Selective Service Records
Congress passed the first military conscription act in 1863 during the Civil War, allowing President Abraham Lincoln to draft men between the ages of 20 - 45. Our nation's second military draft law, the Selective Service Act, went into effect in 1917 and gave President Woodrow Wilson the authority to conscript men for World War I.
In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act, creating the country's first peacetime draft and officially establishing the Selective Service System. The draft continued from 1948, during both peacetime and war, to 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation officially ending the draft. The Selective Service registration requirement was later suspended in April 1975. However, in 1980, President James E. Carter resumed Selective Service registration in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Selective Service System remains in place today.
WWII through Vietnam Era, Selective Service Records:
WWII Selective Service Records: The National Archives - St. Louis maintains World War II Selective Service Records. During WWII, the Selective Service System conducted six draft registrations; these records are held collectively in two groupings at the National Archives - St. Louis. The first group contains records from the 4th Registration, known as the "Old Man's Registration" or the "Old Man's Draft," for those men whose year of birth was from April 28, 1877 to February 16, 1897. The second group contains the Selective Service Records of the remainder of the WWII registrants, born from February 17, 1897 to July 31, 1927. Please note: as there is overlap in the WWI and WWII Selective Service registration birth years (1877 to 1900), some men may have registered twice and have both WWI and WWII draft records.
The complete series of draft registration cards for the World War II era,1940-1947, from Record Group 147, Records of the Selective Service System, has been scanned and transcribed.These nearly 38 million cards are available at Ancestry.com. See https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2238/ for details.
Post-WWII through Vietnam Era Selective Service Records: The National Archives - St. Louis maintains Selective Service Records for this time period for all men born before 1960. Please note: Men born from March 29, 1957 - December 31, 1959 were not required to register with Selective Service because the registration program was suspended when they would have reached age 18. The requirement to register with Selective Service was reinstated in 1980 but only for men born January 1, 1960, or later.
To obtain a copy of a WWII though Vietnam era (men born April 28, 1877 to March 28, 1957), Selective Service Record, please complete the Selective Service Request Form and
Or mail to:
National Archives & Records Administration
National Archives - St. Louis
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138-0757
Please note: Selective Service Records for men born on or after January 1, 1960 are maintained by the Selective Service System.
The NARA fee schedule authorizes the Agency to collect fees from the public for copies of archival records (44 USC 2116c and 44 USC 2307).
- Draft Registration Card (SSS Form 1): $7
- Classification History (SSS Form 102): $27 - fee includes Draft Registration Card
Visitors to the National Archives - St. Louis: Public Research Room
What information is in a Selective Service Record?
For men who registered for the draft prior to 1976, the only Selective Service System information available is that of the individual Draft Registration Card (SSS Form 1) and Classification History (SSS Form 102) records.
All other individual draftee files from that period were destroyed by the Selective Service System in 1978, in accordance with approved records retention schedules. Physical examination and test results, medical letters, laboratory work and other medical documentation that may have been included in these files no longer exist.
The individual Draft Registration Card (SSS Form 1) may contain information such as: name, Selective Service registration number, age, date and place of birth, ethnicity, place of residence at time of registration and basic physical description.
The Classification History (SSS Form 102) may contain: name; date of birth; classification and date of mailing notice; date of appeal to the board; date and results of armed forces physical examination; entry into active duty or civilian work in lieu of induction (may include date, branch of service entered and mode of entry, such as enlisted or ordered); date of separation from active duty or civilian work; and general remarks.