Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Office of Civilian Defense [OCD]


(Record Group 171)
1940-45

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 171.1 Administrative History
  • 171.2 Records of the Division of State and Local Cooperation, Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense 1940-41
  • 171.3 General Records of the Office of Civilian Defense 1940-45
  • 171.4 Records of Central Office Operating Units 1940-45
    • 171.4.1 Records of the Office of the Director
    • 171.4.2 Records of the Administrative Division
    • 171.4.3 Records of the Division of Federal-State Cooperation
    • 171.4.4 Records of the Industrial Protection Division
    • 171.4.5 Records of the Legal Division
    • 171.4.6 Records of the Medical Division
    • 171.4.7 Records of the Protection Services Division
    • 171.4.8 Records of the Public Counsel Division
    • 171.4.9 Records of the Report Analysis and Statistics Division
    • 171.4.10 Records of the Reports and Awards Office
    • 171.4.11 Records of the Library
  • 171.5 Records of OCD Region IX (AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA) 1940-44
    • 171.5.1 General records
    • 171.5.2 Records of the Public Counsel Section
    • 171.5.3 Records of the Administrative Division
    • 171.5.4 Records of the Protection Branch
    • 171.5.5 Records of the Civilian War Services Division
    • 171.5.6 Records of the Joint Committee on Evacuation
    • 171.5.7 Records of the Northwest Sector Office (Seattle, WA)
    • 171.5.8 Records of the Eastern Sector Office (Salt Lake City, UT)
    • 171.5.9 Records of the Northern California-Nevada Sector Office (San Francisco, CA)
    • 171.5.10 Records of the Southern Sector Office (Pasadena, CA)
  • 171.6 Cartographic Records (General) 1941-45
  • 171.7 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 171.8 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 171.9 Still Pictures (General) 1941 and n.d.

171.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Office for Emergency Management (OEM) by EO 8757, May 20, 1941.

Predecessor Agencies: Division of State and Local Cooperation, Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense (1940-41)

Functions: Coordinated federal, state, and local defense programs for the protection of civilians during air raids and other emergencies. Facilitated civilian participation in war programs.

Abolished: By EO 9562, June 4, 1945, effective June 30, 1945.

Finding Aids: Staffs of OCD and the National Archives, comps., "Inventory of the Records of Office of Civilian Defense," 2 vols. (1945).

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Office of Civilian Defense in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Subject Access Terms: World War II, World War II agency.

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171.2 Records of the Division of State and Local Cooperation, Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense
1940-41

History: Established within the Advisory Commission, August 2, 1940, to coordinate state and local civilian defense activities. Absorbed into the Office of Civilian Defense, June 1941.

Textual Records: General records, 1940-41. Minutes of meetings and weekly reports of operations of the Advisory Commission, 1940-41. Surveys of state and local defense facilities, 1940-41.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Division of State and Local Cooperation in RG 287, Publications of the U.S.

Government.

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171.3 General Records of the Office of Civilian Defense
1940-45

Textual Records: Central file, 1940-45. Regional file, 1941-42. Letters sent and interoffice communications ("Classified File"), 1941-45. Index to letters received, 1940-45.

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171.4 Records of Central Office Operating Units
1940-45

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171.4.1 Records of the Office of the Director

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1942-44. Regional file, 1942-44. Letters sent, 1942-45. Civil Air Patrol issuances, 1942-43.

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171.4.2 Records of the Administrative Division

Textual Records: Records of the Budget and Fiscal Section, 1941- 45. Records of the Business Service Section, consisting of OCD and predecessor publications, 1941-45.

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171.4.3 Records of the Division of Federal-State Cooperation

Textual Records: OCD field organization charts, 1940-43. Records relating to civilian defense volunteer activities, 1941-45; children and young people, 1941-44; day care for children, 1942- 44; war loans, 1942-44; the Civilian War Services Branch, 1943- 44; and state defense activities, 1943-45. "War-Impact Area studies," 1943-44.

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171.4.4 Records of the Industrial Protection Division

Textual Records: General and confidential files, 1941-44. Records of the States War Inspection Service, 1943-45. Records of the Facilities Security Branch, 1942-43. Minutes of meetings of the Industrial Protection Council and its Board of Review, 1943-45.

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171.4.5 Records of the Legal Division

Textual Records: General file, 1942-44. Confidential records, 1942-44. Records relating to state and Congressional legislation, 1942-44.

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171.4.6 Records of the Medical Division

Textual Records: General records, 1941-44. Historical records, 1941-44. Transcripts of proceedings of the Medical Advisory Board, December 1941. Records relating to nursing, 1942-44. Records of the Rescue Section, 1941-44.

Lantern Slides: Illustrating a Rescue Section lecture on proper organization, equipment, and techniques in rescue work after air raids, n.d. (RO, 179 images). See also 171.9.

Lantern Slides and Transparencies: Identification and properties of chemical warfare agents, defense and decontamination methods, and types of injuries, including animal experiments, 1941-45 (GAP, GD, GI, 176 images). See also 171.9.

Subject Access Terms: Arsine (photographs); chlorine (photographs); lewisite (photographs); mustard gas (photographs); phosgene (photographs); white phosphorus (photographs).

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171.4.7 Records of the Protection Services Division

Textual Records: General records, 1942-45. Correspondence of the chief of the Protection Branch, 1942-43. Records of the Control and Communications Section, especially pertaining to civilian defense stations in the War Emergency Radio Service and the Aircraft Warning Service, 1941-44. Records of the Intelligence Officer, including narrative reports from regional directors to OCD, 1941-44; reports relating to civilian defense in Great Britain ("British Voluntary Reports" and "Marc Peter Reports"), 1942-44; reports on medical measures taken in Great Britain as protection against air raids ("Voluntary Medical Reports"), 1943; and reports on foreign countries, 1942-43. Records of the Engineer Section, 1942-45; Camouflage Unit, 1942-44; Fire Defense Section, 1942-43; Gas Protection Section, 1942-43; 1941-45; Training Section, 1941-44; and Technical Board, 1941-44.

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171.4.8 Records of the Public Counsel Division

Textual Records: Newspaper clippings, 1942-44. Publications of local, state, and regional defense councils, 1942-43. Records of the Press Unit, 1941-44. Radio scripts and correspondence of the Radio Section, 1942-43.

Motion Pictures: Training films for civilian defense workers, relating to mobilization, rescue, firefighting and prevention, child care, defense against poison gas attack, smoke concealment, air raid defense operations, and equipment and its use; promotional films for victory gardens and food conservation; and films of London under aerial attack, 1942-44 (46 reels).

Sound Recordings: Radio broadcasts by the OCD, the Office of War Information, the National Safety Council, the Commerce and Industry Association of New York, the Young Men's Christian Association, and the U.S. Army, promoting participation in the civilian defense program and explaining its operation, including such series as "Hasten the Day," "Sam at War," "We Have Met the Enemy," "Elwell's Weekly," "Yankee Doodle," and "Not for Glory;" and episodes of the Burns and Allen and Vic and Sade shows, 1942-44 (190 items). Radio series relating to civil defense in England, 1943 (10 items).

Photographic Prints and Negatives: Civilian defense activities, including air raid precautions, equipment, personnel, insignia, uniforms, fire bombs, rescue operations, the Citizens Service Corps, the Civil Air Patrol, the Forest Fire Services, and activities in other countries, 1942-44 (G, 2,100 images; D, N, 384 images). See also 171.9.

Filmstrips: Illustrating air raid warden training and other civilian defense activities, 1941-44 (FS, 9 items). See also 171.9.

Finding Aids: Box/folder list for photographic series G.

Related Records: Related photographs in RG 188, Records of the Office of Price Administration; RG 44, Records of the Office of Government Reports; RG 179, Records of the War Production Board; and RG 208, Records of the Office of War Information, series N.

Subject Access Terms: Child care (photographs); conservation (photographs); nutrition (photographs); victory gardens (photographs).

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171.4.9 Records of the Report Analysis and Statistics Division

Textual Records: General records, 1942-44. Statistical Bulletin of the Office of Civilian Defense, 1942-43. Processed digests of newspaper articles and reports relating to civilian defense, 1942-44. Working papers, completed questionnaires, and card records of defense councils, 1942-43.

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171.4.10 Records of the Reports and Awards Office

Textual Records: Publications, issuances, and processed documents of the OCD, 1941-45. Records relating to insignia, 1941-44. Unpublished histories of OCD, 1944.

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171.4.11 Records of the Library

Textual Records: Regional file, 1941-44, with indexes.

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171.5 Records of OCD Region IX (AZ, CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA)
1940-44

History: OCD Administrative Order No. 1, July 10, 1941, established nine autonomous Regional Civilian Defense Areas, geographically coterminous with the War Department Corps Areas, to coordinate civilian defense activities and to provide liaison with state and local agencies, other federal agencies, and the military. Regional offices were abolished, effective July 1, 1944, by OCD Administrative Order No. 38, June 7, 1944. Subsequent regional functions of OCD were directed from Washington, DC, through small field offices composed of technical personnel. The National Archives disposed of records for regions I-VIII in 1962.

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171.5.1 General records

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Correspondence of the Director, 1942-44.

Maps: Relating to distribution of civil defense equipment and facilities in Region IX; the protective concealment of potential targets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento; the improvement of roads, sewers, and schools near industrial locations; and emergency evacuation of urban areas, 1942-44 (422 items). See also 171.6.

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171.5.2 Records of the Public Counsel Section

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Records relating to publicity and public relations, 1942-43.

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171.5.3 Records of the Administrative Division

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Central correspondence arranged by the Dewey Decimal System, 1941-42, and by a subject- numeric scheme, 1942-44, with separate central decimal files for each state and sector office, and for the Southern Land Frontier, and with a separate numeric file for the army and navy; with indexes ("master card files") and filing schemes ("classification codes").

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171.5.4 Records of the Protection Branch

Textual Records (in San Francisco, except as noted): Records relating to camouflage, 1942-43. Camouflage and related surveys of the cities of San Francisco and San Jose, CA; Contra Costa, Marin, and Santa Barbara Counties, CA; and the States of California, Oregon, and Washington, 1942-43. Records relating to the Industrial Passive Defense Committee and the Rational Passive Defense Program, lighting control, protective construction, concealment (smoke and camouflage), civilian protection, and evacuation, 1942-43. Records of the Protection Division relating to air raid protection and fire defense, 1942-43. Emergency medical service and sanitary engineering files of the Medical Division, 1942-44. Property protection completed questionnaires, correspondence, and related blueprints and drawings received by the Los Angeles City Engineer and Area Camouflage Officer, November-December 1942 (in Los Angeles). Correspondence, drawings, and other records relating to the camouflage of property, 1942 (in Los Angeles). Confidential records of the Technical Section relating to work undertaken by the Los Angeles Technical Section Laboratory and Offices, 1942-43 (in Los Angeles).

Photographs and Other Media: Camouflage plans for industrial, military, and municipal sites in California, 1940-43 (T, 250 images). See also 171.9.

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171.5.5 Records of the Civilian War Services Division

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Correspondence, issuances, and press clippings relating to volunteer civilian war service activities, including the Victory Garden Program, Food for Freedom drive, War Chest drive, and the Block Plan for Region IX, 1942-44. Bulletins of the California State War Council and the California State Defense Council, 1942-43. Records documenting civilian war service activities in CO and WY (Region VII), 1942- 43.

Photographs: "Service Star" show sponsored by the La Junta, CO, Civilian Defense Council, honoring the parents of military personnel, 1943 (L, 9 images). See also 171.9.

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171.5.6 Records of the Joint Committee on Evacuation

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Evacuation plans and programs, 1941-44.

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171.5.7 Records of the Northwest Sector Office (Seattle, WA)

Textual Records (in Seattle): Records concerning general protection programs, 1942-44. Records relating to lighting, facility security, emergency medical services, civilian war services, and evacuation, 1942-44.

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171.5.8 Records of the Eastern Sector Office (Salt Lake City, UT)

Textual Records (in Denver): Central decimal correspondence, 1942-44.

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171.5.9 Records of the Northern California-Nevada Sector Office
(San Francisco, CA)

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Central subject file, 1942- 43. General correspondence, 1942-43. Records relating to protection, 1942-43. Records relating to civilian war services, 1942-43.

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171.5.10 Records of the Southern Sector Office (Pasadena, CA)

Textual Records (in Los Angeles): Central subject file, 1942-43. General correspondence, 1942-44. General documents file, 1942. Records relating to protection programs, 1942-44; bomb reconnaissance schools, 1942-43; and camouflage schools, 1942. War disaster relief file, 1942-43. Minutes of the State and Federal Civilian Protection Officers Conference (San Francisco, CA), May 27-28, 1943. Records relating to state and local defense councils, 1942. Transportation training file, 1942-43. Los Angeles County War Council Bulletins, 1942-43.

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171.6 Cartographic Records (General)
1941-45
111 items

Maps: United States, showing regional administrative boundaries, target communities for the purpose of allocating civil defense equipment, and locations of local air warning groups, 1941-45. Urban areas, relating to the location of industries and related schools, housing, and sanitary facilities, 1941-45.

See also 171.5.1.

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171.7 Motion Pictures (General)

See under 171.4.8.

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171.8 Sound Recordings (General)

See under 171.4.8.

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171.9 Still Pictures (General)
1941-ca.1945 and n.d.

Photographs: Types of bombs, blackout methods, and defense against bombing and gas attacks in Detroit, n.d. (CDD, 79 items). Results of detonation tests on wall panels, steel plates, and air raid shelters at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, 1941 (DT, 210 images).

Color Slides: OCD posters and publicity displays, n.d. (PDS, 50 images).

Lantern Slides: Proper methods and techniques for urban and industrial camouflage, field camouflage for military personnel, and proper blackout procedures, n.d. (CMT, PI, 255 images).

Posters: World War II posters accumulated by the Office of Civil Defense, ca. 1942 (PP, 282 images). Cartoons published by the Sloan Publishing Company and a drawing by Talburt submitted to the Office of Civilian Defense, ca. 1942 (PC, 4 images.) Calendars and instructional charts privately produced to support the war effort, ca. 1942 - ca. 1943 (PQ, 5 images). Posters advertising billboard posters, ca. 1942 - ca. 1943 (PO, 8 images). Instructional posters produced by the Office of Civilian Defense relating to air raids, 1942 (PG, 21 images). Posters produced by the British government during World War II, ca. 1940 - ca. 1945, (PB, 55 images).

See Photographs under 171.5.5.
See Photographs and Other Media under 171.5.4.
See Photographic Prints and Negatives under 171.4.8.
See Filmstrips under 171.4.8.
See Lantern Slides under 171.4.6.
See Lantern Slides and Transparencies under 171.4.6.


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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