Records of the Bureau of the Public Debt
(Record Group 53)
1775-1976 (bulk 1775-1947)
2,020 cu. ft.
Table of Contents
- 53.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
- 53.2 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY RELATING
TO THE PUBLIC DEBT
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- 53.2.1 Correspondence
- 53.2.2 Records relating to accounts
- 53.2.3 Records relating to loans made before 1837
- 53.2.4 Reports
- 53.2.5 Records of the commissioners of the sinking fund
- 53.2.6 Miscellaneous records
- 53.3 RECORDS OF STATE LOAN OFFICES AND THE SECOND BANK OF THE
200 lin. ft.
- 53.3.1 Records of the New Hampshire loan office
- 53.3.2 Records of the Massachusetts loan office
- 53.3.3 Records of the Rhode Island loan office
- 53.3.4 Records of the Connecticut loan office
- 53.3.5 Records of the New York loan office
- 53.3.6 Records of the New Jersey loan office
- 53.3.7 Records of the Pennsylvania loan office
- 53.3.8 Records of the Delaware loan office
- 53.3.9 Records of the Maryland loan office
- 53.3.10 Records of the Virginia loan office
- 53.3.11 Records of the North Carolina loan office
- 53.3.12 Records of the South Carolina loan office
- 53.3.13 Records of the Georgia loan office
- 53.4 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF THE TREASURY
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- 53.4.1 Correspondence
- 53.4.2 Records relating to loans
- 53.5 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF LOANS AND CURRENCY AND ITS
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- 53.6 RECORDS OF THE WAR LOAN ORGANIZATION AND THE SAVINGS
DIVISION, PUBLIC DEBT SERVICE
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- 53.7 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF MANAGEMENT ANALYSIS, OFFICE OF
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- 53.8 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
- 53.9 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
Established: In the Fiscal Service, Department of the Treasury, by Reorganization Plan No. III of 1940, effective June 30, 1940.
Government loan administration:
- State Loan Offices, Second Continental Congress (1776-81)
- State Loan Offices, Confederation Government (1781-89)
- State Loan Offices, Department of the Treasury (1789-1817)
- Second Bank of the United States (loan office functions, 1817-36; thereafter to Office of the Register of the Treasury)
Office of the Register of the Treasury, Confederation Government (1781-89)
In the Department of the Treasury:
- Office of the Register of the Treasury (1836-1919)
- Office of the Register of the Treasury, Office of the Commissioner of the
Public Debt (OCPD, 1919-21)
- Division of Loans, Office of the Secretary (1868-76)
- Division of Currency, Office of the Secretary (1868-76)
- Division of Loans and Currency, Office of the Secretary (1876- 1919)
- Division of Loans and Currency, OCPD (1919-21)
- War Loan Organization (1917-19)
- National War Savings Committee (1917-18)
- Savings Division, War Loan Organization (1918-19)
- Savings Division, OCPD (1919-21)
- Division of Public Debt Accounts and Audit, OCPD (1920-21)
- Public Debt Service (1921-23)
- Public Debt Service, Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary (1923-40)
- Division of Savings Bonds, Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary (1936-40)
Finding Aids: Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of the Public Debt," NC 120 (1965); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.
Records of the Bureau of Accounts (Treasury), RG 39.
Records of the Treasurer of the United States, RG 50.
General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56. General Records of the Department of State, RG 59. Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, RG 217.
|RECORD TYPES||RECORD LOCATIONS||QUANTITIES|
|Textual Records||Washington Area||2,008 cu. ft.|
|Atlanta||2 cu. ft.|
|Maps and Charts||Washington Area||89 items|
|Motion Pictures||College Park||4 reels|
|Still Pictures||College Park||554 images|
History: Department of the Treasury established by an act of September 2, 1789 (1 Stat. 65), with subordinate Office of the Register of the Treasury (SEE 53.4) serving as accounting agency for public funds. Secretary of the Treasury acquired authority, by an act of July 17, 1861 (12 Stat. 259), to borrow money on the credit of the United States through the issuance of United States securities.
Internal organization (SEE 53.5), established in the Office of the Secretary to perform administrative debt management functions formerly vested in the Office of the Register, had become known as Division of Loans by 1868, with legislative recognition, March 1875, and redesignation as Division of Loans and Currency, August 1876. Division of Loans and Currency and Office of the Register removed from immediate jurisdiction of Secretary and assigned, by Secretarial order, November 11, 1919, to newly established Office of the Commissioner of the Public Debt.
Subsequently assigned to OCPD were the Savings Division of the defunct War Loan Organization (SEE 53.6), 1919; the Division of Public Debt Accounts and Audit, created by administrative order January 1920, and recognized legislatively in the general appropriation act (41 Stat. 1267), March 3, 1921; and the Division of Paper Custody, established from a section of the same name in the Division of Loans and Currency, August 24, 1921.
OCPD and its subordinate divisions were collectively designated Public Debt Service by order of the Secretary of the Treasury, November 12, 1919, with legislative recognition in the Deficiency Appropriation Act (42 Stat. 36), June 16, 1921. Public Debt Service placed under the Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary by Department Circular 244, June 21, 1923. Division of Savings Bonds, closely allied to but not part of the Public Debt Service, was established under the Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary by Treasury Department Order 13, March 4, 1936. By Reorganization Plan No. III of 1940, the Public Debt Service was consolidated with the Division of Savings Bonds to form the Bureau of the Public Debt, which, by the same authority, was collectively designated, with the Office of the Fiscal Assistant Secretary and the newly created Bureau of Accounts, as the Fiscal Service. SEE 53.1.
Textual Records: Letters sent, 1846-49. Letters received, 1840- 65. Card index and registers of letters received, 1850-1915. Correspondence and interest schedules, 1822-1916. Correspondence on various subjects relating to notes, loans, and bonds, 1804- 1933. Correspondence with government paper mills and the Division of Loans and Currency, 1876-1916. Correspondence with banknote companies, 1858-77. Letters and reports of the Destruction Committee, 1863-1913. Letters to the War Department relating to procurement notes, 1862-65. Miscellaneous letters regarding "Old Loans," 1869-1934. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1804-1911. Card record of and index to correspondence relating to all subscribers of loans, 1898-1900.
Textual Records: Journals and account ledgers, 1776-1852. Records of accounts current, 1780-1833. Records of personal debt accounts, 1775-89. Waste books, 1776-78, 1785-86. Records relating to the certificates of indebtedness issued by the Paymaster General, 1783-87. Register of official bonds, 1790- 1819. Auditor's certificates, 1790-1831. Regulations and forms, 1790-1815. General statement of appropriations, 1791-1806. Estimates and statements by the Register of the Treasury, 1791- 1858, with indexes, 1791-1845. Register of bills of exchange, 1793-1833. Accounts of commissioners appointed to establish the permanent seat of government, 1794-1802. Receipts for warrants of transfer, 1795-1834. Accounts of expenses incurred in dealing with the Barbary States, 1795-1812. Letters from the Secretary of State requesting warrants, 1798-1801. Registers of powers of attorney, 1814-60. Receipt books, 1815-36. Letters sent by the Register of the Treasury, 1816-28. Record of interest paid and balance due from state loan offices, 1827-35. Record of dividends returned unclaimed from state loan offices, 1827-36. Registers of domestic bills of exchange, 1829-32. Letters received in the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1830-61. Revolutionary War bounty land scrip, 1831-37, with registers, 1832-33. Monthly statements of the financial condition of the Bank of the United States and its branches, 1833-34. Miscellaneous letters sent by the Register's office, 1837-65. Lottery journal, n.d. Card index to ledger entries, n.d.
Microfilm Publications: M521, T786, T787.
Textual Records: Loan accounts, 1791-1837, for the loans of 1790, 1816, and 1824. Registered debt account, 1792-98. Accounts of interest-bearing stocks issued in payment for loans, 1803-35. Registers of Treasury notes, 1812-16. Record of interest dividends on various notes, 1815-36. Samples of redeemed securities, 1790-1833.
Textual Records: Comptroller's reports, 1886-89. Reports of the auditors of currency of the Treasury Department, 1898-1900. Reports relating to the National Currency Association, 1867-1900. Reports of work performed in the Loans Division of the Register's office, 1886-1900. Reports of the committee to investigate title of U.S lands in the District of Columbia, 1915. Reports relating to interest, 1842-48; deposits to cover retired currency, 1914- 15; bonds exchanged for currency, 1911; cancellations, sales, and transfers of relief insurance bonds, 1919-26; issued and canceled bonds, 1869-90; stocks and currency issued, 1884-1917; and municipal indebtedness and assessed valuation of cities, 1908-17.
History: A sinking fund was established by an act of August 4, 1790 (1 Stat. 144), from which the national debt was gradually to be retired. After notification from the commissioners that the fund was adequate to meet the outstanding U.S. debt, the Congress, by an act of July 4, 1836 (5 Stat. 115), directed that the commissioners' functions be suspended and their records transferred to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Textual Records: Report of the commissioners' activities, 1801. Transcribed minutes, 1834-36.
Textual Records: Stock quotations, 1863, 1868. Indemnity bonds, 1792-1817. Copies of miscellaneous navy records concerning ships and personnel (1775-1830), ca. 1880. Records regarding the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1860-1921. Statements of Treasury notes and interest, 1791-1919. Records regarding the Bank of the United States at Richmond, VA, 1816. Records of the balances in the Bank of the United States, 1829-33. Schedules of destruction of securities, 1906-8. Claims for interest and excess payments, 1899-1918. Copies of contracts for army supplies, 1918. Statements of the public debt and interest thereon, 1837-92, 1895-1922. Records of the Destruction Committee, 1868-1913. Circulars and Senate bills relating to the public debt, 1861- 1939. Applications submitted by the banks for membership in the National Currency Association, 1914. Records relating to bonds and certificates, 1861-1947; and counterfeiting, 1861-82. Receipts, 1861-64, from agents for installments paid on temporary loans of 1861. Card records relating to accounting and dividends, 1914-25.
Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Public Debt Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
History: Loan offices established in the 13 original states by the Continental Congress, 1776, to receive subscriptions to domestic war loans for financing the Revolution. Following the expiration, on March 3, 1836, of the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, an act of April 11, 1836 (5 Stat. 8), directed that the functions and records of the State Loan Offices and of the Second Bank of the United States relating to public indebtedness be transferred to the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury, where they were assigned to the Office of the Register (SEE 53.4).
Textual Records: Accounts current, 1791-1835. Accounts, 1791- 1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1812-31. Journals and ledgers, 1807- 34. Registers of certificates, 1777-86.
Microfilm Publications: T652, M1005.
Textual Records: Letter book of the commissioner of loans, 1785- 91. Accounts current, 1777-1835. Accounts, 1790-1835, for the loan of 1790, with indexes to records of various loans, 1790- 1825. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1800-30. Journals, 1795-1835. Receipts, 1817-22, for stock issued on transfers of the 6-percent stock of 1812. Registers of certificates, 1777-1834; stock transfers, 1825-34; and interest and unclaimed dividends, 1791-1834.
Microfilm Publications: M925, T783.
Textual Records: Accounts, 1790-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1799-1835. Ledgers listing the issue of various stocks, 1807-30.
Microfilm Publications: T653, M1005.
Textual Records: Accounts current, 1781-90. Accounts, 1791-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1807-30. Registers of certificates, 1777- 89. Ledger and list of account titles, 1799-1809.
Microfilm Publications: T654, M1005.
Textual Records: Accounts, 1790-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1795-1834. Ledgers relating to the issue of various stocks, 1795- 1835. Registers of certificates, 1777-1834; loan interest payments, 1810-34; and unclaimed interest, 1816-34.
Microfilm Publications: M1006.
Textual Records: Accounts, 1791-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1826-34. Journal for various loans, 1790-1831. Registers of certificates, 1777-86; and loan interest payments, 1821-22.
Microfilm Publications: M1006, T698.
Textual Records: Letter books of commissioners of loans, 1793- 1804. Abstracts of interest dividends, 1791-1834. Accounts current, 1793-1836. Accounts for Revolutionary War pensions, 1799-1817. Accounts, 1790-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1812-34. Journals and ledgers relating to the issue of various stocks, 1790-1835. Registers of certificates, 1776-87; interest payment receipts, 1812-34; and unclaimed interest payment receipts, 1791- 1834.
Microfilm Publications: M1007, T631.
Textual Records: Registers of certificates, 1777-87; and unclaimed interest payment receipts, 1791-1834, for the loan of 1790.
Microfilm Publications: M1008, T784.
Textual Records: Accounts current, 1780-90. Accounts, 1790-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1808-35. Ledgers relating to the issue of various stocks, 1800-9. Registers of loan office certificates, 1777-88; interest payments on the "Liquidated Debt," 1786; and payments of interest, 1815-34.
Microfilm Publications: M1008, T697, T957.
Textual Records: Letter books of the state loan office, 1802-4, 1812-30; and the Richmond office of the Bank of the United States, 1818-36. Abstract of Treasury drafts, 1806-27; and interest dividends for various loans, 1791-1834. Accounts current, 1780-1836. Accounts, 1791-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stocks issued in payment for loans, 1799-1835. Journals (blotter), 1807-29; and (daybook) of checks paid, 1814-36. Ledgers of certificates of indebtedness, 1777-79; and the Revolutionary War pension accounts, 1830-35. List of authenticated magistrates, 1833-34. Record of pension payments, 1791-1834. Registers of bills withdrawn from circulation, 1779- 81; interest payments on the liquidated debt, 1785-87; and loan office certificates, 1785-86.
Textual Records: Accounts, 1791-1832, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1802-25. Ledger for the 8-percent stock of 1800, 1802-8. Register of state debt certificates, 1791. Abstracts, 1816-17, of interest dividends for the stocks of 1813.
Microfilm Publications: T695.
Textual Records: Accounts, 1791-1835, for the loan of 1790. Accounts of interest-bearing stock issued in payment for loans, 1812-35. Registers of interest dividend payments on certain loans, 1815-35; and liquidated bonds at the Charleston, SC, customhouse, 1832-36.
Microfilm Publications: T719.
Textual Records: Letter book of the commissioner of loans, 1810- 17. Accounts current, 1791-1835. Accounts for various loans, 1790-1817. Abstracts of interest dividend payments for certain loans, 1804-35. Public debt statement on certain loans, 1817-35. Register of principal and interest statements for certain loans, 1817-35.
Microfilm Publications: T694, T788.
History: Established, 1781, to keep accounts of the public money and the public debt of the Confederation. Continued as a federal office by the act establishing the Department of the Treasury (1 Stat. 65), September 2, 1789. Received, pursuant to an act of April 11, 1836 (5 Stat. 8), loan office and related records of public indebtedness from the Second Bank of the United States (SEE 53.3). Functions relating to public debt obligations transferred to Division of Loans, 1868 (SEE 53.5). Assigned, with the Division of Loans and Currency, to the newly established Office of the Commissioner of the Public Debt, 1919 (SEE 53.2).
Textual Records: General letters sent, 1843-65. General "Old Loans" correspondence, 1861-1900 (326 ft.). Letters received regarding loans, 1841-77. Correspondence, 1898-1910, regarding the loan of 1898. Miscellaneous letters received, 1865-85, 1894- 96. Letters sent by the Note Division, 1864-96; and the Loans Division, 1864-1910. Letters sent regarding 4-percent consols, 1878-80. Registers and indexes to letters received, 1858-1923. Register of registered mail sent by the Loans Division, 1861- 1903. Lists of books, 1885. Correspondence of the Register with customhouse officials, 1789-1883; and regarding foreign finance and banking, 1883-1909. Letters from the Comptroller to the Register, 1793-1801; from the Register to the Comptroller and to members of Congress, 1816-17; to the Register regarding miscellaneous claims, 1821-54; from the War Department to the Comptroller, 1801-14; and from the Register to the War and Navy Departments, 1801-16. Letters and reports concerning the adoption of an index record card system by the Register's office, 1893-98.
Textual Records: Loan accounts, 1841-1905, for the loans of 1841, 1842, 1843, 1846, 1848, 1858, February 1861, 1862, 1863, March 1864 ("Ten-Forties"), March 1864 ("Five-Twenties"), June 1864, and 1865. Records, 1847-91, relating to the loan of 1847. Certificates of deposit for various loans, 1841-57. Card index to ledger entries, n.d. Accounts for the 1862 railroad loans to the Central Pacific Railroad, 1862-98; the Union Pacific Railroad, 1865-98; the Sioux City and Pacific railroad, 1866-97; and various Pacific railroads, 1865-1902. Accounts, 1866-1918, for the consols of 1865, 1867, and 1868. Records, 1847-50, 1857-59, relating to the Treasury notes of 1847 and 1857. Records, 1861- 63, concerning the Treasury note issue of March 1861; and 1861- 1910, concerning that of July 1861 ("Seven-Thirties"). Consolidated schedule of registered interest, 1873-81. Numerical registers, 1840-47, for the Treasury notes of 1840, 1841, 1842, and 1846. Accounts and records relating to the 1836 Spanish indemnity, 1838-1907; the French indemnity, 1836-41; the Peruvian indemnity, 1847-48; the 1846 Mexican indemnity, 1846-70; the 1850 Texas indemnity, 1850-1920; the 1847 bounty land scrip, 1847-99; and the Oregon war debt, 1861-1907. French indemnity certificates, 1836. Letter receipts, 1841-87, for the loans of 1841, 1842, 1843, 1846, 1847, 1848, 1858, 1860, February 1861, July and August 1861, 1862, 1863, March 1864 ("Ten-Forties"), March 1864 ("Five-Twenties"), June 1864, March 1865, 1881, and 1882. Receipts, 1876-1926, for the loans of 1891, 1898 (also known as the loan of 1908-15), 1904, and 1925. Letter receipts for the Oregon war debt loan, 1861-80. Letter receipts for the loans to Pacific railroads, 1862-98. Letter receipts, 1866-79, for the 6-percent consols of 1865, 1867, and 1868. Receipts, 1877-1935, for the 4-percent consols of 1907, and the consols of 1910. Letter receipts, 1875-1904, for the 3.65-percent bonds of the District of Columbia for 1874, and for the 5-percent loan of the District of Columbia, 1879. Receipts for 3-percent conversions, 1916-47; prepayment of interest, 1899-1906; Treasury notes, 1916-18; the Panama Canal loan, 1906-18; the loans of the Philippine Islands, 1908-38; and the loans of Puerto Rico, 1910- 35. Receipts, 1894-1918, for certificates of indebtedness of 1894 (Cherokee lands), 1898, and 1917. Shelf list of "Old Loans," 1841-1925.
History: Following passage of the National Loan Act (12 Stat. 259), July 17, 1861, the Secretary of the Treasury established within his office an organization to perform public debt administrative functions formerly vested in the Office of the Register. This organization, known as the Division of Loans by 1868, was first recognized legislatively in the Civil Appropriation Act (18 Stat. 398), March 3, 1875. It was consolidated with the Division of Currency, also initially recognized in law by the 1875 statute, to form the Division of Loans and Currency pursuant to the Appropriation Act (19 Stat. 149), August 15, 1876. The division and the Office of the Register were removed from the immediate jurisdiction of the Secretary and assigned, with the Office of the Register of the Treasury (SEE 53.4) to the Office of the Commissioner of the Public Debt, 1919 (SEE 53.2).
Textual Records: Records of the Division of Currency, consisting of letters sent, 1876-78; and a register of letters received, 1865-67. Records of the Division of Loans, consisting of letters sent, 1861-1915, with card index; and registers of letters received, 1865-99. Register of letters received by the Division of Loans and Currency, 1865-1914. Records relating to the National Currency Association state files, 1914.
History: Five campaigns for selling World War I liberty bonds were directed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Advertising, sale, and distribution of bonds was the responsibility of the War Loan Organization, created in April 1917 and terminated on August 31, 1919. A separate National War Savings Committee was established by the Secretary of the Treasury in November 1917, pursuant to an act of September 24, 1917 (40 Stat. 288), to sell war savings certificates. Superseded by the Savings Division, War Loan Organization, October 1918. Savings Division transferred to Office of the Commissioner of the Public Debt, where it became part of the Public Debt Service. Terminated, November 15, 1924, following suspension of sales of savings certificates, effective July 15, 1924, by Departmental Circular 343, July 10, 1924.
Textual Records: General files relating to liberty loans and war savings bonds, 1917-25. General correspondence of the National War Savings Committee, 1917-21. Correspondence of war loan offices, 1916-23. Records of miscellaneous war loans relating to Federal Reserve banks, 1916. Advertisements, clippings, and literature relating to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Liberty Loans, 1917-19. Scrapbooks containing promotional literature for the Second Liberty Loan, prepared by the Sixth Federal Reserve District, 1917 (in Atlanta).
Motion Pictures (4 reels): Scenes of the Salvation Army Congress in London, 1914; and of dramatizations of heroic acts performed by World War I American infantrymen, 1914-18.
Photographs and Lantern Slides (294 images): Lantern slides of liberty loan posters and photographs of participating screen stars and other prominent persons, 1917-18 (LL). SEE ALSO 53.9.
Drawings and Paintings (186 images): Used in war bond campaigns, 1917-18 (DP). SEE ALSO 53.9.
Textual Records: Organization charts of selected units in the Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, offices, 1964-76.
SEE UNDER 53.6.
Posters: Promoting the purchase of war bonds, war savings stamps, and U.S. savings bonds, 1917-46 (WP).
SEE Photographs and Lantern Slides UNDER 53.6. SEE Drawings and Paintings UNDER 53.6.
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.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.