National Archives at Boston

Record Groups 4 - 48

Record Group 4
Records of the U.S. Food Administration

Administrative History
The U.S. Food Administration was created by an Executive order of August 10, 1917, to assure the supply, distribution, and conservation of foods 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 system. 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.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-19
Volume: 89 cubic feet

Records of food administrators in the New England States. For the most part the records concern complaints against individuals, local merchants, and restaurants for violations of rationing and other regulations, and document public attitudes toward U.S. participation in World War I and governmental control of the economy. They consist primarily of correspondence.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory.
  • Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-21 (1943).

Record Group 9
Records of the National Recovery Administration

Administrative History
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In January 1934, a system of State compliance offices reporting directly to the Compliance Division in Washington, DC, superseded the district offices.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. See RG 25 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1935-36
Volume: 23 cubic feet

Records of Region I. The records document enforcement policy, compliance procedures, and office and personnel administration. They include a general subject file containing case files and complaints, correspondence, minutes of staff meetings, newsletters, newspaper clippings, reports, and various other regional issuances.

Finding Aids
Entries 470-477, 481-483, 485, 487, and 489 in Homer Calkin, Meyer Fishbein, and Leo Pascal, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Recovery Administration, PI 44 (1952).

Record Group 15
Records of the Veterans Administration

Administrative History
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. The board was renamed the Rehabilitation Division of the Veterans Bureau in 1922.

Records Description
Dates: 1866-1938
Volume: 12 cubic feet

Records of the Boston office, and some local, subdistrict, and regional offices of other New England cities, of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, 1918-25. The records document training, job placement, and occupational rehabilitation of disabled veterans. They include correspondence, memorandums, news clippings, reports, and statistical data.

Records of the Rehabilitation Division offices, 1924-27, in
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, Rhode Island
The records document training and rehabilitation, and include correspondence, and inspection, narrative, productivity, and statistical reports.

Records of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Togus, Maine, 1866-1938. The records document the admission and subsequent care of veterans and their qualifying military service, and include death records, burial records, sample case files, lists and rosters, and financial records.

Finding Aids
  • Entries 16, 17, and 47 in Preliminary Checklist of the General Administrative Files of the Rehabilitation Division, PC 15 (1944).
  • Entries 36-38 in Evelyn Wade, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the National Home Service of the Veterans Administration, 1866-1937, NM 29 (1964).
Related Microfilm Publications
M1749, Historical Registers of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 (Togus, Maine, only);
M1784, Index to Pension Application Files of Remarried Widows . . . Before 1861;
M1785, Index to Pension Application Files of Remarried Widows . . . After the Civil War;
M1786, Record of Invalid Pensions to Veterans . . . March, 1801-September, 1815;
T288, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.

Record Group 18
Records of the Army Air Forces

Administrative History
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.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-18
Volume: 7 cubic feet

Records of the School of Military Aeronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The records document the school's organization, operation, faculty, curriculum, and student body. They consist of the commandant's and supply officer's correspondence, general orders, and special orders.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory.
  • Entries 647-650 in Maizie H. Johnson, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the Army Air Forces, NM 53 (1965).
  • Sarah D. Powell and Maizie H. Johnson, comps., Supplement to Preliminary Inventory NM 53, Textual Records of the Army Air Force, NM 90 (1967).

Record Group 21
Records of the District Courts of the United States

Administrative History
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. 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. They had jurisdiction over Federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy actions as well as jurisdiction (similar to that of State courts) over probate, incorporation, marriages, and naturalization, and civil and criminal litigation. 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. See RG 118 and RG 276 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1789-1992
Volume: 12,556 cubic feet
Records of the following district and circuit courts:
  • Connecticut, U.S. District Court, 1789-1992, including both Hartford and New Haven, with a few from Bridgeport and Waterbury; Connecticut, U.S. Circuit Court, 1790-1911.
  • Maine, U.S. District Court, 1789-1973, including the northern division, Bangor, and the southern division, Portland.
  • Maine, U.S. Circuit Court, 1820-1911. (Before 1820, appeals from the district court in Maine were heard in the United States Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts.)
  • Massachusetts, U.S. District Court, 1789-1979.
  • Massachusetts, U.S. Circuit Court, 1790-1911.
  • New Hampshire, U.S. District Court, 1789-1977.
  • New Hampshire, U.S. Circuit Court, 1790-1911.
  • Rhode Island, U.S. District Court, 1790-1991.
  • Rhode Island, U.S. Circuit Court, 1790-1911.
  • Vermont, U.S. District Court, 1791-1983.
  • Vermont, U.S. Circuit Court, 1792-1911.
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. Among general topics covered are biography, civil rights, commerce and corporate history, demographics, genealogy, immigration and ethnic groups, the impact of Federal regulatory programs, judicial administration, labor relations and union activity, maritime history, and State and local political activity. Among specific topics covered are collection of debts, enforcement of contracts, and claims for damages; counterfeiting, and smuggling or violations of customs regulations; European immigration and the exclusion and deportation of Chinese; evasion of import duties; the illegal sale or manufacturing of alcoholic beverages; infringement of patent or copyright; interstate transfer of stolen property; mutiny or murder on the high seas; prize condemnations; theft, assault, or murder on Federal property; violations of Federal election laws and civil rights legislation, international agreements (such as the Migratory Bird Act); Selective Service regulations; and slave importation laws.

Records are primarily case files - papers in a specific case filed by attorneys or issued by the court, such as affidavits, complaints, depositions, indictments, judgments or final decrees, motions, petitions, subpoenas, and writs. Bankruptcy case files also contain petitions of creditors and schedules of assets and liabilities. Case files are arranged numerically by the docket number assigned when the case was filed. Documentary exhibits submitted as part of court proceedings usually were returned to the parties involved, but they are sometimes included in the case file. (Transcripts are seldom part of the file.)

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 (see RG 85 and Donated Materials for additional records related to 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 drawings.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventories for each court.
  • 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.
  • R. Michael McReynolds, comp., List of Pre-1840 Federal District and Circuit Court Records, SL 31 (1972).
Related Microfilm Publications
M1368, Petitions and Records of Naturalization of the U.S. District Court and Circuit Courts of the District of Massachusetts, 1906-29;
M1545, Index to Naturalization Petitions and Records of the U.S. District Court, 1906-66, and the U.S. Circuit Court, 1906-11, for the District of Massachusetts;
M1753, Records Relating to the Various Cases Involving the Spanish Schooner Amistad;
M2012, Appellate Case File No. 2161, U.S. v. the Amistad, 40 US 518 .

Record Group 22
Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Administrative History
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.
Records Description
Dates: 1895-1985
Volume: 128 cubic feet
Records of the Fish and Fisheries Commission, which became the Bureau of Fisheries in 1903. The records relate to mackerel fishing in Nova Scotia, 1895, and fishing boat arrivals in Boston, 1914-18, and 1924-25. Included are interviews and lists.
Records of the Boston regional office, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Office of Environmental Impact Assessment, 1945-83. The records are river basin studies and environmental impact assessments of various construction projects such as hydroelectric dams and nuclear power sites. They are project files.
Records of the Office of North Atlantic Fishery Investigation and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, 1901-52. The records document names and types of vessels, fish catch variety and volume, name and location of fishing grounds, names of dealers, and prices paid. Included are the following ports: Portland, Maine; and East Boston, Gloucester, Provincetown, Woods Hole, and other Cape Cod ports, Massachusetts. The records are daily fishing vessel landing data and monthly statistical bulletins.
Records of the Boston regional office, including the District Supervisor and Regional Director, 1934-81. The records relate to various service activities throughout the Northeast including the operation of wildlife refuges and Civilian Conservation Corps camps. Included are correspondence, directives and issuances, project files, and reports.
Records of the Conservation Division, and the Division of River Basin Studies, 1940-85. The records relate to fish and wildlife population surveys, management and procreation, disease control, land and refuge management, land and water resources, habitat preservation, interpretation and recreation, environmental impact, and wetlands. The records are project files.

Finding Aids
Partial draft inventory.

Record Group 24
Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel

Administrative History
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 181 for related records.
Records Description
Dates: 1898-1970
Volume: 16 cubic feet

Records of the Commanding Officer and the Professor of Naval Science and Tactics, Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1926-70. Most of the commanding officer's files relate to the termination of the program in 1969, during the antiwar movement. There are also class history files, which contain biographical sketches; lists of students and commanding officers; copies of programs for the commissioning ceremonies; and issues of the Seadog, the midshipman newspaper.
Nontextual records include photographs of student activities, events, and groups.

Records of the V-12 unit, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1942-46. The records document the unit's organization, operation, faculty, curriculum, and student body, and include general correspondence, logbooks, muster rolls, orders, and reports.

Records of the Coast Signal Service, 1898. The records document routine business and administrative matters of the First District Office, Boston, and its several New England stations. Included are correspondence and orders.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory for files of the commanding officer of the Yale unit.
  • Entries 430 and 431 in Virgil E. Baugh, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, PI 123 (1960).
  • Entries 424W, 424X, and 424ZZ in Lee D. Saegesser and Harry Schwartz, comps., Supplement to Preliminary Inventory 123, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, NM 74 (1967).
Related Microfilm Publications
M330, Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers ("Records of Officers"), 1798-1893.

Record Group 25
Records of the National Labor Relations Board

Administrative History
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) was established August 5, 1933, to be replaced by the first NLRB 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. See RG 9 and RG 202 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1933-37
Volume: 3 cubic feet

Records of the New England Regional Labor Board, and a few of the NLRB, Washington, DC. The records reflect the board's staffing and actions to investigate and settle labor-management disputes. They include correspondence, minutes of meetings, news clippings, and press releases.

Finding Aids
List of file folder titles.

Record Group 26
Records of the U.S. Coast Guard

Administrative History
The U.S. Coast Guard was established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of January 28, 1915, which consolidated the 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. vessels. See RG 32, RG36, and RG 41 for related records.
Records Description
Dates: 1789-1983
Volume: 1,526 cubic feet
First Coast Guard District records as follows:
Records of Coast Guard cutters, lightships, light stations, and shore units, 1969-83. The records document daily activities. They are logbooks.
Records of merchant marine vessels, 1941-66, maintained in accord with various acts of Congress and surrendered when the vessels docked at Boston, Portland, Portsmouth, or Providence. The records include the vessel's name and number; beginning and end dates of voyages; destination(s); list of crew members showing work assignments, conduct reports, and wages; and a summary of significant events, drills, and inspections. The records are logbooks.
Records of the Operations Division and Aids to Navigation Branch. The records are Aids to Navigation Case Files, 1900-65, and 1975. They relate to the establishment, development, operation and discontinuance of major aids to navigation, including lighthouses, light stations and lightships, in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Included are correspondence, memorandums, authorizations to establish aids, notices to mariners, inspection reports, and instructions to lighthouse keepers.
Nontextual records include charts indicating location of aids, blueprints, plot maps, and a few photographs.
Records of the Commander, 1952-77. The records relate to discipline, entertainment, finance, holidays, morale, pay rates, restrictions, and other subjects. Included are the administrative manual, a numerical correspondence file, directives, issuances, notices, and publications.

Records of the Coast Guard Academy, New London, 1884-1969. The records document individual cadets' applications for admission to the academy including application forms, acceptances, grade transcripts, discipline reports, and letters of appointment and recommendation; cadet rankings in both academic achievement and discipline; summer practice cruises aboard Coast Guard training ships; and activities at different stations. Among the records are class reports, directives, logbooks, and publications.

Records of the Office of the Superintendent, Coast Guard Academy, 1922-69. The records document daily operations of the office, but also contain special correspondence with the Congressional Board of Visitors. The records are the general correspondence file.

Records of the Collector of Customs, Boston, 1789-1819. The records relate to the location, construction, repair, staffing, and maintenance of lighthouses. They are correspondence.

Records of the Collector of Customs for the Collection District of Newport, 1790-1902. Records relate to the construction, operation, and maintenance of lighthouses at Block Island, Dutch Island, Nayat Point, Newport (Beavertail), Point Judith, Poplar Point (Wickford), and Warwick Neck; and to construction, costs, outfitting, provisioning, and repairing of early revenue cutters. They include correspondence, financial information, inventories, proposals and contracts, weekly abstracts from vessel journals, and vessel logbooks.

Records of the First Coast Guard District, 1789-1977. The records relate to vessel documentation and maritime activity for various New England ports. They include masters' oaths, licenses, enrollments, mortgages, certificates of admeasurement, master carpenters' certificates, bills of sale, entrances and clearances, accident reports, and similar records, many of which were created by the U.S. Customs Service.
Nontextual records include boundary line maps, 1911-50.

Records of the Marine Inspection Office, 1905-74. The records document vessel inspection for the ports of Boston, New London, Portland, and Providence, and include applications for inspection, certificates of admeasurement, certificates of inspection, and hull and boiler inspection reports. The records are initial vessel inspection files.

Records of the Marine Safety Office, 1907-35, and 1953-55. Records for 1907-35 document seamens' wages, and include name of vessel, name of vessel captain, name of seaman, dates of service, amount and date paid. They are logbooks. Records for 1953-55 are vessel bills of sale.

Records of the U.S. Lifesaving Service, 1873-1942. The records document daily station activities along the New England coast, chiefly consisting of physical conditions at the station, weather observations, crew strength, duty assignments, operational summaries, assistance given, and, after 1915, names and addresses of families of station personnel. The records are station logbooks.

Other records document shipwrecks along the New England coast, 1883-1918, and are wreck reports.

Records of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, 1856-1927. The records document shipwrecks for several New England locations, and are journals.

Finding Aids

  • Partial draft inventory.
  • Item lists for some records.
  • Entries 17B, 81, 241B, and 245 in Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Coast Guard, NC 32 (1963).
Related Microfilm Publications
M63, Lighthouse Letters, 1792-1809;
M94, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790-1853;
M1162, Records of the Collector of Customs for the Collection District of New London, Connecticut, 1789-1938;
M1373, Registers of Lighthouse Keepers, 1845-1912;
T925 , U.S. Coast Guard Casualty and Wreck Reports, 1913-1939;
T926, Index to U.S. Coast Guard Casualty and Wreck Reports, 1913-1939.

Access to files on U.S. Coast Guard Academy cadets is restricted for 75 years from matriculation because of personal privacy concerns.

Record Group 27
Records of the Weather Bureau

Administrative History
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). See RG 370 for related records.
Records Description
Dates: 1735-1955
Volume: 99 cubic feet
Records of the Blue Hill Observatory, Milton, Massachusetts, and its substations throughout New England. A national historic site, the Blue Hill Observatory was a "Weather Bureau Cooperative" owned and operated by Harvard University. It provided meteorological data and conducted
research under government contract. The Weather Bureau took over its operation in 1959. Records consist of charts, graphs, and other raw meteorological data recorded manually and mechanically, 1885-1955, and reports of official government meteorological observation sites at Middletown, Connecticut; Mount Washington, New Hampshire; and Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 1873-1895. There is also a Blue Hill Meteorological Collection consisting of personal diaries, journals, notes, and other unofficial weather records,1735-1933, created by various individuals (primarily in the New England states) and subsequently donated to the Blue Hill Observatory.
Finding Aids
  • Entries 76, 79, and 87 in Helen T. Finneran, comp., Preliminary Inventory of Operational and Miscellaneous Meteorological Records of the Weather Bureau, NC 3, May 1965.
  • Harold T. Pinkett, Helen T. Finneran, and Katherine H. Davidson, comps., Preliminary Inventory of Climatological and Hydrological Records of the Weather Bureau, PI 38 (1952).
  • List of Climatological Records in the National Archives, SL 1, 1942.
  • Miscellaneous office journals, reports, diaries, personal observations, and other records relating to the Blue Hill Observatory, 1885-1958, from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, Ashville, North Carolina. (Microfilm)

Related Microfilm Publications
M1160, The Maury Abstract Logs, 1796-1861;
T907, Climatological Records of the Weather Bureau, 1819-1892 (selected rolls).

Record Group 28
Records of the Post Office Department

Administrative History
The Office of the Postmaster General was created by an act of September 22, 1789, which continued regulations that originated with the appointment on July 26, 1775, of Benjamin Franklin as Postmaster General by the Continental Congress. Legislation providing for a Post Department was passed in 1792, and subsequent legislation expanded its duties. The Postmaster General became a member of the Cabinet in 1829. Assistant postmasters general, authorized by acts of 1792, 1810, 1836, and 1891, were assigned administrative supervision over specific functions of the Department.
Records Description
Dates: 1807-29, 1899-1908
Volume: 14 cubic feet
Records of the postmaster, Springfield, Massachusetts, documenting the type and volume of business carried out, 1807-1829, and consisting of quarterly reports.
Records of postal inspectors in various New England States, 1899-1908, relating to complaints, violations of postal regulations, the need for new post offices, or the extension of postal services, and containing information on many local post offices. The records are reports.
Finding Aids
Draft inventory.

Related Microfilm Publications
M601, Letters Sent by the Postmaster General, 1789-1836;
M841, Records of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-Sept. 30, 1971;
M1126, Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations, 1837-1959 (New England states only);
M1131, Records of Appointment of Postmasters, Oct. 1789-1832;
M2076, Index and Registers of Substitute Mail Carriers in First and Second Class Post Offices, 1885-1903;
M2077, Index to Rosters of Railway Postal Clerks, ca 1883-ca. 1962 .

Record Group 30
Records of the Bureau of Public Roads

 Administrative History
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.

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. See RG 406 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-70
Volume: 150 cubic feet

Records of district offices in each New England State, consisting primarily of case files which document funding on Federal-aid projects. Included are final reports, narrative progress reports, plans and specifications, project agreements, and vouchers.
Nontextual records include location and right-of-way maps, and some photographs of construction activities.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory.
  • Truman R. Strobridge, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, PI 134 (1962).

Record Group 32
Records of the U.S. Shipping Board

Administrative History
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. See RG 26, RG 36, and RG 41 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1921-33
Volume: 5 cubic feet

Records of the Boston District Office. The records relate to personnel on vessels; leasing and maintaining piers, docking and berthing vessels, and storing cargo and equipment at the Boston Army Base; and the work of Chief Clerk J. B. Merrifield. The records are correspondence, crew lists, log abstracts, and reports.
Finding Aids
Entries 519-522 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

Administrative History

The Customs Service was created by an act of July 31, 1789 and became part of the Department of the Treasury when that Department was established in September 1789. This act, and subsequent ones, provided for the creation of collection districts to administer laws and regulations applying to merchant vessels and foreign and coastal trade at all ports of entry and embarkation.

Administrative officials at each district included a collector of customs, a naval officer (not in some districts), a surveyor of customs, and varying numbers of weighers, guagers, and measurers.

Responsibilities of the Customs Service have included the enforcement of 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, the documentation of merchant vessels (registration, enrollment, and licensing), regulation of vessels involved in the coastwise and fishing trades, and the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Customs was established on March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities and responsibility for the documentation of vessels was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1967.

See RG 26, RG 32, and RG 41 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1789-1969
Volume: 2,969 cubic feet

Records of the following ports:

  • Bath, Maine, 1843-1935;
  • Boston, Massachusetts, 1839-1966;
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1789-1967;
  • Bristol-Warren, Rhode Island, 1801-1874;
  • Eastport, Maine, 1943-69;
  • Fall River, Massachusetts, 1830-1943;
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1789-1940;
  • Machias, Maine, 1820-1913;
  • Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1789-1927;
  • Middletown-Hartford, Connecticut, 1795-1953;
  • New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1808-1945;
  • New Haven, Connecticut, 1763-1949;
  • New London-Stonington, Connecticut, 1789-1938;
  • Newport, Rhode Island, 1790-1954;
  • Passamaquoddy, Maine, 1857-1946;
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1793-1923;
  • Portland, Maine, 1870-1942;
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1877-1958;
  • Providence, Rhode Island, 1790-1963;
  • Salem, Massachusetts, 1789-1948;
  • St. Albans, Vermont, 1853-1917;
  • Waldoboro, Maine, 1872-1946.

Records relate to vessel documentation (registration, enrollment, and licensing), imports and exports (manifests, impost books, and entries), seamen (crew lists and registers of seamen's protection certificates), passengers, administration (correspondence, and records of financial accounting and personnel), lighthouse administration, and revenue cutter operations (logs and administrative records).

Not all types of records may be available for each district, inquire for availability and additional holdings.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory for some records.
  • Item lists for some records.
  • Holdcamper, Forrest R., comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Customs, NC 154 (1968).

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, 1789-1847, and at Small Ports, 1847-1878 ("G" Series);
M178, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Treasury with Collectors of Customs, 1789-1833;
M265, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1848-1891;
M497, Letters Sent by the Commissioner of Customs Relating to Smuggling, 1865-1869;
M575, Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820-1873;
M1162, Records of the Collector of Customs for the Collection District of New London, Connecticut, 1789-1938;
M1825, Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamens' Protection Certificates. . . Bath, ME, 1833-68 (with gaps) and Portsmouth, NH, 1857-58.

Record Group 38
Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Administrative History
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. See RG 165 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1918-19
Volume: less than 1 cubic foot

Records of the Aide for Information, New London. The records relate to naval intelligence and reported enemy espionage and submarine activity during World War I.

Finding Aids
Entry 228 in Harry Schwartz, Kenneth Bartlett, and Lyman Hinckley, 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

Administrative History
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. See RG 26, RG 32, and RG 36 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1789-1957
Volume: 265 cubic feet

Records of customs collectors, functioning as field agents for the BMIN, at the following ports:
  • Barnstable, Massachusetts, 1835-1918;
  • Bath, Maine, 1869-1950;
  • Boothbay, Maine, 1897-1941;
  • Boston, Massachusetts, 1871-1957;
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1793-1935;
  • Bristol-Warren, Rhode Island, 1833-1913;
  • Edgartown, Massachusetts, 1870-1937;
  • Fall River, Massachusetts, 1789-1943;
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1846-1946;
  • Machias, Maine, 1795-1928;
  • Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1871-1927;
  • Middletown-Hartford, Connecticut, 1795-1943;
  • New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1808-1953;
  • New Haven, Connecticut, 1802-1948;
  • New London-Stonington, Connecticut, 1789-1935;
  • Newport, Rhode Island, 1790-1943;
  • Passamaquoddy, Maine, 1886-1942;
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1793-1918;
  • Portland, Maine, 1869-1950;
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1870-1949;
  • Providence, Rhode Island, 1791-1945;
  • Salem, Massachusetts, 1865-1944;
  • Waldoboro, Maine, 1849-1942;
  • Wiscasset, Maine, 1901-13.
The records usually document, for American yachts, and merchant and fishing vessels: the name; date and place of construction; home port; dimensions; and measurements. There are bills of sale, certificates of registry, enrollments or licenses, master carpenters' certificates, mortgages and maritime liens, oaths that owners and masters took to obtain a vessel license, and records of admeasurement and inspection of vessels.

Records of the Boston Office, Recruiting Service, U.S. Shipping Board, relating to operation and staffing of the Sea Training Bureau and training vessels and other personnel matters, 1917-20. The records include correspondence and minutes of meetings.

Records of the Bureau of Navigation. The records relate to seamens' protection certificates issued at Boston and other New England ports, 1917-40. The records are primarily applications, copies, and indexes, with some other documentation.

Finding Aids
  • Draft inventory.
  • Item lists for most records.
  • Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Customhouse Marine Documentation: A List by Series Showing Ports for which Documents are Available in Record Group 41, NC 18 (1962).

Related Microfilm Publications
M130, Certificates of Registry, Enrollment, and Licenses Issued at Edgartown, MA, 1815-1913.

Record Group 48
Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior

Administrative History
The Department of the Interior was created by an act of March 3, 1849. During the more than 130 years of its existence some functions have been added and others removed so that its role has changed from that of general housekeeper for the Federal Government to that of custodian of the nation's natural resources. The Secretary of the Interior, as the head of an executive department, reports directly to the President and is responsible for the direction and supervision of all activities of the Department. See RG 57, RG 77, RG 90, RG 114, RG 382, and RG 414 for related records.

Records Description
Dates: 1950-55
Volume: 3 cubic feet

Records of the regional office relating to its role on the New England New York Inter-Agency Committee (NENYIAC). The committee, a coalition of experts, was established in 1950 to formulate an overall plan for the development, use, and conservation of land, water, and related natural resources in New England and parts of New York. They include agendas, correspondence, membership lists, minutes, interim reports, surveys, and the final report.

Finding Aids
Draft inventory.