The National Archives at New York City

Guide to Archival Holdings of the National Archives at New York City


Record Group 3

Records of the U.S. Housing Corporation

Administrative History
The U.S. Housing Corporation (USHC) was incorporated July 8, 1918, to provide housing, local transportation, and other community facilities for industrial workers. Incorporated in New York and Pennsylvania, the USHC acted as executive agent for the Bureau of Industrial Housing and Transportation, established in the Department of Labor on February 12, 1918, to carry on work begun by the Council of National Defense. The USHC Division of Surveys and Statistics conducted general surveys of industrial communities for the Joint Board on Industrial Surveys of the War Industries Board. The USHC also planned and contracted construction projects to provide housing and other facilities to war workers. Construction activities were completed in 1919, and thereafter, the USHC was concerned with the operation and sales of properties and the liquidation of other assets. The USHC was transferred in 1937 from the Department of Labor to the Procurement Division of the Department of the Treasury and in 1939 to the newly created Public Buildings Administration of the Federal Works Administration. Finally in 1942, it became part of the Federal Home Loan Bank Administration of the Housing Agency (now the Federal Home Loan Board).

Records Description
Dates: 1918-19
Volume: 3 cubic feet

Records of the Branch Office, New York City. The records document contacts with the Washington, DC, office, transportation companies, and other firms producing war materials; solutions to transportation problems, including scheduling special trains to accommodate war workers; and office management matters. Included are correspondence, memorandums, newspaper clippings, reports, schedules, and vouchers. Nontextual records include maps.

Finding Aids
Katherine H. Davidson, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Housing Corporation, PI 140 (1962).

Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-1921 (1943).

Record Group 4

Records of the U.S. Food Administration

Administrative History
The U.S. Food Administration was created by an Executive order of August 10, 1917, to assure the supply, distribution, and conservation of food during World War I; facilitate the movement of foods and prevent monopolies and hoarding; and maintain governmental control over foods chiefly by means of voluntary agreements and a licensing system. Federal food administrators were appointed for each State to implement the Administration's programs. After November 11, 1918, the Administration was gradually dismantled and its rules and regulations revoked. An Executive order of August 21, 1920, terminated all branches of the Food Administration still in existence, and the majority of its records were placed in the custody of the U.S. Grain Corporation.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-19
Volume: 102 cubic feet

Records of the following units:
  • food administrators for New Jersey, New York (including New York City, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties), and Puerto Rico;
  • the Divisions of Enforcement and Publicity for New Jersey;
  • the Division of Licenses and Enforcement for Puerto Rico;
  • the Sugar Division, the Bureau of Complaints, the Legal and Enforcement Bureaus, and the Hotel and Restaurant Committees for New York State.
The records relate to the conservation and consumption of food products such as cereals, flour, and sugar, and investigations of food regulations. The records are correspondence and reports.

Finding Aids
Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Food Administration, 1917-1920, Pt. 1: The Headquarters Organization, PI 3 (1943).

Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-1921 (1943).

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Record Group 9
Records of the National Recovery Administration

Administrative History
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was created by an Executive order of June 16, 1933, to rehabilitate industry and trade in the United States, expand employment, and improve labor conditions. The NRA drafted codes of fair competition to govern industries and trades.

The Administration created district recovery and local compliance boards. In January 1934, a system of State compliance offices reporting directly to the Compliance Division in Washington, DC, superseded the district offices. Many of the State offices set up branches with a resident field adjuster in charge. A regional office system was established on December 28, 1934, by authority of Field Letter #190.

The 1935 Supreme Court decision in Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. declared many provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act unconstitutional. After this decision NRA activities were confined to promoting industrial cooperation and preparing a series of economic studies. On January 1, 1936, the NRA was terminated, with most of its divisions transferred to the Department of Commerce for liquidation by April 1, 1936. The field offices were terminated on January 31, 1936.

Records Description
Dates: 1933-36
Volume: 140 cubic feet

Records of region 2, New York State. The records relate to the activities of code authorities and Federal emergency agencies, administrative matters, compliance, labor disputes, legal matters, personnel administration, and public attitudes to the recovery program. They are correspondence, case files, and memorandums.

Records of the Territorial Office for Puerto Rico. The records document administrative matters, activities of local committees and trade groups, code preparation and histories, and legal matters. Included are correspondence, memorandums, minutes, press releases and clippings, questionnaires, and reports.

Finding Aids
Henry T. Ulasek and Ira N. Kellogg, Jr., comps., Preliminary Inventory of Records of the National Recovery Administration, PI 44 (1944).

Homer L. Calkin and Meyer H. Fishbein, comps., Special List of Documents in the Records of the National Recovery Administration, SL 12 (1954).

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Record Group 13
Records of the National Mediation Board

Administrative History
The National Mediation Board was created by the amended Railway Labor Act of June 21, 1934, to mediate railroad labor disputes. This function evolved from an act of October 1, 1888, that authorized the President to establish temporary commissions to investigate and report on railroad labor controversies, and provided for voluntary arbitration of disputes between carriers engaged in interstate commerce and their employees. The 1934 act also provided for a National Railroad Adjustment Board to operate semi-independently of the National Mediation Board in adjudicating grievances and disputes related to the interpretation and application of collective bargaining agreements.

From 1920 to 1934, secondary adjustment boards, permitted by law but formed by agreements between single carriers or groups of carriers and their employees, were created to handle minor grievances.

Records Description
Date: 1962
Volume: 4 cubic feet

Records of the Railroad Marine Workers Commission and the Railroad Lighter Captains Commission. The commissions were created in 1961 to help settle disputes in the New York City harbor area that had not been successfully adjusted by the National Mediation Board and Presidential emergency boards. For each commission, the records document public hearings and findings and recommendations to the President. Included are exhibits, reports, and tanscripts.

Finding Aid
Mary Jane Dowd, comp. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Mediation Board, PI 179 (1975).

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Record Group 15
Records of the Veterans Administration

Administrative History
The present Veterans Administration (VA) is the result of policies and programs that date back to the American Revolution. In 1789, the First Congress enacted legislation to continue paying pensions provided in acts of the Continental Congress. An act of August 9, 1921, created the Veterans' Bureau which became part of the Veterans Administration established by an Executive order of July 21, 1930. The VA became the Department of Veterans Affairs effective March 15, 1989.

In the field, the VA and its predecessors have operated a network of facilities intended to aid veterans, including hospitals and rehabilitation centers, as well as national homes for veterans. One of the predecessors of the VA, the Federal Board for Vocational Education, divided the country into 14 districts in 1918. These districts were combined with relevant Public Health Service offices in 1921 to form the district offices of the Veterans' Bureau. These were succeeded by 54 regional offices of the Bureau in 1924 and 1925.

Records Description
Dates: 1876-1934
Volume: 23 cubic feet

Records of the District 2 Federal Board for Vocational Education, New York City. The records document training of disabled veterans in New Jersey and New York. Included are a card index, correspondence, reports, and statistical data.

Records of the New York State Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, Bath, New York. The home was transferred from the State to the Federal government and became a branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The records document veterans' admission to the institution and their care. Included are correspondence, memorandums, proceedings, registers, reports, and sample case files.

Finding Aids
Evelyn Wade, comp., Preliminary Inventory of Records of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the National Homes Service of the Veterans Administration, NM 29 (1964).

Preliminary Check List of the General Administrative Files of the Rehabilitation Division, PC 15 (1944).

Record Group 18

Records of the Army Air Forces

Administrative History
The Army Air Forces (AAF) originated August 1, 1907, as the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. After various reorganizations and name changes, the Army Air Forces was established on March 9, 1942, under the Secretary of War and the War Department General Staff. It served as the primary land-based air arm of the American armed forces until it was detached from the Army and became the U.S. Air Force in 1947.

Until the onset of World War II, most field installations of the Army Air Forces and its predecessors, such as airfields, schools, and administrative agencies, were located within the borders of the United States and its territories.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-39
Volume: 93 cubic feet

Records of the following field installations:
  • Acceptance Park and Aviation General Supply Depot, Buffalo, New York;
  • Aerial Photography School, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York;
  • Air Service Radio School, Columbia University, New York, New York;
  • Aviation Mechanics Training School, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York;
  • Brindley Field, Commack, New York;
  • Garden City Air Services Depot, Garden City, New York;
  • Hazelhurst Field, Mineola, New York;
  • Henry J. Damm Field, Babylon, New York;
  • Long Island Air Reserve Depot,
  • Long Island City, New York;
  • Lufbery Field, Mineola, New York;
  • Madison Barracks, Sacketts Harbor, New York;
  • Military Aeronautics School, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York;
  • Military Aeronautics School, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey;
  • Mitchell Field, Garden City, New York;
  • Roosevelt Field, Mineola, New York;
  • School of Military Cinematography, Columbia University, New York, New York.
The records relate to aircraft and equipment maintenance; preparation and distribution of technical orders and other instructions; training of pilots and civilian employees; and general administration. They consist of correspondence, general and special orders, and reports.

Finding Aid
Maizie H. Johnson, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the Army Air Forces, NM 53 (1965).

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Record Group 21
Records of District Courts of the United States

Administrative History
U.S. district and circuit courts were created by the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789. The jurisdiction and powers of these Federal courts have varied with subsequent legislation, but district courts generally have had original jurisdiction in admiralty and bankruptcy cases, suits for penalties or seizures under Federal laws, noncapital criminal proceedings, and suits exceeding $100 in value in which the United States was the plaintiff. The circuit courts heard appeals from the district courts and had original jurisdiction over actions involving aliens or citizens of different States and law and equity suits where the matter in dispute exceeded $500. In 1891, the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred to the newly created circuit courts of appeals (see RG 276). The Judiciary Act of 1911 abolished the circuit courts and provided for the transfer of their records and remaining jurisdiction to the district courts.

Most States initially had one district and one circuit court with additional districts created as the business of the courts increased. Many of the districts were divided into divisions with the court holding session in various cities within the district. In 1812, circuit courts were authorized to appoint U.S. commissioners to assist in taking of bail and affidavits. The Commissioners' functions were expanded by subsequent legislation and court rules, and their powers have included authority to issue arrest warrants, examine persons charged with offenses against Federal laws, initiate actions in admiralty matters, and institute proceedings for violation of civil rights legislation.

Territorial district courts generally were established by the organic act that created the territory and had jurisdiction over Federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy actions as well as civil and criminal jurisdiction similar to that of State courts. Records created by a territorial court acting in its capacity as a Federal court often became the property of the Federal district court upon statehood.

Records Description
Dates: 1685-1976
Volume: 42,531 cubic feet

Records of the Vice Admiralty Court for the Province of New York, 1685-1775. The records document cases heard under jurisdiction of the British Admiralty involving felonies, piracies, and robberies committed on the high seas. They include case files and minutes.

Records of the following circuit and district courts:
  • New Jersey, Circuit, 1842-1920.
  • New Jersey, District, 1820-1967. The records include Committee for Industrial Organization v. Frank Hague, establishing the right of the CIO to carry on union activity in Jersey City, New Jersey.
  • New York, Circuit, Eastern District, 1865-1914. The records include a copyright infringement case brought by the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes over the rights to The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, which appeared in the first issue of the Atlantic Monthly.
  • New York, Circuit, Northern District, 1812-1919. The records include the criminal prosecution of Susan B. Anthony for illegal voting.
  • New York, Circuit, Southern District, 1790-1939. The records include a 1791 roll of attorneys listing Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and equity cases brought by Thomas A. Edison and Alexander Graham Bell.
  • New York, Circuit, Western District, 1891-1911. The records include the patent infringement case, Orville and Wilbur Wright v. the Herring-Curtiss Company and Glen H. Curtiss, over the design of the Wright flying machine.
  • New York, Eastern District, 1865-1969. The records include the World War II treason prosecution of Martin James Monti, and numerous organized crime cases.
  • New York, Northern District, 1852-1968.
  • New York, Southern District, 1789-1968. The records include the bankruptcy filing of Dino Crocetti, known to most as Dean Martin, criminal prosecutions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Alger Hiss, and Arthur "Dutch Shultz" Flegenheimer, and admiralty limitation of liability cases for the Lusitania and the Titanic. The court heard civil actions involving cultural and entertainment figures such as Richard Burton, Charles Chaplin, Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Wells, and Batman.
  • New York, Western District, 1815-1976. The records include major anti-trust litigation involving the Eastman Kodak Company.
  • Puerto Rico, District, 1897-1967.
The records document the actions of Federal district and circuit courts, which have jurisdiction over naturalization, bankruptcy, civil (law, equity, and admiralty), and criminal cases. Among general topics covered are biography, civil rights, commerce and corporate history, demographics, genealogy, immigration and ethnic groups, the impact of Federal regulatory programs, judicial administration, labor relations and union activity, maritime history, and State and local political activity. Among specific topics covered are collection of debts, enforcement of contracts, claims for damages; counterfeiting, and smuggling or violations of customs regulations; European immigration and the exclusion and deportation of Chinese; evasion of import duties; the illegal sale or manufacturing of alcoholic beverages; infringement of patent or copyright; interstate transfer of stolen property; mutiny or murder on the high seas; prize condemnations; theft, assault, or murder on Federal property; violations of Federal election laws and civil rights legislation, international agreements (such as the Migratory Bird Act); Selective Service regulations; and slave importation laws. References to specific cases are noted above under the name of the court.

Records are primarily case files - papers in a specific case filed by attorneys or issued by the court, such as affidavits, complaints, depositions, indictments, judgments or final decrees, motions, petitions, subpoenas, and writs. Bankruptcy case files also contain petitions of creditors and schedules of assets and liabilities. Case files are arranged numerically by the docket number assigned when the case was filed. Documentary exhibits submitted as part of court proceedings usually were returned to the parties involved, but they are sometimes included in the case file. (Transcripts are seldom part of the file.)

There are also docket books - a summary of proceedings in each case, including a brief abstract of motions and orders, a record of the fees collected, and a statement of the disposition of the case; minute books or journals - a daily chronological record of court proceedings, often including information about financial accounts and the collection of fees, lists of jury members, names of attorneys admitted to practice, and the text of orders appointing court officials; naturalization papers - declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, depositions, and certificates of naturalization; order or judgment books - the text of each order or judgment and a record of the amount of any monetary judgment; record of proceedings (only for U.S. commissioners) - a printed form that gives the name of the defendant, and summaries of the nature of the charge, the actions taken, and the disposition of the case. Nontextual records include maps and photographs.

Finding Aids
Draft inventories for each court.

Records for a case usually can be located by name of the court and case number. The number sometimes can be determined from minute, docket, or order books. The books often have indexes to the names of the parties involved in the proceedings. Such books are not available for all courts. There is no cumulative index by subject, case name, or other access point. Additional information is sometimes available from the clerk of the court involved.

Marion M. Johnson and Henry T. Ulasek, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, PI 116 (1959).

Related Microfilm Publications
M854, Minutes, Trial Notes, and Rolls of Attorneys of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1790-1841;
M855, Appellate Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1793-1845;
M882, Judgment Records of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1794-1840;
M883, Law Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1790-1846;
M884, Equity Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1791-1846;
M885, Criminal Case Files of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York, 1790-1853;
M886, Minutes and Rolls of Attorneys of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1789-1841;
M919, Admiralty Case Files of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1790-1842;
M928, Prize and Related Records for the War of 1812 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1812-1816;
M933, Act of 1800 Bankruptcy Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1800-1809;
M934, Judgment Records of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1795-1840;
M937, Law Case Files of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1795-1844;
M948, Case Papers of the Court of Admiralty of the State of New York, 1784-1788;
M965, Case Files in Suits Involving Consuls and Vice Consuls and the Repeal of Patents of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1806-1860;
M1164, Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957;
M1674, Index (Soundex) to Naturalization Petitions Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York, New York, Including New York, Kings, Queens, and Richmond Counties, 1792-1906;
M1675, Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917-50;
M1676, Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1824-1941;
M1677, Alphabetical Index to Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, 1906-1966;
T842, Records of the Vice Admiralty Court of the Province of New York;
T928, Records of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and Predecessor Courts, 1790-1950.

Record Group 24

Records of the Bureau OF Naval Personnel

Administrative History
The Bureau of Naval Personnel originated as the Bureau of Navigation, established by an act of July 5, 1862. It is responsible for training and educating officers and enlisted men. The Coast Signal Service was organized within the Bureau in 1897. It cooperated with the Lifesaving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Weather Bureau in maintaining a lookout for the approach of enemy vessels and in checking the movements of American vessels. The Service was discontinued at the close of the Spanish-American War.

Records Description
Dates: 1898-1946
Volume: 30 cubic feet

Records of the Coast Signal Service, Second District, New York City, 1898. The records relate to administrative, personnel, and procurement matters and are bound copies of correspondence.

Records of the Indoctrination School, Fort Schuyler, New York, 1941-46. The records relate to school activities and to students. Included are muster cards which list name, date and place of enlistment, qualifications, and rank for enlisted men, midshipmen, reservists, and student officers; correspondence, purchase orders, and reports.

Finding Aids
Entries 424-O through 424-S in Harry Schwartz and Lee D. Saegesser, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, NM 74 (1967).

Entries 423 through 435 in Virgil E. Baugh, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, PI 123 (1960).

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Record Group 25
Records of the National Labor Relations Board

Administrative History
The present National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created by the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) of July 5, 1935. It was preceded by two earlier boards: the National Labor Board (NLB), established August 5, 1933, and a first NLRB, established on June 19, 1934. As the functions of the NLB and the first NLRB were closely tied to the mission of the National Recovery Administration (NRA), when the NRA was declared unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, the first NLRB virtually ceased to function.

The Wagner Act created the second (present) NLRB, which was to determine the unit of employees appropriate for collective bargaining, conduct elections for employee representatives, and force employers to end specified unfair labor practices in industries other than the railroads and, after 1936, the airlines. The functions of the NLRB have subsequently been modified by the War Labor Disputes Act of June 25, 1943, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act), and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the Landrum-Griffin Act).

All three boards utilized a system of regional boards to deal with labor controversies in the field.

Records Description
Dates: 1933-37
Volume: 5 cubic feet

Records of the regional boards in Buffalo,New York; New York, New York; and Newark, New Jersey. The records relate to administration, cases, operations, and relations with headquarters and other regional boards. They are general subject files consisting of correspondence, issuances, memorandums, reports, and statistical data.

Finding Aid
Box contents list.

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Record Group 26
Records of the U.S. Coast Guard

Administrative History
The U.S. Coast Guard was established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of January 28, 1915, which consolidated that department's Revenue Cutter and Lifesaving Services. The Coast Guard took over the administration of lighthouses in 1939, and in 1942 assumed functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (RG 41) relating to navigation and inspection laws and to merchant seamen. On April 1, 1967, the Coast Guard became a part of the Department of Transportation and assumed responsibility for functions transferred to it from the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) pertaining to the admeasurement and documentation of U.S. vessels.

Records Description
Dates: 1873-1982
Volume: 1,790 cubic feet

Records of Coast Guard cutters and some air stations, light stations, supply depots, and support vessels, 1969-82. The records document daily activities and inspections of ships of U.S. registry and include weather observations and watch officers' remarks. The records are logbooks.

Records of the Light-House Service, 1880-1905. The records relate to light-house activities, construction, personnel, and shipwrecks. They include correspondence, journals, muster rolls, and reports. Nontextual records include civil engineering drawings of lighthouses.

Records of Lifesaving Stations, 1873-1941. The records document the lifesaving activities of stations in New Jersey and New York, and are logbooks.

Records of merchant vessels terminating their voyages in the Port of New York, 1942-67. The records document crew members, drills, ports-of-call, reports of hostile activities, and weather conditions during the voyage. They are logbooks.

Finding Aids
Folder title lists.

Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Coast Guard, NC 31 (1963).

Restrictions
Access to some files or portions of documents may be restricted due to privacy concerns.

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Record Group 27
Records of the Weather Bureau

Administrative History
The Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress of October 1, 1890, in the Department of Agriculture. It took over the Weather Service that had been established in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the War Department in 1870. The Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940. In 1965, the Bureau was consolidated with the Coast and Geodetic Survey to form the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA). When ESSA was abolished in 1970, the Weather Bureau, now renamed the National Weather Service, was incorporated into the newly formed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Records Description
Dates: 1906-50
Volume: less than 1 cubic foot

Records from weather stations in Canton and Ithaca, New York. The records document administrative and personnel matters, expenses, inspections, instrument observations, and maintenance. They are bound volumes.

Finding Aid
Box contents list.

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Record Group 30
Records of the Bureau of Public Roads

Administrative History
The Bureau of Public Roads had its origins in an act of March 3, 1893, which authorized the creation of an Office of Road Inquiry in the Department of Agriculture. After a number of changes in title, the Office became the Bureau of Public Roads in 1918 and retained that designation until 1939 when it became the Public Roads Administration as part of the Federal Works Agency. On July 1, 1949, it was transferred to the General Services Administration and renamed the Bureau of Public Roads, which was then transferred to the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1949. An act of October 15, 1966, transferred the Bureau to the Department of Transportation, where its functions were assigned to the Federal Highway Administration (see RG 406).

Under the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, the Bureau has supervised Federal-State cooperative programs for road construction, reconstruction, and improvement. It also administers the highway beautification program and is responsible for developing and administering highway safety programs, constructing defense highways and roads in national parks and forests, expanding the interstate highway system, and providing assistance to foreign governments.

Records Description
Dates: 1960-67
Volume: 27 cubic feet

Records of the Division Engineer, New York (State) Division. The records document bridge and road construction and improvement projects undertaken by the New York State Department of Public Works under the general supervision of the New York Division Engineer. They are project files that include agreements, correspondence, data sheets, reports on construction materials and soil, and vouchers. Nontextual records include maps.

Finding Aid
Box contents list.

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Record Group 32
Records of the U.S. Shipping Board

Administrative History
The U.S. Shipping Board, established by the Shipping Act of 1916, was formally organized on January 30, 1917, to regulate carriers by water and develop a naval auxiliary and merchant marine. On April 16, 1917, the Board established the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (known after 1927 as the U.S. Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation) to procure, construct, charter, equip, man, operate, and dispose of merchant vessels for the Board. Under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and subsequent legislation the Board was given additional responsibilities. The Board was abolished by Executive Order 6166 of June 10, 1933, and its functions were administered through the U.S. Shipping Board Bureau in the Department of Commerce until that Bureau was abolished by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-29
Volume: 90 cubic feet

Records of the following New York City offices:
  • District Office;
  • Harbor Wage Adjustment Board;
  • Marine and Dock Industrial Relations Division;
  • United States Lines.

The records document general administration of the shipping industry in New York City and consist of agreements, correspondence, minutes, reports, and transcripts.

Finding Aid
Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Shipping Board, PI 97 (1956).

Record Group 36

Records of the U.S. Customs Service

Administrative History
The Customs Service, created by an act of July 31, 1789, became part of the Department of the Treasury when that department was established in September 1789. The Service has been responsible for the enforcement of numerous laws and regulations pertaining to the import and export of merchandise, collection of tonnage taxes, control of the entrance and clearances of vessels and aircraft, regulation of vessels involved in the coastwise and fishing trades, the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Cutoms was established on March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities, and in 1942, it assumed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (RG 41) relating to the registering, enrolling, licensing, and admeasurement of merchant vessels. This responsibility was assigned to the Coast Guard in 1967 (see RG 26).

The act that established the Customs Service in 1789 also provided for the creation of collection districts in various coastal, river, Great Lakes, and inland ports. A collector of customs in each district was responsible for the enforcement of all rules and regulations, including the protection of American seamen and passengers and the forwarding of basic data on immigration, imports, and exports. Occasionally the collector acted as the depository for Federal funds and collected taxes for the Bureau of Internal Revenue. A naval officer in each district, coordinate in rank with the collector, was required to keep separate accounts and copies of all manifests and entries and to countersign certain of the collector's accounts. A surveyor, under the collector's supervision, kept a daily record of all vessel arrivals and clearances and was assisted by inspectors, weighers, and gaugers in the collection and payment of bounty allowances and fees and the admeasurement of foreign vessels for tonnage duties.

Records Description
Dates: 1815-1944
Volume: 630 cubic feet

Records for the following ports:
  • Albany, New York, 1934-37
  • Buffalo, New York, 1853-1910
  • Clayton, New York, 1900-05
  • Louisville, New York, 1855-67
  • Massena, New York, 1855-67
  • Morristown, New York, 1855-66
  • Newark, New Jersey, 1916-34
  • New York, New York, 1815-1946
  • North Tonawanda, New York, 1880-1904
  • Ogdensburg, New York, 1841-1944
  • Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1927-42
  • Thousand Islands State Park, New York, 1892-1914
  • Waddington, New York, 1855-66
The records relate to the entrance and clearance of vessels, collection of duties and fees, and vessel documentation. Included are correspondence, impost books, and registers of employees.

Finding Aid
Draft inventory.

Related Microfilm Publications
M174, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Treasury From Collectors of Customs ("G", "H", "I" Series), 1833-1869;
M175, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Treasury to Collectors of Customs at All Ports, 1789-1847, and at Small Ports, 1847-1878 ("G"+ Series);
M178, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Treasury with Collectors of Customs, 1789-1833;
M237, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897;
M261, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1846;
M1357, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston, Texas, 1896-1906;
M1358, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston, Texas, 1906-1951;
M1359, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston, Texas, 1896-1951.

Record Group 38

Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Administrative History
The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations was established by an act of March 3, 1915, to coordinate naval operational activities. Under the Office were the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Board of Inspection and Survey, and the Naval Communication Service. On April 8, 1942, an Executive order placed under this Office the Hydrographic Office and the Naval Observatory.

The Chief of Naval Operations is the principal naval adviser to the President and the Secretary of the Navy on the conduct of war, the principal naval executive and adviser to the Secretary of the Navy on the administration of the Department, and the naval member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is responsible for the naval operating forces and associated bureaus and offices, manpower and logistical services, research and development plans and activities, naval strategic planning, the organization and training of naval forces, their preparation and readiness, and the maintenance of a high level of quality among personnel and components of the Navy.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-19
Volume: 349 cubic feet

Records of the Aid-for-Information, Third Naval District, New York City. The records document the administration, organization, and supervision of intelligence work in the district during World War I. They consist of correspondence files.

Records of the Branch Naval Intelligence Office, New York City. This small branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence was the model for other similar branches opened in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. The records document investigations of Navy personnel, navy yard employees, and other persons. They consist of administrative and correspondence files.

Finding Aid
Harry Schwartz, Lyman Hinckley, and Kenneth F. Bartlett, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, NM 63 (1966).

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Record Group 41
Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation

Administrative History
Navigation laws were passed by the First Congress in 1789 and were enforced by customs officers under the supervision of the Department of the Treasury. In 1884, a Bureau of Navigation under the control of the Commissioner of Navigation was established within the Department of the Treasury to administer the navigation laws. In 1903, it was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor along with the Steamboat Inspection Service, which had been established in the Department of the Treasury in 1852 to formulate rules and regulations for steamboat inspections. The two bureaus were merged in 1932 to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, which was renamed the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (BMIN) in 1936. In 1942, its functions relating to merchant vessel documentation were transferred to the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36), while those pertaining to merchant vessel inspection, safety of life at sea, and merchant vessel personnel were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard (see RG 26). The Bureau was abolished in 1946.

Records Description
Dates: 1870-1948
Volume: 529 cubic feet

Records of collectors of customs, functioning as field agents for the BMIN, at the following New York State ports:
  • New York, 1870-1948;
  • Patchogue, 1883-1921 (admeasurement records only);
  • Port Jefferson, 1874-1907 (admeasurement records only).

The records usually document, for American fishing and merchant vessels and yachts, the name, date and place of construction, home port, dimensions, and measurements. There are applications for and approval of official numbers, 1903-37; bills of sale, 1870-1940; certificates of enrollment or registry, 1899-1911; licenses, 1899-1911; mortgages, 1887-1947; oaths of owners and masters, 1894-1953; and tonnage admeasurement records, 1878-1917.

Finding Aid
Draft inventory.

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