Guide to Federal Records

Records of the U.S. Food Administration [USFA]

(Record Group 4)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 4.1 Administrative History
  • 4.2 Records of Headquarters 1917-20
    • 4.2.1 Records of the Office of the Food Administrator
    • 4.2.2 Central office records maintained by the Filing Division
    • 4.2.3 Records of central office divisions
  • 4.3 Records of State Food Administrations 1917-19
  • 4.4 Records of the Milling Division 1917-18
    • 4.4.1 Headquarters records
    • 4.4.2 Records of regional divisions
  • 4.5 Records of the Sugar Distributing Committee 1917-19
  • 4.6 Records of the Food Purchase Board 1917-19
  • 4.7 Cartographic Records (General)
  • 4.8 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 4.9 Still Pictures (General)

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4.1 Administrative History

Established: As an independent agency by EO 2679-A, August 10, 1917, under authority of the Food and Fuel Control Act (40 Stat. 276), August 10, 1917, replacing a volunteer organization established May 4, 1917.

Functions: Regulated the supply, distribution, and conservation of foods. Bought and sold grain and sugar and their products through two subsidiaries, the Food Administration Grain Corporation (U.S. Grain Corporation) and the U.S. Sugar Equalization Board, Inc.

Wartime controls lifted following Armistice, November 11, 1918. Conservation regulations lapsed, November-December 1918; licensing requirements, January-February 1919; commodity controls, except wheat, by June 1919. Administration of wheat program transferred to United States Wheat Director, who concurrently served as Chief of the Cereal Division, USFA, and as President of the U.S. Grain Corporation, by Presidential proclamations of June 23 and 24, 1919.

Residual functions of Food Administrator transferred to Chief of the Cereal Division, USFA (wheat and wheat products), and to Attorney General (all other food products), by Presidential proclamation, November 21, 1919.

Abolished: By EO 3320, August 21, 1920, which terminated Cereal Division, USFA.

Finding Aids: Division of Classification, National Archives, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Food Administration, 1917-1920, Pt. 1, The Headquarters Organization, PI 3 (1943).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Food Administration in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the U.S. Grain Corporation, RG 5.
Records of the U.S. Sugar Equalization Board, Inc., RG 6.

Subject Access Terms: World War I agency.

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4.2 Records of Headquarters

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4.2.1 Records of the Office of the Food Administrator

Textual Records: Legal documents relating to the establishment, organization, and subsidiary agencies of the USFA, 1917-20. Rules and regulations of the USFA, 1917-19. Policies and plans of operation, 1918. Agreements with producers, refiners, manufacturers, and purchasers of various commodities, 1917-18.

Related Records: Personal files of Food Administrator Herbert Hoover are in the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.

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4.2.2 Central office records maintained by the Filing Division

Textual Records: Central file, April-July 1917, with index. Telegrams and outgoing letters, 1917-20. Correspondence of the Accounting Division, May-August 1917, and the Canned Foods Division, June-August 1917. Telegrams and outgoing letters of the Coarse Grains Division, July-August 1917, April 1918-January 1919; and the Coordination of Purchases Division, July 1917- February 1919. Telegrams and outgoing letters of the U.S. Sugar Equalization Board, Inc., October 1918-January 1919.

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4.2.3 Records of central office divisions

Textual Records: Records of the following divisions: Accounting, 1917-20; Alimentation, n.d.; Baking, 1917-18; Canadian Relations, 1917-19; Canned Foods, 1917-19; Cereal, 1917-19; Collateral Commodities, 1917-19; Coordination of Purchase, 1917-19; Cottonseed, 1917-19; Distribution, 1917-19; Educational, 1917-19; Enforcement, 1917-19; Fats and Oils, 1917-19; Garbage Utilization, 1917-19; Home Conservation, 1917-19; Hotels and Restaurants, 1917-19; Information, 1917-19; Labor and Consumers' Interests, 1917-18; Legal, 1917-20; License, 1917-20; Marine Transportation, 1918-19; Meat, 1917-19; Mexican Relations, 1917- 18; Miscellaneous Activities, 1917-19; Miscellaneous Commodities, 1917-18; Perishable Foods, 1917-19; School and College, 1917-18; Special Assignments, 1917-18; Staple Groceries, 1917-19; States Administration, 1917-19; Statistical, 1917-19; Stenographic, 1917-19; Sugar, 1917-19; Supply, 1917-19; Transportation, 1917- 19; and Wholesale and Retail, 1917-19.

Maps (11 items):Statistical Division maps of the United States showing production of wheat, corn, rye, and barley by state; administrative boundaries of milling divisions and grain zones; and rates of shipment of grain and flour, 1917-18 (3 items). Statistical Division maps showing world sources of grain for England; water transportation in Rumania and Eastern Europe; European boundaries and the Allied occupation after World War I; calorie consumption in Massachusetts; and Aroostook Farm, ME, 1917-20 (8 items).

Motion Pictures (2 reels): Maintained by the Education Division, consisting of Femmes et enfants de France aud durs travaux des champs, ca. 1918 (1 reel); and Food Conservation, ca. 1918 (1 reel).

Photographic Prints (5,400 images): General photographic collection of the Education Division (Illustration and Plates Section), showing aid to Europe during and after the war, destruction and suffering in Europe, the domestic campaign for food conservation, and the activities of women and women's groups, 1917-20 (G). SEE ALSO 4.9.

Lantern Slides (152 images):Produced or acquired by the Education Division (Illustration and Plates Section) to illustrate lectures on food conservation, preservation, and preparation, 1917-20 (LS). SEE ALSO 4.9.

Posters (260 images): Collected and used by the Education Division (Illustration and Plates Section) in U.S. and French Liberty Loan drives, Red Cross drives, war work and enlistment campaigns, and campaigns to encourage food conservation and production, 1917-20 (P). SEE ALSO 4.9.

Finding Aids: Box list and name index for photographic print series G.

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4.3 Records of State Food Administrations

History: Federal food administrators were appointed for the 48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, the New York City area, Philadelphia County, and St. Louis. The state offices closed in 1919.

Note: There are no records of DE and FL state food administrations in the custody of the National Archives.

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports of the administrator and office divisions, with records of some county administrations, relating to production and distribution of flour, sugar, and cereals; handling of complaints; enforcement of regulations against hoarding and profiteering; and investigation of violations, 1917-19, of state food administrations for AL (in Atlanta), AK (in Anchorage), AZ (in San Francisco), AR (in Fort Worth), CA (in San Francisco), CO (in Denver), CT (in Boston), GA (in Atlanta), HI (in San Francisco), ID (in Seattle), IL (in Chicago), IN (in Chicago), IA (in Kansas City), KS (in Kansas City), KY (in Atlanta), LA (in Fort Worth), ME (in Boston), MD (in Philadelphia), MA (in Boston), MI (in Chicago), MN (in Chicago), MS (in Atlanta), MO (in Kansas City), MT (in Denver), NE (in Kansas City), NV (in San Francisco), NH (in Boston), NJ (in New York), NM (in Denver), NY (in New York), NC (in Atlanta), ND (in Denver), OH (in Chicago), OK (in Fort Worth), OR (in Seattle), PA (in Philadelphia), RI (in Boston), SC (in Atlanta), SD (in Denver), TN (in Atlanta), TX (in Fort Worth), UT (in Denver), VT (in Boston), VA (in Philadelphia), WA (in Seattle), WV (in Philadelphia), WI (in Chicago), and WY (in Denver); and the food administrations for New York City (in New York), PR (in New York), and DC (in Washington Area).

Finding Aids: Records of the MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV, and PR state food administrations are described in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

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4.4 Records of the Milling Division

History: Appointed June 27, 1917, as the Milling Committee. Became the Milling Division, USFA, August 1917. Reduced in size and designated the Milling Section of the newly created Cereal Division, July 1918. Administered the 1917 and 1918 wheat crops. Headquartered in New York City.

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4.4.1 Headquarters records

Textual Records: Correspondence of General Chairman J.F. Bell, 1917-18, and executive managers D.D. Davis and E.V. Hoffman, 1917-18. Central correspondence file, 1917-18. Correspondence, reports, and other records of the Auditing, Export, Graphic, Mechanical, Purchasing and Milling, and Statistical Departments, 1917-18.

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4.4.2 Records of regional divisions

History: Eight regional divisions (also designated as numbered Milling Divisions) were established, September 1917, to administer the 1917 wheat crop. Pacific Coast Division split into North and South Pacific Coast Divisions, October 1917. Regional divisions closed, July 1918.

Division Headquarters Jurisdiction
Eastern Lockport, NY CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA
Southeastern Nashville, TN AL, FL, GA, KY, NC, SC, TN
Central Toledo, OH IN, MI (except Upper Peninsula), OH, WV
Chicago-Wisconsin Chicago, IL IL (northern counties), MI (Upper Peninsula), WI (except Douglas County)
Northwestern Minneapolis, MN IA, MN, MT, ND, SD, WI(Douglas County), WY
Missouri St. Louis, MO AR, IL (southern counties), LA, MS, MO(except Jackson and Buchanan Counties)
Southwestern Kansas City, MO CO, KS, NE, MO(Jackson and Buchanan Counties), NM, OK, TX, UT
Pacific Coast Portland, OR AZ, CA, ID, NV, OR, WA
North Pacific Coast Portland, OR ID, OR, WA
South Pacific Coast San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, NV

Textual Records: Correspondence, milling reports, and other records of the Eastern Division (Milling Division No. 1), Southeastern Division (Milling Division No. 2), Central Division (Milling Division No. 3), Chicago-Wisconsin Division (Milling Division No. 4), Northwestern Division (Milling Division No. 5), Missouri Division (Milling Division No. 6), Southwestern Division (Milling Division No. 7), North Pacific Coast Division (Milling Division No. 8), and South Pacific Coast Division (Milling Division No. 9), 1917-18.

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4.5 Records of the Sugar Distributing Committee

History: Established by the U.S. Food Administrator, September 21, 1917, with headquarters in Chicago and five district offices. Distributed the 1917 and 1918 beet sugar crop. Terminated October 15, 1919.

Textual Records: Correspondence and circular letters of the treasurer and the traffic and office manager, 1917-19.

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4.6 Records of the Food Purchase Board

History: Established, December 1917, and recognized by Presidential proclamation, May 8, 1918, as an interdepartmental agency to represent the armed services' purchasing agencies in their relations with the Coordination of Purchase Division of USFA (SEE 4.2.3). Consisted of Quartermaster General (army); Paymaster General (navy); a representative of the Federal Trade Commission; and chief of the Coordination of Purchase Division, USFA. Terminated, December 1918; records closed, February 1919.

Textual Records: Minutes, recommendations, and correspondence, 1917-19.

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4.7 Cartographic Records (General)

SEE Maps UNDER 4.2.3.

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4.8 Motion Pictures (General)

SEE UNDER 4.2.3.

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4.9 Still Pictures (General)

SEE Photographic Prints UNDER 4.2.3.
SEE Lantern Slides UNDER 4.2.3.
SEE Posters UNDER 4.2.3.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

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