Guide to Federal Records

Records of the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST]


(Record Group 167)
1830-1987

Table of Contents

  • 167.1 Administrative History
  • 167.2 Records of the Office of Standard Weights and Measures 1830-1901
    • 167.2.1 General records
    • 167.2.2 Records of office personnel
    • 167.2.3 Records of the International Standards Commission
  • 167.3 General Records of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) 1901-72
    • 167.3.1 Correspondence
    • 167.3.2 Records of directors and associate directors
    • 167.3.3 Records of the Management and Organization Division
    • 167.3.4 Publications
    • 167.3.5 Other records
  • 167.4 Records of Institutes 1933-69
  • 167.5 Records of Divisions and Sections 1894-1975
    • 167.5.1 Records of the Weights and Measures Division
    • 167.5.2 Records of the Electrodeposition Section, Chemical Division
    • 167.5.3 Records of the Building Research Division
    • 167.5.4 Records of the Building Materials Division
    • 167.5.5 Records of the Mass-Length and Volume Section, Optical Physics Division
    • 167.5.6 Records of the Mechanics Division
    • 167.5.7 Records of the Organic and Fibrous Materials Division
    • 167.5.8 Records of the Electricity Division
    • 167.5.9 Records of the Radiometry Section, Atomic Physics Division
    • 167.5.10 Records of the Materials Evaluation Division
    • 167.5.11 Records of the Systems Research and Development Division
    • 167.5.12 Records of the Applied Mathematics Division
    • 167.5.13 Records of the Management Planning Division
    • 167.5.14 Records of the Inorganic Materials Division
  • 167.6 Records of the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL)and its Predecessors 1875-1965
  • 167.7 Records of the President's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership 1921-33
  • 167.8 Records of the National Screw Thread Commission 1918-33
  • 167.9 Cartographic Records (General) 1935, 1948
  • 167.10 Motion Pictures (General) 1934-87
  • 167.11 Still Pictures (General) 1920-59

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167.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Commerce, by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (102 Stat. 1107), August 23, 1988.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of the Treasury:
  • Office of Standard Weights and Measures (1830-1901)
  • National Bureau of Standards (1901-3)
In the Department of Commerce and Labor:
  • National Bureau of Standards (1903-13)
In the Department of Commerce:
  • National Bureau of Standards (1913-88)

Functions: Provides the central basis in the United States for a complete and consistent system of physical measurements. Conducts tests on the properties of materials. Develops technological standards and testing methodology. Performs research on radiation and in computer technology. Promotes the dissemination of scientific and technological information. Provides technical assistance to industry in developing procedures to improve product quality, modernize manufacturing processes, and expedite commercialization of products based on scientific advances.

Finding Aids: William J. Lescure, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the National Bureau of Standards," NC 76 (Oct. 1964); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

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167.2 Records of the Office of Standard Weights and Measures
1830-1901

History: Established as a section of the Coast Survey, Department of the Treasury, pursuant to a Senate resolution, May 29, 1830, calling for a report on the various weights and measures in use at U.S. customhouses. Abolished by the Bureau of Standards Act (31 Stat. 1449), March 3, 1901, creating the National Bureau of Standards. See 167.3.

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167.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Computations for tests, comparisons, and observations and notes made on weights and measures to determine whether they met desired standards, 1840-1901. Letters sent to the Treasury Department, 1830-53. Letters received, 1845-77. Office correspondence, 1859-93, with registers, 1870-81, 1883-85. Reports on casks, ca. 1880, and on types of molasses, 1846. Financial records, 1844-58. Reports concerning weights and measures, ca. 1870. Quarterly accounting reports, abstracts of expenditures, and vouchers, 1845-66.

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167.2.2 Records of office personnel

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports of Superintendent Ferdinand R. Hassler regarding fieldwork for a survey of the U.S. coast, production and distribution of standard weights and measures, and administration, 1832-44. Records of Jonathan H. Lane, a scientist employed by the Office of Weights and Measures, including letters from scientists and scientific papers on physics, astronomy, electricity, telegraphy, optics, and weights and measures, 1836-78.

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167.2.3 Records of the International Standards Commission

Textual Records: Minutes and reports, 1870-75.

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167.3 General Records of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS)
1901-72

Established: In the Department of the Treasury by the Bureau of Standards Act (31 Stat. 1449), March 3, 1901, replacing the Office of Standard Weights and Measures (see 167.2). Transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor by the Commerce Department Act (32 Stat. 826), February 14, 1903; and to the Department of Commerce by the Labor Department Act (37 Stat. 736), March 4, 1913. Redesignated NIST, 1988. See 167.1.

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167.3.1 Correspondence

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1901-46 (210 ft.). Special subject correspondence ("Blue Folder File"), 1902-52, with an index, 1901-45 (430 ft.).

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167.3.2 Records of directors and associate directors

Textual Records: Office files of Director Lyman J. Briggs, 1907- 62, and Director Allen V. Astin, 1930-69. Correspondence, reports, and other materials created, received, or accumulated by the director, 1945-65. Office files of Associate Director Wallace Reed Brode, 1948-58. Records of Associate Director for Chemistry Edward Wichers, 1951-62. Files of Archibald T. McPherson, Associate Director for Engineering and Special Assistant to the Director for International Standards, 1908-63. Files of George Auman, Assistant to the NBS Director, 1949-70. Files of Robert D. Huntoon, as Deputy Director, 1949-72, and as Assistant to the Director, Office of Program Development and Evaluation, 1964-68. Files of Clarence N. Coates, Assistant to the NBS Director, 1949-67. Files of Deputy Assistant General Counsel Hirschie J. Johnson, 1951-63.

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167.3.3 Records of the Management and Organization Division

Textual Records: Records of surveys and studies conducted by the division relating to the move of NBS to Gaithersburg, MD, 1952-66.

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167.3.4 Publications

Textual Records: Publications relating to the National Bureau of Standards, 1906-52. Records of the Publications Section, 1947-66. National Bureau of Standards Reports and National Bureau of Standards Interagency Reports, consisting of interim and final reports on research projects, 1951-72. Bulletin of the Bureau of Standards, 1904-18. Scientific Papers, 1919-28. Technological Papers, 1910-28. Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards, 1928-59. Summary Technical Reports, 1946-6365. Technical Reports concerning tests conducted for the United States Air Force, 1954-66. Building Materials and Structures Reports, 1938-58. Building Research Summary Reports, 1955-68. Non-Syndicated Reports, 1947-57. Miscellaneous publications, 1906-59. Technical notes, monographs, and publications, 1959-83 (in Denver).

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167.3.5 Other records

Textual Records: Random sampling of completed NBS test folders, 1903-40. Records of editorial review boards, 1934-66. Editorial Committee case files, 1960-66. Records of the Committee on Cement of the American Society of Testing Materials, 1915-65.

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167.4 Records of Institutes
1933-69

Textual Records: General subject files, 1961-69 , and committee records, 1965-68, of the Office of the Director of the Institute for Basic Standards, 1965-68. Records of the Office of the Director of the Institute for Materials Research relating to the development of evaluation criteria, 1933-63.

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167.5 Records of Divisions and Sections
1894-1975

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167.5.1 Records of the Weights and Measures Division

Textual Records: Summary sheets and notebooks of the Mass and Scale Section containing calibrations of weights, scales, and measures made from direct observations, 1901-45. Records of the Length Section, consisting of monthly reports, 1918-46; test data on calibrations of decimeter and meter bars, including 153-R, 1920-55; length measurement notebooks, 1901-21; and computations relating to paper bags, photographic film and paper, and sieves, 1925-32. Computations of the Thermal Expansivity Section relating to the dividing engine, 1920-46.

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167.5.2 Records of the Electrodeposition Section, Chemical
Division

Textual Records: Monthly, quarterly, and annual reports, 1915-57. Records, 1910-55, including laboratory notebooks, and records relating to patent cases.

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167.5.3 Records of the Building Research Division

Textual Records: General records relating to building and housing studies, 1926-55. Sample of laboratory notebooks of the Inorganic Building Materials Section relating to tests, 1925-26. Records of the Organic Coating Section (also known as the Organic Building Materials Section) relating to paint reference samples, federal specifications, and the testing of materials, 1935-64.

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167.5.4 Records of the Building Materials Division

Textual Records: Records of George N. Thompson, Assistant Chief of the Building Technology Division and Chief of the Codes and Specifications Section, 1927-55. Reports relating to building materials and structures, 1938-58. Reports relating to building materials research, 1949-56.

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167.5.5 Records of the Mass-Length and Volume Section, Optical
Physics Division

Textual Records: Mass computation record books, and records of weighings and related records, 1945-62.

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167.5.6 Records of the Mechanics Division

Textual Records: Laboratory data books and project case files of the Fluid Mechanics Section, 1932-33. Miscellaneous records of Hugh Latimer Dryden, Chief of the Aerodynamics Section, 1918-33. Technical and progress reports of the Aeronautical Instruments Section, 1918-58.

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167.5.7 Records of the Organic and Fibrous Materials Division

Textual Records: Monthly and annual reports, case files on significant investigations, laboratory notebooks, and related records of the Textile Section, 1912-62. Correspondence, memorandums, reports, and related records of the Paper Section, 1910-61; and records of the successor Paper Evaluation Section relating to paper research, 1962-74. Records of the Testing and Specifications Section pertaining to the development of federal specifications regarding rubber, 1933-63.

Photographic Prints : Paper research, including testing equipment, graphs and diagrams, and Japanese paper-making techniques, 1921-60 (308 images).

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167.5.8 Records of the Electricity Division

Textual Records: Reports, correspondence, and committee records, 1909-60. Correspondence, blueprints, and laboratory notebooks relating to the Safety Elevator Interlock Testing Program, 1922- 42. Correspondence, reports, and contract case files of the Tinkertoy Program, relating to the development and production of electronic circuitry, 1951-55. Records of the Electrical Engineering Technical Committee of the Electrosystems Division, 1940-70. Committee records of Francis L. Hermach, Chief of the Electrical Instruments Section, 1947-75.

Photographs and Glass Slides : Illustrations for lectures and articles, 1894-95 (180 images), and 1912-59 (80 images). Construction of the Electricity Division's first laboratory, 1912-13.

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167.5.9 Records of the Radiometry Section, Atomic Physics
Division

Textual Records: Laboratory notebooks, 1905-64.

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167.5.10 Records of the Materials Evaluation Division

Textual Records: Test folders, ledgers, laboratory notebooks, and working papers, 1930-59.

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167.5.11 Records of the Systems Research and Development Division

Textual Records: Selected studies and surveys undertaken for government agencies, 1956-65.

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167.5.12 Records of the Applied Mathematics Division

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records relating to electronic computers, 1947-54.

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167.5.13 Records of the Management Planning Division

Textual Records: Consolidated reports concerning scientific and technical projects, 1949-65.

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167.5.14 Records of the Inorganic Materials Division

Textual Records: Annual and quarterly narrative reports of predecessor Mineral Products Division, 1932-56. Correspondence and working papers of the Glass Section, including reports of projects headed by Francis W. Glaze, 1946-51.

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167.6 Records of the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL)
and its Predecessors
1875-1965

History: Radio Section established in Electricity Division, 1913. During World War II, Radio Section established Interservice Radio Propagation Laboratory (IRPL) to study effect of ionosphere on radio communication. CRPL established, May 1, 1946, absorbing the Radio Section and functions of IRPL. CRPL moved to Boulder, CO, 1954. Transferred to Environmental Sciences Services Administration, Department of Commerce, October 11, 1965. NBS residual functions vested in Radio Standards Laboratory and Radio Standards Physics Division in Institute for Basic Standards.

Textual Records (in Denver, except as noted): Central decimal files of the Radio Section ("Radio Dewey Decimal Files"), 1912- 46. CRPL project and program records, 1932-65 (bulk 1954-65). CRPL quarterly reports, 1946-54. CRPL monthly activity reports, 1950-54. Records of J. Howard Dellinger, Chief of the Radio Section and CRPL, 1922-51. Miscellaneous records of J. Howard Dellinger, 1875-1962 (in Washington Area).

Photographs : CRPL photographic collection, arranged by office division, and including equipment, experiments, and research stations and sites, 1914-65 (6,258 images, in Denver).

Glass Plate Negatives : Operations of the Radio Section and of CRPL before its transfer to Boulder, 1914-54 (950 images, in Denver).

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167.7 Records of the President's Conference on Home Building and
Home Ownership
1921-33

History: Planning committee for conference on home building and home ownership, established in August 1930 by President Herbert Hoover, appointed committees, 1930-31, to prepare reports for the conference. Committees met, May-December 1931. Conference held under auspices of American Relief Administration Children's Fund in Washington, DC, December 2-5, 1931. Final reports drafted and published, 1932-33.

Textual Records: Reports, correspondence, and memorandums concerning the work of the Committees on Types of Dwellings, Blighted Areas and Slums, and City Planning and Zoning, 1931-33. Correspondence, publications, and other records of conference committees, 1930-33. Statistical and other records concerning a study of business cycles, 1926-28. Correspondence, memorandums, and other records concerning the history and work of the Division of Building and Housing, 1921-30. Administrative reports, correspondence, and related records of the Division of Public Construction, 1929-33.

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167.8 Records of the National Screw Thread Commission
1918-33

History: Commission for Standardization of Screw Threads established by act of July 18, 1918 (40 Stat. 912). Subsequently known as National Screw Thread Commission. Abolished, effective March 2, 1934, by EO 6166, June 10, 1933.

Textual Records: Minutes, reports, and correspondence, ca. 1918- 33, including the final report summarizing the history and work of the commission, 1933.

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167.9 Cartographic Records (General)
1935, 1948

Maps: United States and adjacent areas in Canada and Mexico, overprinted to show standard time zones established by the Interstate Commerce Commission, 1935, 1948 (2 items).

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167.10 Motion Pictures (General)
1934-87

Miscellaneous subjects, including energy conservation, weights and measures, dental radiography, lead poisoning, a study of children's strength, and efforts to preserve the U.S. Constitution, noise pollution, laser scans, automobile tires, hydraulics, fire growth, oil burners, and ultrasonic thermometers, 1934-87 (158 reels).

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167.11 Still Pictures (General)
1920-59

Lantern Slides: Scientific research and achievements, 1920-50 (RS, 880 images). Experiments conducted during the tenure of Director Lyman J. Briggs, 1933-39, including National Geographic balloon flight, 1935 (LBC, 147 images). Scientific equipment and machinery used in tests while Wallace R. Brode was Associate Director for Chemistry, 1935-59 (WBC, 343 images). NBS building and grounds, ceremonies, and portraits of key officials, 1942 (GS, 25 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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