Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Women's Bureau


(Record Group 86)
1892-1972, 1995

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 86.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 86.2 RECORDS OF THE WOMAN-IN-INDUSTRY SERVICE 1918-20
  • 86.3 RECORDS OF THE WOMEN'S BUREAU 1892-1971
  • 86.3.1 Records of the Division of Field Services and Coordination
  • 86.3.2 Records of the Division of Legislation and Standards
  • 86.3.3 Records of the Division of Research and Manpower Program Development
  • 86.3.4 Records of the Division of Special Services and Publications
  • 86.3.5 Records of the International Division
  • 86.4 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)
  • 86.5 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

86.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Department of Labor by an act of June 5, 1920 (41 Stat. 987).

Predecessor Agencies:

    Woman-in-Industry Service, 1918-20

Transfers: To Wage and Labor Standards Administration by Secretary's Order 15-67, July 21, 1967; to redesignated Workplace Standards Administration by Secretary's Order 19-70, August 24, 1970; to redesignated Employment Standards Administration, effective April 28, 1971, by Secretary's Order 13-71, May 4, 1971; to immediate Office of the Secretary of Labor, effective January 1, 1978, by Secretary's Order 11-77, October 31, 1977.

Functions: Develops policies and programs to benefit working women economically and improve working conditions. Investigates women in industry and recommends changes in labor laws and regulations. Assists international agencies and U.S. delegates attending international conferences.

Finding Aids: William J. Lescure, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Women's Bureau," NC 33 (1963).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Women's Bureau in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the War Labor Policies Board, RG 1.
General Records of the Department of Labor, RG 174.

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86.2 RECORDS OF THE WOMAN-IN-INDUSTRY SERVICE
1918-20

History: Established under authority of an appropriation act of July 1, 1918 (40 Stat. 696), as a war-emergency service to ensure effective employment of women. Many of the records of the Woman- In-Industry Service were destroyed by fire on August 31, 1930.

Textual Records: General correspondence of Director Mary Van Kleeck, 1918-20. Correspondence with War Labor Policies Board, 1918. Minutes of War Labor Policies Board, relating to women in industry, 1918-19. Minutes of conference of state labor law enforcement officials, October 1918. Records relating to hearings before the National War Labor Board, 1918. Bulletins (nos. 1-4), 1918-19. Records relating to women workers in war production during World War I, 1918-19.

Finding Aids: Title list of bulletins included as appendix to NC 33.

Related Records: Articles and speeches by Director Mary Van Kleeck, 1918-19, in Records of the Division of Special Services and Publications UNDER 86.3.5. Bulletins (1-286), 1918-63, including correspondence, research material, and drafts, in Records of the Division of Research and Manpower Development Programs UNDER 86.3.4.

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86.3 RECORDS OF THE WOMEN'S BUREAU
1892-1972, 1995

Textual Records: Reports of the Director, 1918-48. Subject files of the Director, 1964-70. Office files of the Director, 1918-48. Files of Deputy Director Mary Hilton, 1961-67. General correspondence and subject files, 1918-63, with indexes, 1948-56 (186 ft.). , Budget estimates, 1920-55. Records of advisory committees, 1934-53. Issuances received relating to social and economic conditions during World War II, 1941-45. Records relating to the Earning Opportunities Forum program, 1955-64. Questionnaires and related records concerning immigrant women in industry, 1925. Reports and related records concerning women administering state labor laws, 1931-33. Conference files, 1918-71. Files of the National Women's Committee for Civil Rights, 1963- 64. Bureau reports, 1921-42. Annual reports, 1922-32, 1941-62.

Motion Pictures (8 reels): Within the Gates, showing women working on farms and in factories, offices, and stores, 1930 (2 reels). Behind the Scenes in the Machine Age, depicting technological changes affecting women factory workers, 1931 (3 reels). What's in a Dress, showing how wages and hours for garment workers were improved by state and federal laws and by union agreements, 1938 (3 reels).

Photographs (3,625 images): Women at work in war and peacetime industries, in agriculture, and in the professions; evolution of working conditions from colonial to modern times; and the struggle for women's rights, including photographs of notable women, 1892-1945 (G, 2,125 images). Women working in industry, agriculture, professional occupations, military service, home work, and other vocations during World War II, 1940-45 (WWT, 1,500 images).

Posters (9 posters): "Women's Work Counts," a set of posters created to publicize the "Working Women Count" survey and to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Women's Bureau, 1995 (P).

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86.3.1 Records of the Division of Field Services and Coordination

Textual Records: Field office files, 1941-54, including correspondence, reports, clippings, memoranda, and copies of field surveys and interviews.

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86.3.2 Records of the Division of Legislation and Standards

Textual Records: General subject files, 1920-66.

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86.3.3 Records of the Division of Research and Manpower Program Development

Textual Records: Bulletins (1-286), 1918-63, including correspondence, research material, and drafts (431 ft.). Unpublished studies and other research material, 1919-72 (173 ft.). Articles prepared for the departmental publication Labor Information Bulletin, 1942-50. Records relating to women workers in defense production during World War II, 1940-45. Special bulletins relating to women workers in defense industries during World War II, 1940-44. Notes relating to the employment of women, 1944-50. Leaflets containing information about the role of women in organized labor, 1943-47. Bureau publications including Newsletter, 1921-37; The Woman Worker, 1938-42; Facts on Women Workers, 1946-61; leaflets and pamphlets, 1938-63.

Finding Aids: Title list of bulletins (1-247) included as appendix to NC 33.

Related Records: Bulletins (nos. 1-4), 1918-19, in Records of the Women-in-Industry Service UNDER 86.2.

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86.3.4 Records of the Division of Special Services and Publications

Textual Records: General records relating to the public information activities of the bureau, 1918-62, including exhibit materials, scenarios of motion pictures, and publications. Articles and speeches, 1918-60. News releases and transcripts of news conferences, 1929-60. Radio scripts, 1930-49. Charts, graphs, posters, and special subject maps, 1931-60. Records relating to Director Alice K. Leopold, 1955-60.

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86.3.5 Records of the International Division

Textual Records: General subject files, 1919-52. Records relating to cooperation with international organizations, 1945-56, including the Commission on Human Rights and the Status of Women, International Labor Organization, and United Nations. Reports prepared for the President's Commission on the Status of Women, 1963.

Related Records: Records of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, in RG 220, Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards. (SEE 220.10.4).

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86.4 MOTION PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 86.3.

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86.5 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE Photographs UNDER 86.3.
SEE Posters UNDER 86.3


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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