Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 7
Records of the Committee on Commerce and Related Committees
Committee records discussed in this chapter:
- Committee on Commerce and Manufactures (1816-1825)
- Committee on Commerce (1825-1946)
- Committee on Manufactures (1825-1946)
- Committee on the Pacific Railroad (1863-1873)
- Committee on Railroads (1873-1921)
- Committees on the Pacific Railroads (1889-1921)
- Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard (1879-1921)
- Committee on the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries (1879-1921)
- Committee on Interoceanic Canals (1899-1946)
- Committee on Fisheries (1884-1921)
- Committee on Industrial Expositions (1899-1921)
- Committee on Standards, Weights, and Measures (1909-1921)
- Committee on Interstate Commerce (1887-1946)
- Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (1947-1961)
- Committee on Commerce (1961-1977)
- Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences (1958-1977)
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (1977- )
History and Jurisdiction
7.1 This chapter describes the records of the Committee on Commerce, its predecessors, and other standing committees that have had jurisdiction over matters that eventually were consolidated under the Commerce Committee. The chapter also describes the records of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, which was a separate standing committee until 1977.
7.2 The committee originated as the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures, established December 10, 1816, as one of the original standing committees of the Senate. It was split into separate committees—the Committee on Commerce and the Committee on Manufactures—in 1825 as the result of sectionalism and economic differences over revision of the tariff. The committees developed their own jurisdictional interests and constituencies, with the Commerce Committee being the more active and important of the two, focusing largely on river and harbor improvements. In the late 19th century, the Committee on Interstate Commerce was established and developed for itself a large role in economic regulation, beginning with the railroads and later branching out into communications and other areas. Several smaller committees (often beginning as select committees)—concerning railroads, fisheries, interoceanic canals, waterway transportation and river improvements, industrial expositions, and standards, weights, and measures—originally were established to deal with particular legislative matters, but survived in order to provide clerical support to their chairmen. Many of these minor committees were abolished in 1921 in the first wave of committee reform. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-601) further consolidated the committees by creating a single Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. In 1961, pursuant to S. Res. 117, 87th Cong., the committee was renamed the Committee on Commerce. In 1977, another major reorganization of the committee system, authorized by S. Res. 4, 95th Cong., led to the creation of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which acquired jurisdiction over nonmilitary aspects of the space program from the abolished Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, and relinquished jurisdiction over river and harbor improvements to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
7.3 The committee has published two brief histories of its activities. Covering the formative years of the committee is History, Membership, and Jurisdiction of the Committee on Commerce, 1816-1966 (S. Doc. 100, 89th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 12716-1), which summarizes the histories of the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures, the separate Committees on Commerce and on Manufactures following the jurisdictional split in 1825, and the Committees on Interstate Commerce and on Interoceanic Canals. The volume is largely a list of members of these committees throughout their existence. More recent activities of the committee, especially its key legislative accomplishments, are described in A Brief History of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and its Activities Since 1947 (S. Doc. 93, 95th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 13205-1). This volume not only contains information on the establishment of the earlier committees, but also focuses on the committee's legislative accomplishments in the areas of transportation, communications, consumer protection, oceans policy, and science. A history of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences has also been published.
Records of the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures, 14th-19th Congresses (1816-1825)
7.4 The Committee on Commerce and Manufactures was established as one of the original standing committees, following adoption of a resolution proposed by James Barbour of Virginia on December 10, 1816. William Hunter of Rhode Island was the first chairman of the committee.
7.5 The committee`s records consist of committee reports and papers, 1818-1825 (2 in.), and petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1816-1825 (2 ft.). The committee reports and papers are arranged chronologically for each Congress, and several of the reports have supporting documents. Some petitions and memorials are arranged by subject, but most are arranged chronologically by date of referral for each Congress.
7.6 Given its brief existence, the records, especially the petitions, show substantial activity by the committee. The principle subjects of the records are tariffs (all Congresses); harbor improvements such as lighthouses (16A-G2, 17A-D2, 17A-G2, 18A-G2.3); the regulation of shipping and revenue collection (all Congresses), and the welfare of sick and disabled seamen (15A-D2, 16A-G2, 16A-G2.2, 17A-D2). The single most prominent subject was the tariff, particularly the protectionist Tariff of 1824 (18A-D2). From the outset, the committee received petitions and memorials from various individuals or groups seeking protection for their particular industry, and a few from agricultural interests, such as those from various agricultural societies of Virginia, seeking less tariff protection (17A-G2). Many memorials requesting higher duties on imported iron and products manufactured from iron were received, mainly from citizens of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, during the debate of the 1824 tariff (18A-G2, 4 in.). Prominent textile manufacturer Samuel Slater and other Rhode Island citizens also memorialized the Senate about the 1824 tariff (18A-G2.2). Registration of vessels (15A-D2), establishment of new collection districts (15A-D2, 15A-G2) and ports of entry (16A-G2.1), and collection of duties on sales at auction (16A-G2, 18A-G2.1) were some of the activities relating to shipping and revenue collection that are documented in the records.
7.7 The Tariff of 1824 was a pivotal issue for the committee. In December 1825, the chairman, Mahlon Dickerson of New Jersey, proposed that the committee be split into separate committees—one for commerce and one for manufactures. Dickerson, a protectionist, believed that it was "improper to blend two subjects so distinct from each other as Commerce and Manufactures" and he was supported in his proposal by fellow Senator James Lloyd of Massachusetts, a free trader, who thought that low tariff advocates on the existing committee were a distinct minority. On the other hand, Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina argued that such a division reflected narrow, sectional interests, and proposed that agriculture be added to give a single committee oversight of the Nation's economic interests. Dickerson's motion was adopted and the committee was split.
Records of the Committee on Commerce, 19th-79th Congresses (1825-1946)
7.8 The Senate agreed on December 7, 1825, to create a separate standing Committee on Commerce, as a result of the debate and vote briefly described above. Five days later Senator James Lloyd became the committee's first chairman. The Commerce Committee met during every Congress through the 79th Congress (1945-1946), when, pursuant to the Legislative Reorganization Act, its jurisdiction was combined with those of the Committee on Interstate Commerce, the Committee on Interoceanic Canals, and the Committee on Manufactures to form the new Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
7.9 The records of the Committee on Commerce include the following series: Committee reports and papers, 1825-47 (2 ft.); committee papers, 1847-1946 (40 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1825-1946 (39 ft.); minutes, 1897-1919 with gaps (3 vols., 3 in.); legislative dockets, 1897-1934 (22 vols., 3 ft.); and executive dockets, 1899-1917 (8 vols., 9 in.).
- 19th-56th Congresses (1825-1901)
- 57th-79th Congresses (1902-1946)
Records of the Committee on Commerce, 19th-56th Congresses (1825-1901)
7.10 The committee reports and papers consist of original and printed reports on bills, petitions, and memorials referred to the committee, and supporting papers. The supporting papers include letters from various correspondents, maps, nautical charts, drawings of lighthouses, statistical data and reports, and some petitions and memorials. Given the forms of transportation then available, it is not surprising that ocean-going and coastal shipping and related matters are the most prominent subjects referred to in the committee's records. Among the records of every Congress are papers concerning river and harbor improvements such as construction of lighthouses, removal of obstructions (sand bars, wrecked ships, etc.), collection of customs duties, and general operation of customshouses. For certain Congresses, the records document commercially useful technical innovations in the nautical and communications fields. Typical of the records of the committee are papers relating to S. 322, 26th Cong., a bill to authorize erection of certain lighthouses, which includes a drawing of a lighthouse (26A-D2); papers relating to deepening a channel in Mobile Bay (Pass Au Heron), including a hand drawn nautical chart (20A-D2); the original and printed report of the committee on Putnam's Ploughing and Dredging Machine for removing bars and other obstructions (29A-D2); and letters from various customs collectors in Maine to Committee Chairman John Davis of Massachusetts and other Senators (24A-D2). Reports on the number and types of vessels entering the Richmond and Petersburg, VA, collection districts for the period 1827-29 (21A-D3) and statistical reports on imported dried and pickled fish (19A-D3) and Portuguese wine (24A-D2) are among the records of the committee. Technical improvements in telegraphy (25A-D3, 26A-D2) and steam boilers to power ships (25A-D3, 26A-D2) are also among the subjects documented by this series.
7.11 The committee papers for the remainder of the 19th century (16 ft.) consist principally of papers relating to specific bills and resolutions (legislative case files), arranged for each Congress by type of bill and thereunder numerically. For many Congresses, there are also small amounts of miscellaneous correspondence, executive communications, and other papers on subjects other than specific bills and resolutions. After 1847, the original committee reports are maintained as a separate series.
7.12 The subjects of these papers are similar to those of the committee reports and papers. The majority of the legislative case files concern river and harbor improvement projects (including canal and bridge construction, obstruction removal, lighthouse erection and improvement). Other primary subjects include safety at sea generally and operation of the life saving service, protection of seamen, shipping regulation, ship registration, establishment of ports of entry, trade, and revenue collection. There are also some private claims.
7.13 Bills to authorize river and harbor improvements usually focused on single projects, such as S. 53, 34th Cong., to improve the Patapsco River in Maryland (34A-E2), or an appropriation for a single, but widely applicable purpose, such as testing Wilson and Meacham's illuminating lights for lighthouses (32A-E3). However, there were so many individual projects to review and so many approved that the process became routine, and the committee developed the practice of consolidating most, if not all, projects for a session or a Congress, into comprehensive authorization bills such as S. 142, 38th Cong. (38A-E3) and S. 1702, 42d Cong. (42A-E3). River and harbor improvement project appropriation bills, like all appropriation bills, originated in the House and therefore have bill numbers beginning H.R. The documentation accompanying both types of bills consists of the printed bill, printed reports, official correspondence from the Office of the Chief Engineer and/or Office of the Topographical Engineer, originals or copies of maps and charts, and other records.
7.14 Some of the river and harbor improvement bill files and subject files, especially those on specific projects, include maps, charts, and drawings. For example, there is a drawing accompanying the file on H.R. 6241, 45th Cong., relating to construction of a flume through the public works projects at the Falls of the St. Anthony on the Mississippi River in Minnesota, and a chart of the Boston Upper Harbor at the junction of the Charles and Mystic Rivers (45A-E4). Not all interesting supporting papers to these bills are graphic. For H.R. 7480, 49th Cong., there is a pamphlet, entitled "A History of the Monongahela Navigation Company by an Original Stockholder" (1873); other files contain substantial official and public correspondence.
7.15 Another prominent subject of the committee papers is safety at sea. Shipwrecks were commonplace occurrences and the problem was exacerbated by the use of steam boilers to power vessels. In the 1850's, the committee received papers that discuss proposals for preventing steam boiler explosions, including an 1850 treatise on the subject by Cadwallader Evans (32A-E2). The records also contain letters endorsing the life-saving qualities of Francis's Metallic Boats (31A-E2). In the pre-Civil War period, various bills referred to the committee addressed the issue of safe passage on steam vessels (35A-E2, 36A-E2). After the war, the committee received a number of bills relating to the establishment of stations for and management of the Life Saving Service, established in 1871 as part of the Department of the Treasury (42A-E3, 47A-E5, 51A-F7).
7.16 The committee also considered legislation affecting the treatment of seamen in the merchant marine, such as H.R. 3187, to revise the Shipping Act of 1872 (44A-E3). Seamen were concerned that this bill would weaken the protections previously enacted.
7.17 Another major area of committee interest was regulation of shipping. Bills relating to the establishment of ports of entry, registration and renaming of ships, establishment of revenue collection districts, uniform bills of lading, and pilotage laws were referred to the committee during many of the Congresses during this period. One such bill, found in draft form, sought to amend and consolidate U.S. navigation and revenue collection laws (33A-E2). While these bills tended to cover fairly routine matters, one instance in which this was not the case involved the renaming and registration of former American ships that had been registered as British by their Confederate owners during the Civil War (39A-E3).
7.18 The committee papers also include some records relating to foreign trade and consular matters. For example, in July 1852, the State Department transmitted to the committee the dispatch of Edward Kent, U.S. consul at Rio de Janeiro, on the subject of the African slave trade and Brazil, which was also printed (32A-E2); as a general rule, this type of communication was printed and can be found in the Congressional Serial Set.
7.19 The petitions and memorials referred to the committee (32 ft.) are arranged for each Congress by subject, thereunder chronologically by the date referred. Miscellaneous or "various" subjects are arranged chronologically by date referred. The records cover a wide range of subjects. As with the committee papers, a substantial number of petitions and memorials for each Congress concern river and harbor improvements and aids to navigation (removal of obstructions, canals, bridges, lighthouses, etc.), shipping regulation and customs collection, foreign trade matters, safety at sea, and seamen's welfare. Many pertain to private claims. The committee also received a few petitions relating to railroad regulation and interstate commerce (45A-H4.2, 46A-H4, 47A-H5.2) and food and drug regulation (37A-H2, 47A-H5.4), among other subjects.
7.20 Petitions and memorials for river and harbor improvements and/or aids to navigation are in the records of every Congress of the period. Occasionally, maps, charts, and other supporting documents were submitted with the petitions. In the late 1820's and 1830's, most of the documents concern improvements for coastal navigation, especially lighthouses (21A-G3). By the mid-1840's, communities on the shores of the Great Lakes sought improvements to harbors and inland rivers and construction of canals, such as one around the Falls of St. Mary's (Sault Ste. Marie) and Niagara Falls (33A-H3.3). One of the more unusual petitions in this category was submitted by Capt. Henry M. Shreve, the inventor of the steam snag boat, which he used to remove an obstruction called the Red River raft. Shreve sought as remuneration for his efforts a preemption right to purchase 25,000 acres of public land (30A-H3.2). Throughout the 19th century, the committee received hundreds of similar documents, and some, such as those supporting the awarding of a contract to Charles Stoughton to improve navigation along the Harlem River in New York, were submitted repeatedly over several Congresses, 1885-99 (49A-H5.2, 51A-J6.1, 54A-J7, 55A-J6.4).
7.21 Petitions and memorials on a diverse body of subjects relating to the regulation of shipping were also referred to the committee in each Congress. Petitions concerning the collection of customs duties, the selection of sites for customs houses and ports of entry, compensation for revenue collectors, drawbacks of duties, and refunds of fines for customs violations appear frequently. Equally common are petitions relating to the licensing or registration of vessels or officers; in addition to individual cases, some petitions concerning registration of vessels generally (39A-H3.2, 40A-H4) and licensing of shipmasters, mates, pilots, and engineers (45A-H4.1) are among the records. An act of March 2, 1837, imposed pilotage laws and from time to time throughout the rest of the century, the committee received petitions supporting or opposing particular bills seeking modifications in such laws (25A-G3.3, 27A-G3, 29A-G3.1, 43A-H5, 44A-H4.2, 49A-H5.4, 54A-J7.2).
7.22 Foreign trade issues also figured prominently as subjects of the petitions and memorials. In 1841, a number of memorials on the subject of trade reciprocity were referred to the committee; generally these protest the lack of increase in tonnage of United States shipping to match the increase in imports (27A-G3.1). During the Civil War, the committee received a memorial in favor of abrogating reciprocity with Great Britain, which had adopted an officially neutral position in the American Civil War (37A-H2). Other petitions sought subsidies for steamship routes to South America (38A-H3) and reorganization of the consular service (56A-J6.4).
7.23 The safe operation of vessels, particularly the steam-powered variety, was a significant concern to merchants, ship owners, captains, seamen, and passengers alike. In the early years of the committee, these concerns were articulated in petitions asking for the erection and improvement of lighthouses and the improvement of harbors. Petitioners included David Melville, who sought an appropriation to test his improved design for lighthouses (25A-G3), and Silas Meacham, who asked that his improved lamp for lighthouses be used (28A-G2). With the advent of the steam boiler as a source of propulsion, concern focused on safety. In the early 1840's, an engineer, Samuel Raub, Jr., petitioned for adoption of a law to require use of a "double self-acting safety valve" (25A-G3.3, 26A-G3.2). About 10 years later, Philip G. Friese sent the Senate a diagram of his proposed safety jacket for steam boilers (32A-H3.4). Other proposals were also received (32A-H3.3). Rescues of shipwrecked passengers and crews were hampered by lack of equipment and the committee received requests for appropriations for life boats (31A-H3.3, 32A-H3.4). In 1871, the Life Saving Service was established; in the following years, the committee received numerous petitions and memorials relating to the administration of the service, and to the funding and staffing of particular stations (47A-H5.1, 50A-J5, 54A-J7.4, 56A-J6). Another memorial reflecting concern for the well-being of passengers was submitted by the Irish Emigrant Society of New York, which complained that the 1819 law regulating passenger vessels was inadequate (29A-G3.2). In at least one instance, the regulations on passenger ships were viewed as too restrictive. In 1847, the American Colonization Society protested that their vessel, the Liberia Packet, was built to accommodate 160 passengers, but was by law restricted to carrying 40; therefore, they sought enactment of a law exempting them from the restriction (30A-H3.2).
7.24 Other petitioners sought Federal assistance for their plans to emigrate to Liberia; Eli Morrow and 422 other residents of the Berdeen, MS, area sought an appropriation of $100,000, in their petition addressed to Sen. Blanche K. Bruce (45A-H4.4). In 1886, the African Emigration Society of Topeka, KS, also sought an appropriation to help them emigrate (49A-H5.9).
7.25 From the earliest days of the committee, petitioners sought its assistance in efforts to provide for the welfare of sick and disabled seamen. An act of 1798 first authorized such assistance. The first petition received by the committee in 1825 was from Governors of the New York Hospital claiming relief for the cost of medical care for sick and disabled seamen (19A-G3). The Charleston, SC, Marine Hospital also submitted a similar claim (21A-G3.3). Such claims were not limited to Atlantic coastal towns; for example, in 1853, the committee received a memorial from the members of the Ladies' Strangers' Friends Society in Honolulu, Hawaii, relating to the needs of sick and destitute foreign seamen discharged from the U.S. merchant services (33A-H3.4). The committee also received petitions calling for the establishment of marine hospitals in particular locations (numerous Congresses) into the 1880's. In the 1890's, petitions from various labor unions supporting bills to protect seamen were referred to the committee (53A-J6.2, 55A-J6.2).
Back to Records of the Committee on Commerce
Records of the Committee on Commerce, 57th-79th Congresses (1901-1946)
7.26 The records of the Commerce Committee in this period consist of committee papers (24 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions referred to State legislatures (7 ft.); and several bound volumes, including minutes, legislative dockets, and executive dockets, listed above.
7.27 The committee papers in the early 20th century differ significantly from those of the 19th century, chiefly because the legislative case files that constitute such a large part of the earlier series are filed in a separate series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions, 1901-46. From 1901 to 1933, the committee papers (2 ft.) consist largely of original or printed copies of Presidential messages and executive communications and other records that were printed as either House or Senate documents, such as annual and other reports of the Department of Labor and Commerce, the Department of Commerce, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the United States Shipping Board, and the Federal Power Commission, among others. Only a few of these communications were not printed. From 1933 to 1946, the committee papers (22 ft.) are much more complete, though this varies from Congress to Congress. The papers include general correspondence, Presidential messages and executive communications, a few executive session transcripts of hearings, and subcommittee records.
7.28 General correspondence (10 ft.), during the chairmanship of Royal Copeland of New York, 1937-38, and the chairmanship of Josiah W. Bailey of North Carolina, 1939-46, is arranged for each Congress alphabetically by subject. In addition to incoming and copies of outgoing letters and related attachments, the records also include press releases and newspaper clippings. The size and scope of the correspondence varies widely from Congress to Congress; for example, there are 3 ft. of records for the period of Copeland's chairmanship, covering such subjects as airlines, crime, fisheries, food and drugs, merchant marine, rivers and harbors, and stream pollution (75A-F6). Correspondence of his successor, Senator Daniels, is fragmentary for the 76th and 77th Congresses (76A-F4, 77A-F7, 1 ft.) but increases significantly for the 78th and 79th Congresses, with the largest files concerning civil aeronautics and the War Shipping Administration (78A-F7, 79A-F6, 6 ft.).
7.29 Presidential messages and executive communications constitute the bulk of the records prior to 1933 and are a significant part of the records thereafter as well. During the 1930's, new agencies such as the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Bonneville Power Administration, were established and they, along with the Commerce Department and maritime and shipping agencies, reported to the Commerce Committee. Executive communications were also received from the War Department relating to the status of river and harbor projects. The arrangement of these records within the committee papers is either chronological by date referred or alphabetical by name of agency, depending on the Congress. Some of the less routine executive communications include a 1935 biographical summary of Bureau of Air Commerce officers and employees, with professional and personnel information on each (74A-F5); a report of the Department of Agriculture, in response to S. Res. 194, 75th Cong., on deaths caused by the exilir sulfanilamide (75A-F6); and a report of the U.S.-Great Lakes Exposition Commission in Cleveland, OH (1936), that includes photographs (76A-F4). There are also several miscellaneous communications from nongovernment sources; for example, accompanying a letter from the Waterfront Employers Association of the Pacific Coast (April 1940) are copies of labor arbitrators' decisions and other documents concerning the relationship between the association and the longshoremen's unions (76A-F4, oversize).
7.30 There are also a few executive session transcripts of hearings among the records, including two volumes of testimony, August 1935, on the circumstances of the death of Sen. Bronson Cutting in an airplane crash (74A-F5). Among the papers for the 79th Congress are transcripts of hearings held before the Subcommittee on Aviation, that are filed with related records in a so-called "Aviation File," concerning national air policy and Federal aid to public airports, 1945 (79A-F6).
7.31 Other subcommittees of the Commerce Committee for which there are records in the committee papers are the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Practice (also known as the Subcommittee to Investigate Racketeering), 1933-34, (73A-F5, 6 in.) and the Subcommittee on the Department of Commerce and Merchant Marine, 1935-36 (74A-F5, 6 in.), which investigated merchant marine ship disasters involving the Morro Castle and the Mohawk. Additional printed material relating to the Morro Castle and Mohawk investigations is in the papers of the 75th Congress (75A-F6). Both of these subcommittees were chaired by Senator Copeland.
7.32 The petitions and memorials (7 ft.) are arranged by Congress and thereunder alphabetically by subject for the most part through the mid-1920's. Those not arranged by subject are in the category "various subjects," and are arranged thereunder chronologically by date referred. Twentieth century petitions and memorials are not usually accompanied by supporting documents, but the subjects they address are often similar to those from the 19th century. In particular, the petitions ask for Senate support of specific river and harbor improvements and construction of bridges and canals. These are found in the records of virtually every Congress. Some of the more prominent projects are improvements on the Mississippi River (59A-J14, 60A-J17) and construction of the Great Lakes waterway in the St. Lawrence River valley (67A-J13, 68A-J15, 69A-10). Protection of merchant seamen is another major subject. Seamen's labor unions petitioned the Senate to express their support for particular bills relating to desertion laws (57A-J8), abolition of involuntary servitude (61A-J9, 62A-J14), the LaFollette Seamen's Act of 1915 (64A-J17), and the merchant seaman's bill of rights (79A-J5). Other subjects continued from the 19th century include promotion of shipping industry, shipping regulations, and pilotage laws, but these are less common. Some of the 20th-century subjects of petitions referred to the committee include protests against the decision of the United States Shipping Board to sell surplus ships after the end of World War I (66A-J4), against diversion of Lake Michigan to provide a sanitary drainage canal for Chicago, IL (68A-J13), and against development of water projects and commercial development affecting national parks (66A-J5, 67A-J15).
Records of the Committee on Manufactures, 18th-79th Congresses (1825-1946)
7.33 On December 7, 1825, the Senate agreed to create a separate standing Committee on Manufactures as a result of the debate and vote briefly described above. Five days later Mahlon Dickerson of New Jersey became its first chairman. Under the Senate rules at the time, committees did not continue from one Congress to the next, but rather were reconstituted at the beginning of the first session of each Congress. From the beginning of the 34th Congress in 1855 until February 10, 1864, in the 2d session of the 38th Congress, there was no Committee on Manufactures. Thereafter the committee met in each Congress until the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 transferred its jurisdiction to the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
7.34 Despite its long, though interrupted, history, there are comparatively few records of the committee. The records consist of committee reports and papers, 1829-1842 with gaps (5 in.); committee papers, 1900-01 and 1918-28 (5 ft.); and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1827-55 and 1895-1938 with gaps (4 ft.).
7.35 Among the early records, 1825-55, the principal subject is the tariff. The committee reports and papers contain several original committee reports that were printed, including a major one on the tariff, July 1, 1842 (27A-D8, 3 in.). A unique file, on S. 235, 24th Cong., a bill to amend certain laws imposing duties on imports, contains samples of mohair and goat hair that were submitted in support of the bill (24A-D9). Likewise, petitions and memorials of this period (3 ft.) also address the issue of the tariff generally (27A-G9, 21 in.) or tariffs on particular imported commodities, such as wool (19A-G9, 20A-G9), coal (22A-G9, 24A-G8, 25A-G10), and manufactured items that competed with developing American industries, such as ready-made clothing (20A-G9) and wire pins (25A-G10).
7.36 Although the committee was reestablished in 1864, there are no committee papers until the 56th Congress (1899-1901), and even then the file consists of a single legislative case file. In fact, there is only one significant body of records in the committee's papers after 1900. These concern an investigation of the condition of the crude oil and gasoline market during the years 1920-22. The investigation was authorized by S. Res. 295, 67th Cong., and chaired by Robert M. LaFollette, Sr., of Wisconsin. The records of the investigation (4 ft.) consist of subject files on various oil companies, information on selected refineries, numerous hearings exhibits, and an original copy of a 1923 committee print, "Foreign Ownership in the Petroleum Industry" (67A-F14). The last committee paper is an original report of the Federal Trade Commission on panhandle crude petroleum, 1928 (70A-F13).
7.37 The petitions and memorials of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (7 in.) focus principally on pure food and drug laws (59A-J70, 60A-J80, 61A-J62), classification and proper labelling of paints and other items (60A-J81, 60A-J82), and other Progressive reforms. One interesting item is a protest from the National Brick Manufacturers Association in 1908 against an appropriation to develop the use of concrete as a building product (60A-J82). After 1911, less than 1 inch of petitions and memorials were referred to the committee.
Records of the Committee on the Pacific Railroad, 38th-42nd Congresses (1863-1873)
7.38 On July 7, 1861, the Senate established a Select Committee on the Pacific Railroad to deal with two bills to authorize construction of a transcontinental railroad. In 1862, this select committee reported on the bill that the Congress enacted granting a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad Company to construct such a railroad and providing Federal support in the form of land grants and bond subsidies. At the beginning of the 38th Congress, the select committee was made a standing committee, which it remained until 1873, when it was replaced by the Committee on Railroads.
7.39 The records of the Committee on the Pacific Railroad consist of committee papers, 1867-71 (1 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures that were referred to the committee, 1864-71 (5 in.). Most of the records of both series concern the Union Pacific Railroad Company and the northern, central, and southern transcontinental railway routes. Within the committee papers are an original 1864 report of the railroad's geologist, James T. Hodge, and other papers relating to the construction of the transcontinental railroad (40A-E10); a copy of a secret agreement by stockholders of the Union Pacific Railroad, October 16, 1867, and various papers related to the Credit Mobilier (41A-E12); and an 1870 letter from former President Millard Fillmore, the president of the Louisville (KY) Commercial Convention, transmitting that organization's report on the Southern Pacific Railroad (41A-E12). Most of the petitions referred to the committee advocated particular routes and station stops for the transcontinental railroad. One petition, from William Napoleon Walton in 1864, proposed construction of what he called a "pneumatic aerograph," basically a 12"-15" diameter vacuum tube by which letters and small packages could be sent around the country (38A-H14).
Records of the Committee on Railroads, 43rd-66th Congresses (1873-1921)
7.40 The Committee on Railroads succeeded the Committee on the Pacific Railroad on March 12, 1873. The records consist of committee papers, 1875-1889 (5 in.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1873-1911 (1 ft.). Although the committee continued to exist after the 50th Congress (1887-89), other committees acquired legislative jurisdiction over matters formerly within its authority, and there are few papers after 1889. In particular, the Committee on Interstate Commerce, with its interest in regulating railroad rates and assuring safety of railroad passengers and crews, and the Committee on Pacific Railroads, which focused on the financial status of the Union Pacific Railroad, played significant roles affecting railroad legislation in the Senate.
7.41 The committee papers include a small number of legislative case files, particularly concerning the rights-of-way through the Indian Territory (47A-E23); communications printed as House documents; papers relating to the Union Pacific Railroad such as copies of freight tariffs and letters from railroad executives Colis P. Huntington and Sidney Dillon (44A-E18); and a 22-page subcommittee report on aid to construction of railroads in Southern States, 1878 (45A-E21). The petitions and memorials favor financial aid to particular railroads, such as the Texas Pacific, and additional time for various railroads to complete construction in compliance with their Federal land grant (43A-H23, 44A-H22, 45A-H23). Another significant issue before the committee was the granting of rights-of-way through Indian lands; a noteworthy example of a document on this subject is an 1882 memorial from the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Nations of the Indian Territory entreating Congress to maintain their treaty rights (47A-H26).
Records of the Select and Standing Committees on Pacific Railroads, 50th-66th Congresses (1889-1921)
7.42 Separate from the activities of and not to be confused with the above committees on railroads was the Select Committee on Pacific Railroads, 1889-1893, and its successor standing committee, 1893-1921. The select committee was appointed following an investigation into the finances of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was heavily indebted to the United States Government. Petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1889-1897 (3 in.), chiefly concern a bill proposing to extend the time for the Union Pacific to repay its bonds that was opposed by chapters of the Farmer's Alliance and other agrarian reform organizations, some of which wanted the railroad to default and forfeit their land grants. Businesses, trade groups, and some State legislatures proposed their own solutions to the railroad's financial problems. Committee papers, 1893-96 (1/4 in.) are not significant. The committee was terminated in 1921 along with other obsolete Senate committees.
Records of the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, 46th-66th Congresses (1879-1921)
7.43 According to historian George H. Haynes, it was said in 1917 that this committee had the dubious distinction of never having met in its (then) 38 years. There is no evidence to show that the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard ever convened before its termination in 1921, and, not surprisingly, few papers were ever referred to it. The records, 1879-93 with gaps (1/2 in.), consist of papers relating to the proposed construction of a canal to unite the Missouri and Columbia Rivers (46A-H24), and a few printed reports. There are also a few petitions and memorials received by the select committee, 1872-79, which preceded it.
Records of the Committee on the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries, 46th-66th Congresses (1879-1921)
7.44 The Committee on Improvement of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries was established on March 19, 1879, succeeding the Select Committee on the Levee System of the Mississippi River, 1870-79. The work of these committees coincided with the major survey and improvement of the Mississippi River undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission. The committee was abolished in 1921 as part of the effort to eliminate obsolete committees.
7.45 The records of the standing committee are very limited and consist of committee papers, 1879-1888 (1 in.), and petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1879-1897 (1 in.). The committee papers consist of printed executive communications, such as the annual report of the Mississippi River Commission and its request for an appropriation to continue its work (48A-E10), and papers relating to an investigation of a Union Pacific Railroad Bridge that was constructed over the Missouri River at Omaha, NE in 1888 (50A-F10). There are a small number of legislative case files. The petitions are from individuals or organizations supporting improvements in their towns or regions. A few petitions and memorials (1/2 in.) were referred to the select committee.
Records of the Committee on Interoceanic Canals, 56th-79th Congresses (1899-1946)
7.46 The Committee on Interoceanic Canals was established on December 15, 1899, succeeding the Select Committee on the Construction of the Nicaragua Canal, 1895-99. As its name implies, the initial focus of this committee was on legislation to authorize the construction of an isthmian canal to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There are less than 2 in. of records for the select committee. Following the completion of the canal's construction, the committee was responsible for monitoring conditions within the Canal Zone and reporting appropriate legislation. The committee continued as a standing committee until the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 transferred its functions to the newly established Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
7.47 The records of the committee include committee papers, 1899-1945 (1 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1899-1917 (8 in.). The committee papers consist almost entirely of Presidential messages transmitting reports and executive communications reporting on the activities of the Maritime Canal Company of Nicaragua, the Isthmian Canal Commission, the Governor of the Panama Canal, the Panama Railroad, and the Gorgas Memorial Institute of Tropical and Preventive Illness. There is also one transcript of an unprinted hearing, January 25, 1933, relating to the Canal Zone legal code and several pending House bills (72A-F13) and a small amount of correspondence and legislative reference files for the 77th Congress (1941-42). More than half of the petitions and memorials concern the free tolls for U.S. ships engaged in domestic shipping (62A-J48, 63A-J34, 6 in.), but other subjects include working conditions and the use of alien labor during the construction of the canal (59A-J51), wages of canal employees (64A-J37), and whether or not the canal should be fortified (61A-J47).
Records of the Committee on Fisheries, 48th-66th Congresses (1884-1921)
7.48 Creation of a committee on fisheries was called for when the Senate revised its rules in January 1884. The Committee on Fisheries, originally called the Committee on Fish and Fisheries, was established and its first members appointed on February 5, 1884, by Senate resolution. The records include committee papers, 1886-1918 (1 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1884-1907 (2 in.). The committee papers consist of legislative case files, 1886-1901, and executive communications from the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries and other agencies.
7.49 While there are few papers of the committee, there are some outstanding records. One such file consists of papers relating to an investigation of Alaska salmon fisheries in 1889 by Dr. Tarleton H. Bean, an ichthyologist employed by the U.S. Commission on Fish and Fisheries. The records include Commissioner Marshall McDonald's letter to the Senate, June 9, 1890, transmitting and summarizing Bean's report, 28 accompanying captioned photographs taken by Bean of Karluk, Alaska, and other parts of Kodiak Island, and several drawings of the fish his party observed (51A-F11). A legislative case file on S. 1730, 53d Cong., a bill for the protection of salmon, trout, and fish in the streams and tidewaters of Alaska, includes transcripts of eyewitness accounts of fishing practices in Alaska (53A-F10). The committee papers also include original hearings on S. 227 and H.R. 5538, 49th Cong. (1886), which concern protection of fisheries on the Atlantic coast and mackerel spawning areas, respectively (49A-E11). After 1901, the committee papers measure only 1 inch, but legislative case files, 1901-21, are in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions.
7.50 Petitions and memorials referred to the committee relate to protection of fisheries and the establishment of fish hatcheries, with the largest number favoring or opposing restrictions on menhaden fishing on the Atlantic coast (49A-H10). There are no petitions for several Congresses between 1889 and 1914, and none for any Congress thereafter despite the continued existence of the committee until 1921, when it was terminated during a major reform of the committee system.
Records of the Committee on Industrial Expositions, 55th-66th Congresses (1899-1921)
7.51 The Committee on Industrial Expositions was established in 1909 at the beginning of the 61st Congress when Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island sponsored a resolution that had the effect of making all then existing select committees standing committees. In this way, the Select Committee on Industrial Expositions, 1899-1909, became a standing committee. The select committee itself had been preceded by the Select Committee on International Expositions, 1895-99. The Committee on Industrial Expositions was abolished in 1921, following approval of S. Res. 43, 67th Cong., which greatly reduced the number of Senate committees.
7.52 There are 3 in. of records of the preceding select committees; the documents concern several expositions held from the mid-1890's to 1909. For the standing committee, there are petitions and memorials referred to the committee, 1910-13 (1/4 in.), favoring a Panama Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 (61A-J45) and three others favoring a semicentennial celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation (61A-J46). There are no committee papers.
Records of the Committees on Standards, Weights, and Measures, 61st-66th Congresses (1909-1921)
7.53 The Committee on Standards, Weights, and Measures was among the former select committees that became standing committees in 1909 at the beginning of the 61st Congress. It was abolished in 1921 along with many other obsolete committees.
7.54 The records of the standing committee consist of committee papers, 1918 (3 in.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures referred to the committee, 1911-21 (1/4 in.). The committee papers comprise the records of its investigation, pursuant to S. Res. 259, 65th Cong., into the denial of a patent to S.M. Herber for a process of extracting gasoline from petroleum. The records include unpublished transcripts of hearings on the Herber process for extracting motor fuels, July 7-Sept. 10, 1918; hearing exhibits, and copies of the resolution authorizing the investigation. There are also brief minutes for 1918, and a small amount of correspondence (65A-F22). The petitions concern adoption of the metric system (66A-J55) and other subjects related to uniform standards of measurement. There is also 1 in. of petitions and memorials for the select committee. Legislative case files, 1901-21, may be found in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions.
Records of the Committee on Interstate Commerce, 50th-79th Congresses (1887-1946)
- 50th-79th Congresses (1887-1946)
- Subcommittee to Investigate Interstate Railroads (1935-1942)
Records of the Committee on Interstate Commerce, 50th-79th Congresses (1887-1946)
7.55 The Committee on Interstate Commerce was established on December 12, 1887, at the beginning of the 50th Congress, succeeding a select committee that had been appointed in 1885. The Select Committee To Investigate Interstate Commerce, also known as the Cullom Committee after its chairman Shelby Cullom of Illinois, was established on March 17, 1885, following the amendment and approval of Senator Cullom's resolution. Under the resolution as amended, the select committee was authorized to investigate and hold hearings on transportation by railroad and water routes between the several States. During the 49th Congress, the select committee reported at least two bills, S. 1093 and S. 1532, the latter enacted as the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. There are no unpublished records of this select committee. Senator Cullom was also the first chairman of the standing committee.
7.56 The records of the standing committee (627 ft.) include committee papers, 1889-46 (25 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures that were referred to the committee, 1893-1946 (41 ft.); minutes, January 1916-August 1917 and March 1921-June 1922 (2 vols., 3 in.); legislative dockets, 1891-97 (3 vols., 3 in.); legislative and executive dockets, 1929-35 (2 vols., 3 in.); and records of the Subcommittee to Investigate Interstate Railroads, 1935-42 (560 ft.).
7.57 From the outset, the primary interest of the committee has been regulation of the railroads. For more than a decade before the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, bills proposing to regulate railroad rates, investigate complaints, and prevent such practices as pooling, rebates, and drawbacks had been introduced in the House or the Senate. Several petitions and memorials on the subject were also received. During the 1870's and 1880's, bills, petitions, and memorials relating to railroad regulation were referred to either the Committee on Commerce or the Committee on Railroads, but neither had much sympathy for regulation and attempts to enact a law were unsuccessful. Taking matters into their own hands, certain State legislatures passed so-called Granger laws, regulating railroads within their States. These laws were upheld in the Supreme Court decision Munn v. Illinois (1877), but they were undermined by another Supreme Court decision Wabash, St. Louis, & Pacific R.R. Co. v. Illinois (1886). The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 gave the Federal Government a degree of control over railroads, and with the establishment of the Committee on Interstate Commerce, the Senate had a vehicle by which to consider amendments to the Interstate Commerce Act. As the concept of interstate commerce expanded, the committee later became involved in railway labor matters; regulation of trucking and other interstate carriers; child labor; radio and other types of communications; aviation; and various business practices and economic issues.
7.58 Little evidence of committee activity is found in the records covering the first 6 years of the committee's existence. Except for a draft of S. 3773, 51st Cong., to amend the 1887 act, there are no records of the committee until the 53d Congress (1893-95). Beginning in 1893, there are petitions and memorials for each Congress and committee papers for all but the 62d Congress (1911-13).
7.59 The committee papers include legislative case files for most of the Congresses through the 57th (1901-03); Presidential messages and executive communications, most of which were published as House or Senate documents; and some correspondence. Legislative case files, 1901-46, are in the series of papers supporting specific bills and resolutions, although there are a few papers relating to specific bills for the 57th (1901-03) and 60th (1907-09) Congresses.
7.60 Many of the executive communications are annual or special reports of regulatory and other agencies. Most annual reports of the Interstate Commerce Committee were referred to the committee, as were communications from the ICC Chairman (most Congresses) and printed ICC valuation dockets (66th-70th and 73d-74th Congresses). Other ICC-originated and transportation-related reports and papers include the transcript of proceedings of the Federal Rate Regulation Association Convention in Chicago, 1905 (59A-F15); "Report of tests of automatic straight air brake system," conducted by the ICC's Bureau of Safety, 1918 (65A-F8); a report in response to S. Res. 412, 66th Cong., on the increased cost of railroad fuel, 1920 (67A-F12); and "The Interterritorial Freight Rate Problem of the United States," a report by TVA economist J. Haden Alldredge (75A-F12). The Federal Trade Commission also sent numerous printed or typewritten reports and communications to the committee. A sample of the topics of these reports include pipeline transportation of petroleum, 1916 (64A-F12); petroleum industry in Wyoming, 1921 (66A-F11); milk and milk products during World War I, 1921 (67A-F12); the Western Pine Manufacturers Association (67A-F12); resale price maintenance, 1929 (70A-F11); the agricultural implement and machine industry, 1938 (75A-F12); and the motor vehicle industry, 1939 (76A-F11). The committee also received special reports from the Securities and Exchange Commission on its study of investment trusts and investment companies under section 30 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (76A-F11, 77A-F15). Other agencies that sent reports to the committee include the National Mediation Board, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Federal Communications Commission, and their predecessors.
7.61 The committee papers also include correspondence of certain committee chairmen. Some letters received by long-time chairman Shelby Cullom are in the records for the 54th Congress (54A-F14). The correspondence of Burton K. Wheeler of Montana (1935-40, 1943-46, 5 ft.) is especially rich for the 78th and 79th Congresses.
7.62 Other correspondence of Senator Wheeler can be found in the investigative subcommittee records of the committee. Senator Wheeler was concerned with certain monopolistic tendencies and concentration in the telegraph industry. He chaired a special subcommittee, authorized by S. Res. 95 and 268, 76th Cong., to study these trends. The records are arranged by subject (76A-F11, 3 ft.). Other investigations undertaken during Wheeler's chairmanship for which there are unpublished records include the massive investigation of interstate railroads, 1935-42, and the investigation of the American Federation of Musicians pursuant to S. Res. 81, 78th Congress (see papers accompanying specific bills and resolutions, 78th Congress).
7.63 In response to a 1940 commercial airline crash near Lovettsville, VA, which killed Senator Ernest Lundeen of Minnesota, the Senate approved S. Res. 307, 76th Cong., to authorize an investigation of this and other accidents. The investigation was conducted by Lt. Carl Harper, chief investigator for the Subcommittee on Air Safety, chaired by J. Bennett (Champ) Clark of Missouri. The records (78A-F15, 4 ft.) are arranged alphabetically by subject and consist of correspondence, accident reports, administrative papers, newspaper clippings, and reference matter.
7.64 Also, the committee papers include Senator Patrick A. McCarran's reference files and related correspondence on aviation, 1937-44 (75A-F12, 76A-F11, 77A-F15, 78A-F15, 1 ft.). McCarran was not a member of the committee, but he had a well-known interest in commercial and general aviation.
7.65 Petitions and memorials referred to the Committee on Interstate Commerce cover a wide range of subjects—general powers of the ICC, railroad and common carrier regulation, communications regulation, and public utility regulation—as well as several important subtopics. In addition, a number of significant economic issues and social reforms are mentioned in these documents. For most Congresses, the petitions and memorials have been to some degree arranged by subject, with the remainder arranged chronologically under the heading "various subjects."
7.66 During its early years, the committee received numerous petitions and memorials favoring bills to enlarge the powers of the ICC, 1893-1909 (53A-J16, 55A-J16.2, 56A-J19, 56A-J19.1, 58A-J36, 60A-J62). Two bills increasing Federal Government regulation of the railroads—the Elkins Act of 1903 and the Hepburn Act of 1906—were enacted; petitions relating to the former and an earlier version of the latter are in the series for the 57th Congress (57A-J33, 57A-J34). Between 1905 and 1907, the committee was inundated with petitions from consumers of railroad services who favored increased regulation and from associations of railroad employees who were opposed (59A-J58, 4 ft.). During World War I, the emergency transportation demands of the war effort led the Federal Government to take over control of the railroads (65A-J27). In the immediate postwar period, some petitions referred to the committee advocated continuing Government control, while others favored a return to private ownership (66A-J33). The passage of the Transportation Act of 1920 (Esch-Cummins Act) returned the railroads to private control, but under tighter regulations. In the late 1920's, increased competition from bus and truck transportation for passengers and freight traffic led certain railroad companies to orchestrate petition campaigns in favor of bus and truck regulations (70A-J23, 72A-J39). During the Great Depression, the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks sent a number of petitions favoring the extension of the Emergency Railroad Transportation Act, but the union's motive was to protect their members' jobs, not to support increased Government regulation of the railroads for its own sake (74A-J14).
7.67 In examining the petitions and memorials referred to the committee, it is apparent that railroad unions were very active petitioners of the Senate. In addition to the subjects mentioned above, the unions were particularly strong advocates of measures affecting the safe operation of railroads and other practices affecting their working conditions. Between 1900 and 1915, they supported S. 3560, 57th Cong., the Foraker-Corliss Safety Appliance bill relating to the operation of locomotives; the Bates-Penrose Employers' Liability bill (58A-J35, 59A-J54); bills relating to the qualifications of locomotive engineers (59A-J57); bills regulating the number of continuous hours of employment for railroad employees (59A-J60); inspection of locomotive boilers (63A-J35); and safety measures generally (60A-J67). The economic hardships of the Great Depression led unions to promote two bills, H.R. 9891 and S. 4646, 72d Cong., that would establish pensions for railroad and transportation employees (72A-J38, 7 in.).
7.68 A number of railroad business practices are discussed in the petitions and memorials, including pooling (53A-J16, 55A-J16.4) and ticket scalping (53A-J16.2, 54A-J18.1, 55A-J16.1). Uniform freight rates were sought by various business groups (54A-J18.2), and there was some support among petitioners for the so-called Grosscup Plan to establish a department of transportation and a special court to adjudicate railroad rate disputes (59A-J52). Certain railroads organized their employees to petition in 1910 and 1911 for higher railroad rates; petitions from employees of the Chicago Great Western Railroad in Waterloo, IA, and of the Union Pacific Railroad in Colorado and Nebraska contain thousands of names of employees, listing job titles and places of residence for each signer (61A-J50, 10 in.). In the early 1920's, the committee received complaints about stock watering and high rates, and some petitioners proposed that States have authority over rates within their boundaries (67A-J32).
7.69 As new forms of communication were developed and their use expanded, an increasing number of petitions concerning the regulation of technological and business aspects of telegraph, telephone, radio, and motion picture industries were brought to the committee's attention. Public opinion regarding the telegraph and the telephone is documented in a few instances. For example, as early as the mid-1890's, a group called the National Citizens Industrial Alliance sent a memorial to the Senate demanding that Congress relieve the people "from unjust and extortional rates and charges of the Bell Telephone Company Monopoly" (53A-J16.2). Thirty years later, another group protested the innovation of dial telephones and the related costs to consumers (68A-J32). Senator Wheeler's investigation of consolidation of the telegraph industry in 1939-40 prompted communications unions to use petitions to express their fear that the investigation would result in a loss of jobs to their members (76A-J17).
7.70 Concern over the regulation of various aspects of the radio industry is documented in the petitions and memorials beginning in the early 1920's. One matter for concern was control of radio frequencies (67A-J34, 69A-J21). A 1928 letter from the secretary and general manager of station WCFL, the Voice of Labor Cooperative Farm-Labor Radio Listeners' Association, complained to the Senate about frequency allocation practices of the Federal Radio Commission, which restricted their station to daytime broadcasting (71A-J37). In the 1930's and 1940's, petitions asking Congress to pressure radio networks to sell time to religious and other nonprofit broadcasters were received by the committee (73A-J28, 79A-J11). But aside from the complaints, the petitions simply reflect general public interest in the regulation of radio. In 1934, the committee was swamped with petitions asking that the hearings and reports on the bill that created the Federal Communication Commission be made public and distributed free of charge (73A-J29, 74A-J18, 11 ft.).
7.71 Petitioners were also interested in the motion picture industry. The committee received petitions on both sides of Senator Smith W. Brookhart's bill to regulate the practice of "block booking" films (70A-J22), and several petitions supported his resolution, S. Res. 170, 72d Cong., to investigate motion picture industry practices and conditions (72A-J37). In the late 1920's and early 1930's, many reform-minded petitioners registered their displeasure with the moral content of motion pictures (71A-J36, 73A-J27, 74A-J17).
7.72 Other economic issues confronting the committee were regulations governing the conditions of interstate transportation of cattle in rail cars (56A-J19.2, 57A-J35, 59A-J59, 60A-J63), adoption of daylight savings time (65A-J26, 66A-J32, 67A-J31), truth-in-fabrics legislation (66A-J34, 67A-J37), and fair trade legislation (71A-J35, 72A-J36). In addition to public concern over the moral content of motion pictures, reformers also lobbied Congress to use interstate commerce legislation to restrict gambling (54A-J18), interstate transportation of cigarettes (55A-J16), child labor (63A-J38, 64A-J38), and the advertising of alcoholic beverages on the radio (74A-J15, 76A-J16).
Back to Records of the Committee on Interstate Commerce
Records of the Subcommittee to Investigate Interstate Railroads
7.73 On May 20, 1935, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 71, 74th Cong., authorizing an investigation of the "financing, reorganizations, mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, insolvency, credit and securities operations and activities, financial policies, intercorporate relationships in respect of interstate railroads, railroad holding companies, railroad affiliates, and subsidiaries..." As directed, the Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce created a Subcommittee To Investigate Interstate Railroads.
7.74 Burton K. Wheeler of Montana, who introduced S. Res. 71 and later chaired the subcommittee, characterized the purpose of the investigation as follows: In light of the "vast shrinkage of income suffered by all [rail]roads in the last seven years," the subcommittee sought to "recommend to the Congress wise and workable legislation if we find that legislation is needed to improve the prosperity of our railroads and their ability to function most effectively." By virtue of S. Res. 227, 74th Cong., S. Res. 273, 75th Cong., and S. Res. 240, 76th Cong., the subcommittee pursued its inquiry from the 74th to the 77th Congress.
7.75 The Subcommittee To Investigate Interstate Railroads carried out its mission by a variety of methods on several fronts. In its Washington, DC headquarters and its field branches in New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Norfolk, the subcommittee collected documents from the files of railroad, investment, and related business organizations. The subcommittee held hearings from December 7, 1936, to July 27, 1939, and published its findings and recommendations in a series of reports, finally completing its work in 1942.
7.76 The records, 1935-42 (560 ft.), of the subcommittee comprise nearly 90 percent of the total volume of records of the Committee on Interstate Commerce. They include correspondence and reports created by railroads and related businesses, memoranda, and other administrative communications relating to the ongoing work of the subcommittee; transcripts (printer's copies and published volumes) of the subcommittee's hearings; legal documents and court records; printed House and Senate bills; questionnaires sent to and completed by experts in the field; the working papers of some of the subcommittee's investigators; and a variety of oversize documents and subject indexes. While the records of most of the field branches were interfiled with the records of the Washington headquarters, the documents generated by the New York branch were maintained separately. The types of records relating to the New York office parallel the records of the subcommittee as described above, but include the working papers of the branch director, Telford Taylor, as well. The subcommittee made multiple copies of many of the documents it collected in order to facilitate its reference work, with the result that copies of a single letter obtained from the files of a particular railroad company may be in several series of records.
7.77 The arrangement of the subcommittee records varies from series to series. A preliminary inventory briefly identifies and describes each series of records, and an unpublished appendix to the inventory provides a list of folder headings showing the arrangement and subject matter for all but 4 of the 29 series of records created by the subcommittee.
Records of the Committees on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 80th-87th Congresses (1947-1961)
Records of the Committee on Commerce, 87th-95th Congresses (1961-1977)
7.78 One provision of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 was the reduction of standing committees through the consolidation of committee jurisdiction. Under Senate Rule XXV, as defined in the act, the new Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce inherited the responsibilities of four former committees—Commerce, Interoceanic Canals, Interstate Commerce, and Manufactures—except for a few jurisdictional areas that were assigned to other committees, such as flood control and improvement of rivers and harbors, which were assigned to the Committee on Public Works. The Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee's jurisdiction included the following: Interstate and foreign commerce generally; regulation of interstate railroads, buses, trucks, and pipe lines; communication by telephone, telegraph, radio, and television; civil aeronautics; merchant marine generally; registering and licensing of vessels and small boats; navigation and related laws, including pilotage; rules and international arrangements to prevent collisions at sea; merchant marine officers and seamen; measures relating to the regulation of common carriers by water, their inspection, and their safety and lifesaving equipment; the Coast and Geodetic Survey; the Coast Guard, including the life-saving service, lighthouses, lightships, and ocean derelicts; the United States Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academies; the Weather Bureau; nonmilitary matters relating to the Panama Canal and interoceanic canals generally; fisheries and wildlife; and the National Bureau of Standards, including the standardization of weights and measures and the metric system.
7.79 In 1961, the Senate approved S. Res. 117, 87th Cong., to rename the committee the Committee on Commerce, which it remained until the 1977 reorganization of the Senate committees, pursuant to S. Res. 4, 95th Cong. The 1977 reorganization expanded the jurisdiction of the committee to include nonmilitary aeronautical and space science; coastal zone management; highway safety; regulation of many consumer products and services; science, engineering and technology research and development and policy; and sports. To reflect its expanded jurisdiction, the committee was renamed the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
7.80 There are 851 ft. of records of the full committee, its subcommittees, and its staff for the period 1947-68.
Records of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 80th-87th Congresses (1947-1961)
Records of the Committee on Commerce, 87th-95th Congresses (1961-1977)
7.81 There are several series of records of the full committee but for the most part the records consist of legislative case files and subject files. Records for 1947-54 (80th-83d Congresses) are organized in a less structured way than those of the 1955-68 period, when Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, chaired the committee. Since the late 1940's, records of subcommittees have constituted a important part of the committee's records as a supplement to the full committee's records. However, during Magnuson's chairmanship, 1955-1978 and especially after 1960, the full committee records are also supplemented by records maintained by individual professional staff members. Another feature of the committee's records during Magnuson's chairmanship is the absence of detailed executive session documentation, such as verbatim minutes or transcripts. Magnuson's long-time assistant, W. Featherstone Reid, verified in an interview that such records were not kept. According to Reid, summary minutes were kept during this period, but the records are not in National Archives.
7.82 Legislative case files, 1947-68 (306 ft.), are the primary series of full committee records. The records are arranged by Congress, thereunder by type of bill, and thereunder numerically by bill number. They include original copies of printed bills, amendments, committee reports, printed hearings, official correspondence, public correspondence, clippings from the Congressional Record and newspapers, and related reference matter pertaining to bills and resolutions that were referred to the committee. Several of the case files measure more than 1 linear foot of papers. These larger files are usually for bills that inspired a substantial volume of public correspondence. Examples of such files include S. 265, 80th Cong. (2 ft.), S. 3294, 83d Cong (5 ft.), and S. 923, 84th Cong. (6 ft.), relating to restrictions on liquor advertising; S. 1197, relating to ICC ratemaking (16 ft.); and S. 559, 89th Cong., relating to cigarette labeling (3 ft.). One of the most significant bills considered by the committee was S. 1732, 88th Cong., to eliminate discrimination in public accommodations affecting interstate commerce (8 ft.). Many of the key provisions of this bill were included in H.R. 7152, which was enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-352).
7.83 The legislative case files also include records relating to certain investigations authorized by simple resolutions of the Senate. For example, in the 80th Congress, pursuant to S. Res. 44 and 47, the committee investigated the adequacy of the supply of railroad boxcars in West Virginia and the shortage of boxcars generally (1 ft.). In the 81st Congress, pursuant to S. Res. 230, the committee investigated the operations of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the export control program, and the fall of China to the Communists (1 ft.). In isolated instances, the records of special subcommittees are in this series; for example, records of the Special Subcommittee on Merchant Marine Training and Education (S. Res. 35, 84th Cong., 8 in.).
7.84 Other series of records referred to the committee are Presidential messages and executive communications, 1947-68 (30 ft.), and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures, 1947-68 (25 ft.). Few Presidential messages were referred to the committee and consequently most of the records are executive communications, consisting of periodic and special reports and legislative proposals from executive agencies. Most of the petitions and memorials were referred to the committee between 1947 and 1952 and urged the Senate to enact legislation to regulate the advertising of alcoholic beverages.
7.85 The committee maintained subject files ("general correspondence"), 1947-68 (86 ft.), for each Congress. For the 80th-83d Congresses, the records have no particular arrangement; for the 84th-90th Congresses, the records for each Congress are arranged alphabetically by subject. The files for the 88th-90th Congresses (1963-68) are more voluminous, measuring 52 ft. The records may include administrative records and transcripts of hearings, in addition to correspondence, reports, staff memorandums, and related reference material on virtually all matters coming before the full committee. Related records of subcommittees are described below. Supplementing this series is the committee's reading file, 1949-68 with gaps (10 ft.).
7.86 A few transcripts of hearings, 1947-64 (3 ft.), are maintained separately. The most significant are unprinted or executive session transcripts of hearings for the following: The Subcommittee on Aviation, relating to aviation policy and an investigation of air crashes, 80th Cong. (5 in.); the Subcommittee on Trade Policy, 80th Cong. (1 in.); and the full committee, relating to the Panama Canal and to fisheries on the continental shelf, 88th Cong. (1 in.). The remainder consist of printer's copies of transcripts. Transcripts of hearings are found in several other series, including the subject, legislative case, and nomination files of the committee.
7.87 The committee also maintained a series of so-called special studies, 1959-66 (3 ft.), which were either done by consultants to the committee, such as Leslie Rudy's study of military cargo movements through Pacific Coast port areas, 87th Congress, or prepared by consultants to executive agencies such as Booz, Allen, Hamilton, which produced an organizational and procedural survey of the Interstate Commerce Commission, 87th Congress; press releases, 1961-68 (9 in.), issued by the committee and Senator Magnuson personally; and administrative records, 1947-56 (3 ft.), including job applications, financial records, committee notices, and one transcript of an executive session on the coordination of subcommittee activities, January 23, 1947.
7.88 While most studies undertaken by the committee were actually carried out by one of its subcommittees, the full committee did conduct its own studies. In the 84th Congress, the committee studied problems related to Alaska and Pacific Coast fisheries and to West Coast transportation. The records of the Alaska investigations, 1955-56 (3 ft.), include subject files, printer's copies of hearings and committee reports, and a transcript of an executive session of the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. In the 84th and 85th Congresses, the committee conducted a study of television network regulation and UHF problems. Records relating to the television inquiry, 1954-58 (17 ft.), are arranged alphabetically by subject and include questionnaires completed by network affiliates. The questionnaires are arranged alphabetically by station call letters. There are also printed and original transcripts of hearings and committee reports and prints. In the 86th Congress, the committee undertook a major study of national transportation policy, a study mandated by the Transportation Act of 1958. Records relating to the transportation policy study, 1959-61 (21 ft.), document the preparation of S. Rpt. 445, 87th Cong., 1st sess. (Serial 12330), which is entitled "National Transportation Policy." The study, which was highly critical of the Federal Government's approach to transportation, was authorized by S. Res. 29, 86th Cong. and directed by Maj. Gen. John P. Doyle. The records include correspondence, reports, staff memorandums, other items cited in the final report, and an index; the arrangement of the records corresponds to the organization of the report, except for some miscellaneous correspondence and duplicate printed material.
7.89 Nomination files, 1947-68 (22 ft.), include correspondence from Senators, organizations, and the general public; unprinted transcripts of hearings (80th-83d Congresses only) and printer's copies of transcripts of printed hearings; nomination reference and report forms; biographical sketches of nominees; and staff memorandums relating to nominations referred to the committee for its advice and consent. Included among the positions requiring committee approval are the Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Transportation (since 1967), and their top-level assistants; commissioners, board members, or chief administrators of various regulatory agencies, including the Civil Aeronautics Board, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Power Commission, Interstate Commerce Commission, and U.S. Maritime Commission, among others; and routine nominations of commissioned officers in the Coast Guard. Most of the larger files date from the 1950's, such as the file on the nomination of Lewis Strauss to be Secretary of Commerce (86th Cong., 3 ft.). Other prominent nominees include W. Averill Harriman (Secretary of Commerce, 80th Cong.); Leland Olds (Federal Power Commission, 81st Cong.); Thomas C. Blaisdell, Jr. (Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 80th Cong.), who was tangentially involved in the William Remington loyalty case; former Congressman Robert Franklin Jones (Federal Communications Commission, 80th Cong.); and former Senator Chan Gurney (Civil Aeronautics Board, 82d Cong.).
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Records of the Subcommittees
7.90 The records of subcommittees of the Committees on Interstate and Foreign Commerce (1947-61) and Commerce (1961-77) are voluminous and rich. Prior to 1947, both the Committee on Commerce and Committee on Interstate Commerce had their own standing subcommittees and as required appointed special subcommittees, usually to investigate specific situations or events. As indicated previously and excluding the Subcommittee To Investigate Interstate Railroads, relatively few records of those subcommittees have been preserved.
7.91 The records of both the standing and special subcommittees established after 1946 are more abundant and complete, and they are supplemented by records of staff members who often worked with a single subcommittee. In the 80th Congress, there were subcommittees on merchant marine, on oil and gas shortages, and on trade policies. Other subcommittees studied communications, and investigated the Nashua, NH, mills and the operations of Textron, Inc. The committee also contributed to the Congressional Aviation Policy Board, a joint committee of Congress. The 81st Congress saw a change in committee leadership. During his tenure (1949-52), the new chairman, Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado, obtained authorization for several investigations. In particular, he proposed four areas of study and investigation in four separate Senate resolutions. One called for an investigation of various problems relating to interstate commerce including aviation issues; the others specifically authorized studies of the United States merchant marine, domestic land and water transportation, and radio, telegraph and telephone communications (S. Res. 50, 45, 62, 63, 81st Cong., respectively). The Committee on Rules and Administration determined that a single resolution authorizing all of the studies would permit the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce not only to establish a pool of employees rather than four separate staffs to perform the necessary work in connection with the investigations, but also to create one payroll, an important consideration. These investigations continued through the 83d Congress (1953-54) at which time Committee Chair John Bricker of Ohio institutionalized them by appointing standing subcommittees on Aviation, Communications, Surface Transportation, and Water Transportation.
7.92 Beginning with the 84th Congress, the committee, under the chairmanship of Senator Magnuson, had four standing subcommittees—Aviation, Communications, Merchant Marine and Fisheries, and Surface Transportation. Following the precedent set in 1949 with S. Res. 50, 81st Cong., the committee continued to use a single resolution to obtain authorization and funding for the investigations and studies done by these subcommittees. In a few instances, special subcommittees or studies by the full committee were authorized and funded separately, but in general practice the authority to conduct and the money to pay for most subcommittee investigations stemmed from a single resolution that was reintroduced when the former resolution expired.
7.93 The next several paragraphs of this chapter describe the records of the major standing subcommittees—Aviation, Communications, Consumer (since 1966), Merchant Marine and Fisheries (and its predecessor), and Surface Transportation (and its predecessors). Following the description of these standing subcommittees and their records is a description of other subcommittees appointed for particular studies or investigations. Some of these are titled "special subcommittees," but others are not. For some subcommittees no records are identified, but researchers may locate the records for a particular subcommittee in the legislative case file for the authorizing resolution, if applicable.
- Subcommittee on Aviation and Related Investigatory Groups
- Subcommittee on Communications
- Subcommittee on the Consumer
- Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and Predecessor Subcommittees
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Predecessor Subcommittees
- Subcommittee on Oil and Coal Shortages
- Subcommittee on Trade Policy
- Watchdog Subcommittee on Freight Absorption and Pricing Practices
- Special Subcommittee on Export Controls and Policies
- Subcommittee on New England Transportation
- Special Investigating Subcommittee (Subcommittee Investigating Waterfront Racketeering and Port Security)
- Special Subcommittee to Study the Maritime Subsidy Program
- Special Subcommittee on Automobile Marketing Practices
- Special Subcommittee on the Military Air Transportation Service (MATS) and the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)
- Special Subcommittee on the Textile Industry
- Special Committee to Study Foreign Commerce
- Special Subcommittee on Freedom of Communications
- Special Subcommittee to Study the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
Subcommittee on Aviation and Related Investigatory Groups
7.94 In the 80th Congress (1947-48), Owen Brewster of Maine chaired a subcommittee and led its investigation of domestic and foreign aviation problems. Some transcripts of executive session hearings of this subcommittee are filed with the records of the full committee. As authorized by S. Res. 50, 81st Cong., the full committee initiated investigations into a variety of aviation issues. From April 1949 through March 1950, the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce held hearings on the financial status and efficiency of the airline industry. During the 82d Congress, the committee conducted an investigation of mileage and traffic on international airlines from 1947 to 1949, and hired two private engineering firms to study the separation of airmail pay from subsidy. In 1954, the committee created a Subcommittee on Aviation, with Dwight Griswold of Nebraska as chair, to carry on its aviation investigations on a more formal basis. From 1955 to 1968, A. S. (Mike) Monroney of Oklahoma chaired the subcommittee.
7.95 The records, 1949-68 (43 ft.), of the committee's aviation investigations and other business are arranged by Congress, thereunder alphabetically by subject or correspondent. The records include correspondence, original and collected reports, and a few transcripts of executive sessions and public hearings. After 1954, the subcommittee accumulated substantial information on specific airlines that were included in the studies and investigations.
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Subcommittee on Communications
7.96 On June 19, 1948, the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce appointed a Subcommittee to Study Communications, chaired by Charles W. Tobey of New Hampshire, to investigate matters relating to the Federal Communications Commission, radio and wire communications fraud, clear channels and superpower in AM radio, frequency allocation in FM radio, censorship of radio programs, and domestic and international common carriers. The next year, pursuant to S. Res. 50, 81st Cong., the new chairman, Senator Edwin C. Johnson appointed Ernest W. McFarland of Arizona as chair of the Subcommittee to Study and Investigate Radio, Telegraph, and Telephone Communications to continue this work. A review of the Communications Act of 1934 and a study of the Western Union Company's proposal for a single national telegraph system were the subcommittee's chief priorities. In 1955, a standing Committee on Communications was established, chaired by John O. Pastore of Rhode Island.
7.97 The widespread popularity of television in the 1950's generated an increasing number of communications issues, and although the subcommittee continued to consider problems presented by radio, telephone, and telegraph communications, television-related questions attracted the attention of the subcommittee. Between 1958 and 1968 the bulk of the records of the Subcommittee on Communications relate to such issues as color television programming, sports broadcasting, subscription or pay television, political broadcasting, allocation of television channel frequencies, liquor and cigarette advertising on TV, crime and violence on TV, educational television programming and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the Community Antenna Television System (CATV).
7.98 The subject files, 1949-68 (76 ft.), of the subcommittee consist primarily of correspondence and collected materials relating to communications. The records are arranged by Congress and thereunder alphabetically by general subject or correspondent, or chronologically by date of letter sent. The TV-radio files for the 90th Congress (1967-1968), for example, contain reports, press releases, and public relations information solicited from television and radio stations from 1953 to 1968. Filed separately but similar in subject matter are the records of Nicholas Zapple, which consist of correspondence and collected information acquired by Zapple as the staff counsel of the subcommittee from its beginning until 1968. For additional records of the three in-depth investigations relating to television, see the records of the Special Subcommittee on Freedom of Communications and records relating to the television inquiry, 1954-58 and the Fairness Doctrine study, 1965-68.
7.99 In 1965, pursuant to S. Res. 76, 89th Cong., the Subcommittee on Communications began an investigation of the section of the Communications Act of 1959 requiring that all television and radio stations provide "reasonable opportunity" for the broadcast of contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance. By reviewing all complaints regarding political bias received by the FCC in 1965 and 1966, and by surveying all television and radio stations in the country, the subcommittee sought to assess the efficacy and level of enforcement of the policy known as the "fairness doctrine."
7.100 The records relating to the Fairness Doctrine Study, 1965-68 (20 ft.), include copies of decisions, orders, and notices of the FCC; petitions against the fairness doctrine; questionnaires and letters sent to and received from television and radio stations throughout the United States; subject files relating to a variety of television and radio shows; tape recordings of the broadcasts of the conservative, religious radio programs of Dr. Stuart McBirnie and Carl McIntire; and printout copies of the extensive computer analysis undertaken by the subcommittee. Depending on the type of document, the arrangement of the records varies, from unarranged to alphabetical by subject and chronological. A finding aid briefly describing the contents of each box and listing folder titles is filed in the first box of the subcommittee's records of the investigation. These records may contain proprietary business information.
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7.101 The Subcommittee on the Consumer was not established until the 89th Congress (1965-66), and for this reason, there are few pre-1969 records. The records, 1966-68 (2 ft.), consist chiefly of reference material with related correspondence. The records of Michael Pertschuk and legislative case files for various consumer bills on cigarette labeling, truth-in-packaging, and others, contain fuller documentation of the consumer-oriented activities of the committee for these years.
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Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and Predecessor Subcommittees
7.102 In 1947, Committee Chairman Wallace H. White, Jr., of Maine placed himself in charge of a Subcommittee on Merchant Marine, but there is no separate series of records of the subcommittee. On April 13, 1949, Edwin Johnson of Colorado, chair of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce during the 81st and 82d Congresses, appointed a Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Maritime Matters, with Warren Magnuson of Washington as chair. Magnuson chaired this subcommittee and its successor throughout his tenure on the committee, except for the 83d Congress (1953-54).
7.103 Initially the Merchant Marine and Maritime Matters Subcommittee concentrated on the need for ships and personnel for trade and defense, world shipping and its relationship to the merchant marine, foreign and domestic policies affecting shipping, the status of coastal and intercoastal services, and the legislative, legal, and administrative assistance necessary to provide the best fleet. The subcommittee interviewed experts and held hearings from June 21, 1949 through April 28, 1950, in order to formulate recommendations regarding the appropriate role of government aid to shipping. During the 82d Congress, the subcommittee held hearings on "The Safety of Life and Property at Sea," and on other subjects. The subcommittee sponsored an amendment to H.R. 5895 (S. 2388), 82d Cong., to guarantee American flag vessels at least 50 percent of cargoes to be shipped as military assistance.
7.104 The records of the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Maritime Matters, 1949-54 (10 ft.), include correspondence, unpublished hearing transcripts, both published and unpublished copies of the interim and final reports of the subcommittee, and reference material relating to a variety of maritime issues including Greek shipping, the Merchant Marine Academy, and the North American Shipping and Trading Co. The records for each Congress are arranged alphabetically by subject or correspondent. See also records of the Special Subcommittee to Study the Maritime Subsidy Program (paras. 7.118-120).
7.105 In the 84th Congress, the standing Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries was formed, and while there are no separate records per se for the subcommittee during the 84th Congress, the subcommittee met in executive session on the matter of Alaska and Pacific Coast fisheries (see para. 7.88). The general subject file for the full committee also contains material on maritime matters.
7.106 Beginning with the 85th Congress, there is a subject file, 1957-68 (28 ft.), for the subcommittee. The records for each Congress are arranged into two categories—merchant marine (18 ft.) and fisheries (10 ft.)—and thereunder alphabetically by subject. The records include correspondence, reports, at least one unprinted transcript of a hearing in the 89th Congress, and related reference material.
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Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Predecessor Subcommittees
7.107 In May 1949, Edwin Johnson appointed Francis J. Myers of Pennsylvania to chair a Subcommittee on Domestic Land and Water Transportation, to compile basic data and make a comprehensive study of all domestic land and water transportation facilities in the United States, including steam and electric railroads, motor carriers of passengers and freight, the Railway Express agency, the Pullman Company, railroad holding companies, freight forwarders, inland water carriers, and pipelines. The new subcommittee was particularly interested in the effect of public expenditures upon transportation charges and impact of transportation rates on the costs of goods and services to consumers. It also examined wages and working conditions in the transportation industry, the effectiveness of Federal transportation policy, and the adequacy of the transportation system to meet the Nation's expanding economic and defense needs. To prevent duplication of effort with the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Maritime Matters, the subcommittees agreed to a division of the work. The Subcommittee on Water Transportation was responsible for problems relating to navigation on inland waterways and the Great Lakes, and for coastal issues as they related to the Interstate Commerce Commission Act; all other matters pertaining to the shipping industry would be the responsibility of the Subcommittee on the Merchant Marine and Maritime Matters. During the 82d Congress, the Subcommittee on Domestic Land and Water Transportation gathered facts on each area of transportation, and held hearings in June and July 1950.
7.108 The records of the Subcommittee on Domestic Land and Water Transportation, 1949-52 (5 ft.), contain correspondence, collected reports, and transcripts of the hearings. The records of the 81st Congress are arranged alphabetically by subject. The records of the next Congress consist of correspondence (arranged alphabetically or chronologically), and an alphabetical subject file regarding railroads, highways, and the Interstate Commerce Commission.
7.109 When the authorization for the Subcommittee on Domestic Land and Water Transportation expired during the 83d Congress, Committee Chairman John Bricker divided its tasks in half and appointed Andrew Schoeppel of Kansas to chair the new Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and John Marshall Butler of Maryland to chair the Subcommittee on Water Transportation. For the 83d Congress, there are subject files of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, 1953-54 (2 ft.), but no separate records of the Water Transportation Subcommittee.
7.110 At the beginning of the 84th Congress, Bricker's successor, Chairman Magnuson, appointed a standing Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, chaired by George A. Smathers of Florida. The subcommittee maintained subject files, 1958-68 (24 ft.), which focus heavily on railroad matters (such as the 1958 study on the problems of the railroads) and activities of the ICC. There are no separate files for the subcommittee in the 84th Congress.
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Subcommittee on Oil and Coal Shortages
7.111 Chaired by Charles W. Tobey of New Hampshire, this subcommittee investigated and held hearings on oil and coal shortages, particularly as they affected New England. The records, 1947-48 (2 ft.), include correspondence; reports from oil refiners, State advisory committees, and State fuel coordinators; transcripts of executive session hearings; committee prints; and reference material. The Special Committee to Study the Problems of American Small Business, pursuant to S. Res. 20, 80th Cong., also studied the problem of postwar fuel shortages.
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7.112 This subcommittee was authorized following the issuance of certain Supreme Court decisions that upheld the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) determination that concerted maintenance of the basing point delivered price system was an unfair method of competition. S. Res. 241, 80th Cong., called for an investigation of the impact of these decisions on consumers and business and the resulting discontinuance of the delivered price system and freight absorption practices. Chaired by Homer Capehart of Indiana, the subcommittee held numerous hearings. The records, 1948-49 (8 ft.), consist of subject files and copies of original hearing transcripts and printed hearings. Closely related to these records are the personal papers of John Blair, an FTC economist and specialist on the basing point system (see Record Group 200, National Archives Gift Collection).
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Watchdog Subcommittee on Freight Absorption and Pricing Practices
7.113 Following up the work of the Subcommittee on Trade Policy, Committee Chairman Edwin C. Johnson formed what he named a "watchdog subcommittee" to oversee the Federal Trade Commission's handling of freight absorption and pricing practices during the 81st-82d Congresses. The records, 1949-52 (7 in.), include transcripts of executive sessions, a confidential committee print, and correspondence with the FTC.
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Special Subcommittee on Export Controls and Policies
7.114 The subcommittee was established December 21, 1950, following approval of S. Res. 365, 81st Cong., and was continued by S. Res. 56, 82d Cong., to investigate the effectiveness of export controls on East-West trade, especially in relation to Communist China. Herbert R. O'Conor of Maryland chaired the subcommittee, which held both public and executive session hearings. The records, 1950-51 (4 ft.), consist of transcripts of hearings held in executive session, printer's copies of public hearings, and an alphabetically arranged subject file. Some records may require declassification.
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Subcommittee on New England Transportation
7.115 This subcommittee, chaired by J. O'Brien (Brien) McMahon of Connecticut, investigated the operation of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The records, 1951-52 (6 in.), include an unprinted transcript of a hearing held July 2, 1951, a research and reference file comprising material supplied by the Interstate Commerce Committee (ICC), and staff memorandums.
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Special Investigating Subcommittee (Subcommittee Investigating Waterfront Racketeering and Port Security)
7.116 On January 30, 1953, the Senate passed S. Res. 41, 83d Cong., authorizing the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce to conduct investigations into several areas of criminal activities plaguing interstate commerce including "maritime matters generally, and particularly port security...." The next day, Committee Chairman Charles W. Tobey of New Hampshire appointed a subcommittee to investigate "waterfront racketeering," continuing the work of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce headed by Estes Kefauver, which had disbanded in 1951. The new investigating subcommittee conducted interviews, held hearings in New York, New Jersey, and New Orleans, and produced a summary report of its findings and recommendations. The work of the subcommittee resulted in S. 2383, enacted as Public Law 83-252, which established a New York-New Jersey compact creating a commission to rid the New York-area waterfront of crime. The subcommittee was discontinued when its authority expired on January 31, 1954.
7.117 The records, 1953-54 (8 ft.), of the Investigating Subcommittee are arranged by an alpha-numeric classification scheme. The administrative files (AD 1-14) consist of personnel and facilities information, and staff memoranda. The public relations files (PR 1-10) contain newspaper clippings, press releases, speeches, and correspondence. The bulk of the records of the subcommittee, chiefly meeting minutes, transcripts of hearings (including some of the Special Committee that preceded it), and collected information relating to a variety of crime problems including gambling, rackets, illegal liquor traffic, and mail fraud, are filed in the crime general files (CR 1-29). An unpublished list of folder titles accompanies the records. Access to these records may be restricted under S. Res. 474, 9th Cong., due to their source and subject matter.
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Special Subcommittee to Study the Maritime Subsidy Program
7.118 When Charles Tobey became chair of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce at the start of the 83d Congress, he continued the work of the Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Maritime matters by appointing a Special Subcommittee to Study the Maritime Subsidy Program, pursuant to S. Res. 41, 83d Cong. Tobey suggested that the new chair, Charles Potter of Michigan, confine the subcommittee's activities to a study and analysis of construction differential and operating differential subsidies in the maritime field.
7.119 Potter's subcommittee conducted a review of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, addressing the size, composition, and quality of the merchant marine, as well as the effectiveness of the existing laws regarding the maintenance and development of an adequate and efficient fleet. Hearings were held in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco between May 1953 and May 1954, and subcommittee member John Marshall Butler visited and investigated western European shipping and shipbuilding centers in the fall of 1953. The work of the subcommittee was superseded when Committee Chairman Bricker appointed the new Subcommittee on Water Transportation in February 1954.
7.120 The records, 1953-54 (3 ft.), are arranged alphabetically by subject, and contain original records of the hearings, correspondence, and reference material.
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Special Subcommittee on Automobile Marketing Practices
7.121 The subcommittee was established pursuant to S. Res. 13, 84th Congress, approved February 4, 1955, and continued by several other resolutions to investigate certain practices in the automobile industry relating to financing, insurance, and dealers' relations with manufacturers. Chaired by A. S. (Mike) Monroney of Oklahoma, the subcommittee held hearings and solicited more than 19,000 questionnaires from auto dealers. The records, 1956-58 (32 ft.), consist largely of the completed questionnaires (27 ft.), arranged numerically, but containing information identifying the respondent. They also include an alphabetically arranged subject file, general correspondence, and printer's copies of hearing transcripts.
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Special Subcommittee on the Military Air Transportation Service (MATS) and the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS)
7.122 Under the broad investigative authority given the committee by S. Res. 224, 85th Cong. and S. Res. 27, 86th Cong., a special subcommittee to study the operations of the MATS and MSTS, composed of members of the Aviation and Merchant Marine and Fisheries Subcommittees, was established to determine the impact the services and private shipping companies had on each other and whether or not the services were operating beyond the scope intended by Congress. Senator A. S. (Mike) Monroney chaired the subcommittee. The records, 1957-58 (1 ft.), consist of working papers of staff member Albert Luckey and may require declassification review.
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Special Subcommittee on the Textile Industry
7.123 Pursuant to S. Res. 287, 85th Cong. and continued by S. Res. 50, 86th Cong., this subcommittee investigated the causes of the decline in the U.S. textile industry, the resultant loss of jobs, the effect on the industry of U.S. Government policies, and the impact of commercial policies of foreign countries. John Pastore chaired the subcommittee. The records, 1958-64 (2 ft.), date mostly from 1958-59 and are in the records of the 86th Congress; others date from 1963-64 (88th Cong.). They consist of correspondence, hearings exhibits, original and printed hearings, and related reference material.
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Special Committee to Study Foreign Commerce
7.124 Under Senator Magnuson's direction, this special subcommittee was established under the broad investigative mandate of S. Res. 27, 86th Cong., and other resolutions. The records, 1959-61 (5 ft.), consist of administrative and substantive subject files, and include correspondence and other records on legislation referred to the committee. One such bill, S. 3102, to create on Office of Travel and Tourism in the Department of Commerce, died during the 86th Congress, but passed early in the 87th Congress as the International Travel Act of 1961.
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Special Subcommittee on Freedom of Communications
7.125 In September 1959, the Senate Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce established a Special Subcommittee on Freedom of Communications as a watchdog" committee to "insure freedom, fairness, and impartiality" in network news presentations despite the suspension of Section 315 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, the "equal-time" provision. In February 1960, the new subcommittee was reappointed as a subcommittee of the Subcommittee on Communications. Four months later the Senate adopted S. Res. 305, 86th Cong., authorizing the subcommittee to examine Federal policy in the uses of Government-licensed media.
7.126 The Subcommittee on Freedom of Communications, chaired by Ralph Yarborough of Texas, collected copies of letters to the major television networks and to the Federal Communications Commission complaining of political bias, solicited transcripts of 15-minute radio and television network newscasts from September 26 to November 7, 1960, held hearings on the 50 most representative complaints of political bias, and collected copies of study papers and transcripts of all speeches, remarks, press conferences, and interviews with John Kennedy and Richard Nixon from their presidential campaigns of 1960. In 1962, the Subcommittee published its six-volume final report.
7.127 The records, 1959-62 (3 ft.), of the subcommittee consist of correspondence, including the collected letters of complaint to the Federal Communications Commission and the television networks, as well as the administrative correspondence of the clerk of the subcommittee. The records are arranged alphabetically by correspondent or by subject. An unpublished list of folder titles accompanies the records.
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Special Subcommittee to Study the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
7.128 Another special subcommittee established under the broad investigative authority of the Commerce Committee, S. Res. 29, 88th Cong., examined the apparent imbalance in freight rates and the heavy reliance on Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports to the detriment of the seaway. A number of Senators on the full committee represented States in the Great Lakes region and sought to increase shipping traffic on the seaway. Frank J. Lausche of Ohio chaired the subcommittee, but the records, 1963-64 (3 ft.), indicate that Philip A. Hart of Michigan was the principal Senator on the subcommittee. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject.
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Records of the Committee Staff
7.129 Perhaps more than any other records, the records of the Committee on Commerce document the activities of a Senate committee professional staff. These records include subject files, legislative files, and chronologically arranged reading or "chron" files that were maintained for or by individual staff members who served in such positions as chief counsel, staff counsel, professional staff member, committee clerk, researcher, and secretary. Some of these series cover more than one Congress and may include material from both the open and closed periods as specified by S. Res. 474, 96th Cong.
7.130 Records of Gerald Grinstein, 1959-60 (1 ft.), are located in the records of the 86th Congress. Grinstein was at that time one of the committee's staff counsels, and later served as chief counsel (1963-66). His files are arranged by subject and focus on merchant marine and transportation issues. Copies of some of his outgoing correspondence are in Sylvia Cikins' reading file for the 89th Congress.
7.131 Records of Michael Pertschuk, 1963-68 (13 ft.), are located in the committee's records for the 88th-90th Congresses. Pertschuk served as one of the staff counsels and succeeded Gerald Grinstein as chief counsel in 1967. His records consist of subject files, 1963-68, and legislative files, 1965-68, and document his participation in consumer and other issues.
7.132 Records of Nicholas Zapple, 1951-70 (7 ft.), were transferred to the National Archives as part of the committee's files for the 91st Congress. Zapple was a long-time staff counsel specializing in the communications field. Zapple's files are arranged by subject. Copies of his outgoing letters and memorandums, 1961-66, are located in the staff reading files, and are a separate series for 1959-60 (86th Cong., 2 in.).
7.133 Records of Daniel Markel, 1937-70 (20 ft.), are located in the committee's records for the 87th-91st Congresses. Markel was a professional staff member whose records reflect his interest and involvement in legislation relating to oceanography and other scientific fields. The bulk of his records are alphabetically arranged subject files, arranged in seven overlapping chronological segments or "groups": Group 1 (1954-66); group 2 (1948-68); group 3 (1950-68); group 4 (1951-70); group 5 (1937-70); group 6 (1959-70); and group 7 (1959-70). Despite these dates, most of the records date from the late 1950's to 1970; the reason for the grouping is unclear, although most of the groups include material on oceanography and group 7, in particular, contains material on the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission of UNESCO. Other records of Markel's include a reference file on space science, 1961-62 (87th Cong., 3 in.), a subject file, 1963-64 (88th Cong., 2 ft.), and copies of outgoing letters and memos or "chron file," 1961-68, that are in the staff reading file (except 1965-66, which is in group 1).
7.134 Records of Harry C. Huse, 1960-68 (5 ft.), a professional staff member, consist of legislative files and subject files relating to maritime affairs, primarily for the 89th and 90th Congresses. Copies of his outgoing letters are in the staff reading file.
7.135 Records of Edward Jarrett, 1965-68 (2 ft.), consist mainly of administrative correspondence, principally for the 89th Congress. Jarrett was the chief clerk of the committee.
7.136 Outgoing letters and memorandums of the above persons and other staff members are in the staff reading files, 1961-68 (3 ft.). In addition to Zapple, Markel, and Huse, the staff members whose letters were retained in this file include Stan Barer (1963-64), William C. Foster (1963-66), Joseph R. Fogarty (1965-66), Marli Schenk (1965-66), Stanton P. Sender (1965-68), and Sylvia Cikins (1965-66). Each staff member's files are maintained separately. These individuals were either staff counsels or professional staff members, except for Cikins, who was secretary to the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Subcommittee.
7.137 Although not records of the staff, a valuable resource on the history of the committee and Senator Magnuson from a staff member's perspective is the transcript of an oral history interview with Warren Featherstone Reid, assistant to Senator Magnuson. The transcript of the interview, prepared by the Senate Historical Office, is on deposit with the National Archives.
Records of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 85th-94th Congresses (1958-1976)
- 85th-90th Congresses (1958-1968)
- 91st-94th Congresses (1969-1976)
Records of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 85th-90th Congresses (1958-1968)
7.138 The Senate established the standing Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences on July 24, 1958, with its approval of S. Res. 327, 85th Cong. This action followed 9 months of investigation and hearings by the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee and 6 months of the same by the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics in the wake of the Soviet Union's successful launchings of the Sputnik satellites during the fall of 1957.
7.139 The prime mover in the Senate's campaign to increase Federal involvement in aeronautical and space sciences was Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson, Chairman of the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, where the chief concern was maintaining U.S. preeminence in ballistic missiles. He also served as chairman of the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics, authorized by S. Res. 256, 85th Cong., to investigate all aspects of space exploration, including the control, development, and use of astronautical resources, personnel, and equipment. Johnson assured the subject's high priority by recommending the appointment to the special committee of many of the chairmen or ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Government Operations, and Interstate and Foreign Commerce, as well as the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy—all of whom had a logical interest in space exploration. Five of the special committee's members and several of the professional staff were veterans of the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee's missile-satellite investigation. The bill drafted by the Senate to include President Dwight Eisenhower's proposal of April 2, 1958 on space science and exploration was introduced by Johnson as S. 3609 with widespread bipartisan support. The final version, enacted as the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (Public Law 85-568), established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and defined the relationship between NASA and the Defense Department.
7.140 Following the enactment of Public Law 85-568, Johnson introduced and the Senate approved S. Res. 327, establishing the standing Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. The committee's jurisdiction was narrow compared to that of other committees: NASA and other aeronautical and space and related scientific activities, except those peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems or military operations. The committee was abolished on February 11, 1977, by S. Res. 4, 95th Cong., when its responsibilities were assigned to the newly created Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
7.141 For a more detailed history of the committee and its origins, see S. Doc. 116, 90th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 12798-3, issued to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
7.142 Of the 169 feet of records of the committee from 1958 to 1976, approximately 90 feet predate 1969. Included are records of the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics, 1958-59, which were incorporated into various subject and legislative files of the standing committee. Unlike most other standing committees, the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee did not break its files at the conclusion of each Congress, preferring instead to carry over project and other subject files from Congress to Congress.
7.143 General records, 1958-66 (40 ft.), including records of the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics and the standing Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, are arranged alphabetically by primary category and thereunder either alphabetically by subject (e.g., personal name or project name) or chronologically by date of outgoing letter or date of publication. Primary categories include administrative; committee (business, hearings, and publications); correspondence (chronological and alphabetical); Departments (e.g., Air Force); facilities (NASA); inventions; memoranda (staff to chairman); NASA (reports, newsletters, contract listings); newspaper clippings; organizations; projects; propellants; publications requests; reports (from agencies other than NASA); and speeches, statements, articles, and television scripts. More than one-half of the series comprises general and chronological correspondence, newspaper clippings, and requests for publications. Also included, however, are minutes of the February 20, 1958, organizational meeting of the special committee and related staff memorandums, records relating to the Ad Hoc Committee to the President-elect on Space (1960), background material for hearings, and an extensive collection of speeches, statements, and articles by NASA administrators and scientists, military leaders and specialists, and Members of Congress. A shelf list more fully describing the material accompanies the records.
7.144 During the early 1960's, the committee adopted a decimally arranged central filing system and applied it retroactively to some records dating from 1958. This filing system was used until the committee was terminated in 1977. The committee's decimal file, 1958-68 (20 ft.), is organized by the following primary classification numbers: 1 - Administrative; 2 - Program and Research Subjects; 3 - Budget; 4 - Committee Activities [including minutes of meetings and background papers relating to hearings]; 6 - General and Chronological Correspondence; 9 - NASA Facilities, Status Reports, and Press Releases. For example, correspondence relating to the committee's hearings on the 1967 fire on Apollo 204 (also known as Apollo III) appears under file number 4.5-16 and the Space Shuttle and Space Station program under 2.7-11.
7.145 Legislative case files, 1958-68 (12 ft.), include copies of bills or resolutions, and if enacted, the final public law; committee reports; printed hearings; committee prints comparing House and Senate versions; conference reports; statements of witnesses before the committee; background information chiefly from NASA; staff correspondence and memorandums; and miscellaneous files on legislative proposals and accomplishments. An extensive file on S. 3609, 85th Cong., referred to the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics, is a major component of this series. Supporting these files are public hearing transcripts, 1961-72 (8 ft.), most of which have been printed.
7.146 Transcripts of executive sessions of the committee, 1958-68 (10 in.), were transferred to the National Archives as records of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. This series includes executive sessions of the Special Committee on Space and Astronautics as well as those of the standing committee.
7.147 Budget estimates of NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Council on Aeronautics (NACA), 1958-68 (9 ft.), include, besides fiscal data, drawings, floorplans, diagrams, and maps. A few photographs of NACA/NASA facilities are also available.
7.148 Other records of the committee include: Executive communications, 1958-68; Presidential messages on space matters, 1956-74; speeches, statements, and press releases of Chairmen Clinton Anderson (1963-72) and Frank Moss (1973-77); speeches of the staff director and other professional staff, 1963-64 and 1968-75; papers of Eilene Galloway, staff specialist on international cooperation in space, 1958-65; drafts of committee reports on the Apollo 204 (Apollo III) accident and on aeronautical research and development policy, 1967; special subject files on communications and COMSAT, 1960-64, and on patent policy, 1960-65; and miscellaneous administrative and reference files.
Records of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, 91st-94th Congresses (1969-1976)
7.149 The records of this committee consist of series identical or similar to those before 1969. The committee did not retire its files in a systematic fashion at the end of each Congress and as a result there is significant intermixing of open and closed records. Transcripts of executive sessions are filed with the records of its successor committee, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
Records of the Committees on Commerce, 91st-94th Congresses (1969-1976)
Records of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 95th Congress-onward (1977- )
7.150 For the full committee, there are major series of general subject files, legislative case files, and executive communications for each Congress. Other series, including nominations, executive session and markup transcripts, staff correspondence and subject files, and petitions, have been transferred for certain Congresses. Records of the following subcommittees have also been transferred: Aviation (51 ft.); Business, Trade, and Tourism (3 ft.); Communications (33 ft.); Consumer (85 ft.); Environment (3 ft.): Foreign Commerce and Tourism (9 ft.); Investigations (3 ft.); Merchant Marine and Fisheries (37 ft.); National Oceans Policy (2 ft.); Oceanography (1 ft.); Oceans and Atmosphere (3 ft.); Science Technology, and Space (28 ft.); and Surface Transportation (85 ft.).
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1989.
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