Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Public Housing Administration [PHA]


(Record Group 196)
1932-76
923 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 196.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 196.2 RECORDS OF THE HOUSING DIVISION, FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS 1932-58 (bulk 1932-42) 236 lin. ft.
  • 196.3 RECORDS OF THE U.S. HOUSING AUTHORITY 1937-45 6 lin. ft. and 7 rolls of microfilm
  • 196.4 RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY 1937-49 5 lin. ft. and 41 rolls of microfilm
  • 196.5 RECORDS OF THE PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION 1933-76 443 lin. ft. and 54 rolls of microfilm
  • 196.5.1 General records
  • 196.5.2 Records of the Policy and Personnel Division and its predecessor, the Administrative Planning Division
  • 196.5.3 Records of the Liaison Division and the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Liaison
  • 196.5.4 Records of the Housing Assistance Administration
  • 196.5.5 Records of the Statistics Branch
  • 196.5.6 Records of the Intergroup Relations Branch
  • 196.5.7 Records of the Design Service Branch (formerly the Technical Branch), Program Division
  • 196.5.8 Records of the Management and Disposition Division
  • 196.5.9 Records relating to the Greentown projects
  • 196.5.10 Records relating to Pruitt-Igoe low-rent housing projects, St. Louis, MO
  • 196.5.11 Records of project field offices
  • 196.6 RECORDS OF REGIONAL OFFICES 1941-58 157 lin. ft.
  • 196.6.1 Records of the Fort Worth Regional Office
  • 196.6.2 Records of the San Francisco Regional Office
  • 196.6.3 Records of the Washington Regional Office
  • 196.7 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 196.8 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
  • 196.9 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1935-53 1,310 images

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196.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As a constituent unit of the independent Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) by Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1947, effective July 27, 1947.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Housing Division, Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (1933-39, functions to U.S. Housing Authority)
  • U.S. Housing Authority (USHA), Department of the Interior (1937-39)
  • USHA, Federal Works Agency (FWA, 1939-42)
    Federal Public Housing Authority (FPHA), National Housing Agency (NHA, 1942-47)
Functions: Provided financial and technical assistance to local housing. Liquidated World War II Lanham Act properties constructed by the FPHA. Administered the defense housing provisions of the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1951.

Abolished: By Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (79 Stat. 667), September 9, 1965.

Successor Agencies: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Finding Aids: William J. Lescure and Katherine H. Davidson, comps., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Public Housing Administration," NC 44 (Feb. 1964); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Public Housing Administration and its predecessors in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the Federal Housing Administration, RG 31.
Records of the Farmers Home Administration, RG 96.
Records of the Housing and Home Finance Agency in RG 207, General Records of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

RECORDS
RECORD TYPES RECORD LOCATIONS QUANTITIES
Textual Records Washington Area 802 cu. ft.
  Fort Worth 30 cu. ft.
  San Francisco 23 cu. ft.
Maps and Charts College Park 100 items
Arch/engrg Plans College Park 4,901 items
  College Park 776 m/f rolls
Sound Recordings College Park 75 items
Still Pictures College Park 9,605 images

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196.2 RECORDS OF THE HOUSING DIVISION, FEDERAL EMERGENCY
ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS
1932-58 (bulk 1932-42)
236 lin. ft.

History: Established pursuant to the National Industrial Recovery Act (48 Stat. 201), June 16, 1933. Assumed, from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, administration of the limited dividend program under the Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932 (47 Stat. 711), July 21, 1932. Administered also a program of direct federal grants and loans to local housing authorities. Functions transferred to USHA, 1939.

Textual Records: Loan applications under the limited dividend program, 1932-34, and related records. Federal program project files, 1933-42 (176 ft.). Records relating to the "Carl Mackley Houses," an approved limited dividend housing project in the Philadelphia area, 1933-58.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (1,425 items and 106 rolls of microfilm): Blueprints and tracings of housing projects by the Public Housing Division, Public Works Administration, 1933-36 (1,425 items). Microfilm copy of construction plans for housing projects, 1933-37 (106 rolls). SEE ALSO 196.7.

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196.3 RECORDS OF THE U.S. HOUSING AUTHORITY
1937-45
6 lin. ft. and 7 rolls of microfilm

History: Established in the Department of the Interior by the U.S. Housing Act (50 Stat. 888), September 1, 1937. Assumed responsibilities of the Housing Division, Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1939. Transferred to FWA by Reorganization Plan No. I of 1939, effective July 1, 1939. Transferred to NHA by EO 9070, February 24, 1942, and renamed Federal Public Housing Authority.

Textual Records: Issuances, 1937-42. General records of the Management Review Division, 1937-42. Microfilm copy of press clippings relating to various housing programs, 1938-40 (7 rolls).

Architectural and Engineering Plans (1,500 items and 646 rolls of microfilm): Plans and tracings of USHA housing projects, 1937-41 (1,500 items). Microfilm copy of construction plans of housing projects under USHA programs, 1938-41 (254 rolls), and under the Lanham Act war housing program, 1940-45 (392 rolls). SEE ALSO 196.7.

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196.4 RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY
1937-49
5 lin. ft. and 41 rolls of microfilm

History: Established in the NHA by EO 9070, February 24, 1942, replacing the USHA, and consolidating also functions relating to public housing formerly vested in the Public Buildings Administration, Division of Defense Housing, and Mutual Ownership Defense Housing Division, FWA; the War and Navy Departments; and the Farm Security Administration. Replaced by the Public Housing Administration, HHFA, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1947, effective July 27, 1947.

Textual Records: Reports, surveys, and general records of the Division of Statistical Standards, 1942-49. Reports of the Statistics Division, 1945-47. General correspondence and documents collected by General Counsel David L. Krooth relating to Rural Housing Program projects, 1939-44. Microfilm copy of project record cards for War Housing Program projects, 1941-45 (41 rolls).

Architectural and Engineering Plans (1,100 items): Plans and tracings of barracks, trailers, dormitories, and child care centers built under the provisions of the Lanham Act and prepared by the Technical Division, Development Branch, 1942-45 (100 items). Blueprints and tracings of the FPHA Division of Defense Housing's war housing projects and defense housing projects, 1942-47 (1,000 items). SEE ALSO 196.7.

Sound Recordings (75 items): "Slums Cost You Money," "Famous Homes of Famous Americans," "Agency Series," and other radio broadcasts concerning defense housing and the need for low-cost housing, explaining the federal housing program and the role of local government in its implementation, and containing reports from several Executive branch agencies, 1938-46.

Photographic Prints and Lantern Slides (220 images): Collected ca. 1937, showing low-income housing conditions (1895-1905) in the United States and the British Isles (G, GS). SEE ALSO 196.9.

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196.5 RECORDS OF THE PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION
1933-76
443 lin. ft. and 54 rolls of microfilm

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196.5.1 General records

Textual Records: Reports and correspondence of the Public Housing Commissioner, 1947-48. General correspondence of the Commissioner of Public Housing, 1952-67. Historical files assembled from files of the PHA and predecessor agencies, 1934-48. Internal audit and related records and fiscal management subject files, 1947-65. Financial assistance application files for DC projects, 1938-42. PHA directives, manuals, and organizational materials, 1941-68.

Photographs (8,075 images): Housing projects built under the Housing Act of 1949, showing completed projects, 1949-54 (H, 800 images; HS, 100 images), and progress of architects' work, 1951- 58 (HSA, 175 images). Low-rent housing projects constructed under the auspices of the PHA in 30 states and Puerto Rico, 1958-64 (LR, 2,600 images) and 1960-67 (LRH, 4,400 images). SEE ALSO 196.9.

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196.5.2 Records of the Policy and Personnel Division and its
predecessor, the Administrative Planning Division

Textual Records: General records and issuances, 1938-49. Records relating to organizational and operational procedures, 1942-47. Forms, with amendments and revisions, 1938-47. Monthly reports, 1943-47. Memorandums and other records relating to 1947 and 1948 reorganizations, 1946-49. Issuances of the NHA, including those of the Federal Public Housing Authority, 1942-47. Site acquisition records and land plats for projects, 1941-55. Project operating budgets, fiscal year 1957. Financial statements, fiscal years 1953-62.

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196.5.3 Records of the Liaison Division and the Special Assistant
to the Commissioner for Liaison

Textual Records: Miscellaneous records of the Liaison Division, 1930's-50's. Records of the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Liaison, 1950's-60's.

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196.5.4 Records of the Housing Assistance Administration

Textual Records: Microfilm copy of quarterly reports on occupancy rates at low-income projects receiving federal funds, 1938-68 (54 rolls).

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196.5.5 Records of the Statistics Branch

Textual Records: Reports on public housing operations, 1939-69 (62 ft.), including statistical tables, reports, and directories prepared by the Statistics Section, USHA, 1939-42; Statistics Division, FPHA, 1942-47; Statistics Branch, PHA, 1947-65; and Statistics Branch, HUD, 1965-69.

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196.5.6 Records of the Intergroup Relations Branch

Textual Records: Files documenting the activities of the Special Assistant for Racial Relations, 1936-69, including directives and memorandums; speeches by Robert Weaver from the 1930's and 1940's; correspondence and other records relating to the monitoring of minority hiring at low-income project construction sites, 1939-69; and reports and drafts of special studies, including "A History of Negroes in Public Housing, 1933-53."

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196.5.7 Records of the Design Service Branch (formerly the
Technical Branch), Program Division

Architectural and Engineering Plans (400 items): Sample of construction plans for low-rent housing projects built under authority of the Housing Act of 1949, 1957-65. SEE ALSO 196.7.

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196.5.8 Records of the Management and Disposition Division

Textual Records: Federal program property files, 1939-57. Reading files of management officer J. Lloyd Taylor, 1949-53.

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196.5.9 Records relating to the Greentown projects

Textual Records: Histories, prepared by the Farm Security Administration (FSA), of projects in Greenbelt, MD, and Greendale, WI, 1938. Records of the general field office and PHA central office, 1936-61, and of the Legal Division, 1935-64, relating to the disposition of the Greentown projects. Disposition docket files relating to Greenbelt, MD, 1936-57. Subject files of the Greenbelt, MD, community manager, 1936-53. Land reconciliation records relating to Greenbelt, MD, 1945-53.

Maps (100 items): Greenbelt, MD, Greendale, WI, and Greenhills, OH, showing sewer lines, drainage plans, site plans, and the ownership of land tracts, ca. 1937. SEE ALSO 196.7.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (200 items and 24 rolls of microfilm): Building site and street plans of Greenbelt, MD, Greendale, WI, and Greenhills, OH, 1933-54 (200 items). Microfilm copy of FSA construction plans of subsistence homestead and "greentown" programs, 1933-37 (24 rolls). SEE ALSO 196.7.

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196.5.10 Records relating to Pruitt-Igoe low-rent housing
projects, St. Louis, MO

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records of HUD headquarters, 1970-76. Records relating to the management and modernization of the projects, 1961-76. Environmental impact records, 1969-76. Papers relating to contracts ("Legal File"), 1968-75. Printed and unpublished materials, 1972.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (276 items): Blueprints and blue-line drawings of site layouts, overall architectural design, and architectural and construction details of two Pruitt-Igoe projects (MO 1-4 and MO 1-5), 1951-56, and of a 1966 modernization of both projects. SEE ALSO 196.7.

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196.5.11 Records of project field offices

Textual Records: Random sample of housing managers' files on the administration of two projects in the war housing program, 1943- 47. Five sample case files from publicly funded projects under which housing units were converted into multiple-family dwellings, 1943-49. Sample case file relating to proposed construction, financing, and equipment of project houses, 1942- 46.

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196.6 RECORDS OF REGIONAL OFFICES
1941-58
157 lin. ft.

History: Regional office system of PHA derives from that adopted in 1939 by:

U.S. Housing Authority

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY, PA
3 Washington, DC DE, DC, KY, MD, PR, VA, WV
4 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN
5 Chicago, IL CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI, WY
6 Fort Worth, TX AR, LA, MS, NM, OK, TX
7 San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, UT, WA

Regional directors were initially headquartered in Washington, DC. Fort Worth and San Francisco Regional Offices opened, 1941. All others opened, 1942.

Federal Public Housing Authority

expanded USHA system to 10 regional offices and 2 metropolitan area offices, 1942:

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY, PA
3 Washington, DC DE, MD, PR, VA, VI
4 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
5 Cleveland, OH KY, MI, OH, WV
6 Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, MN, ND, SD, WI
7 Kansas City, MO CO, KS, MO, NE, UT, WY
8 Fort Worth, TX AR, LA, NM, OK, TX
9 Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA
10 San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, HI, NV

The Metropolitan Area Offices of Detroit and Washington were responsible for FPHA activities in those cities and surrounding suburbs. Region 3 absorbed the Washington Area Office by May 1943. In regional realignment, 1944, Region 3 and Region 7 were abolished. Region 3 was superseded by a General Field Office headquartered in Washington, DC, having jurisdiction over DC and its immediate suburbs and over PR, with DE and MD transferred to Region 2, and VA to Region 4. From abolished Region 7, Region 6 acquired MO and NE; Region 8, CO and KS; Region 9, WY; and Region 10, UT.

In 1945, the FPHA regions were renumbered, but without change in jurisdiction: Region 1, Boston; Region 2, New York; Region 3, Chicago; Region 4, Atlanta; Region 5, Fort Worth; Region 6, San Francisco; Region 7, Seattle; and Region 8, Cleveland. The functions of the Detroit Area Office were absorbed by Region 8, and the jurisdiction of the General Field Office was expanded to include CZ, VI, and Cuba.

Public Housing Administration

regional system initially consisted of five numbered regions, 1947: Region 1 (headquartered in San Francisco, CA), with jurisdiction over AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, and WY; Region 2 (New York, NY), CZ, CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, VT, VI, and Cuba; Region 3 (Chicago, IL), IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WV, and WI; Region 4 (Atlanta, GA), AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN, and VA; and Region 5 (Fort Worth, TX), AR, CO, KS, LA, NM, OK, and TX.

Reorganized into 10 field offices, grouped in 3 geographic areas, 1948:

Area Field Office Jurisdiction
A New York, NY CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, PR, RI, VT, VI
  Philadelphia, PA DE, MD, NJ, PA
  Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI
  Detroit, MI OH, MI
B Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
  Richmond, VA DC, NC, VA, WV
  Fort Worth, TX AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX
C San Francisco, CA Northern CA, HI, NV, UT
  Los Angeles, CA AZ, Southern CA
  Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY

Further realigned, 1950:

Area Field Office Jurisdiction
A Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
  New York, NY NJ, NY
  Philadelphia, PA DE, DC, MD, PA
  San Juan, PR PR, VI
  Detroit, MI OH, MI
B Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
  Richmond, VA KY, NC, VA, WV
  Fort Worth, TX AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX
C Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI
  San Francisco, CA Northern CA, HI, NV, UT
  Los Angeles, CA AZ, Southern CA
  Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY

Area designators dropped, and field offices consolidated and realigned, 1952:

Field Office Jurisdiction
Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI
Fort Worth, TX AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX
New York, NY DE, DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA
Santurce, PR PR, VI
Richmond, VA KY, NC, VA, WV
San Francisco, CA AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY

Further consolidated and realigned, 1953:

Field Office Jurisdiction
Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI
Fort Worth, TX AR, CO, LA, NM, OK, TX
New York, NY CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT
Santurce, PR PR, VI
San Francisco, CA AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Washington, DC DE, DC, MD, VA, WV

Redesignated regional offices, 1959. In 1962, Philadelphia replaced Washington as regional headquarters, and regions were assigned numbers, with PA transferring to Region II and KS and MO to Region IV:

Region Regional Office Jurisdiction
I New York, NY CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT
II Philadelphia, PA DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV
III Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
IV Chicago, IL IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, OH, SD, WI
V Fort Worth, TX AR, CO, KS, LA, MO, NM, OK, TX
VI San Francisco, CA AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
VII Santurce, PR PR, VI

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196.6.1 Records of the Fort Worth Regional Office

Textual Records (in Fort Worth): Land acquisition and disposition case files, 1941-57. Land appraisal and acquisition case files, 1941-55. Title V Reuse Program files, 1946-49.

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196.6.2 Records of the San Francisco Regional Office

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Housing and property appraisal records, 1942-56.

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196.6.3 Records of the Washington Regional Office

Textual Records: Land acquisition project files, 1939-55. Disposition docket files, 1942-58.

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196.7 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Maps UNDER 196.5.9. SEE Architectural and Engineering Plans UNDER 196.2, 196.3, 196.4, 196.5.7, 196.5.9, and 196.5.10.

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196.8 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 196.4.

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196.9 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
1935-53
1,310 images

Photographs: Public Works Administration and USHA housing projects, 1935-52, including some by Peter Sekaer, (HA, 1,010 images). Demountable housing in the United States and Great Britain after World War II, and other low-rent housing projects in the United States, 1940-53 (M, 300 images).

SEE Photographs UNDER 196.5.1. SEE Photographic Prints and Lantern Slides UNDER 196.4.


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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