Table of Contents


This reference information paper is the latest in a series begun by the National Archives while World War II was still in progress. The papers are part of a comprehensive descriptive program and are designed to provide researchers with concise information about Federal archival records relating to specific topics of current interest. The format and style of the papers has varied over the years, but they generally consist of an introduction that places the topic in the context of Federal recordkeeping, followed by sections describing specific groups of pertinent records.

Topics addressed by other recent reference information papers include: World War II Records in the Cartographic and Architectural Branch of the National Archives (RIP 79), Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II: The American Soldier Surveys (RIP 78), "Records and Policies of the Post Office Department Relating to Place Names" (RIP 72) and "Records Relating to the Early Involvement of the U. S. Government in Data Processing, 1880's to 1950's" (RIP 76). The descriptive program of the National Archives has addressed broader topics of interest with a series of subject guides to its holdings. The most recent contribution to this series is A Guide to Pre-Federal Records in the National Archives (1989). Other similar guides include Black History: A Guide to Civilian Records in the National Archives (1984); Documenting Alaskan History: Guide to Federal Archives Relating to Alaska (1982); and Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians (1981). The best overall source of information about Federal archives is the comprehensive Guide to the National Archives, a revision of which is now in progress.

Our reference information papers and subject guides demonstrate that Federal records provide researchers with valuable information on a range of topics far broader than the history of the Federal Government. We are pleased to make this rich resource available to researchers.

Don W. Wilson
Archivist of the United States
Note: Compiled by Barbara Burger, William Cunliffe, Jonathan Heller, William T. Murphy, and Les Waffin. Published by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Revised 1992.

This web version, originally created in 1999 and periodically updated, may differ from the paper edition. Possible differences include: updated names of NARA organizational units, corrected errors of fact, and incorporation of new descriptive information. Whenever new descriptive information has been added, it has been coded to display between brackets [] and in italics. In addition, the main text has been artificially split into four parts, by record group, to improve efficiency of storage, retrieval, and use.