Guide to Federal Records

Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission [USCSC]


(Record Group 146)
1871-1981

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 146.1 Administrative History
  • 146.2 Records of the Grant Civil Service Commission 1871-75
  • 146.3 Headquarters Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission 1883-1981
    • 146.3.1 General records
    • 146.3.2 Records of the Applications Division
    • 146.3.3 Records of the Personnel Classification Division
    • 146.3.4 Records of the Bureau of Management Services
    • 146.3.5 Records of the Bureau of Recruiting and Examining
    • 146.3.6 Records of the Fair Employment Board
    • 146.3.7 Records of the Communications Division
    • 146.3.8 Records of the Office Services Division
    • 146.3.9 Records of the Bureau of Training
  • 146.4 Records of the Federal Personnel Council 1938-58
    • 146.4.1 Central office records
    • 146.4.2 Records of Field Personnel Councils in USCSC Region 3 (Philadelphia, PA)
    • 146.4.3 Records of Field Personnel Councils in USCSC Region 9 (St. Louis, MO)
  • 146.5 Records of Regional Offices 1883-1980
    • 146.5.1 Records of Region 2 (New York, NY)
    • 146.5.2 Records of Region 3 (Philadelphia, PA)
    • 146.5.3 Records of (old) Region 4 (Washington, DC)
    • 146.5.4 Records of (new) Region 4 (Atlanta, GA)
    • 146.5.5 Records of (new) Region 5 (Chicago, IL)
    • 146.5.6 Records of (old) Region 6 (Cincinnati, OH)
    • 146.5.7 Records of (new) Region 6 (St. Louis, MO)
    • 146.5.8 Records of (old) Region 8 (St. Paul, MN)
    • 146.5.9 Records of (new) Region 9 (San Francisco, CA)
    • 146.5.10 Records of (new) Region 10 (Seattle, WA)
  • 146.6 Motion Pictures (General) 1915, 1935-69
  • 146.7 Sound Recordings (General) 1935-65
  • 146.8 Machine-Readable Records (General) 1973-77
  • 146.9 Still Pictures (General) 1938-ca.1977

146.1 Administrative History

Established: As an independent agency by the Civil Service Act (22 Stat. 403), January 16, 1883.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Grant Civil Service Commission (1871-83)
Functions: Administered the federal civil service system, including employee appeals of adverse agency personnel actions.

Abolished: Effective January 1, 1979, by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1978, pursuant to EO 12107, December 28, 1978, and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (92 Stat. 1111), October 13, 1978.

Successor Agencies: Office of Personnel Management, Merit Systems Protection Board, and Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Finding Aids: Preliminary Inventory in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the U.S. Civil Service Commission in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the U.S. Senate, RG 46.
Records of the Office of Management and Budget, RG 51.
Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards, RG 220.
Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, RG 233.
Records of the Commissions on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, RG 264.
Records of the Office of Personnel Management, RG 478.
Records of the Merit Systems Protection Board, RG 479.

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146.2 Records of the Grant Civil Service Commission
1871-75

History: An advisory board, popularly known as the Grant Civil Service Commission, established by President Ulysses S. Grant pursuant to an act of March 3, 1871 (16 Stat. 514), authorizing the President to prescribe rules and regulations for the civil service. Superseded by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, 1883. See 146.1.

Textual Records: Minutes of the commission, 1871-74. Reports, regulations, and rules of the commission, 1871-75. Examinations used by the Board of Examiners, Treasury Department, 1872-75.

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146.3 Headquarters Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission
1883-1981

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146.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Minutes of the commission, 1883-1929. Case files containing correspondence and memorandums relating to precedent- setting decisions ("Precedent Minute Cases"), 1904-42, 1950. Letters sent by Commissioner John R. Proctor, 1896-98. Selected records of local Civil Service Boards of Examiners, 1883-1927. Legislative bills files, 1973. Records of Frank P. Sherwood, first director of the Federal Executive Institute, 1968-73. Correspondence relating to appointments, 1883-1906. Field operations letters of the Office of the Executive Director, 1954- 60. Records of the President's Committee on Fund Raising, 1956- 81. Voting Rights Act of 1965 program records, 1965-67.

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146.3.2 Records of the Applications Division

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1895-1914, with index.

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146.3.3 Records of the Personnel Classification Division

Textual Records: Samples of position allocation appeals dossiers, 1923-38. Personnel files for Ansel Adams relating to his employment to create a photographic mural for the Department of the Interior Building, 1941-42.

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146.3.4 Records of the Bureau of Management Services

Textual Records: Policy and procedures files, 1913-53. Policy files, 1939-43. Records of the Office Services Division, consisting of organization and policy manual records, 1942-63; issuances relating to USCSC manual systems, 1943-66; and a reference collection of issuances, publications, and reports, 1904-66.

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146.3.5 Records of the Bureau of Recruiting and Examining

Textual Records: Reports and memorandums relating to the President's Program on Youth Employment, 1970-73.

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146.3.6 Records of the Fair Employment Board

Textual Records: Correspondence with agencies, 1948-54. Case files, 1948-55. Minutes of board meetings, 1948-55. Reports on complaints, 1950-54. Reports from agencies, 1949-54.

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146.3.7 Records of the Communications Division

Textual Records: Case files relating to policy decisions rendered by the commissioners, 1898-1942.

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146.3.8 Records of the Office Services Division

Textual Records: Records relating to civil service job examination specifications, 1941-60.

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146.3.9 Records of the Bureau of Training

Textual Records: Reports and related records pertaining to Federal employee training, 1961-70.

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146.4 Records of the Federal Personnel Council
1938-58

History: Council of Personnel Administration established, effective February 1, 1939, by EO 7916, June 24, 1938, as an interagency advisory group on personnel matters. Placed under USCSC by EO 8467, July 1, 1940. Redesignated Federal Personnel Council by EO 9830, February 24, 1947. Consisted of personnel directors of federal Executive departments and independent agencies, a representative of the Bureau of the Budget, and a representative of the USCSC. Abolished by the First Independent Offices Appropriation Act of 1954 (67 Stat. 300), July 31, 1953, with functions to Office of the Executive Director, USCSC. Superseded by Interagency Advisory Group, January 1954.

Federal Personnel Council established 21 field councils, 1943, expanded to more than 30 by 1953. Under jurisdiction of the Federal Personnel Council until its termination, 1953; thereafter administered by USCSC regional offices.

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146.4.1 Central office records

Textual Records: Minutes, 1939-53. Council files, 1938-54. Project files, 1943-56. Committee files, 1946-55. Personnel survey responses, 1939. General records of Field Personnel Councils, 1943-58.

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146.4.2 Records of Field Personnel Councils in USCSC Region 3
(Philadelphia, PA)

Textual Records (in Philadelphia): Correspondence, minutes, and other records of regional Personnel Council Committees in Hampton Roads, VA; Richmond, VA; Baltimore, MD; Harrisburg, PA; and Pittsburgh, PA, 1943-58.

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146.4.3 Records of Field Personnel Councils in USCSC Region 9
(St. Louis, MO)

Textual Records (in Kansas City): Records of the St. Louis Field Personnel Council, consisting of minutes, 1943-57; correspondence and reports, 1943-53; committee records, 1948-50; and miscellaneous records, 1944-57. Minutes of Field Personnel Councils in Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Oklahoma City, OK; Omaha, NE; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; and Wichita, KS, 1943-57.

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146.5 Records of Regional Offices
1883-1980

History: USCSC established 12 district offices, 1905, with headquarters and jurisdictions as follows:

District Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ (pt.), NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, NJ (pt.), PA
4 Washington, DC DC, MD, NC, VA, WV
5 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
6 Cincinnati, OH IN, KY, OH
7 Chicago, IL IL (pt.), MI, WI
8 St. Paul, MN IA, MN, NE, ND, SD
9 St. Louis, MO AR, IL (pt.), KS, MO, OK
10 New Orleans, LA LA, TX
11 Denver, CO CO, NM, WY
12 San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA

Districts 11 and 12 were realigned, July 1, 1910, with CO and NM transferring to District 12, and ID, MT, OR, UT, and WA moving to District 11. Seattle, WA, replaced Denver as headquarters of District 11.

A 13th district was established, 1920, with headquarters at Denver, and embracing CO, NM, UT, and WY.

District Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ (pt.), NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, NJ (pt.), PA
4 Washington, DC DC, MD, NC, VA, WV
5 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
6 Cincinnati, OH IN, KY, OH
7 Chicago, IL IL (pt.), MI, WI
8 St. Paul, MN IA, MN, NE, ND, SD
9 St. Louis, MO AR, IL (pt.), KS, MO, OK
10 New Orleans, LA LA, TX
11 Seattle, WA ID, MT, OR, WA
12 San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, NV
13 Denver, CO CO, NM, UT, WY

The resulting system (with the addition of the territories of AK and HI to Districts 11 and 12 by 1935) remained stable until 1940, when jurisdiction over NJ and IL was consolidated in Districts 2 and 7, respectively.

Districts were redesignated as regions, 1943, and Winston-Salem, NC, replaced Washington as headquarters for Region 4:

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, PA
4 Winston-Salem, NC DC, MD, NC, VA, WV
5 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, SC, TN
6 Cincinnati, OH IN, KY, OH
7 Chicago, IL IL, MI, WI
8 St. Paul, MN IA, MN, NE, ND, SD
9 St. Louis, MO AR, KS, MO, OK
10 Dallas, TX LA, MS, TX
11 Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA
12 San Francisco, CA AZ, CA, HI, NV
13 Denver, CO CO, NM, UT, WY

A 14th region was established, 1946, with headquarters in Dallas and jurisdiction over TX. New Orleans was designated headquarters of Region 10 (LA and MS). Headquarters for Region 4 returned to Washington, DC, 1949.

Region 8 (St. Paul) was abolished, Regions 10 and 14 were consolidated, jurisdictions were realigned, and regions were renumbered, 1953:

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, PA
4 Washington, DC DC, MD, NC, VA, WV
5 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN
6 Cincinnati, OH IN, KY, OH
7 Chicago, IL IL, MI, WI
8 Dallas, TX AR, LA, OK, TX
9 St. Louis, MO IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
10 Denver, CO AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY
11 Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA
12 San Francisco, CA CA, HI, NV

Region 4 was abolished, 1954. Regions were realigned, but not renumbered:

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, MD, PA, VA
5 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
6 Cincinnati, OH IN, KY, OH, WV
7 Chicago, IL IL, MI, WI
8 Dallas, TX AR, LA, OK, TX
9 St. Louis, MO IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
10 Denver, CO AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY
11 Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA
12 San Francisco, CA CA, HI, NV

Region 6 was abolished, January 2, 1962, with WV to Region 3 and other states to Region 7. Regional numbers were discontinued, March 1962, and regions were designated by the city in which the regional headquarters was located:

Regional Office Jurisdiction
Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
Chicago, IL IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WI
Denver, CO AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY
Dallas, TX AR, LA, OK, TX
New York, NY NJ, NY
Philadelphia, PA DE, MD, PA, VA, WV
St. Louis, MO IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
San Francisco, CA CA, HI, NV
Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA

KY transferred to the Atlanta Regional Office, MN to the Chicago Regional Office, and MT, ND, and SD to the Denver Regional Office, 1971. These changes brought the USCSC regions into geographical conformity with the standard federal regions.

USCSC adopted standard federal region numbers, 1973:

Region Headquarters Jurisdiction
1 Boston, MA CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT
2 New York, NY NJ, NY
3 Philadelphia, PA DE, MD, PA, VA, WV
4 Atlanta, GA AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, TN
5 Chicago, IL IL, IN, KY, MI, OH, WI
6 St. Louis, MO IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
7 Dallas, TX AR, LA, OK, TX
8 Denver, CO AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY
9 San Francisco, CA CA, HI, NV
10 Seattle, WA AK, ID, MT, OR, WA

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146.5.1 Records of Region 2 (New York, NY)

History: Established as District 2, with headquarters in New York and jurisdiction over NY and northern counties of NJ, 1905. Acquired jurisdiction over southern NJ from District 3 (Philadelphia), 1940. Redesignated Region 2, 1943. Redesignated New York Regional Office, 1962. Redesignated Region 2, 1973.

Textual Records (in New York): Records of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, including letters sent to the USCSC, 1898- 1905; minutes of meetings, 1898-1908; letters sent and received, Customs Examining Board, New York, 1898-1903; and examination questions and keys, 1891-1910. Records of the Office of the Regional Director, consisting of records of memberships of local civil service boards, 1961. Lists of naturalization certificates, 1905-6.

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146.5.2 Records of Region 3 (Philadelphia, PA)

History: Established as District 3, with headquarters in Philadelphia and jurisdiction over DE, southern counties of NJ, and PA, 1905. Jurisdiction over NJ consolidated under District 2 (New York), 1940. Redesignated Region 3, 1943. Acquired MD and VA from abolished Region 4 (Washington), 1954, and WV from abolished Region 6 (Cincinnati), 1962. Redesignated Philadelphia Regional Office, 1962. Redesignated Region 3, 1973.

Textual Records (in Philadelphia): USCSC local board membership cards, 1902-64. Records of the Program Division relating to the merit program, 1949-71.

Related Records: Records of Field Personnel Councils in Region 3 described under 146.4.2.

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146.5.3 Records of (old) Region 4 (Washington, DC)

History: Established as District 4, with headquarters in Washington and jurisdiction over DC, MD, NC, VA, and WV, 1905. Redesignated Region 4, 1943, with headquarters transferred to Winston-Salem, NC. Headquarters transferred back to Washington, 1949. Abolished, with MD and VA to Region 3 (Philadelphia), NC to Region 5 (Atlanta), and WV to Region 6 (Cincinnati), 1954.

Textual Records: Letters sent by District Secretary Louis Fisher, 1906-7.

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146.5.4 Records of (new) Region 4 (Atlanta, GA)

History: Established as District 5, with headquarters in Atlanta and jurisdiction over AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, and TN, 1905. Redesignated Region 5, 1943, with MS to Region 10 (Dallas). Reacquired jurisdiction over MS, 1953. Acquired NC from abolished Region 4 (Washington), 1954. Redesignated Atlanta Regional Office, 1962. Redesignated Region 4, 1973.

Textual Records (in Atlanta): Press copies of letters sent by the Board of Civil Service Examiners, Columbia, SC, 1897-1904. Records of intergovernmental personnel programs under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA), including state merit system files and CETA authorities, policies, and procedures manual, 1971-80; and personnel action plans, nonfederal merit system reviews, and records relating to exemptions requested for certain positions in the Kentucky state government, 1975-80.

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146.5.5 Records of (new) Region 5 (Chicago, IL)

History: Established as District 7, with headquarters in Chicago and jurisdiction over northern IL, MI, and WI, 1905. Acquired jurisdiction over southern IL from Region 9 (St. Louis), 1940. Redesignated Region 7, 1943. Acquired IN, KY, and OH from abolished Region 6, 1962. Redesignated Chicago Regional Office, 1962. Redesignated Region 5, 1973.

Textual Records (in Chicago, except as noted): Letters received from Theodore Roosevelt, Acting President (Chairman), USCSC, 1893-95 (in Washington Area). Minutes of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, Port Huron, MI, 1883-97. Examination records of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, Janesville, WI, 1893- 1927. Issuances, 1949-65. Community review program files from various midwestern cities, 1963-69.

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146.5.6 Records of (old) Region 6 (Cincinnati, OH)

History: Established as District 6, with headquarters in Cincinnati and jurisdiction over IN, KY, and OH, 1905. Redesignated Region 6, 1943. Acquired WV from abolished Region 4 (Washington), 1954. Abolished, with WV to Region 3 (Philadelphia), and IL, KY, and OH to Region 7 (Chicago), 1962.

Textual Records (in Chicago): Examination records of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, Indianapolis, IN, 1883-1927.

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146.5.7 Records of (new) Region 6 (St. Louis, MO)

History: Established as District 9, with headquarters in St. Louis and jurisdiction over AR, southern IL, KS, MO, and OK, 1905. Jurisdiction over IL consolidated under District 7 (Chicago), 1940. Redesignated Region 9, 1943. Acquired IA, MN, NE, ND, and SD from abolished Region 8 (St. Paul), 1953. Redesignated St. Louis Regional Office, 1962. Jurisdiction over MN transferred to Chicago Regional Office, and ND and SD to Denver Regional Office, 1971. Redesignated Region 6, 1973.

Textual Records (in Kansas City): Circular letters, 1912-45. Circulars pertaining to position classification activities, personnel, recruiting authority, retirement of Civil Service employees, and medical activities, 1923-55. Bulletins, 1942-55. Minutes of "A" conferences, 1943-48. Issuances, 1912-69. List of major field establishments, ca. 1954. Records relating to World War II emergency activities, consisting of national defense circulars, 1940-41; employment stabilization circulars and briefs, 1943; occupation deferment circulars, 1942; Pearl Harbor recruiting memorandums, 1942-44; and investigation circulars, 1942-45.

Related Records: Records of Field Personnel Councils in Region 9 (St. Louis) described under 146.4.3.

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146.5.8 Records of (old) Region 8 (St. Paul, MN)

History: Established as District 8, with headquarters in St. Paul and jurisdiction over IA, MN, NE, ND, and SD, 1905. Redesignated Region 8, 1943. Abolished, with states transferred to Region 9 (St. Louis), 1953.

Textual Records (in Chicago): Letters and minutes of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, Duluth, MN, 1893-1927.

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146.5.9 Records of (new) Region 9 (San Francisco, CA)

History: Established as District 12, with headquarters in San Francisco and jurisdiction over AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, and WA, 1905. In realignment of 1910, ID, MT, OR, UT, and WA transferred to District 11 (Seattle), and CO and NM moved from District 11 to District 12. Jurisdiction over CO and NM transferred to new Region 13 (Denver), 1920. HI, administered locally by Honolulu Board of Civil Service Examiners, assigned to District 12 by 1935. Redesignated Region 12, 1943. AZ assigned to Region 10 (Denver), 1953. Redesignated San Francisco Regional Office, 1962. Redesignated Region 9, 1973.

Textual Records (in San Francisco , except as noted): Records of the Board of Civil Service Examiners, consisting of letters sent, 1893-97 and (in Washington Area) 1905-7; and minutes of meetings, 1883-97. Letters received from Civil Service Commissioners, 1895- 1902. Minutes and orders of the district office, 1890-1906. District office scrapbook, 1902-5. Correspondence and reports regarding the naval recruiting program, 1943. Recruiting reports, 1940-42. Monthly work reports, 1942.

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146.5.10 Records of (new) Region 10 (Seattle, WA)

History: Established as District 11, with headquarters in Denver and jurisdiction over CO, NM, and WY, 1905. In realignment of 1910, acquired jurisdiction over ID, MT, OR, UT, and WA from District 12 (San Francisco), transferred CO and NM to District 12, and moved headquarters from Denver to Seattle. Jurisdiction over WY transferred to new Region 13 (Denver), 1920. AK assigned to District 11 by 1935. Redesignated Region 11, 1943. Redesignated Seattle Regional Office, 1962. Jurisdiction over MT transferred to Denver Regional Office, 1971. Redesignated Region 10, 1973.

Textual Records (in Seattle): Historical file relating to applicants for civil service positions who were tested by examiners in Butte, MT; Denver, CO; Portland, OR; and Tacoma, WA, 1890-1931, including rosters of eligibles; books of stub certificates giving scores of applicants, name of position, and name of candidate selected, for Tacoma, WA, 1903-4, and Portland, OR; and press copy books for Denver, CO, 1890-1907, Butte, MT, 1901-26, and Portland, OR, 1891-98, 1903-4.

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146.6 Motion Pictures (General)
1915, 1935-69

Thomas Edison's Won Through Merit, on the history of the merit system, 1915 (1 reel). Documentaries, television programs, speeches, interviews, and films of conferences and meetings, produced or acquired by the Office of Public Affairs 1935-69 (33 reels), including Working for the U.S.A., The Highest Honor, America at Work, and Labor of Love; an address by Vice President Hubert Humphrey at the 1965 Youth Opportunity Conference; speeches by USCSC Chairman John Macy; American Broadcasting Company's Perspective (1952); and selected programs (1953-69) on the civil service from the Georgetown University Forum series.

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146.7 Sound recordings (General)
1935-65

Speeches and programs relating to USCSC policies and activities, 1935-65 (11 items).

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146.8 Machine-Readable Records (General)
1973-77

Central Personnel Data File (CPDF), with supporting documentation, 1973-77 (19 data sets).

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146.9 Still Pictures (General)
1938-ca.1977

Photographic Prints and Negatives: Photographs documenting the variety of jobs available to employees in the Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area, and candidates taking the Civil Service Examination, 1939-48 (FJ, 501 images). U.S. Civil Service Commission activities and personnel, 1938-54 (MA, 125 images).

Photographic Negatives: Subject file of U.S. Civil Service Commission activities and personnel, 1966-72 (SP, 850 images).

Color Slides: Slide show presentation entitled "An Inventive Bunch" highlighting the technological and social contributions made by Federal employees, ca. 1977 (IB, 80 images).


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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