Guide to Federal Records

General Records of the Federal Works Agency [FWA]


(Record Group 162)
1930-50

OVERVIEW OF RECORDS LOCATIONS

Table of Contents

  • 162.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 162.2 GENERAL RECORDS 1936-50
  • 162.2.1 Correspondence
  • 162.2.2 Issuances
  • 162.2.3 Project files
  • 162.2.4 Records relating to investigations
  • 162.2.5 Other records
  • 162.3 RECORDS RELATING TO STAFF OFFICES 1934-49
  • 162.3.1 Records of the Office of the General Counsel
  • 162.3.2 Records of the Office of the Executive Director
  • 162.3.3 Records of the Office of Information
  • 162.4 RECORDS RELATING TO THE BUREAU OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND ITS PREDECESSORS 1940-49
  • 162.5 RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL FIRE COUNCIL 1930-44
  • 162.6 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)
  • 162.7 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL) 1936-49

162.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: As an independent agency by Reorganization Plan No. I of 1939, effective July 1, 1939.

Functions: Administered the following constituent units: Public Buildings Administration (PBA), Public Works Administration (PWA), Work Projects Administration (WPA), Public Roads Administration (PRA), U.S. Housing Authority (USHA), Federal Fire Council (FFC), and Bureau of Community Facilities (BCF).

Abolished: By the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (63 Stat. 377), June 30, 1949.

Successor Agencies: General Services Administration (GSA).

Finding Aids: William E. Lind, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the General Records of the Federal Works Agency," NC 10 (May 1962).

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Federal Works Agency in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, RG 30.
Records of the Work Projects Administration, RG 69.
Records of the Public Buildings Service, RG 121.
Records of the Public Works Administration, RG 135.
Records of the Public Housing Administration, RG 196.

Subject Access Terms: New Deal agency.

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162.2 GENERAL RECORDS
1936-50

History: FWA established 1939 to supervise the PBA, a consolidation of the Public Buildings Branch (Treasury) and the Branch of Buildings Management (National Park Service); the PRA, formerly the Bureau of Roads (Agriculture); the PWA, formerly the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (FEAPW); the WPA; and the USHA, formerly the Housing Division, FEAPW. FFC (an independent agency) transferred to FWA, 1939. BCF established in FWA January 1, 1945. USHA transferred to National Housing Authority and redesignated Federal Public Housing Authority by EO 9070, February 24, 1942. PWA abolished by EO 9357, July 1, 1943. WPA abolished, effective June 30, 1943, by Presidential letter of December 4, 1942. When FWA was abolished in 1949, its surviving constituent units were organizationally or functionally assigned to GSA: PBA was abolished and reconstituted as the Public Buildings Service, PRA was renamed Bureau of Public Roads, BCF became the Community Facilities Service, and the FFC was transferred without change in name.

For detailed administrative histories of FWA constituent units, including predecessor and successor agencies, SEE RG 121 (PBA), RG 30 (PRA), RG 135 (PWA), RG 69 (WPA), RG 196 (USHA), and RG 162 (BCF at 162.4 and FFC at 162.5).

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162.2.1 Correspondence

Textual Records: FWA central subject files, 1941-49. Correspondence of FWA Administrators John M. Carmody, 1939-41; and Gen. Philip B. Fleming, 1942-49. Correspondence of administrators with Executive agencies, 1939-42; with smaller federal agencies, 1939-42; and with the White House, 1939-49. Reading file of the Office of the Administrator, 1939-47. Correspondence of the Administrator's assistants, 1939-42; and of the Administrator's Office, 1939-42.

Finding Aids: File classification for central files in appendix to NC 10.

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162.2.2 Issuances

Textual Records: Administrative orders and related procedural records, 1939-49. PBA and WPA orders, regulations, and procedures, 1940-44.

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162.2.3 Project files

Textual Records: Records concerning plans for postwar public works, 1941-44. Records relating to PWA projects, 1936-43, and other projects, 1943-44, in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Records relating to the construction of the Chicago subway, 1937- 41. Records relating to the construction of the Santee-Cooper Dam, SC, and to the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, WA, 1941. Report on the Ogden, UT, water supply, 1942.

Subject Access Terms: "Galloping Gerty."

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162.2.4 Records relating to investigations

Textual Records: Case files of investigations of FWA and other federal agency employees, 1940-45; and of defense housing, 1940- 49. Investigative case files relating to the WPA, 1936-41; the PBA, 1940-42; the PRA, 1940-42; the Division of Defense Public Works, 1941-42; the Division of War Public Service, 1942-44; and the BCF, 1945-49.

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162.2.5 Other records

Textual Records: Records relating to FWA liaison with the Office of War Information and its successors, 1942-48. Records relating to the organization of the FWA, 1941-44; and the GSA, 1949-50. Records of the Office of the Administrator relating to public health, recreation, and education, 1939-41; and to public relations, 1940-42. Administrator's books, 1946-48. Records relating to the veterans' education program, 1946-48. Records of the Program and Projects Review Board, 1942-44.

Microfilm Publications: T1028.

Sound Recordings (2 items): Speech by FWA Administrator John M. Carmody on defense housing, 1941.

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162.3 RECORDS RELATING TO STAFF OFFICES
1934-49

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162.3.1 Records of the Office of the General Counsel

Textual Records: Correspondence of General Counsel Alan Johnstone relating to legal policy and administrative procedures, 1939-46.

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162.3.2 Records of the Office of the Executive Director

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1939-47.

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162.3.3 Records of the Office of Information

Textual Records: Correspondence with regional offices, 1941-44. Speeches of FWA administrators, 1939-49. Press releases of the Office of Information, 1942-45. Press releases of the FWA and its constituent agencies, 1939-49. Digests of press comments on FWA activities, 1942-49; and on FWA regional activities, 1942-44. Presidential addresses, 1934-42.

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162.4 RECORDS RELATING TO THE BUREAU OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND ITS PREDECESSORS
1940-49

History: Division of Defense Public Works (DDPW), established in FWA by administrative order, July 16, 1941, to supervise national defense public works projects. Division of War Public Service (DWPS), established in FWA August 3, 1942, under provisions of the National Defense Housing (Lanham) Act (54 Stat. 1125), October 14, 1940, to administer public services required by the war effort. DDPW and DWPS consolidated to form the BCF by Administrator's order, December 12, 1944, effective January 1, 1945. Transferred to GSA with other constituent units of FWA when FWA abolished by the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act (63 Stat. 377), June 30, 1949, and became the Community Facilities Service (CFS). Transferred to Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) from GSA by Reorganization Plan No. 17 of 1950, effective May 24, 1950, and designated the Division of Community Facilities and Operations. Designated Community Facilities Administration (CFA) and made constituent unit of HHFA by Administrator's Organizational Order No. 1, December 23, 1954. Abolished by Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (79 Stat. 667), September 9, 1965, and functions assigned to new department.

Textual Records: Defense housing specifications, 1941. Defense housing statistical bulletins, 1940-41. Records of the War Public Works Program, 1941-49. Project summary lists, 1942-43.

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162.5 RECORDS OF THE FEDERAL FIRE COUNCIL
1930-44

History: Established as an interagency council by EO 7397, June 20, 1936, to advise on fire prevention. Assigned to FWA by EO 8194, July 6, 1939. Transferred with FWA to GSA, 1949. Transferred to Commerce Department by EO 11654, March 13, 1972.

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1931-42. Fire reports, 1930-44. Surveys and reports of standing committees, 1931-41. Reports of temporary committees, 1931-38. Minutes of council meetings pertaining to fire prevention, 1930-40. Survey reports relating to government buildings, 1936.

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162.6 SOUND RECORDINGS (GENERAL)

SEE UNDER 162.2.5.

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162.7 STILL PICTURES (GENERAL)
1936-49

Photographs (4,498 images): FWA activities, including war industries, defense housing, construction, and education, 1944-49 (FWA, 3,298 images). General subjects, including Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, disaster relief, and military personnel, 1936-44 (G, 1,200 images).

Photographic Prints (1,500 images): PBA activities, 1939-43 (PBA, 400 images). DDPW activities, 1941-44 (WP, 1,100 images).

Finding Aids: Shelf lists to G and WP.


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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