Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 13: Mines and Mining

Chapter 13. Records of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and Its Predecessors

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Records of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee and Its Predecessors, 1805-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committees discussed in this chapter:

Records of the Committee on Mines and Mining (1865- 1946) History and Jurisdiction 13.65 The Committee on Mines and Mining was created on December 19, 1865, for consideration of subjects relating to mining interests. It exercised jurisdiction over the Geological Survey, the Bureau of Mines, the establishment of mining schools and mining experimental stations, mineral land laws, the welfare of men working in mines, mining debris, relief in cases of mineral contracts connected with the prosecution of war, the mining of radium ore, and the Government's fuel yards in the District of Columbia.

13.66 In 1947, the committee was abolished and its duties were transferred to the Committee on Public Lands.

Records of the Committee on Mines and Mining, (1865-1946)

Record Type Volume Congresses (Dates)
Minute Books 12 vols. 51st-54th (1889-97), 56th-62d (1899-1913), 64th (1915-17), 77th (1941-42)
Docket Books 14 vols. 46th (1879-81), 49th-50th (1885-89), 52d-53rd (1891-95), 55th-62d (1897-1913), 64th (1915-17)
Petitions and Memorials 1 ft. 39th (1865-67), 50th (1887-89), 53d-57th (1893-1903), 60th-65th (1907-19), 67th (1921-23), 73d (1933-34), 75th-77th (1937-42)
Committee Papers 10 ft. 50th (1887-89), 52d-54th (1891-97), 56th-57th (1899-1903), 61st (1909-11), 63d-69th (1913-27), 73d-78th (1933-44)
Bill Files 1 ft. 58th-60th (1903-09), 62d (1911-13), 64th (1915-17), 66th-71st (1919-31), 73d-78th (1933-44)
TOTAL: 12 ft. and 26 vols. (2 ft.)  

Committee Records Summary Table

13.67 Minute books contain the minutes of meetings held by the committee. They document the attendance of committee members and the topics discussed. There are unbound minutes for 1939, as well as for part of 1943-44.

13.68 Entries in docket books produced by the committee are organized by the date the bill or petition was received by the committee. The entries show the actions taken on each measure.

13.69 A few petitions and memorials exist for the 39th Congress (1865-67) but there are none for the years 1867 to 1887. Only a small number of petitions, ranging from a few pages to one inch, are present for any of the Congresses after that. A 50 foot long petition in the 50th Congress contains 1,350 signatures and requests the investigation of mining debris in California (50A-H18.1).

13.70 Many petitions were received requesting a Federal agency to regulate mining operations (57A-H18.1, 60A-H25.1, 61A-H21.1, 65A-H25.3). Typical of these petitions is one from the Cripple Creek District Trades and Labor Association which petitioned the 57th Congress (1901-03) for the creation of a Department of Mines and Mining with cabinet status (57A-H18.1) and a resolution from the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin recommending the establishment of mining schools in land grant colleges (57A-H18.2). Nearly 10 years later petitions among the papers of the 62d Congress (1911-13) reveal similar support for legislation to establish and maintain mining schools in the several States (62A-H21.4). Petitioners also were concerned about mining experiment stations (62A-H21.2, 62A-H21.3) and mine safety stations (63A-H20.1).

13.71 In 1908, the Woonsocket Central Labor Union, as well as several other groups, petitioned in support of the McHenry Bill, a bill that would have levied a 1-percent tax per ton of coal produced in the United States to provide relief for miners injured in the mines (60A-H25.2).

13.72 In 1914, several locals of the United Mine Workers petitioned Congress for Government intervention in the coal miners' strike in Colorado. The local in Panther Creek Valley, PA, was especially vocal complaining that the mine owners were "hastening the time when the united and invincible working class will demand reparation for all the misery undergone, the bloodshed and tears spent by our class in the agony of our awful slavery" (63A- H20.2). Volume Two of hearings on the conditions of coal mines can be found among the petitions for the 62d Congress, while Volume One of the hearings is located in the committee papers of the same Congress.

13.73 Committee papers contain copies of bills and resolutions referred to the committee, as well as correspondence, published hearings, and other documents relating to mines and mining. Most of the total footage of the committee papers consists of published bills and hearings. One of the publications provides information on mineral production in the United States from 1880-94 by State and type of mineral (54A-F28.2). In addition, the same publication provides information on the University of Michigan Mining School.

13.74 Bill files are organized by bill number and usually contain a copy of the bill, plus any supporting materials. Like the committee papers, most of the information is published.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.