Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Children's Bureau

(Record Group 102)


Table of Contents

  • 102.2.1 General records
  • 102.2.2 Records of the Division of Reports
  • 102.3 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL) 1919-26
  • 102.4 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1908-26


Established: In the Department of Commerce and Labor by an act of April 9, 1912 (37 Stat. 79).

Transfers: To the Department of Labor by an act of March 4, 1913 (37 Stat. 737), establishing that department; to the Social Security Administration (SSA), Federal Security Agency (FSA), with Industrial Division to the Division of Labor Standards, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. II of 1946, effective July 16, 1946; with SSA to Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), formerly FSA, by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953, effective April 11, 1953; to the Welfare Administration by HEW reorganization, June 28, 1963; to the Social and Rehabilitation Service (SRS) by HEW reorganization, August 15, 1967; to the Office of Child Development (OCD) by HEW reorganization order, September 17, 1969; with OCD to the Office of Human Development (OHD), by HEW reorganization, March 29, 1973; to the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families in the Office of Human Development Services (OHDS), by HEW reorganization, July 26, 1977; with OHDS to Department of Health and Human Services by Department of Education Organization Act (93 Stat. 668), October 17, 1979.

Functions: Provides advice and assistance to agencies and institutions on matters relating to children and youth. Administers programs relating to foster care and adoption assistance, prevention of child abuse and neglect, runaway and homeless youth, and child welfare training and research.

Child labor functions transferred to Bureau of Labor Standards, Department of Labor, 1946; social service functions to Community Services Administration, SRS, HEW, 1969; health programs to Health Services and Mental Health Administration, HEW, 1969; adolescent and youth services to Office of Youth Development, OHD, HEW, 1973.

Finding Aids: Carmen R. Delle Donne, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Children's Bureau, PI 184 (1976); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Children's
Bureau in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the Social Security Administration, RG 47.
General Records of the Department of Labor, RG 174.
General Records of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, RG 235.
General Records of the Department of Health and Human Services, RG 468.

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102.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Central correspondence, 1912-69 (515 ft.), with indexes, 1914-68 (246 ft.). Reference file of Ella Arvilla Merritt relating to federal control of child labor, 1913-39. Speeches and articles of the Chief of the Children's Bureau, 1924-67. Information file, 1914-68 (105 ft.). Correspondence and reports relating to surveys and programs, 1917-54 (84 ft.). Index to correspondence relating to the first and second Child Labor Laws, 1916-19. Maternity and infant grant project files, 1964-68. Children and youth grant project files, 1966-67.

Related Records: General records of the Industrial Division in RG 100, Records of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

102.2.2 Records of the Division of Reports

Textual Records: Reports to Congress and Executive agencies, 1947-69. Speeches, press releases, and articles, 1948-69.

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Our Children, 1919 (2 reels). The Best-Fed Baby, 1925 (1 reel). Posture Clinic and Exercises, ca. 1926 (2 reels). Sun Babies, 1926 (2 reels).


Photographs (2,256 images): Working children, taken by Lewis Hine for the National Child Labor Committee, 1908-12 (LH, 484 images). Photographs of children from around the world, 1916-71 (G, 1,450 images). Photographs of officials and staff of the Children's Bureau, 1920-70 (P, 322 images).

Filmstrips (4 items): Prenatal, infant, and child care; and children's diseases, 1919-26 (FS).

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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