Guide to Federal Records

Records of the U.S. Secret Service [USSS]

(Record Group 87)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 87.1 Administrative History
  • 87.2 General Records 1863-1977
    • 87.2.1 Administrative records
    • 87.2.2 Investigative records
    • 87.2.3 Records of field offices
  • 87.3 Records of White House Secret Service Details 1902-69
  • 87.4 Motion Pictures (General) ca.1934 - ca.1974
  • 87.5 Still Pictures (General) 1973-88

87.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of the Treasury, 1943. First statutory recognition of name in Treasury Department appropriations act for FY 1954 (67 Stat. 68), June 18, 1953.

Predecessor Agencies:

Suppression of counterfeiting:
  • U.S. marshals and district attorneys (1806-60)
In the Department of the Treasury:
  • Office of the Secretary (1860-63)
  • Office of the Solicitor of the Treasury (OST, 1863-65)
  • Secret Service Division (SSD), OST (1865-79)
  • SSD (1879-1943)

Functions: Enforces federal laws against counterfeiting and investigates violations. Maintains safety of currency, bonds, and other securities in the Treasury Building and its vaults. Protects the current President and Vice President, former Presidents and Vice Presidents, the President- and Vice President-elect, and Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates, together with their immediate families. Protects foreign heads of state and of government while on a visit to the United States. Provides security for the White House complex and for foreign diplomatic missions in Washington, DC, and elsewhere in the United States.

Finding Aids: Lyle J. Holverstott and Forrest R. Holdcamper, comps., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Secret Service," NC 109 (1965); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Secret Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56. Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury, RG 206.

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87.2 General Records

History: Enforcement of Counterfeiting Prevention Act (2 Stat. 404), April 21, 1806, handled through U.S. marshals and district attorneys until an act of June 23, 1860 (12 Stat. 102), transferred responsibility to the Secretary of the Treasury. Functions delegated to the OST, 1863. National Currency Act (12 Stat 665), February 25, 1863, created a national currency and extended sanctions against counterfeiting. SSD established in the OST, July 1865, with primary responsibility for combating counterfeiting, forging, and the altering of currency and securities. OST transferred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the Department of Justice Act (16 Stat. 162), June 22, 1870. SSD remained in the Treasury Department, but continued under the supervision of the Solicitor until 1879. Statutory recognition accorded SSD by act of August 5, 1882 (22 Stat 230). SSD began providing protection to the President following the assassination of President William McKinley, 1901. White House Police Force created by an act of September 14, 1922 (42 Stat. 841); placed under the SSD by an act of May 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 328); and renamed the Executive Protective Service by an act of March 19, 1970 (84 Stat. 74). SSD assumed responsibility for physical security of Treasury Building (Treasury Security Force) by departmental order, April 30, 1937. SSD renamed USSS, 1943. See 87.1.

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87.2.1 Administrative records

Textual Records: Microfilm copies of abstracts of agents' reports, 1865-71 (7 rolls); and daily reports of agents, 1875- 1936 (832 rolls). Registers of letters sent, 1863-1903; received, 1863-1903, with index, 1894-98, 1901-2; and referred, 1863-69. Letters sent by the Chief Clerk, 1869-70. Letters sent, 1870-73, and register of letters received, 1870-74, by the Chief of the Secret Service Division while in New York. Letters sent, 1899- 1918, with indexes. Letters received from U.S. attorneys, 1879- 87; and from private citizens, federal agencies, and U.S. Senators relating to Spanish espionage activities, 1898. General correspondence, 1894-1937, with card indexes. Orders, circulars, and bulletins, 1874-1938. Miscellaneous administrative records, 1917-25. Records of action taken on arrests ("Judicial Action"), 1931-32. Opinions of the Solicitor of the Treasury, 1883-1915. Fiscal records, 1865-1923, including cashbooks and records of payments, 1869-1911; ledgers, 1912-21; and records of employment, 1865-71. Records relating to the dismissal of Special Operative Michael M. Mulhall, 1892-93. Albums of newspaper clippings, 1894- 1912. List of diplomatic and consular officers representing Latin American governments, n.d. Summary of meetings of the International Conference at Geneva for the Adoption of a Convention for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, 1927- 29. Administrative and subject files, 1932-60. Master subject and name card index, 1932-71. The Record, a weekly bulletin of the Secret Service, 1938-59.

Microfilm Publications: T915, T917.

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87.2.2 Investigative records

Textual Records: Special investigation reports, consisting of a decimal file, 1906-20, and an alphabetical file, 1871-1933. "Description and Information of Criminals," 1863-1906, with indexes. Record books of arrests and convictions, 1869-1930. Registers and lists of suspects, 1870-1911; counterfeiters, 1863- 73; and anarchists, 1901-2. "Pardon and Parole" case files, 1926- 37. Closed investigation files, 1920-38, with case history sheets, 1935-37. Index to names of recipients of rewards, 1913- 20. Records relating to seized contraband property, 1890-91. Report of the Franz von Rintelen mission to prevent arms shipments from the United States to the Allies, 1915-18. Arrest history files, 1909-33. Case file on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 1963-77.

Photographs : Criminals and suspects, some in albums, 1888-1931, with indexes and supporting documentation (4,000 images, in Washington Area).

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87.2.3 Records of field offices

Textual Records: Daily summary reports of agents, 1886-1912. Reports of special investigations, 1900-24. Records of arrests, 1877-1930. Correspondence with headquarters, 1886-1924. Newspaper clippings, 1880-1930. General orders and circulars, 1874-79, 1894-1938. Rules and regulations, 1901. Correspondence of the Indiana District Office, 1886-1924 (in Chicago); and of the Omaha, NE, District office, 1886-1906 (in Kansas City).

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87.3 Records of White House Secret Service Details

Textual Records: Microfilm copy of daily reports of agents on White House detail, 1902-36 (4 rolls). Records relating to the safety of the President, 1933-45 (in Roosevelt Library); 1945-53 (in Truman Library); and 1952-61 (in Eisenhower Library). Appointment slips for visitors, 1961-63 (in Kennedy Library); and 1963-69 (in Johnson Library). Gate logs, 1961-63 (in Kennedy Library). Presidential movement logs, 1963-69 (in Johnson Library). Executive Protective Service White House and Executive Office Building work project reports, 1964-68 (in Johnson Library).

Microfilm Publications: T915.

Finding Aids: Unpublished finding aid in Roosevelt Library.

Related Records: Papers of individual Secret Service agents and high-level officials (in Hoover, Eisenhower, and Johnson Libraries). Oral history interviews of Secret Service Agents James J. Rowley and Rufus W. Youngblood (in Johnson Library). Gate logs and appointment slips for visitors, 1974-77 (in Ford Library).

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87.4 Motion Pictures (General)
ca. 1934 - ca. 1974

Know Your Money, 1940 (1 reel). The Secret Service Story, 1955 (1 reel). Motion picture films relating to activities of the U.S. Secret Service, including films relating to the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, the attempted assassination of President Gerald R. Ford, counterfeiting and its suppression, the history of the Secret Service, and other topics, ca. 1934 - ca. 1974 (41 films).

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87.5 Still Pictures (General)

Forty-three training slide presentations for Secret Service agents, 1973-88 (TS, approx. 1,000 images).

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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