Affairs, May 7, 1973, pursuant to Secretary's Order 2951, February 6, 1973; to Office of the Assistant Secretary for Territorial and International Affairs, Department of the Interior, by Secretary's Order 3049, February 14, 1980.

Functions: Administers the executive, legislative, and judicial responsibilities of the United States over the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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55.2 RECORDS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DANISH WEST INDIES
1672-1917

History: Danish West Indies, variously settled between 1672 and 1735, administered under royal charter by the Danish West India and Guinea Company, 1672-1754, and directly by Danish Crown, 1754-1917, except for a few months in 1801 and period 1807-15, when under British occupation. Islands sold by Denmark to the United States by treaty signed August 14, 1916, and ratified by the U.S. Senate, September 7, 1916.

Language Note: Most of the records are in Danish.

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55.2.1 Administrative records

Textual Records: Governor's orders, issued at St. Thomas, 1672- 1840, and St. Croix, 1733-1862. Daybook of Johan Lorentz, the Vice Commandant at St. Thomas, 1694-97. Governor Peter Clausen's letters to foreign officials, 1774-84. Governor Peter Carl Frederik von Scholten's letter books, 1834-53. Governor Christian Helweg-Larsen's official records, 1916. Drafts of letters to Denmark, 1778-1831. Letters to Denmark, and to island officials transmitting instructions from Denmark, 1874-1917. Correspondence with consular officials in St. Thomas, 1839-1916. Correspondence and reports concerning education, 1876-1917. Protocols and other records of the sanitary, poor, health, quarantine, hospital, road, and other quasi-executive governmental commissions in St. Thomas and St. Croix, 1853-1917. General ledgers for St. Thomas, 1816-1908, and St. Croix, 1741-1850. Duplicate accounts of the St. Thomas colonial treasury, 1829-1916. Tax lists for St. Thomas, 1823-54, and St. Croix, 1743-1850. Lists of the King's Negroes, 1820-33. Reports about slaves' appraised value, 1846-52, and sugar exported from St. Croix, 1835-92. Record book of government-owned sugar plantations, 1835-88. Microfilm copies of records of the Danish West India and Guinea Company, 1672-1740, and of the West Indian Local Archives, West Indian Government on St. Croix, 1755-1863 (19 rolls). Records relating to insurrections, 1848, 1878. Miscellaneous administrative records, 1855-1917.

Microfilm Publications: T39, T952.

Related Records: Some records of the Danish administration of the islands are in the National Archives of Denmark (Rigsarkivet), Copenhagen, and in Danish provincial archives. Other records of the islands, chiefly relating to land titles, are in the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA. Remaining in the Virgin Islands are all extant land records from 1754 to the present time. The Library of Congress has transcripts relating to the Danish West Indies, 1653-1790, copied from records in the Danish archives and other depositories.

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55.2.2 Legislative records

Textual Records: Proceedings of the St. Croix Burgher Council, 1767-80, and of colonial councils, 1852-1917.

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55.2.3 Judicial and police records

Textual Records: Upper court protocol, 1794-98; town court cases, 1860-1917; police journals and protocols, 1853-1917; and police correspondence, 1852-1917, from St. Thomas. Public notices, contracts, and petitions, 1771-1818; annual reports of the town court, 1879-1908; police court cases, 1852-1912; police journals and protocols, 1844-1917; and police reports, 1869-1914, from St. Croix. Police journals and protocols, 1892-1917; and correspondence, 1915-17, from St. John.

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55.2.4 Military records

Textual Records: Reports and rolls of the royal military force at St. Thomas, 1802-86. Military letter books from St. Croix, 1854- 81. Correspondence and other records relating to St. Thomas Harbor, 1854-1917.

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55.3 RECORDS OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS OF THE
UNITED STATES 1917-57

Finding Aids: H. Donn Hooker, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States, PI 126 (1960).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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55.3.1 Records of the Office of the Governor and Government
Secretary

Textual Records: Annual reports, 1917-49. Orders and proclamations issued by the Governor, 1917-43. Executive officials' miscellaneous correspondence, 1920-50. General files concerning island government, 1917-43. Radiograms sent and received, 1917-49. Records relating to central administration budgetary and other fiscal matters, 1920-41. Records concerning the budgets for St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, 1921-42. Correspondence about passports, 1917-43. Registration certificates and correspondence about trademarks and patents, 1918-33. Inventories of property and furnishings, chiefly for executive mansions, 1940-49. General files of an office successively known as the Office of the Despatching Secretary, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Administrator for St. Croix, 1917-40.

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55.3.2 Records relating to relief and rehabilitation programs

Textual Records: Records relating to the Civil Works Administration (CWA), 1933-34; Federal Emergency Relief Administration and National Industrial Recovery Act, 1933-37; Public Works Administration (PWA), 1933-38; Virgin Islands Emergency Relief Administration, 1935-36; and Work Projects Administration (WPA), 1938-44. General correspondence of the Virgin Islands Subsistence Homestead Authority, 1934-35. St. Croix homestead agreements, 1933-39. St. Thomas and St. Croix homestead contracts, 1933-41. Records concerning the establishment of the Virgin Islands Company, 1934-36.

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55.3.3 Records of other departments and officials

Textual Records: Correspondence and related records of the Aide for Public Welfare, 1923-30. Records of the Director of the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, 1925-31. Subject files of the Commissioner of Finance, 1927-46. Publications of the Director of Community Activities, 1931.

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55.3.4 Records of emergency and special offices

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Food Commission, 1917-20. Records of the supervisor of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Virgin Islands, 1939-43. Correspondence of the Council for Defense, Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John, 1941-42. Correspondence of the manager of the Bluebeard Castle Hotel at St. Thomas, 1935-37.

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55.3.5 Other Records

Maps (32 items): Public works projects of the major municpalities, 1923-57.

Photographs (1,000 images): Federal projects sponsored by the CWA, PWA, WPA, and CCC, to improve housing, public buildings, parks, and roads; scenic views; schools, jails, and a leper colony; and a visit by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. 1931-43 (FRP).

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55.4 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Maps UNDER 55.3.5.

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55.5 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE Photographs UNDER 55.3.5


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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