National Archives at St. Louis

Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings and Access

Archival Holdings:

The archival holdings of civilian Official Personnel Folders (OPF) include records created by various federal agencies for federal employees who served during the period 1850-1951. To view a list of most agencies with OPFs in our archival holdings, see Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings.

How can I access Archival OPFs?

Please note: In an effort to further preserve our records, the National Archives are moving to provide digitized reproductions of most records and secure digital invoices. Please provide a current email address with any and every request.

Individuals may access these records by:

  • Submitting a request via email to using the below requirements
  • Submitting a written request for copies of the records via postal mail using the below requirements and address
  • If requesting a CCC or WPA employee record, please use our Standard Forms available to the right. They may be emailed or sent via postal mail. Please note: your invoice will be sent via email. 
  • Visiting the Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO by appointment only (schedule an appointment)
  • Employing an independent researcher to examine the records on their behalf

How do I submit a written request for copies of records?

In your requests: Please identify the record needed and explain the purpose of your request. Include the request form if applicable. Certain basic information required to locate civilian personnel records includes:

  • full name used during Federal employment (first, middle, last, maiden (if applicable)),
  • date of birth,
  • name and location of employing Federal agency,
  • beginning and ending dates of Federal Service,
  • Social Security Number (if applicable)

Email [preferred]:  

Written requests may be mailed :
National Archives & Records Administration
ATTN: Archival Programs
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138

Copy Fees:

Archival OPFs are subject to the NARA fee schedule that authorizes the Agency to collect fees from the public for copies of archival records (44 USC 2116c and 44 USC 2307). A request requires the purchase of a COMPLETE copy of the OPF. We are not able to conduct mediated research.

Note: Do not send payment until we notify you that a record has been located.

  • An OPF of 5 pages or less: $25 flat fee
  • An OPF 6 pages or more: $70 flat fee
  • A Service Record Card (SRC): $20 flat fee

Service record cards offer a summary of employment to include appointments, promotions, transfers, and separation from service.

Some records may be subject to an $0.80/page fee with $20 minimum if the record applies to multiple individuals    I.E. if a record pertains to multiple persons such as a Postmaster Brief.

Please note: the above information, regarding access, pertains only to records of former Federal civil servants whose employment ended before 1952. To access records of civil servants whose employment ended after 1951, CONTACT THE NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORD CENTER-CIVILIAN PERSONNEL RECORDS click Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Federal (non-archival) Holdings and Access.