Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering


(Record Group 8)
1894-1941 (bulk 1898-1939)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 8.1 Administrative History
  • 8.2 Records of the Office of Experiment Stations Relating to Irrigation and Drainage Investigations 1898-1915
    • 8.2.1 Records relating to Irrigation Investigations
    • 8.2.2 Records relating to Drainage Investigations
  • 8.3 Records of the Division of Agricultural Engineering 1894-31 (bulk 1915-31)
  • 8.4 Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering 1900-41
  • 8.5 Records of the Berkeley, CA, Field Office of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering 1902-37
  • 8.6 Records of the Office of Farm Equipment Control 1918
  • 8.7 Cartographic Records (General)
  • 8.8 Still Pictures (General)

8.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Agriculture, effective July 1, 1931, by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (46 Stat. 1266), February 23, 1931.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Office of Irrigation Inquiry, Department of Agriculture (1890-96)

In the Office of Experiment Stations, Department of Agriculture:

  • Irrigation Investigations Division (1898-1904)
  • Irrigation and Drainage Division (1904-7)
  • Irrigation Investigations Division (1907-15)
  • Drainage Investigations Division (1907-15)

In the Office of Experiment Stations, Department of Agriculture:

  • Rural Engineering Investigations Division (1908-15)

In the Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering (Bureau of Public Roads after July 1918), Department of Agriculture:

  • Irrigation Investigations Division (1915-21)
  • Drainage Investigations Division (1915-21)
  • Rural Engineering Investigations Division (1915-21)
  • Division of Agricultural Engineering (1921-31)

Functions: Conducted research and investigated the application of principles of civil and mechanical engineering in the areas of irrigation, drainage, and farm structures and machinery (rural engineering).

Research in irrigation, drainage, hydrology, and soil erosion were transferred to the Soil Conservation Service and the Bureau of Plant Industry, 1935 and 1938.

Abolished: By merger with the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils to form the Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering, pursuant to Secretary of Agriculture's Memorandum No. 789, October 16, 1938, and the Agricultural Appropriation Act (53 Stat. 959), June 30, 1939.

Successor Agencies: Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering, Soil Conservation Service, Bureau of Plant Industry.

Finding Aids: Nathan Reingold, comp., Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, PI 53 (1953).

Related Records:
Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering, RG 54.
Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Industrial Chemistry, RG 97.
Records of the Soil Conservation Service, RG 114.

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8.2 Records of the Office of Experiment Stations Relating to
Irrigation and Drainage Investigations
1898-1915

History: Office of Irrigation Inquiry established in Department of Agriculture pursuant to an act of April 4, 1890 (26 Stat. 42), appropriating $20,000 for an investigation to determine proper locations for artesian wells in the region between 97 degrees longitude and the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Abolished, June 30, 1896, by failure of appropriations. Irrigation investigations assigned to the Office of Experiment Stations by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (30 Stat. 335), March 21, 1898. Drainage investigations assigned to Irrigation Investigations Division in 1903-4 and to Irrigation and Drainage Division, 1904-7. Separate Irrigation and Drainage Investigations Divisions established, 1907, and transferred to newly established Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (38 Stat. 1111), March 4, 1915. See 8.3.

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8.2.1 Records relating to irrigation investigations

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1898-1902, 1905-12. Staff correspondence, 1906, 1912-15. Field office correspondence, 1904-6.

Related Records: Press copies of letters sent by the Office of Irrigation Inquiry, 1891, 1893-95, in RG 16, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. Record copies of publications of the Office of Irrigation Inquiry and the Office of Experiment Stations in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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8.2.2 Records relating to drainage investigations

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1906-13. Staff correspondence, 1909-12. Records relating to the Cypress Creek Drainage District, AR, 1911-12 (in Fort Worth). Records (in Atlanta) concerning the Big Black River Survey, AL, 1913-15; and drainage surveys of the Florida Everglades, 1905-12.

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8.3 Records of the Division of Agricultural Engineering
1894-31 (bulk 1915-31)

History: Irrigation and Drainage Investigation Divisions of the Office of Experiment Stations, and Rural Engineering Investigations Division of the Office of Farm Management of the Bureau of Plant Industry, transferred to the Office of Public Roads, concurrently redesignated the Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering, by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (38 Stat. 1111), March 4, 1915. Further redesignated Bureau of Public Roads, July 1918. Separate investigations divisions combined into Division of Agricultural Engineering, 1921. Redesignated the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, 1931. See 8.1.

Textual Records: Combined general correspondence of the Division of Agricultural Engineering and its predecessor divisions, 1915- 31, with a card index. Records relating to the distribution of surplus war explosives, 1921-25, including minutes of the War Materials Board, 1924-25.

Maps and Charts (356 items): Farm drainage maps, principally for farms in NC, SC, and WV, 1917-24 (82 items). Red River of the North drainage investigations maps, 1917 (14 items), and related weather charts, 1894-1920 (179 items). Drainage investigation river maps and profiles, 1909-22 (60 items). Miscellaneous graphs and charts, relating primarily to drainage equipment and pipes, ca. 1923 (21 items). See Also 8.7.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Public Roads in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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8.4 Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering
1900-41

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1931-39, with a card index. Records of Chief of Bureau Samuel H. McCrory, ca. 1922-38. Correspondence of the Irrigation Division, 1933-39. Records of the Chief of the Drainage Division, 1931-39. Field books of drainage engineers, 1907-38. Files concerning rainfall, 1933-35; waterflow, 1916-36; the history of the tractor, 1900-28; and farm operating efficiency, 1929-41. Correspondence on agricultural extension work, 1926-39. Manuscripts and copies of publications, 1923-34.

Maps: Individual farms participating in operating efficiency ("farm development") research projects in cooperation with state engineers' offices and agricultural experiment stations, 1931-39 (300 items). See Also 8.7.

Photographic Prints and Negatives: Illustrating work of the drainage divisions, 1913-38 (D, 3,679 images). See Also 8.8.

Finding Aids: Guide to decimal classification system for photographic series D.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Related photographs in RG 114, Records of the Soil Conservation Service, series D; and RG 115, Records of the Bureau of Reclamation.

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8.5 Records of the Berkeley, CA, Field Office of the Bureau of
Agricultural Engineering
1902-37

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Correspondence with the central office of the Office of Experiment Stations, Washington, DC, 1904-15; and with the Office of Indian Affairs concerning the Yakima Project, Wopato, WA, 1937. General correspondence and reports on administration, irrigation, salinity, and drainage, 1902-37. Records concerning the Platte Valley investigations, 1914-15. Records relating to underground water storage in southern California, 1930-36. Financial records, 1916-21.

Photographs (in San Francisco): Irrigation and related farming activities around the world, dam construction, and pipeline development, 1902-33 (4,379 images). See Also 8.8.

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8.6 Records of the Office of Farm Equipment Control
1918

History: Established as a temporary wartime agency by Presidential proclamation, May 14, 1918, to control prices and distribution of farm equipment. Staffed by the Division of Rural Engineering, to which the functions and records of the office were transferred, following removal of controls, November 30, 1918.

Textual Records: Correspondence with federal agencies and with manufacturers' and dealers' associations about production and distribution of farm implements, 1918. List of licensed manufacturers, 1918.

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8.7 Cartographic Records (General)
See Maps and Charts Under 8.3.
See Maps Under 8.4.

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8.8 Still Pictures (General)
See Photographs Under 8.5.
See Photographic Prints and Negatives Under 8.4.


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.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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