Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery


(Record Group 52)
1812-1994

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 52.1 Administrative History
  • 52.2 General Records 1812-1994
    • 52.2.1 Correspondence
    • 52.2.2 Records of naval vessels, stations, and hospitals
  • 52.3 Records of Office Divisions 1919-78
    • 52.3.1 Records of the Division of Preventive Medicine
    • 52.3.2 Records of the Administration Division
    • 52.3.3 Records of the Dental Division
    • 52.3.4 Records of the Personnel Division
    • 52.3.5 Records of the Preventive Medicine Division
    • 52.3.6 Records of the Research Division
    • 52.3.7 Records of the Hospital Administration Division
    • 52.3.8 Records of the Physical Qualifications and Medical records Division
    • 52.3.9 Records of the Undersea and Radiation Medicine Division
  • 52.4 Field Records 1812-1975
    • 52.4.1 Records of the Naval Medical School and its predecessors
    • 52.4.2 Records of naval hospitals
    • 52.4.3 Other field records
  • 52.5 Miscellaneous Records 1854-1946
  • 52.6 Cartographic Records (General) 1894-1903, 1946
  • 52.7 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 52.8 Still Pictures (General) 1900-70

52.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of the Navy by the act abolishing the Board of Naval Commissioners, August 31, 1842 (5 Stat. 579).

Predecessor Agencies:

  • War Department (1789-98)
  • Office of the Secretary of the Navy (1798-1842)
Transfers: With the Department of the Navy to the National Military Establishment (NME) by the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 500), July 26, 1947; with the Department of the Navy to the Department of Defense (formerly the NME) by the National Security Act Amendments of 1949 (63 Stat. 579), August 10, 1949.

Functions: Provided medical and dental services to active duty and retired navy personnel and their dependents.

Abolished: October 1, 1982, by realignment directive of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Successor Agencies: Naval Medical Command.

Finding Aids: Kenneth F. Bartlett, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, PI 6 (1948); Harry Schwartz, comp., "Supplement to Preliminary Inventory No. 6: Records of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery," NM 48 (1965); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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52.2 General Records
1812-1994

History: Department of the Navy established by act of April 30, 1798 (1 Stat. 553), assuming responsibility for naval affairs formerly vested in the War Department. Secretary of the Navy had direct supervision over assignment of medical personnel to naval vessels and shore establishments until creation of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, 1842. SEE 52.1.

Textual Records: Subject files, 1941-53. Meeting minutes of the Policy Board, 1947-66. President John F. Kennedy's autopsy report and related records, 1963-94.

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52.2.1 Correspondence

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1842-86, and received, 1842-85, with indexes and registers. General correspondence, 1885-1971 (1,745 ft.), with indexes and registers. Formerly secret and confidential correspondence, 1920-66, with a register. Correspondence relating to the Honorary Civilian Consultants Committee, 1954-66.

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52.2.2 Records of naval vessels, stations, and hospitals

Textual Records: Medical journals of shore stations, 1812-1912; ships, 1813-1910; and expeditions, 1872-8. Lists of patients, 1830-89. Hospital admission papers, 1825-89. Lists of medical records, 1813-1912. Sick reports, 1851-80. Medical certificates and casualty lists, 1828-1939. Annual sanitary reports, 1907, 1919, 1927, 1943. Reports relating to survivors of wrecked ships and aircraft, 1942-45. Personnel records, 1824-1930, including lists of medical officers, 1824-73; statements of medical officers' service, 1842-73; and appointment papers of stewards, apothecaries, and nurses, 1861-84.

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52.3 Records of Office Divisions
1940-46


52.3.1 Records of the Division of Preventive Medicine

Textual Records: Minutes, publications, reports, and correspondence of subcommittees of the Division of Medical Science, National Research Council, 1940-44.

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52.3.2 Records of the Administration Division

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records of the Administrative History Section, 1943-46. Circular letters and notices, 1920-67. Canceled and superseded publications, 1954-66.

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52.3.3 Records of the Dental Division

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1951-71. Records relating to comprehensive surveys and inspections of dental facilities and activities conducted by the Inspector General (Dental), 1964-70. Correspondence of the Professional Branch, 1971. Subject files of the Assistant Deputy Chief for Denistry (Deputy Division Chief), 1965-70.

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52.3.4 Records of the Personnel Division

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Medical Corps Branch, 1919-50, 1955-57.

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52.3.5 Records of the Preventive Medicine Division

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board, 1954-70. Subject file of the Communicable Disease Control Section, 1942-52.

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52.3.6 Records of the Research Division

Textual Records: Terminated medical research project reports, 1940-66.

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52.3.7 Records of the Hospital Administration Division

Textual Records: Administrative studies, 1947-61.

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52.3.8 Records of the Physical Qualifications and Medical Records Division

Textual Records: Policy correspondence, 1950-63.

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52.3.9 Records of the Undersea and Radiation Medicine Division

Textual Records: Records relating to nuclear testing, contamination, and exposure, 1946-78. Correspondence of the Submarine and Diving Medical Branch, 1968-71.

Sound Recordings (2 items): Conference on "Carcinogenesis (Alleged) Related to Exposure to Microwave Radiation," August 12, 1976.

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52.4 Field Records
1812-1975

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52.4.1 Records of the Naval Medical School and its predecessors

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1880-1909, and received, 1880- 1911. Orders and notices, 1905-9. Records relating to the history of the Navy Nurse Corps, 1908-75.

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52.4.2 Records of naval hospitals

Textual Records: Registers of patients at naval hospitals, 1812- 1929 and medical logs and reports, 1871-1971. Records (in Boston) of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Portsmouth, NH, consisting of letters sent, 1865-85, and received, 1865-92. Records (in New York) of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, consisting of a register of deaths and burials, 1831-94, and a register of remains of military personnel returned from Europe, 1919-22. Letters sent by the surgeon, U.S. Naval Asylum, Philadelphia, PA, 1863-65 (in Philadelphia). Records (in Philadelphia) of the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, consisting of letters sent, 1868-96, and a register of autopsies, 1909-18.

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52.4.3 Other field records

Textual Records: Letters sent by ships' surgeons, 1859-86. Expenditure book, U.S. Receiving Ship Ontario, 1844-46. Records of the Hospital Corps Archives relating to medical personnel at Bilibid and other Japanese prison camps, 1941-45.

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52.5 Miscellaneous Records
1854-1946

Textual Records: Requisitions for funds for navy agents, 1854-57. Journals of expenditures, 1884-98, 1922-26. Records relating to the history (1775-1945) of naval medicine, n.d. Historical supplements submitted with sanitary reports, 1941-46. Partial set (3 vols.) of a history of the Naval Medical Department, 1941-45.

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52.6 Cartographic Records (General)
1894-1903, 1946

Maps (26 items):Published atlas illustrating distribution and disease transmission characteristics of mosquito species in the Southwest Pacific, 1946.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (17 items): Plans of barracks and other buildings on naval hospital grounds at Brooklyn, NY; Pensacola, FL; Norfolk, VA; and Mare Island, CA, 1894-1903.

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52.7 Sound Recordings (General)

SEE UNDER 52.3.9

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52.8 Still Pictures (General)
1900-70

Photographs (1,416 images):Graduating classes, Naval Hospital Corps Schools, Norfolk, VA, and Washington, DC, and the navy hospital, Norfolk, VA, 1900-10 (C, 41 images). Navy hospital construction, Portsmouth, VA (H, 39 images). Navy hospitals and dispensaries, and treatment of casualties in Normandy, France, and in southern England, 1944 (G, 303 images). Navy Nurse Corps uniforms, 1908-70 (NNU, 304 images). Navy medical facilities, equipment, and research activities; the evacuation of the wounded and battlefield surgical techniques during the Korean War; postoperative care; and medical personnel and patients, 1952-56 (KST, 202 images; NMB, 148 images; NMF, 379 images).

Lantern slides (18 images): Gas warfare, equipment, and first aid, 1918-19 (S).


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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