Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry


(Record Group 97)
1862-1962
1,714 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 97.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 97.2 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION AND THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY 1862-1941 901 lin. ft.
  • 97.3 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY AND SOILS 1901-42 734 lin. ft.
  • 97.3.1 General records
  • 97.3.2 Records of the Chemical and Technological Research Branch
  • 97.3.3 Records of the Chemical Engineering Research Division
  • 97.3.4 Records of the Color Laboratory and the Color and Farm Waste Division
  • 97.3.5 Records of the Industrial Farm Products Research Division
  • 97.3.6 Records of the Naval Stores Research Division
  • 97.3.7 Records relating to the Trail smelter fumes investigations
  • 97.4 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY AND ENGINEERING 1920-42 22 lin. ft.
  • 97.5 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY 1951-62 10 lin. ft.
  • 97.6 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
  • 97.7 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1878-1941 2,704 images

97.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Agricultural Research Administration (ARA), February 14, 1943, by ARA Memorandum 5, February 13, 1943, pursuant to EO 9069, February 23, 1942, and Secretary of Agriculture's Memorandums 960, December 14, 1941, and 986, February 25, 1942.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of Agriculture:

  • Division of Chemistry (1862-1901)
  • Bureau of Chemistry (1901-27, to Bureau of Chemistry and Soils)
  • Division of Agricultural Soils, Weather Bureau (1894-95)
  • Division of Agricultural Soils (1895-96)
  • Division of Soils (1896-1901)
  • Bureau of Soils (1901-27, to Bureau of Chemistry and Soils)
  • Bureau of Chemistry and Soils (1927-38, to Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering)
  • Bureau of Agricultural Engineering (1931-38, to Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering)
  • Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering (1938-42)
  • Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering, ARA (1942-43)
Functions: Engaged in chemical and technological research on the use of agricultural commodities.

Abolished: By Secretary's Memorandum 1320, supplement 4, November 2, 1953.

Successor Agencies: Utilization Research Division (later Utilization Research and Development Division), Agricultural Research Service.

Finding Aids: Helen T. Finneran, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry, PI 149 (1962).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, RG 8.
Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering, RG 54. Records of the Food and Drug Administration, RG 88.
Records of the Soil Conservation Service, RG 114.
Records of the Agricultural Research Service, RG 310.

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97.2 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION AND THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY
1862-1941
901 lin. ft.

History: Division of Chemistry established in the Department of Agriculture pursuant to the act creating the department (12 Stat. 387), May 15, 1862. Redesignated Bureau of Chemistry, effective July 1, 1901, by the Agricultural Appropriation Act (31 Stat. 930), March 2, 1901. Initially concerned with soil analysis; after 1889, with analysis of food, drugs, and insecticides.

Division of Agricultural Soils established in Weather Bureau, effective February 15, 1894, by Secretary of Agriculture's Order, January 2, 1894, and confirmed by Agricultural Appropriation Act (28 Stat. 274), August 8, 1894, acquiring soil analysis functions from Division of Chemistry. Separated from Weather Bureau, effective July 1, 1895, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (28 Stat. 735), March 2, 1895. Redesignated Division of Soils, effective July 1, 1896, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (29 Stat. 100), April 25, 1896.

Division of Chemistry and Division of Soils designated Bureau of Chemistry and Bureau of Soils, effective July 1, 1901, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (31 Stat. 930, March 2, 1901. Consolidated to form Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1927. SEE 97.3.

Textual Records: Reports and letters received, 1862-1909. Letters sent, 1878-1907. General correspondence, 1907-18 (820 lin. ft.), with indexes. Letters sent relating to the World's Columbian Exposition, 1893; the Paris Exposition, 1900; and the St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. Bulletins describing division and bureau experiments, 1883-1913. Notebooks and letters sent regarding experiments with sorghum, 1887-92. Notebooks relating to experiments with sugar beets, 1883-1902, and food adulterants, 1890-1905. Records of enforcement work, including test reports on imported sugar, 1901-4; letters relating to imported food, 1903- 9; and circulars and memorandums, 1908-23. Articles and lectures by Division and Bureau Chief Harvey W. Wiley, 1890-1906. Copies of published papers, 1911-27. Bibliography concerning agricultural chemical research, 1915-27.

Lantern Slides (764 images): Illustrations for lectures by Charles A. Brown and other Bureau of Chemistry personnel, depicting noted chemists, the history of the U.S. chemical industry, dust explosions, fire prevention research, and sugar and oil industries, 1913-41 (CB, LS). SEE ALSO 97.7.

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97.3 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF CHEMISTRY AND SOILS
1901-42
734 lin. ft.

History: Established, effective July 1, 1927, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (44 Stat. 991), January 18, 1927, consolidating the Bureau of Chemistry and Bureau of Soils, and absorbing also the soil bacteriology and fertility investigation functions of the Bureau of Plant Industry, and transferring regulatory functions of the former Bureau of Chemistry to the newly created Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration. Soil bacteriology and fertility investigation functions transferred to the Bureau of Plant Industry, and insecticide and fungicide research functions transferred to the Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, effective July 1, 1935, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (49 Stat. 260, 268), May 17, 1935. Soil erosion investigation activities transferred to the new Soil Erosion Service (later Soil Conservation Service), effective April 1, 1935, by Secretary of Agriculture's Memorandum 665, March 27, 1935. Fruit and vegetable utilization investigation functions transferred to Bureau of Chemistry and Soils from Bureau of Plant Industry by Secretary of Agriculture's Memorandum 669, April 3, 1935.

Bureau of Agricultural Engineering, responsible for research on engineering problems associated with agriculture, established, effective July 1, 1931, by Agricultural Appropriation Act (46 Stat. 1266), February 23, 1931. Consolidated with Bureau of Chemistry and Soils to form Bureau of Agricultural Chemistry and Engineering (SEE 97.4), with the nonchemical functions of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils going to the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Soil Conservation Service, 1938.

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97.3.1 General records

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1935-39. Laboratory project reports, 1901-38. Papers published in scientific journals, 1927-41. Radio scripts and press releases, 1930-42. Records relating to manufacture of phthalic anhydride, 1917-41.

Maps (41 items): Oversize enclosures separated from general correspondence, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1930-34. SEE ALSO 97.6.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (30 items): Oversize enclosures separated from general correspondence, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1930-34. SEE ALSO 97.6.

Photographic Negatives (1,525 images): Research and investigatory activities of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, including dust explosions at grain elevators, mills, and manufacturing plants, 1922-42 (C,D). SEE ALSO 97.7.

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97.3.2 Records of the Chemical and Technological Research Branch

History: Established, 1927, as one of the original components of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1927-35, with index.

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97.3.3 Records of the Chemical Engineering Research Division

History: Office of Development Work established in Bureau of Chemistry, 1920, to continue investigations initiated in 1914 into dust explosions in grain mills. Redesignated Chemical Engineering Research Division in Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1927. Abolished, 1940.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1914-42. Records relating to committees and councils, 1921-42. Reports on straw gas experiments, 1918. Reports on investigations concerning smut control, 1914-18; industrial plant dust explosions, 1914-42; cotton gin fires, 1918; and the spontaneous heating and igniting of hay, 1929-32.

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97.3.4 Records of the Color Laboratory and the Color and Farm
Waste Division

History: Color Laboratory established in the Bureau of Chemistry, 1916. Redesignated Color and Farm Waste Division by 1926. Conducted research into dyes and stains, and into production of chemicals by fermentative action of microorganisms. Abolished, 1935, and functions absorbed by the Industrial Farm Products Research Division.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1914-36, with index. Laboratory notebooks, 1917-39.

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97.3.5 Records of the Industrial Farm Products Research Division

History: Established as Dendro-Chemical Laboratory in Bureau of Chemistry, 1902. Reorganized as the Leather and Paper Laboratory, 1904. By 1926, known as Industrial Farm Products Division. Became the Industrial Farm Products Research Division, 1935, absorbing function of the Color and Farm Waste Division.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1908-35. Office files of the senior chemist, 1936-40. Records relating to committees, 1904-36. Records relating to agricultural waste utilization, 1927-30.

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97.3.6 Records of the Naval Stores Research Division

History: Established in the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1935, to conduct research leading to the improvement of rosin, turpentine, and other pinewood derivatives used in naval stores.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1903-35. Records relating to naval stores demonstration work, 1914-36; specifications, 1915- 39; and patent applications, 1934-41.

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97.3.7 Records relating to the Trail smelter fumes investigations

History: Beginning in July 1928, scientists of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils and Bureau of Plant Industry, on behalf of the Department of State, investigated complaints by farmers in Stevens County, WA, of damage from fumes generated by the lead and zinc smelter of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, Ltd., at Trail, British Columbia. Problem submitted to the International Joint Commission, which recommended, February 1931, an award of $350,000 for damages sustained between 1925 and 1931. Subsequent negotiations between the United States and Canada resulted in a treaty, April 15, 1935, establishing a Trail Smelter Arbitral Tribunal, which on April 16, 1938, mandated an indemnity of $78,000 for additional damages sustained between January 1, 1932, and October 1, 1937.

Textual Records: Reports of investigations by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, Ltd., 1926; the Canadian National Research Council for the Canadian Department of External Affairs, 1929-30; and the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1930-37. Reference file, 1930-38. Records relating to retail business activity in Northport, WA, 1924-28; and evaluation of property, 1929, 1931-38. Records relating to the recommendations of the American Section, International Joint Commission, 1931. Report of damages awarded by the International Joint Commission, 1939. Briefs submitted by the United States, 1936-37, and exhibits submitted by Canada, 1932-37, to the Trail smelter Arbitral Tribunal. Records concerning Trail Smelter award claimants, 1938.

Maps (179 items): Land ownership, zones of damage, and mining claims, Trail smelter damage area, Stevens County, WA, 1928-38. SEE ALSO 97.6.

Related Records: Additional Trail smelter fumes investigation records in RG 54, Records of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering; and in RG 76, Records of Boundary and Claims Commissions and Arbitrations.

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97.4 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL CHEMISTRY AND
ENGINEERING
1920-42
22 lin. ft.

History: Established by Secretary of Agriculture's Memorandum 789, October 6, 1938, consolidating Bureau of Agricultural Engineering and Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1938. Placed under the newly created Agricultural Research Administration, established by EO 9069, February 23, 1942. Renamed Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry, with engineering research functions transferred to Bureau of Plant Industry, Soils, and Agricultural Engineering (formerly Bureau of Plant Industry), 1943. SEE 97.1.

Textual Records: Office files relating to engineering research, 1920-42, of S. H. McCrory, Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering (1931-39) and Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering and Chemistry (1939-42). Office file relating to smelter fumes investigations and chemical utilization research, 1927-41, of W.W. Skinner, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils (1936-39) and Associate Chief of the Bureau of Agricultural Engineering and Chemistry (1939-43).

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97.5 RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL AND INDUSTRIAL
CHEMISTRY
1951-62
10 lin. ft.

Textual Records: Organization charts, 1951-62. Project budget information, 1952-62. Biennial and triennial project reports, 1959-62.

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97.6 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)

SEE Maps UNDER 97.3.1 and 97.3.7. SEE Architectural and Engineering Plans UNDER 97.3.1.

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97.7 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
1878-1941
2,704 images

Photographs (2,667 images): Dust explosions, fires and fire prevention, bureau personnel and tests, and exhibits, 1878-1941 (G, 1,900 images; M, 173 images). Bureau personnel and facilities, 1908-37 (MS, 594 images).

Photographic Negatives (37 images): Illustrations in bureau publications, 1908-40 (NP).

SEE Photographic Negatives UNDER 97.3.1. SEE Lantern Slides UNDER 97.2.


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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