Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Court of Claims Section (Justice)


(Record Group 205)
1793-1947 (bulk 1855-1947)
1,826 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 205.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 205.2 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS SECTION AND ITS PREDECESSORS 1860-1947 49 lin. ft.
  • 205.3 RECORDS RELATING TO CASES 1793-1945 (bulk 1855-1945) 2,150 lin. ft.
  • 205.3.1 General jurisdiction case records
  • 205.3.2 Congressional jurisdiction case records
  • 205.3.3 Departmental jurisdiction case records
  • 205.3.4 District of Columbia jurisdiction case records
  • 205.3.5 French spoliation case records
  • 205.3.6 Indian depredation case records
  • 205.3.7 Concurrent jurisdiction case records
  • 205.3.8 Records relating to cotton-linters cases
  • 205.3.9 Records relating to airmail contract rescission claims

205.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Claims Division, Department of Justice, 1937.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Office of Solicitor for the Court of Claims (1855-68)
  • Office of the Attorney General (1868-1933)
  • Claims Division, Department of Justice (1934-37)

Transfers: To Civil Division, successor to Claims Division, February 1953.

Functions: Litigated all suits in the U.S. Court of Claims defended by the Claims Division except those relating to patents and copyrights.

Abolished: By internal reorganization of the Civil Division, 1979.

Successor Agencies: Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, Department of Justice.

Finding Aids: Gaiselle Kerner and Ira N. Kellogg, Jr., comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Court of Claims Section of the Department of Justice, PI 47 (1952).

Related Records: Records of the U.S. Court of Claims, RG 123.

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205.2 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS SECTION AND ITS
PREDECESSORS 1860-1947
49 lin. ft.

History: Position of Solicitor, responsible for representing the interest of the government before the court, established concurrently with the Court of Claims by act of February 24, 1855 (10 Stat. 612). Abolished by act of June 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 75), with functions transferred to Office of the Attorney General, which vested them in a unit headed by an assistant attorney general, formally designated the Claims Division by Department of Justice Order No. 2507, effective January 1, 1934. Claims Division's jurisdiction extended to all civil suits and claims in which the United States was a party, except those assigned to the Tax and Land Divisions. Internal reorganization of the Claims Division created the Court of Claims Section, 1937. SEE 205.1.

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1868-1914. Letters received, 1860- 1914. Correspondence of Justice Department attorneys, 1902-14. Administrative correspondence, 1930-47. Consolidated claims index, 1871-80. Index of cases decided, 1883-1920. Judgment index, 1885-1917. Records relating to 1861 Mississippi cotton bonds, 1861-70, 1893.

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205.3 RECORDS RELATING TO CASES
1793-1945 (bulk 1855-1945)
2,150 lin. ft.

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205.3.1 General jurisdiction case records

Textual Records: Case files with enclosures, 1855-1945 (1,330 ft.). Dockets, 1855-1914. Docket cards, 1903-38. Index to claimants, 1908-31. Records relating to letter carrier cases, 1891-1907. Records relating to cotton cases, including cotton case docket books, 1868-90, and letters sent, 1870-75.

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205.3.2 Congressional jurisdiction case records

Textual Records: Case files with enclosures, 1884-1944. Dockets, 1884-1914. Docket cards, 1914-40. Judgment docket book, 1885-94. Indexes to claimants, 1891-1941. Records relating to remanded cases, 1886-91.

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205.3.3 Departmental jurisdiction case records

Textual Records: Case files, 1883-1943. Docket book, 1883-1913. Docket cards, 1883-1941. Dockets for naval-bounty cases, 1899- 1903.

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205.3.4 District of Columbia jurisdiction case records

Textual Records: Case files, 1880-83. Docket book, 1880-87.

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205.3.5 French spoliation case records

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1899-1900. Evidentiary materials, 1793-1888. Dockets, 1885-1903. Index, 1885-87.

Related Records: Records of the U.S. Customs Service, RG 36. General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56.

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205.3.6 Indian depredation case records

Textual Records: Case files, 1891-94. Letters sent, 1891-1913; and received, 1891-1915. Dockets, 1891-1917. Judgment dockets, 1892-1921. Indexes to Indian tribes and claimants, 1891-94.

Related Records: General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56.

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205.3.7 Concurrent jurisdiction case records

Textual Records: Case files, 1887-1910. Reports of U.S. attorneys, 1889-1902.

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205.3.8 Records relating to cotton-linters cases

Textual Records: Office files of Frank J. Keating, Justice Department attorney in charge of cotton-linters cases, 1918-40. Docket, 1933-40. Case files of the Board of Contract Adjustment, 1918-20.

Related Records: General Records of the Department of the Treasury, RG 56. Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, RG 217.

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205.3.9 Records relating to airmail contract rescission claims

Textual Records: Office files of Col. Carl L. Ristine, special assistant to the Attorney General, 1934-42; and a report by Ristine on the question of criminality in awarding of domestic airmail contracts, n.d. Transcripts of testimony, 1938-40, with index. Exhibits, 1925-34. Records relating to investigation of ocean-mail contracts, 1933-34.


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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