Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Chemical Warfare Service


(Record Group 175)
1917-63

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 175.1 Administrative History
  • 175.2 Records of the Office of the Chief Army Chemical Officer 1918-60
  • 175.3 Records of Office Divisions 1917-63
    • 175.3.1 Records of the Gas Defense Production Division
    • 175.3.2 Records of the Technical Division
    • 175.3.3 Records of the Training Division
  • 175.4 Records of Field Offices 1917-63
    • 175.4.1 Records of Edgewood Arsenal, MD
    • 175.4.2 Records of other arsenals
    • 175.4.3 Records of other chemical centers
    • 175.4.4 Records of chemical depots
    • 175.4.5 Records of chemical plants
    • 175.4.6 Records of chemical procurement districts
    • 175.4.7 Records of field units (World War I)
    • 175.4.8 Records of other field activities
  • 175.5 Cartographic Records (General) 1942

175.1 Administrative History

Established: As a technical service of the army by General Order 62, War Department, June 28, 1918, consolidating scattered functions relating to gas offense and defense. Name changed to the Chemical Corps, September 6, 1946, by act of August 2, 1946 (60 Stat. 861).

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Department of the Interior:

  • War Gas Investigations, Bureau of Mines (1917-18)

In the War Department:

  • Chemical Service Section, National Army (1917-18)
  • Gas Defense Division, Surgeon General's Office (1917-18)
  • Gas Offense Production Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance (1917-18)

Transfers: To War Department General Staff (WDGS) as a technical staff division, 1939; to Services of Supply (SOS), effective March 9, 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, March 2, 1942, as part of a War Department reorganization authorized by EO 9082, February 28, 1942; SOS redesignated Army Service Forces (ASF) by General Order 14, War Department, March 12, 1943; to WDGS upon abolishment of ASF, effective June 11, 1946, by Circular 138, War Department, May 14, 1946, implementing EO 9722, May 13, 1946; to the Army Staff, Department of the Army, upon reorganization of the armed services under the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495), July 26, 1947.

Functions: Developed, tested, and supplied offensive weapons using toxic or noxious gases, and defensive countermeasures. Supervised army training in chemical warfare.

Abolished: Effective August 1, 1962, General Order 44, Department of the Army, July 23, 1962.

Successor Agencies: U.S. Army Materiel Command.

Finding Aids: Raymond P. Flynn, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Chemical Warfare Service, PI 8 (1948); Garry D. Ryan, comp., "Supplement to Preliminary Inventory No. 8: Records of the Chemical Warfare Service," NM 38 (1964).

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

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Chemical Warfare Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

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175.2 Records of the Office of the Chief Army Chemical Officer
1918-60

History: Research investigations by the United States into use of toxic gas as an instrument of war began with the establishment of a research unit, War Gas Investigations (WGI), in the Bureau of Mines, Department of the Interior, March 1917, and by the appointment of a subcommittee on noxious gases by the Military Committee of the National Research Committee, April 3, 1917. Responsibility for procurement of gas masks and training of personnel in their use was transferred from WGI to the Gas Defense Division, Surgeon General's Office, August 31, 1917. Responsibility for manufacturing and filling gas shells was assigned, 1917, to the Gas Offense Production Division, Ordnance Department, at Edgewood Arsenal, MD. By memorandum from the Chief of Staff to the Adjutant General, October 16, 1917, Chemical Service Section, National Army, was established to provide the American Expeditionary Forces with overseas research and investigation capability, and a coordinating Office of Gas Service was established in the War Department. WGI transferred to War Department by EO 2984, June 25, 1918. Functions consolidated in Chemical Warfare Service, 1918. See 175.1.

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1918-60 (789 ft.), with index, 1918-42 (114 ft.). "Special File," consisting of miscellaneous correspondence and reports removed from the general correspondence and assembled into a working and reference collection, 1922-41, 1955-59. General correspondence, commercial series, 1955-58. General correspondence, station series, 1955-60. Records of the Chief Chemical Officer, consisting of administrative records, 1947-58; inspection files, 1956-58; and publication record set files, 1957-58. Budget records and budget justification files, 1926-55. Physical and personnel security files, 1947-52. Organization charts, 1942-46, 1949-50. Records of the Patent Section, 1940-45, 1947-54. Progress reports on the "BDM Project," at Muscle Shoals, AL, and "Project X-201," at Pine Bluff Arsenal, AR, 1951-53. Record sets of publications, 1950-54. Historian's background files, 1922-46.

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175.3 Records of Office Divisions
1917-63

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175.3.1 Records of the Gas Defense Production Division

Textual Records: Special orders, 1918-19. General correspondence of the Field Testing Section, 1918-19. Records of detachments, 1917-19.

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175.3.2 Records of the Technical Division

Textual Records: General administrative files, 1920-46. Security- classified case files relating to design and development of chemical warfare equipment and material, 1924-45 (93 ft.). Security-classified minutes and other records of War Department committees, 1942-45. Minutes of meetings of the Technical Committee, 1935-63.

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175.3.3 Records of the Training Division

Textual Records: Records relating to the War Department Civilian Protection Schools, including correspondence, lists and photographs of students and faculty, and class schedules, 1942- 43; histories, August 1943; and an instruction directive, February 6, 1943.

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175.4 Records of Field Offices
1917-63

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175.4.1 Records of Edgewood Arsenal, MD

Textual Records: General administrative files, 1917-42. Office and personal file of Gen. Amos A. Fries, 1918-20, as Chief of the Gas Service, AEF; commanding officer of Edgewood Arsenal; and Director, Chemical Warfare Service. General and special orders, 1918-42. Chemical Warfare School training records, 1921-40. Construction history, 1919. Records of the Army Chemical Center, Edgewood Arsenal, 1919-51 (464 ft.). Records of the Chemical School, Edgewood Arsenal, 1941-48.

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175.4.2 Records of other arsenals

Textual Records: Records of the Ogden Arsenal, UT, 1954. Records of the Pine Bluff Arsenal, AR, 1941-50. Records of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, CO, 1942-50.

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175.4.3 Records of other chemical centers

Textual Records: Records of the Camp Sibert Chemical Center, 1944-45. Records of the Western Chemical Center (Tooele, UT), 1947-49.

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175.4.4 Records of chemical depots

Textual Records: Records of the Gulf Chemical Depot, AL, 1947 (in Atlanta). Records of the Midwest Chemical Depot, AR, 1941-48 (in Fort Worth). Records of the Northeast Chemical Depot, NY, 1944-46.

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175.4.5 Records of chemical plants

Textual Records: Records of the Midland Chemical Plant, MI, 1942-46 (in Chicago). Records of the Vigo Chemical Plant, IN, 1940-45 (in Chicago).

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175.4.6 Records of chemical procurement districts

Textual Records: Records of the Atlanta Chemical Procurement District, 1942, 1949-50 (in Atlanta). Records of the Chicago Chemical Procurement District, 1942-49 (in Chicago). Records of the Dallas Chemical Procurement District, 1949-50 (in Fort Worth). Records of the New York Chemical Procurement District, 1940-46 (in New York). Records of the San Francisco Chemical Procurement District, 1940-50 (in San Francisco).

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175.4.7 Records of field units (World War I)

Textual Records: Records of the Instruction School, Lakehurst Proving Ground, NJ, 1918-19 (in New York). Records of the Chemical Warfare Training Camp, Camp Kendrick, NJ, 1918-19 (in New York). General correspondence of the Gas Defense Plant, Long Island City, NY, 1918-19 (in New York). Correspondence of the Chemical Warfare Service detachment at U.S. Chemical Plant No. 4, Saltville, VA, 1918-19 (in Philadelphia).

Maps: Chemical Warfare School, Lakehurst Proving Ground, NJ, ca. 1920 (2 items). See Also 175.5.

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175.4.8 Records of other field activities

Textual Records: Records of the Chemical Corps Biological Department, Fort Detrick, MD, 1946-50. Records of the Chemical School, Fort McClellan, AL, 1949-63. Records of Dugway Proving Grounds, UT, 1942-46, 1950. Records of the Yuma Test Station, AZ, 1956-57.

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175.5 Cartographic Records (General)
1942

Architectural and Engineering Plans: Blueprint designs of gas and chemical bombs, June 1942 (9 items).

See Maps Under 175.4.7.


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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