Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Public Works Administration [PWA]


(Record Group 135)
1933-49 (bulk 1933-45)
329 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 135.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 135.2 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS AND THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION 1933-43 63 lin. ft.
  • 135.3 RECORDS OF THE PROJECTS CONTROL DIVISION 1933-47 108 lin. ft. and 8,856 rolls of microfilm
  • 135.4 RECORDS OF THE ENGINEERING DIVISION 1935-40 5 lin. ft.
  • 135.5 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF INVESTIGATION 1933-48 95 lin. ft. and 824 rolls of microfilm
  • 135.6 RECORDS OF THE ACCOUNTING DIVISION 1933-41 8 lin. ft.
  • 135.7 RECORDS OF OTHER DIVISIONS 1933-41 5 lin. ft.
  • 135.8 RECORDS OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY 1933-39 7,955 images
  • 135.9 FIELD RECORDS 1934-49 14 lin. ft.
  • 135.10 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL) 1934, 1939 3 items
  • 135.11 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

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135.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Federal Works Agency (FWA) by Reorganization Plan No. I of 1939, effective July 1, 1939.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (FEAPW, 1933-39)
Functions: Administered a comprehensive public works program to promote and stabilize employment.

Abolished: By EO 9357, July 1, 1943.

Successor Agencies: Office of Federal Works Administrator, FWA, as liquidator.

Finding Aids: L. Evans Walker, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Public Works Administration (PI 135), 1960.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Public Works Administration and its predecessor in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the National Power Policy Committee (PWA) in RG 48, Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. Records of the Work Projects Administration, RG 69.
General Records of the Federal Works Agency, RG 162. Records of the Mississippi Valley Committee (PWA) and National Planning Board (PWA) in RG 187, Records of the National Resources Planning Board.

Subject Access Terms: New Deal agency.

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135.2 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF
PUBLIC WORKS AND THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION
1933-43
63 lin. ft.

History: FEAPW established by EO 6174, June 16, 1933, pursuant to the National Industrial Recovery Act (48 Stat. 200), same date, to prepare a comprehensive public works program. Renamed PWA and placed under Federal Works Agency, coordinating agency for federal public works activities, by Reorganization Plan No. I of 1939, effective July 1, 1939. PWA abolished, 1943. SEE 135.1.

Textual Records: General files, 1933-40, 1941-43. Minutes of the Special Board for Public Works, 1933-35. Reports submitted to the board by the Engineering Division, 1933-34. Policy and general administrative records, 1933-42. Minutes and reports of PWA conferences, 1934-41. Press releases, bulletins, speeches, and public statements of Harold L. Ickes, 1934-39, in his dual role as Secretary of the Interior and Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works. Copies of some decisions rendered by the Board of Labor Review, 1934-36.

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135.3 RECORDS OF THE PROJECTS CONTROL DIVISION
1933-47
108 lin. ft. and 8,856 rolls of microfilm

History: Projects Division established by merger of divisions for federal and nonfederal projects, 1934. Redesignated Federal Projects Division following transfer of statistical functions, 1938. Became Planning and Federal Projects Division, 1939. Merged with Division of Economics and Statistics to become Projects Control Division, 1940. Established priorities, handled applications, maintained project records, and prepared reports and statistics relating to federal and nonfederal projects.

Textual Records: Administrative files of the director and the assistant director, 1936-41. Subject files, 1933-40. Correspondence and related material concerning reclamation and other projects, 1934-41. Records of construction and status reports on nonfederal projects, 1936-39. Microfilm copies of docket files and related indexes, for nonfederal projects, 1933- 47 (8,856 rolls). Justification data files, 1933-35. "Change" letters and "transfer" letters relating to allotment and reallocation of federal project funds, 1933-43. Publications, statistics, and research material created by Division of Economics and Statistics, 1935-40. Correspondence, contracts, and related records of the Washington National Airport project, 1934- 41; the Anchorage Light and Power Project, 1934-36; and the hydroelectric power project, High Point, NC, 1936-46.

Related Records: Records of PWA projects in RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and RG 165, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs.

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135.4 RECORDS OF THE ENGINEERING DIVISION
1935-40
5 lin. ft.

History: Established to handle engineering and architectural aspects of all PWA projects, 1933. Assumed the powers and functions of the Inspection Division, 1937. Remained in existence until 1942.

Textual Records: Orders and memorandums issued, 1935-39. Correspondence and related records concerning equipment and materials used on PWA projects, 1935-39. Correspondence relating to nonfederal projects, 1938-40.

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135.5 RECORDS OF THE DIVISION OF INVESTIGATION
1933-48
95 lin. ft. and 824 rolls of microfilm

History: Established by and reported directly to the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works to provide information on the manner in which agency functions were being executed. Until 1936 served both the FEAPW and the Department of the Interior. Remained in existence until 1941 when all functions, records, equipment, and supplies (except those directly relating to personnel of the PWA) were transferred to the FWA.

Textual Records: Case files relating to personnel investigations, 1933-41. Microfilm copies of records and a related index relating to investigations of federal and nonfederal PWA projects, 1933-45 (824 rolls). Records relating to eight additional investigations, 1938-48; to the investigation of the Engineering Division, 1934; and to investigations in the Virgin Islands, 1934-36.

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135.6 RECORDS OF THE ACCOUNTING DIVISION
1933-41
8 lin. ft.

History: Established in 1934 to supervise accounting functions relating to nonfederal projects, slum clearance projects, and administrative expenditures.

Textual Records: Subject files, 1938-41. Correspondence relating to nonfederal projects, 1934-37. Memorandums, 1935-37. Procedural and miscellaneous issuances, 1933-38.

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135.7 RECORDS OF OTHER DIVISIONS
1933-41
5 lin. ft.

Textual Records: Records of the Inspection Division, consisting of three series of orders, 1935-37. Records of the Legal Division, including memorandums, 1933-41; orders, 1935-36; digests of decisions, 1939-41; special legal opinions, 1939-40; and bulletins, 1937-41.

Related Records: Records of the Public Housing Administration, RG 196, include records of the PWA Housing Division. Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, RG 48, include materials relating to the PWA Power Division and the PWA Housing Division.

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135.8 RECORDS OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
1933-39
7,955 images

History: Appointed by PWA Administrator Harold L. Ickes to conduct an architectural survey of PWA project sites, 1933. Submitted a photographic report to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in May 1939, a truncated version of which was published later that year.

Photographic Prints and Negatives (7,640 images): Used in the 1939 committee report "Survey of the Architecture of Completed Projects of the Public Works Administration," 1933-39 (SA(A), 3,040 images). Rejected for use in the committee report, 1933-39 (SAR, 4,600 images).

Photographic Negatives (315 images): Floor plans and buildings used in Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies, by C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown, 1939 (PB).

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135.9 FIELD RECORDS
1934-49
14 lin. ft.

Textual Records: Financial records concerning PWA projects in Texas, consisting chiefly of correspondence and administrative forms covering transactions with the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, 1934-49.

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135.10 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
1934, 1939
3 items

Maps: Pictorial map of the United States showing types of PWA work, entitled "PWA Builds the Nation," ca. 1939 (2 items). Mississippi drainage basin, by the FEAPW, 1934 (1 item).

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135.11 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)

SEE Photographic Prints and Negatives UNDER 135.8. SEE Photographic Negatives UNDER 135.8.


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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