Research at the National Archives

Finding Aids for Record Group 59

Finding Aids for Record Group 59

Refer to CaptionZimmermann Telegram as Received by the German Ambassador to Mexico, 01/19/1917. National Archives Identifier: 302025.

Inventory 15

All of the records in the Central and Decentralized Files (Record Group 59), as of 1985, are described in Inventory No. 15, Inventory of the General Records of the Department of State, 1789–1949. The Inventory is divided into the following sections:

  1. Central Files
  2. Records of Organizational Units
  3. Records Relating to Various Functions
  4. Records Relating to Special Subjects and to Individuals

Records not described in Inventory 15 (accessioned after 1985)

Refer to CaptionDecode Worksheet for a Portion of the Zimmerman Telegram by Edward Bell of the American Embassy in London, 03/02/1917. National Archives Identifier: 302024.

Decode Worksheet for a Portion of the Zimmerman Telegram by Edward Bell of the American Embassy in London, 03/02/1917. National Archives Identifier: 302024.

Not included in Inventory 15 are records accessioned after 1985, and include the following:

  • eight new segments of the central file covering the period 1950–1974
  • hundreds of different record series, which the Department of State identifies as "Lot Files," continuations of the records of organizational units, various functions, special subjects, and individuals

Other finding aids

Although there are finding aids for the filing systems used for the central files, there is no way of knowing how many documents (if any) or how many pages are in each file for each time period. For the records of lot files accessioned after 1985 there are databases listing over 1700 records series and there are folder lists available for many of the series. These finding aids are available at the National Archives in College Park, some have been microfilmed and some are available online below by subject. Filing manuals from 1910–1973 are available online.

Records Among the Central File Relating to:

Records Among the General Records Relating to:

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