Records of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)/Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Division
(Record Group 515)
1928-97 (bulk 1933-97)
Table of Contents
- 515.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
- 515.2 RECORDS OF HABS CREATED PRIOR TO 1982 1928-79 (bulk 1933-79) 21 lin. ft.
- 515.2.1 Official records of Charles E. Peterson
- 515.2.2 HABS-related records of the Branch of Plans and Design, NPS
- 515.2.3 Records of the HABS Advisory Board
- 515.3 RECORDS OF HAER CREATED PRIOR TO 1982 1967-81 9 lin. ft.
- 515.4 RECORDS OF THE HABS/HAER DIVISION 1933-93 50 lin. ft.
- 515.4.1 Records of the Office of the Chief of Administration
- 515.4.2 Records of HABS
- 515.4.3 Records of HAER
- 515.4.4 Other records
- 515.5 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
- 515.6 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
- 515.7 VIDEO RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
- 515.8 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
- 515.9 MACHINE-READABLE RECORDS (GENERAL)
- 515.10 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
Established: In the Associate Directorate for National Register Programs, National Park Service (NPS), 1982.
In the Department of the Interior:
Historic American Buildings Survey:
- Branch of Plans and Design, NPS (1933-41)
- Branch of Architecture, Division of Design and Construction, NPS (1957-66) HABS Branch, Historic Architecture Division, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP), NPS (1966-73)
- Historic and Architectural Surveys Division, Assistant Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS (1973- 76)
- HABS Division, OAHP, Associate Directorate for Preservation of Historic Properties, NPS (1976-78)
- National Architectural and Engineering Record (NAER) Division, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (1978-81)
- NAER Divisiion, Associate Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS (1981-82)
- Historic Architecture Division, OAHP, NPS (1966-73)
- Historic and Architectural Surveys Division, Assistant Directorate for Archaeology
and Historic Preservation, NPS (1973-76)
- HAER Division, OAHP, Associate Directorate for Preservation of Historic Properties, NPS (1976-78)
- NAER Division, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (1978-81)
- NAER Division, Associate Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS (1981-82)
Transfers: To Associate Directorate for Cultural Resources (formerly Associate Directorate for National Register Programs), NPS, 1983.
Functions: Administers the HABS and HAER programs, which document significant structures of American architecture and important industrial sites by means of large format black and white photographs, measured drawings, and written historical and descriptive data.
Subject Access Terms: New Deal.
Note: The HABS records described hereunder have been accessioned into the National Archives. Not described hereunder are the originals of HABS measured drawings and related materials, which are in the Library of Congress, the repository of law for those types of HABS records. Reference inquiries regarding such records should be directed to the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540.
Although all HAER records available for research are accessioned federal records in the legal custody of the National Archives, most of them are in the physical custody of the Library of Congress. Reference inquiries regarding HAER records indicated hereunder as being in the Library of Congress should be directed to the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540.
History: HABS, originally envisioned as a six-month program to document examples of early architecture and historic structures by means of photographs and measured drawings, was approved by the Secretary of the Interior and the Federal Relief Administration, November 1933. Survey work began, late December 1933 and early January 1934, under supervision of the NPS (through the Branch of Plans and Design), with funding by the Civil Works Administration (CWA). CWA funding terminated, May 1, 1934, with HABS program continued under a memorandum of agreement signed by the NPS, American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Library of Congress (LC), July 23, 1934, pursuant to which AIA would identify and catalog structures, NPS would perform the survey work, and LC would serve as repository for HABS inventory forms, drawings, and photographs. NPS role made permanent by the Historic Sites Act of 1935 (49 Stat. 666), August 21, 1935. Survey funding included in Department of the Interior Appropriation Act (49 Stat. 1795), June 22, 1936.
Federal funding for HABS suspended, early 1941, as part of the wartime emergency. Some survey work continued, 1941-57, with funding provided by AIA, NPS, and other organizations. HABS resumed under Branch of Architecture, Division of Design and Construction, with funding from NPS "Mission 66" program, June 1957. Additional funding for FY 1958 contained in the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriation Act (71 Stat. 262), July 1, 1957.
HABS operations initially centralized in Eastern Office of the Design and Construction Division, Philadelphia, PA, with expansion to Western Office, San Francisco, CA, 1958. HABS mission defined in the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (80 Stat. 915), October 15, 1966, pursuant to which HABS Branch was established in the Historic Architecture Division, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
HABS consolidated with HAER (SEE 515.3) to form Historic and Architectural Surveys Division, in Assistant Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS, 1973. Separate HABS Division and HAER Division established in Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Associate Directorate for Preservation of Historic Properties, NPS, 1976. HABS and HAER consolidated as the National Architectural and Engineering Record (NAER), and transferred to Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service (HCRS), established by order of the Secretary of the Interior, January 25, 1978, pursuant to section 2 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950, with administration of NAER vested in NAER Division.
HCRS abolished by Secretarial Order 3060, February 19, 1981, with NAER Division returned to NPS and assigned to Associate Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Redesignated HABS/HAER Division and assigned to redesignated Associate Directorate for National Register Programs, 1982. SEE 515.1.
History: NPS official Charles E. Peterson, a founder of HABS (1933), served as director of the HABS Mississippi Valley Office, St. Louis, 1940; and as director of HABS-related activities conducted by the Eastern Office of the Division of Design and Construction, Philadelphia, 1957-62.
Textual Records: Correspondence, 1935-78. Original manuscripts containing Peterson's proposals for the establishment, funding, and operation of an historic American buildings survey, 1933-34; and an historic American sites survey, 1933.
Textual Records: General correspondence, 1933-50. Project file, arranged by state ("State Organization Files"), 1933-60. Records maintained by the architect in charge of HABS field offices, consisting of correspondence between the headquarters office and field offices ("District and State Correspondence"), 1934-41; correspondence and other records of the field offices ("District Organizational Files"), 1928-42; and bulletins and circulars, 1933-38.
Architectural and Engineering Plans (34,000 items): Brownline and "cronar" duplicates of HABS measured drawings, 1934-66. SEE ALSO 515.5.
Textual Records: General correspondence, 1953-79. Activity reports, 1958-78. Transcripts of meetings, 1958-77.
Sound Recordings (33 items): Meetings of the board and of its committees, 1967-68, 1971-77.
History: HAER established in Historic Architecture Division, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS, as a program analogous to HABS for the documentation of historic engineering structures, 1969, under provisions of the Historic Sites Act of 1935 and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and pursuant to a memorandum of agreement among the NPS, American Society of Civil Engineers, and LC, January 10, 1969. Consolidated with HABS to form Historic and Architectural Surveys Division, in Assistant Directorate for Archaeology and Historic Preservation, NPS, 1973. For subsequent HAER history in conjunction with that of HABS, SEE 515.2.
Textual Records: General correspondence, 1969-80. Correspondence relating to specific surveys, inventories, and projects ("State Operations Surveys"), 1967-81 (6 ft.). Logbooks and inventories, 1970-81.
Motion Pictures (2 reels): Elkins Coal and Coke Company (Elkins, WV, 1896), 1975 (1 reel). Seneca Glass Works (Morgantown, WV, 1904), 1975 (1 reel).
Textual Records: General correspondence, 1981-84. Subject files, 1991-95. Administrative files, 1975-92. Annual reports, 1959-91. Contact list, 1991-95. File containing awards and certificates presented to HABS administrators by public officials, civic associations, and historic preservation organizations, 1972-94. Historic American Buildings survey inventory (HABSI) forms, 1952-66.
Textual Records: Records of the Office of the Chief of Planning, consisting of correspondence of the Chief of Planning, 1951-79; general correspondence, 1935-84; project files, arranged by state ("State Survey Files"), 1960-80 (9 ft.); correspondence concerning specific projects ("State Operations Correspondence"), 1950-80 (19 ft.); records relating to summer field projects, 1961-80; official records of architectural historian and HABS contributor Harley J. McKee, 1959-74; records relating to legislation, 1934-80; copies of memorandums of agreement between HABS and historic preservation organizations, 1978-81; records concerning exhibitions, anniversaries, and symposiums, 1933-84; logbooks and inventories, 1958-80; newsletters, 1957-70; and procedural manuals, 1935-88. Records relating to publications, and copies of publications, ca. 1930-95 (12 ft.).
Textual Records (in Library of Congress): Field notebooks of HAER measurement teams, 1969-97 (in Library of Congress). HAER state correspondence files, 1966-89. HAER state and miscellaneous survey inventory cards, 1972-94.
Architectural and Engineering Plans (3,064 items, in Library of Congress): Measured drawings of historic engineering structures surveyed by HAER field measurement teams, 1969-97. SEE ALSO 515.5.
Photographs (49,167 images, in Library of Congress): Historic engineering structures documented by HAER field measurement teams, with accompanying data sheets and structure histories, in photo data books, 1969-97. SEE ALSO 515.10.
Video Recordings (3 items): "For the Record: How HABS/HAER Documents America's Heritage," 1989 (1 item). "America on Record: The Work of HABS/HAER," 1992 (1 item). "HABS/HAER National Archives Record Group Presentation Ceremony, October 7, 1992," 1992 (1 item).
Machine-Readable Records (9 data sets): Index to sites that were the subjects of HAER photographs and HABS/HAER measured drawings, 1933-93, with supporting documentation.
Posters (68 images): Advertising HABS/HAER exhibits and programs, 1969-96 (P). SEE ALSO 515.10.
SEE Architectural and Engineering Plans UNDER 515.2.2 and 515.4.3.
SEE UNDER 515.3.
SEE UNDER 515.4.4.
SEE UNDER 515.2.3.
SEE UNDER 515.4.4.
SEE Photographs UNDER 515.4.3. SEE Posters UNDER 515.4.4.
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.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.