Guide to Federal Records

Records of the American Battle Monuments Commission [ABMC]


(Record Group 117)
1918-93 (bulk 1920-93)

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 117.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 117.2 GENERAL RECORDS 1923-65
  • 117.3 RECORDS RELATING TO CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS 1918-93 (bulk 1920-93)
  • 117.3.1 Records relating to construction and maintenance
  • 117.3.2 Records relating to dedications
  • 117.3.3 Other records
  • 117.4 RECORDS OF THE HISTORICAL SECTION 1923-42
  • 117.4.1 General records
  • 117.4.2 Records relating to World War I frontline maps and accompanying "summaries of operations"
  • 117.4.3 Records relating to other publications
  • 117.4.4 Records relating to the Terrain Photographs Project
  • 117.5 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 117.6 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
  • 117.7 VIDEO RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
  • 117.8 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
  • 117.9 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

117.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As an independent agency by an act of March 4, 1923 (42 Stat. 1509).

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Battle Monuments Board, War Department (1921-23)

Functions: Designs, constructs, and maintains permanent U.S. military cemeteries and memorials in foreign countries, and controls the design of U.S. war memorials in foreign countries by other sponsors. Maintains lists of burials and rosters of military personnel recorded as missing. Provides information concerning burial places and memorials.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the American Battle Monuments Commission in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Top of Page

117.2 GENERAL RECORDS
1923-65

History: Battle Monuments Board established by War Department order, June 11, 1921, to develop plans for marking American battlefields in Europe. Superseded by ABMC, 1923. SEE 117.1.

Textual Records: Final report of the Battle Monuments Board, August 3, 1923. Correspondence of the AMBC Chairman, Gen. John J. Pershing, 1923-45. Memorandums to the ABMC, 1923-59. Proceedings of ABMC meetings, 1923-53. AMBC annual reports, 1923-51. Reports of special projects, 1950-65.

Top of Page

117.3 RECORDS RELATING TO CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS
1918-93 (bulk 1920-93)

Top of Page

117.3.1 Records relating to construction and maintenance

Textual Records: Records of the central office, Washington, DC, including subject correspondence, 1922-59; meeting minutes and agendas, 1923-93; annual reports, 1924-92; legislative history files, 1946-88; monuments and memorials correspondence files, 1949-74; contract files, 1946-88; World War I monument and memorial files, 1923-68, and cemetery files, 1925-69; World War II cemetery and memorial files, 1947-68 (36 ft.); monthly reports of the Paris office, 1923-46, and of regional offices, 1946-66; and records concerning construction of the Pacific War Memorial, Honolulu, HI, 1961-64; and letters received regarding the Korean War Memorial, 1990-91. Records of the European Regional Office, Garches (a Paris suburb), France, relating to that office's administration and maintenance of U.S. cemeteries and monuments of World Wars I and II located in Europe, and consisting of a decimal file, 1918-67; letters sent, 1944-62, and received, 1940-65; and construction and maintenance files for World War I cemeteries, 1920-39, and World War II cemeteries, 1948-65.

Photographs (135 images): Original sketches and panoramic views of World War I cemeteries in Europe, 1923-30 (SK). SEE ALSO 117.9.

Top of Page

117.3.2 Records relating to dedications

Textual Records: ABMC dedication files, 1931-67. Dedication scrapbooks, May-August 1937, and albums, 1952-66.

Motion Pictures (18 reels): America Honors Her War Heroes, showing dedication ceremonies of chapels and memorials in Europe (August-October 1937), and including speeches by Gen. John J. Pershing, Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, and Sen. Richard B. Russell, 1939. SEE ALSO 117.6.

Sound Recordings (21 items): Dedication of the Meuse-Argonne War Memorial, Montfaucon, France, August 1, 1937, featuring speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, French President Albert Lebrun, U.S. Ambassador William C. Bullitt, Gen. Pershing, and Marshal Petain. SEE ALSO 117.8.

Photographs (455 images): Dedication ceremonies held at U.S. cemeteries and memorials in Europe, 1937 (MM). SEE ALSO 117.9.

Top of Page

117.3.3 Other records

Textual Records: Copies of agreements with foreign governments and related records (1851-1967), dealing with rights and responsibilities of the United States with respect to its military cemeteries abroad, principally its World War I cemeteries in Europe, n.d. Records relating to interments, 1923- 64. Lists containing statistics on U.S. combat casualties in the Chateau-Thierry sector (1917-18), n.d. Headstone inscription and Internment records for U.S. military cemeteries on foreign soil, 1946-49. Pamphlets describing 23 United States military cemeteries and memorials, 1975-95.

Maps (64 items): Photoprocessed maps and plans relating to U.S. cemeteries and monuments in Europe, 1936-39. SEE ALSO 117.5.

Video Recordings (1 item): The Price of Freedom, 1973. SEE ALSO 117.6.

Photographs (1,331 images): World War I cemeteries and memorials in Europe, 1924-32 (MC, 907 images; CM, 277 images). U.S. memorials and cemeteries from World Wars I and II, including memorials in San Francisco, New York City, and Honolulu, 1924-66 (MP, 147 images). SEE ALSO 117.9.

Color Slides (1,003 images): 545 designs submitted to the American Battle Monuments Commission for the Korean War Veterans Memorial, 1988-89 (KDS). SEE ALSO 117.9.

Color Lithographs (25 images): Memorials and cemeteries for United States armed forces personnel who died in World War I and World War II, 1982 (LC). SEE ALSO 117.9.

Top of Page

117.4 RECORDS OF THE HISTORICAL SECTION
1923-42

History: Established under the ABMC Secretary, February 5, 1924. Abolished, 1939, having completed the Terrain Photographs Project, 1925; the publication of A Guide to American Battlefields in Europe, 1927, and its revision, American Armies and Battlefields in Europe, 1937; and the research for what was eventually published, 1944, as Summary of Operations in the World War.

Top of Page

117.4.1 General records

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Historical Section with the ABMC Secretary, Maj. Xenophon H. Price, 1926-33. Memorandums, reports, and letters received, 1926-42.

Top of Page

117.4.2 Records relating to World War I frontline maps and
accompanying "summaries of operations"

History: Army and Marine Corps officers, detailed to ABMC and assigned to Historical Section, ca. 1923-30, plotted maps showing the daily frontline position of each division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during periods of active operations on the Western Front, and prepared brief accompanying narratives known as "summaries of operations." Maps and "summaries of operations" were then referred to officers of the divisions concerned for comment and correction. The Historical Section used the officers' comments to prepare revised and expanded versions of the maps and "summaries of operations" during the 1930's. The revised and expanded versions were published, 1944, as a series entitled Summary of Operations in the World War (28 vols., one for each division).

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Historical Division with former AEF division officers concerning the maps and "summaries of operations," 1923-30, with index to correspondents.

Maps (190 items): Operations maps overprinted in red to show AEF divisions' daily frontline positions (1917-18), 1937-38. Proof copies of World War I order of battle maps, 1938 (100 items). SEE ALSO 117.5.

Top of Page

117.4.3 Records relating to other publications

Maps (381 items): Manuscript and photoprocessed maps and tracings compiled for publication in A Guide to American Battlefields in Europe, 1927 (71 items), and American Armies and Battlefields in Europe, 1936-38 (310 items). SEE ALSO 117.5.

Top of Page

117.4.4 Records relating to the Terrain Photographs Project

Textual Records: Correspondence relating primarily to problems in the editing of albums containing the photographs described below, 1925-26.

Photographs (1,396 images): Battlefield terrain and accompanying maps, in albums, documenting AEF operations in France and Belgium during World War I, 1923-25 (TPB). SEE ALSO 117.8.

Top of Page

117.5 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Maps UNDER 117.3.3, 117.4.2, and 117.4.3.

Top of Page

117.6 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 117.3.2.

Top of Page

117.7 VIDEO RECORDINGS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 117.3.3.

Top of Page

117.8 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 117.3.2.

Top of Page

117.9 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE Photographs UNDER 117.3.1, 117.3.2, 117.3.3, and 117.4.4.
SEE Color Slides UNDER 117.3.3
SEE Color Lithographs UNDER 117.3.3.


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.


Top of Page

Guide to Federal Records >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.