Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 15
Records of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service and Related Committees
Committee records discussed in this chapter:
- Committee on Post Office and Post Roads (1816-1947)
- Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment (1873-1921)
- Committee on Civil Service (1921-1946)
- Committee on the Census (1878-1921)
- Committee on Post Office and Civil Service (1947-1976)
History and Jurisdiction
15.1. The Committee on Post Office and Civil Service was the successor committee to one of the original standing committees of the Senate, the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, and to a committee of more recent origin, the Committee on the Civil Service.
15.2. The Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads was established by the same Senate resolution of December 10, 1816, that proposed the creation of the Committees on Finance, Foreign Relations, the Judiciary, and so forth. The committee existed for each Congress until it was terminated by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-601).
15.3. The first standing Senate committee with jurisdiction over the civil service was the Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment. The committee was established on December 4, 1873, following unanimous approval of a resolution introduced by Henry B. Anthony of Rhode Island. On April l8, l92l, the committee was renamed the Committee on Civil Service. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 retained the Committee on Civil Service and established the committee's jurisdiction over all the aspects of civil service, the Census Bureau and the Government's gathering of statistics, and the National Archives. The act also transferred to the committee jurisdiction over the postal service. On April l7, l947, as specified by S. Res. 99, 80th Cong., the committee's name was changed from the Committee on Civil Service to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.
15.4. In February 1977, under S. Res. 4, 95th Cong., the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service was finally eliminated and its functions transferred to the new Committee on Governmental Affairs, which has a post office, civil service, and general services subcommittee.
15.5. Records have been preserved for three select committees and two special committees of the Senate that were established to deal with particular aspects or investigations into post office and civil service matters: the Select Committee on the Investigation of the Post Office Department, 1830-31 (21st Cong.); the Select Committee to Examine the Several Branches in the Civil Service, l875-l921 (43d-67th Congresses); the Select Committee to Investigate the Operation of the Civil Service, l888-89 (50th Cong.); the Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts, 1933-35 (73d-74th Congresses); and the Special Committee to Investigate the Administration of the Civil Service System, l938-4l (75th-76th Congresses). Chapter 18 provides additional information on the records of some of these committees.
15.6.. Because the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service acquired jurisdiction over the Census Bureau and the collection of statistics in 1921, this chapter also describes records of the Senate Committee on the Census, 1887-1921, and those of its predecessor select committee, 1878-87.
15.7. There are no published histories of the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee or its predecessors.
Records of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, 14th-79th Congresses (1816-1947)
- 14th-56th Congresses (1816-1901)
- 57th-79th Congresses (1901-1946)
15.8. The records of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads (77 ft.) consist of committee reports and papers, 1816-47 (2 ft.); committee papers, 1847-1946 (15 ft.); petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies, 1816-1944 (58 ft.); minutes, 1851-1911 (3 vols., 3 in.); legislative dockets, 1877-78 and 1907-17 (8 vols., 10 in.); executive dockets, 1866-1912 (7 vols., 10 in.); and petitions and memorials dockets, 1887-1916 (3 vols., 4 in.). There are major gaps in the coverage of the minutes and the three series of dockets. Legislative case files of the committee through the 56th Congress (1899-1901) are usually located in the committee papers; for such records, 1901-1946, see Chapter 20. Records other than executive dockets relating to certain nominations for postmasters and high offices within the Post Office Department prior to 1947 are found in the series nomination messages and related papers, see Chapter 21.
Records of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, 14th-56th Congresses (1816-1901)
15.9. Nineteenth century records of the Post Offices and Post Roads Committee contain bills, resolutions, petitions and memorials, much correspondence between the Postmaster General and other officials of the Post Office Department, and reports submitted by the Postmaster General relating to claims, compensation of postmasters, postal routes, post roads, and a variety of other matters.
15.10. Many of the earliest of these records concern the establishment of postal routes and post roads, which, with the construction of accompanying bridges, were a costly yet essential way of expanding lines of communication and development into the interior of the United States. For every Congress from 1816 through 1883, numerous petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State and Territorial legislatures were presented to the Senate requesting the establishment of routes and/or construction of roads and bridges to provide mail service. Three petitions were signed by Abraham Lincoln, who as postmaster of New Salem, IL, from 1833 to 1836 was intimately familiar with the problems of postal service on the frontier (24A-G13, 27A-G14, 28A-G14). Except for bearing Lincoln's signature, these petitions are typical for this subject. Committee papers for many Congresses of this period also contain bills proposing new post roads and routes, committee reports, and related correspondence.
15.11. The idea of using railroads to provide mail service actually precedes their successful operation. A petition from an early 19th century inventor, Benjamin Dearborn, requesting support for his proposal of "propelling wheel carriages" to carry the mail did not meet with the Senate's approval (15A-G10), but it was not long after the opening of the Baltimore and Ohio line in 1831 that the idea was reintroduced (22A-D12, 27A-D13, 27A-G14.1). Later, in 1854, architect and engineer Robert Mills offered his proposal for a transcontinental railroad, which was referred to the Post Offices and Post Roads Committee (33A-H16.1). The committee papers include an unprinted transcript of an 1878 hearing on S. 1142, 45th Cong., a bill for regulating compensation for transporting mail on railroad routes, and a report of the Special Commission on Railway Mail Transportation (45A-E15).
15.12. Ocean mail routes also figured prominently among the concerns of the committee from the late 1840's into the 20th century. Such routes were used between New York and such European port cities as Bremen and in combination with land routes to connect the Atlantic coast of the United States with the Pacific via Mexico or Central America (30A-H14, 30A-H14.2). Others established mail service to the Caribbean islands and South America. Several petitions were submitted by recent German immigrants asking for improved service to Bremen, especially since ocean mail contractors' vessels also carried passengers (32A-H16.3, 35A-H13). After the Civil War, additional petitions regarding European, Far Eastern, Brazilian, Haitian, and Liberian steamer service are among the records (40A-H18.1, 42A-H19.2, 45A-H17.2). Among the committee papers is an 1878 hearing on ocean mail service between the United States and Brazil (45A-E15) and an 1882 hearing on ocean mail service (47A-E17).
15.13. Records relating to mail contracts and claims of mail contractors were also commonplace among the committee's 19th century records. Beginning in 1825 (19th Congress), the committee records contain petitions and memorials asserting claims or requesting relief or indemnification for some occurrence relating to such contracts. As in the claim of Otho Hinton concerning a post office department contract with Neil, Moore, and Company (26A-D4, 26A-G14.2), such files can be quite large because they contain numerous supporting exhibits. In addition to large companies like Neil, Moore, and Company and individual contractors such as S. B. Lowry, who delivered mail to settlements on the Minnesota frontier in the late 1850's (43A-H17.1), there were major steam ship lines like the Ocean Steam Navigation Company (30A-H14.2, 32A-H16.2) and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company (45A-E15) whose activities are documented in the committee's records.
15.14. Postal rates were an ongoing topic of petitions and bills through the period. Prior to a postal reform act of March 3, 1845, rates for mailing letters, periodicals, and newspapers were very high by modern standards. Beginning in the early 1830's, the Senate received petitions asking for reduction of postage rates on books and periodicals and even elimination of postage on newspapers (21A-G15.2, 22A-G14.1, 24A-G13.1, 25A-G16.1). Many of these protests about high rates also sought elimination of the franking privilege that allowed postmasters and other Government officials free use of the mails. A report on the inexpediency of reducing postage on both letters and newspapers was presented to the Senate by the committee in the early 1830's (22A-D12). In the committee papers are several documents relating to an 1844 proposal to reduce postage on advertising pamphlets and circulars, including an example of such material describing the products of the Mott Iron Works of New York (28A-D11). The public clamor about postage rates peaked in the mid-1840's and led to passage of the 1845 reform act (28A-G14.1). Even after the passage of this act, petitioners continued to urge the Senate to reduce rates further (30A-H14.1, 31A-H15.1, 31A-H15.2, 33A-H16.1, 34A-H16.1). Prepayment of postage on letters with the use of stamps was introduced in the United States in 1847 and made mandatory in 1856, and some petitions relate to their use (34A-H16.1). The Senate also received a number of petitions during the 1850's (32d through 34th Congresses) regarding ocean mail rates that were reintroduced in 1860 on a motion from Charles Sumner of Massachusetts (36A-H13.1). After the Civil War, the committee received numerous petitions seeking extension of mandatory prepayment of postage on all mailable matter (41A-H17.4, 43A-H17) as well as for further reductions in rates on published material (42A-H19, 44A-H16.3, 49A-H19, 50A-J20.2). By the early 1890's, as a manifestation of the Populist movement, organizations such as the National Grange began to lobby for reduced rates on seeds and bulbs as well as on published material and rural free delivery (49A-H19.1, 50A-H20.2, 52A-J20, 56A-J31.4).
15.15. Many petitions and a few bills referred to the committee relate to quasi-banking functions that the local citizens desired, such as postal money orders (34A-H16.1, 42A-H19.2, 43A-H17.1) and postal savings banks (45A-E15, 47A-H20.1, 49A-H19.1, 53A-F24, 55A-F22, 55A-J27, 56A-J31.3).
15.16. Other changes, reforms, or practices of postal service that were urged or opposed by petitioners include elimination of Sunday mail service, 1825-53 (19th-32d Congresses, especially 21A-G15.1); use of prestamped and preaddressed envelopes (41A-H17.3. 42A-H19.1, 44A-H16.1, 52A-J20.1); establishment of a parcel post system (52A-J20, 56A-J31.2); and transmission of obscene material (specifically, the Police Gazette) through the mails (51A-J21.2).
15.17. One change that the post office fought was an effort by the Penny Post Company to deliver the mail to selected customers and cities, presumably those that had the best transportation routes. On behalf of the Penny Post Company, the Senate was petitioned for relief when the post office refused to deliver mail to its headquarters (35A-H13).
15.18. The records also document certain technical innovations that applied to improving mail service and communications generally. The development of the telegraph by Samuel F. B. Morse in 1844 was recognized by post office authorities for its revolutionary importance; Morse briefly headed a special division in the Post Office Department to develop his invention. Congress did not support these efforts and left commercial development of the telegraph to private enterprise. Nonetheless, the records reflect some public support for Government funding for this new technology (29A-G15.1) and after the Civil War, the public's demands for less expensive telegraphy through establishment of a postal telegraphic system (40A-H18.1, 41A-H17.1, 42A-H19.2, 44A-H16, 48A-H19, 50A-J20, 52A-J20.1). Other innovations documented by the records include Solomon Andrews' clam shell lock (33A-H16.1), Harvey Allen's air- and water-tight mail bags (34A-E9), Marcus P. Norton's marking and cancelling stamp (39A-H16.1, 42A-E15), and Gyles' improved automatic car stove fire extinguisher for use on railway mail cars (47A-E17).
15.19. The records also relate to labor conditions and the attempts of postal clerks, railway mail clerks, and letter carriers to improve their working conditions and salaries. The committee papers of most Congresses beginning with the 46th (1879-81) contain legislative case files on such matters, which followed a series of petitions referred during the 45th Congress (45A-H17) after there had been three pay reductions within the previous 13 months. From this point onward, post office employees petitioned for higher pay (numerous Congresses), an 8-hour workday (48A-H19.1, 51A-J21), paid leave (48A-H19.1, 51A-J21.3), and administrative protections to regulate their removal (53A-J26).
Records of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads, 57th-79th Congresses (1901-1946)
15.20. The records of the Post Offices and Post Roads Committee for this period are, with few exceptions, less rich sources of information about the committee and postal legislation than the 19th century records. Most of the committee papers are originals of reports or documents printed in the Congressional Serial Set and there are no records in this series for the 59th-60th (1905-09), 64th (1915-17), and 67th-68th (1921-25) Congresses. Legislative case files that are prominent in the 19th century are not found here, but rather in the papers accompanying specific bills and resolutions (see Chapter 20). The range of subjects of the petitions and memorials is more limited, and there are no such records for the 67th-68th (1921-25), 76th (1939-40) and 79th (1945-46) Congresses. A few bound volumes, listed in paragraph 15.8., pertain to this period.
15.21. Among the committee papers, the records of the 62d and 63d Congresses (1911-15) are the most extensive. For the 62d Congress (Jonathan Bourne, Jr., of Oregon, chairman), the records include correspondence; a subject file; papers relating to the committee's investigation of postal management in Seattle and San Francisco; and a file on a complaint, with supporting photographs, relating to alleged interference with postal service by and antilabor activities of the Jamison Coal and Coke Company of Greensburg, PA. For the 63d Congress (John Hollis Bankhead, Sr., of Alabama, chairman), there is a subject file and material on the 1916 post office appropriation bill.
15.22. Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies on postal rates and salaries and working conditions of postal employees are present for most Congresses during the 1901-46 period. Other subjects include parcel post, which farmers tended to favor and small town merchants generally opposed, 1901-17 (57th-64th Congresses); postal savings banks, which small, mainly rural, banks viewed as competitors (59A-J89, 60A-J113, 61A-J82); exclusion from the mails of all matters relating to lotteries, gambling, and bogus insurance policies (58A-J61); rural free delivery (58A-J65, 63A-J78); free delivery service for towns with populations exceeding 1,000 (62A-J69); Government ownership of telephones and telegraphs (60A-J112, 63A-J79, 65A-J46); Sunday post office operations (60A-J114, 62A-J75, 63A-J69); the controversial Fitzgerald amendment to exclude anti-Catholic publications from the mails (63A-J70, 63A-J77); the case of the Socialist newspaper, the Appeal to Reason of Girard, KS (63A-J71); exclusion of foreign language press from 2d class rates (66A-J51); aid for construction of good roads (66A-J49, 70A-J39, 71A-J53, 75A-J31); and air mail service (71A-J53, 74A-J30).
15.23. Related to the records of the Post Offices and Post Roads Committee are those of the Special Committee to Investigate Air Mail and Ocean Mail Contracts, 1933-35 (65 ft.), chaired by Hugo Black of Alabama. See Chapter 18 for a description of these records.
Records of the Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment, 43rd-66th Congresses (1873-1921)
15.24. The records of the Committee on Civil Service and Retrenchment consist of two series: Committee papers, l879-l9ll (l0 in.); and petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies that have been referred to the committee, l874-l9l6 (3 ft.). The National Archives has records for l5 of the 24 Congresses for this period, although for many Congresses the records may be incomplete.
15.25. The committee papers document the legislative effort to regulate and improve the civil service. The records include a legislative case file on a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to make contracts and bring suit for recovery of money and property belonging to the United States (46A-E3) and original transcripts of printed hearings relating to the Pendleton Act (1882) and the use of competitive examinations for entrance into the civil service (47A-E3). There are also Presidential messages transmitting annual reports of the Civil Service Commission (48A-E3, 60A-F5, 6lA-F3) and other communications relating to veterans preference (5lA-F4), including the revision of statutes relating to preference in civil service appointment to ex-Army and Navy officers (56A-F3). Also among the records are letters and reports from the Secretaries of the Treasury and Interior, and the Director of the Civil Service Commission responding to mandates of Senate resolutions concerning appointments, promotions, dismissals, and enforcement of civil service law (53A-F4, 54A-F4). Other records relate to the investigative powers of the committee (55A-F3) and the inclusion of all laborers and unclassified employees in the classified civil service (58A-F3).
15.26. Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies referred to the committee concern numerous specific subjects within the general category of civil service. For example, members of the Iowa Legislature resolved that a clause in a bill giving increased pay to Members of Congress should be repealed (43A-H3). Petitioners also expressed their opinions about reform of the system of appointing and removing subordinate executive officers (47A-H3); abolishment of discrimination against allopathic and homeopathic physicians in Government service (47A-H3); employment of ex-Union soldiers (50A-J2«.l); an increase in the appropriations of the Civil Service Commission (5lA-J4); veterans preference and increased efficiency in the diplomatic and consular service (53A-J3, 56A-J3, 57A-J5, 58A-J9, 60A-Jl3); extension of the classified service (54A-J4); retirement of civil service employees (58A-J9, 60A-Jl3, 63A-J5, 64A-Jl3); and the operation of civil service laws (55A-J3).
Records of the Committee on the Civil Service, 67th-79th Congresses (1921-1946)
15.27. Records referred to the Committee on the Civil Service include committee papers (4 ft.) for most Congresses during this period, petitions, memorials, and resolutions of the State legislatures and other bodies referred to the committee (9 in.) for two-thirds of the Congresses, and a legislative docket, 1941-46 (1 in. 1 vol.). For legislative case files for bills and resolutions referred to the committee, see Chapter 20.
15.28. Committee papers of this period are similar to those of the Civil Service and Retrenchment Committee for the 1901-16 period and include Presidential messages transmitting annual reports of the Civil Service Commission and reports submitted by the Commissioner of Pensions (68A-F3, 70A-F4, 71A-F4, 72A-F4); a list of employees in the tax unit of the Internal Revenue Bureau at the beginning of 1926 and 1927 (69A-F4); data comparing salaries of executive officers of private concerns with those in Government service (70A-F4); lists showing the allocation of positions in Government field offices (71A-F4); reports relating to overtime service of employees in the Departments (75A-F4); correspondence regarding general personnel matters such as compensation and hours of employment (77A-F5); and quarterly estimates of personnel requirements for the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and various executive departments (78A-F5).
15.29. Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies referred to the committee from 1921 to 1946 also concern a variety of subjects, including classification of nurses as professionals (68A-J11), support for legislation relative to the prohibition amendment (69A-J8), support for legislation concerning retirement and annuities (69A-J9, 70A-J4, 71A-J15), and opposition to the reduction of salaries of Federal employees during the Great Depression (72A-J13). There are also petitions concerning enactment of laws concerning the 5-day work week, permanent civil service status for wives of deceased and disabled veterans, and husband and wife employment (72A-J4); the use of credits in the retirement and disability fund as security for credit (73A-J10); creation of a court of appeals for civil service employees (74A-J4); and retirement after 25 years of service (79A-J4).
Records of the Committee on the Census and Its Predecessor, 45th-67th Congresses (1878-1921)
15.30. The Select Committee on the Tenth Census was established by Senate resolution on April 4, 1878, and terminated on March 3, 1887, with the end of the 49th Congress. It was succeeded on December 3, 1887, at the beginning of the 50th Congress, by the standing Committee on the Census, which was itself abolished in 1921, along with many other inactive committees.
15.31. There is less than 1 foot of records for these two committees. Committee papers, 1879-1908 (2 in.), include Presidential messages, correspondence and reports from officials of the Department of the Interior, other executive communications printed as Senate or House documents, and legislative case files. The subjects include establishment of a permanent census office (52A-F3, 54A-F3); a special census of the electrical industry (51A-F3); a proposal to enumerate, register, and more tightly regulate Chinese immigrants (51A-F3); and alleged errors in the Eleventh Census (1890) (53A-F3). Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies, 1879-1908 (5 in.) concern creation of a permanent census office (51A-J3, 52A-J3, 54A-J3, 57A-J4); requests for special censuses of the electrical industry (51A-J3) and livestock (57A-J4, 58A-J8); requests for marriage and divorce statistics (58A-J8); and use of competitive civil service examination to hire census clerks (60A-J10). Although the committee continued until 1921, there are no records after 1908, except possibly legislative case files in the papers accompanying specific bills and resolutions (see Chapter 20).
Records of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, 80th-90th Congresses (1947-1968)
- 80th-90th Congresses (1947-1968)
- 91st-94th Congresses (1969-1976)
- Records of Subcommittees
15.32. As mentioned above, the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 eliminated separate committees on civil service and post offices and post roads, and brought together under the authority of a single committee legislative responsibility for most of the Government functions of these committees. Under Senate Rule XXV, the Committee on Civil Service had jurisdiction over the Federal civil service generally; the status of officers and employees of the United States, including their compensation, classification, and retirement; the postal service generally, including railway mail service, and measures relating to ocean mail and pneumatic-tube service, but excluding post roads; postal savings banks; census and the collection of statistics generally; and the National Archives. To the Committee on Public Works fell responsibility for post roads because of its jurisdiction over the Federal highway system. On April 17, 1947, the Committee on Civil Service became the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.
15.33. The committee was terminated at the beginning of the 95th Congress (1977), and its responsibilities were assigned to the new Committee on Government Affairs, which also inherited responsibilities from the former Committee on Government Operations and the Committee on the District of Columbia.
Records of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, 80th-90th Congresses (1947-1968)
15.34. There are 197 feet of records for the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, 1947-68.
15.35. Legislative case files, 1947-68 (70 ft.), provide the basic documentation on all bills and resolutions referred to the committee. The case files are arranged by Congress, thereunder by type of bill or resolution, and thereunder numerically, and contain correspondence with executive agencies, including formal recommendations on the legislative proposal; correspondence with postal, civil service, and other unions and professional associations; transcripts of both unprinted and printed hearings (including extra copies filed at the end of the series for the 81st and 82d Congresses); staff memorandums and evaluations of pending legislation; printed matter, such as copies of bills, resolutions, committee reports, committee and subcommittee prints, slip laws (if enacted); and reference material. The files frequently also contain transcripts of executive sessions of the committee, typically its general business meetings, at which specific bills and nominations for postmasters were discussed. Principal subjects during this period are postal rates, postal and civil service job classification and pay, and Federal employee benefits such as paid annual and sick leave and life and health insurance.
15.36. Also referred to the committee were Presidential messages and executive communication ("messages, communications, and reports"), 1947-68 (14 ft.). These records include printed reports of executive agencies, such as the annual report of the Archivist of the United States and various reports of the Postmaster General; original reports by executive agencies in compliance with a particular provision of a law, such as reports by each agency on its super-grade positions (GS-16 through GS-18); and requests for legislation. Petitions, memorials, and resolutions of State legislatures and other bodies, 1949-62 (8 in.), were also referred to the committee, but none have been located for 1947-48 and 1963-68.
15.37. The Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee approved appointments for postmasters and provided its advice and consent for nominations for positions on the Civil Service Commission, high-level postal officials, Archivist of the United States (until 1950), and Director of the Census Bureau. Nomination files, 1947-66 (9 ft.), include various types of documents. For example, when the chairman, William Langer of North Dakota, was investigating postal appointments in 1947-48, the nominations files for the 80th Congress reflect his interest in appointments to 2d and 3d class post offices. The records for this Congress consist of committee forms with information on the list of eligibles for certain post offices and a small amount of related correspondence, but the records are hardly comprehensive. For later Congresses, the records may simply include transcripts of committee meetings in which postmaster appointments were discussed and transcripts of nomination hearings for specific nominees for positions on the Civil Service Commission or for Census Bureau Director. The transcripts of committee meetings dealing with nominations generally are usually arranged chronologically and the files on specific nominees are arranged alphabetically by nominee. The nomination files for the 83d Congress, during the chairmanship of Frank Carlson of Kansas, include correspondence regarding postmaster appointments that for other Congresses can be found in the committee's subject or correspondence files. No nomination files for the 90th Congress have been received by the National Archives.
15.38. In addition to hearing transcripts found in the legislative case files and nomination files, the committee has maintained separately transcripts of public hearings and executive sessions, 1947-66 (4 ft.). This series appears to be incomplete. As a rule, meetings of the committee were open to the public, except when nominations were discussed. Most of these transcripts are of general business meetings of the committee at which nominations were discussed, but they also include closed door sessions of subcommittees, such as those of the Special Subcommittee on Group Hospitalization (1948), and hearings relating to certain sensitive investigations. The transcripts are arranged by Congress and thereunder chronologically by date of meeting or hearing.
15.39. The remainder of the records maintained by the full committee are correspondence files, which include several types. The Post and Civil Service Committee may have either changed its correspondence procedures frequently or may not have transferred all of its records, because the records appear to be incomplete. The most comprehensive portion in terms of date and scope is general correspondence, 1947-1960 (49 ft.), which is arranged by Congress and thereunder alphabetically by correspondent, except for 1955-56 when the committee used a subject-numeric classification scheme for its files. The records strongly reflect the role of the committee's chairman, Olin D. Johnston of South Carolina (1949-52, 1955-64). There is only a fragment of correspondence for the 80th Congress during the chairmanship of William Langer of North Dakota (1947-48), chiefly concerning civil rights and fair employment practices. Other series of correspondence include Senator Johnston's constituent ("chairman's") correspondence, 1949-50 (2 ft.); correspondence with subcommittees, 1949-50 (2 in.), which includes reports on certain bills by the Subcommittee on Civil Service and Postal Service and the Subcommittee on Veteran Preference; correspondence with other Senators, 1951-54 (3 ft.); correspondence with postmasters, 1955-60 (7 ft.); reading files, 1953-54 and 1957 (2 ft.); and subject files, 1953-54 and 1957-58 (8 ft.). Subject files for 1955-56 and 1959-60 are included in the general correspondence for the 84th and 86th Congresses respectively, described above. The subject files for the 83d Congress include minutes of committee meetings and copies of Olin D. Johnston's speeches, 1949-52, and those for the 85th Congress (1955-56) include correspondence with other Senators, each as a separate subject. No general correspondence or other subject-oriented files for 1961-68 (87th-90th Congresses) have been transferred to the National Archives.
Records of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, 91st-94th Congresses (1969-1976)
The records consist of legislative case files, executive communications, and transcripts of executive sessions. The committee was eliminated in 1977 and thereafter jurisdiction over these subjects was assigned to the Committee on Governmental Affairs. The committee has a subcommittee now called the Subcommittee on Federal Services, Post Office and Civil Service. Few of that subcommittee's records have been transferred to the National Archives.
Records of Subcommittees
15.40. The committee established subcommittees and conducted numerous investigations of both postal and civil service matters during the late 1940's and the 1950's. Records of four investigations have been transferred to the National Archives. For records of standing subcommittees, see records of the full committee. Subcommittee Investigating Postmaster Appointments
15.41. Senator William Langer, chairman of the full committee, initiated S. Res. 81, 80th Cong., because he was angry that so few Republicans were appointed postmaster during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. Using his position as chairman of what was still the Committee on Civil Service, Langer refused to report on any postmaster nominations until he received authorization and funding for his investigation. After 2 days of debate, the resolution was finally approved on June 17, 1947. The records, 1947-48 (6 ft.), include complaints with related correspondence and staff memorandums, arranged by State and thereunder by post office; investigators' reports; staff expense vouchers; and correspondence with the Post Office Department and the Civil Service Commission.
Subcommittee on Federal Manpower Policies
15.42. Pursuant to S. Res. 53, 82d Cong. and others, the subcommittee was established to study the ways to utilize civilian employees of the Government effectively during the Korean conflict. Chaired by Olin D. Johnston, the subcommittee was particularly interested in eliminating red tape in employee transfers from civilian to military agencies, recruitment, absenteeism and turnover, reduction-in-force procedures, and use of consulting firms and contractor labor. The records, 1951-53 (6 ft.), consist of correspondence with and reports from Government agencies, particularly the Departments of Commerce and Defense, concerning their personnel policies and programs; and a general subject file, which includes correspondence, a hearing transcript, speeches of Senator Johnston, draft and printed reports, and reference material.
Subcommittee Investigating Postal Operations
15.43. The records, 1953-54 (4 ft.), of the Subcommittee Investigating Postal Operations reflects the work, pursuant to S. Res. 49, 83d Cong., of the subcommittee's advisory council, chaired by Walter D. Fuller, chairman of the board of the Curtis Publishing Company. Three sub-councils were established to deal with personnel, transportation, and costs and ratemaking. Outside consultants studied postal costs and business and educational use of the mails. The records include advisory council minutes and correspondence; special studies by the consultants; subject files, which include data from field trips; transcripts of subcommittee hearings; and chronological correspondence and other records of the subcommittee staff.
Subcommittee on the Government Employees' Security Program
15.44. The records of this subcommittee document the committee's role in investigating charges that the Government employed persons who might be regarded as security risks. Pursuant to S. Res. 20, 84th Cong., subcommittee chairman Olin D. Johnston conducted investigations of many individuals who had been fired from Federal jobs under Executive Order No. 10450 (April 27, 1953). Johnston was skeptical of statistical reports coming from the Eisenhower administration that many security risks, hired during the Truman administration, had been removed as a result of the Eisenhower security program. The records, 1955-56 (10 ft.), include investigative case files on individuals who requested that the subcommittee look into their dismissals; correspondence and accompanying statistical reports from various executive agencies relating to employee dismissals; subcommittee hearing transcripts; applications for employment on the subcommittee; and a general subject file, which includes staff memorandums, copies of Senator Johnston's speeches, and reference material.
Subcommittee on the Administration of the Civil Service System and Postal Service
15.45. Part of an extended investigation of various aspects of both the civil and postal service is documented by the records of the Subcommittee on the Administration of the Civil Service System and Postal Service. Pursuant to S. Res. 33, 84th Cong., the committee once again turned to a committee of outside advisors, led by James R. Watson, director of the nonpartisan National Civil Service League, to conduct the study. The records, 1955-57 (2 ft.), include the files of the advisory council, general subject files, and correspondence with and reports from Government agencies. The subcommittee submitted the Watson committee report as its preliminary report (issued as a committee print, March 4, 1957) and obtained approval of the Senate to continue and expand its study. The records, however, concern only the Watson group's study.
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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