The National Archives at Seattle

Guide to Archival Holdings at NARA's Pacific Alaska Region (Seattle)

Record Group 4
Records of the U.S. Food Administration

Administrative History
The U.S. Food Administration was created by an Executive order of August 10, 1917, to assure the supply, distribution, and conservation of foods during World War I; facilitate the movement of foods and prevent monopolies and hoarding; and maintain Governmental control over foods chiefly by means of voluntary agreements and a licensing system. Federal food administrators were appointed for each State to implement the Administration's programs. After November 11, 1918, the Administration was gradually dismantled and its rules and regulations revoked. An Executive order of August 21, 1920, terminated all branches of the Food Administration still in existence, and the majority of its records were placed in the custody of the U.S. Grain Corporation.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-19
Volume: 44 cubic feet
Records of food administrators for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; and of the Assistant Food Administrator and Director of Enforcement Division for Washington. The records primarily concern complaints against individuals, local merchants, and restaurants for violations of rationing and other regulations, and document public attitudes toward U.S. participation in World War I. They consist primarily of letters.

Finding Aids
Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-1921 (1943).
Almon B. Wright, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Food Administration, 1917-1920, Pt.1: The Headquarters Organization, PI 3 (1943).

Top of Page

Record Group 12
Records of the Office of Education

Administrative History
A department of education, headed by a commissioner, was established by an act of March 2, 1867. It was abolished as an independent agency on July 20, 1868, and reestablished as the Office of Education in the Department of the Interior. The original statutory function of both the department and the office was to collect and disseminate information on education in the United States and abroad and to promote better education throughout the country. Subsequent legislation and Executive orders have added functions, including responsibility for Federal financial assistance to education and special studies and programs. In 1939, the Office of Education was transferred to the Federal Security Agency, which became the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1953. The Office was abolished in 1980 and its functions transferred to the Department of Education.

Records Description
Dates: 1970-76
Volume: 9 cubic feet
Records of the Division of Occupational Adult Education, Seattle. The records relate to Vocational Education Part D Planning Grants, Seattle, Washington; the Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency, Caldwell, Idaho; the school districts of Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, Anchorage Borough, Alaska, Snake River, Idaho, and Springfield, Oregon; Highline Public Schools, Seattle, Washington; and Douglas Public Schools, Portland, Oregon. The records are budgets, curriculum plans, grant proposals, and quarterly, annual, and final reports.

Finding Aids
Box contents list.

Top of Page

Record Group 15
Records of the Veterans Administration

Administrative History
The present Veterans Administration (VA) is the result of policies and programs that date back to the American Revolution. In 1789, the First Congress enacted legislation to continue paying pensions provided in acts of the Continental Congress. An act of August 9, 1921, created the Veterans' Bureau which became part of the Veterans Administration established by an Executive order of July 21, 1930.

Records Description
Dates: 1918-26
Volume: 9 cubic feet
Records of the District 13 Office, Seattle, and the Seattle Regional Office of the Rehabilitation Division. The records document training and employment of disabled veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Included are correspondence, reports, and rosters.

Finding Aids
Entries 16, 17, and 47 in Evangeline Thurber, comp., Preliminary Checklist of the General Administrative Files of the Rehabilitation Division . . . , PC 15 (1944).

Top of Page

Record Group 16
Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture

Administrative History
The Department of Agriculture was established by an act of May 15, 1862, and became an executive department under a Secretary in 1889. Its functional responsibilities have increased throughout its existence and now include agricultural adjustment, conservation, education, marketing, production, regulation, research, rural development, and surplus disposal.

Records Description
Dates: 1935-52
Volume: 18 cubic feet
Records of the regional office of the general counsel, Portland, Oregon. The records relate to loans; debt collection and adjustments; mortgages; construction contracts; wage stabilization; the Alaska Spruce Log Program; the Hop Growers Advisory and Allocation Committees; and the FSA-Dairy Cattle Program. They are correspondence files.

Records of the Office of the Resettlement Administration, Portland, Oregon. The records relate to legal cases that arose in connection with rural rehabilitation loans and projects. The records are primarily correspondence.

Finding Aids
Box contents list.
Entry 115 in Helen Finneran Ulibarri, comp. Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, PI 191 (1979).

Top of Page

Record Group 18
Records of the Army Air Forces

Administrative History
The Army Air Forces (AAF) originated August 1, 1907, as the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer. After various reorganizations and name changes, the Army Air Forces was established on March 9, 1942, under the Secretary of War and the War Department General Staff.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-46
Volume: 176 cubic feet
Records of the Spruce Production Corp., Washington, DC; the Spruce Production Division, Portland, Oregon; and the Spruce Production Districts at the following locations:

  • Clatsop, Oregon;
  • Coos Bay, Oregon;
  • Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, Washington;
  • Puget Sound, Washington;
  • Vancouver Barracks, Washington;
  • Yaquina Bay, Oregon
Also records of the
  • 1st-4th Provisional Regiments;
  • 1st-98th Spruce Squadrons;
  • 100th-150th Spruce Squadrons;
  • Officer's School, Vancouver Barracks, Washington.
The records relate primarily to the Army Air Force's effort during World War I to increase timber production for airplane construction, and the administration of the units responsible for harvesting the wood. Included are bulletins, general correspondence, orders, and reports.

Finding Aids
Maizie H. Johnson, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the Army Air Forces, NM 53 (1965).
Sarah D. Powell and Maizie H. Johnson, comps., Supplement to Preliminary Inventory No. NM 53, Textual Records of the Army Air Force, NM 90 (1967).

Related Microfilm Publications
M923, Records of the American Section of the Supreme War Council, 1917-1919; M990, Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919.

Record Group 21
Records of the District Courts of the United States

Administrative History
U.S. district and circuit courts were created by the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789. The jurisdiction and powers of these Federal courts have varied with subsequent legislation, but district courts generally have had original jurisdiction in admiralty and bankruptcy cases, suits for penalties or seizures under Federal laws, noncapital criminal proceedings, and suits exceeding $100 in value in which the United States was the plaintiff. The circuit courts heard appeals from the district courts and had original jurisdiction over actions involving aliens or citizens of different States and law and equity suits where the matter in dispute exceeded $500. In 1891, the appellate jurisdiction of the circuit courts was transferred to the newly created circuit courts of appeals (see RG 276). The Judiciary Act of 1911 abolished the circuit courts and provided for the transfer of their records and remaining jurisdiction to the district courts.

Most States initially had one district and one circuit court with additional districts created as the business of the courts increased. Many of the districts were divided into divisions with the court holding session in various cities within the district. In 1812, circuit courts were authorized to appoint U.S. commissioners to assist in taking of bail and affidavits. Commissioners' functions were expanded by subsequent legislation and court rules, and their powers have included authority to issue arrest warrants, examine persons charged with offenses against Federal laws, initiate actions in admiralty matters, and institute proceedings for violation of civil rights legislation.

Territorial district courts generally were established by the organic act that created the territory and had jurisdiction over Federal civil, criminal, and bankruptcy actions as well as civil and criminal jurisdiction similar to that of State courts. Records created by a territorial court acting in its capacity as a Federal court often became the property of the Federal district court upon statehood.

Records Description
Dates: 1859-1990
Volume: 11716 cubic feet
Records of the following territorial, circuit and district courts:

  • Idaho, District, 1867-1990. The records include files for cases concerning enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, the Coeur d'Alene mining wars, and water rights of irrigation districts as well as some naturalization records..
  • Montana, District, 1867-1972. Some records document mining claim disputes and Indian water rights. Additional records relate to the Montana contingent of "Coxey's Army," which commandeered a train in 1894 when the railroads were in receivership and under the protection of the Federal courts; and the "Chinese boycott" by the labor unions of Butte in 1897. (Naturalization records from this court are at NARA's Rocky Mountain Region, Denver, Colorado.
  • Oregon, District, 1859-1992. The records include files for cases concerning litigation against Oregon Senator John Mitchell; land fraud; Indian fishing rights on the Columbia River; and litigation in Alaska prior to establishment of Federal courts there in 1883, as well as naturalization records and indexes from this court.
  • Washington, Eastern District, 1854-1974. The records relate to, among other topics, the water rights of the Yakima Indian Nation. Case files include U.S. v. Ahtanum Irrigation District, which was eventually heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Washington, Western District, 1890-1978. The records include files for cases concerning smuggling goods from Canada; deportation of Chinese under the Exclusion Acts; industrial pollution caused by the aluminum industry along the Columbia River in World War II; and Indian fishing rights.
Records of the following county courts:
  • King County, Superior, 1866-1926;
  • Pierce County, Superior, 1853-1924;
  • Snohomish County, Superior, 1890-1974;
  • Thurston County, Superior, 1846-1974.
    These county superior court records relate only to naturalization and are microfilmed.
The records document the actions of Federal district and circuit courts, which have jurisdiction over naturalization, bankruptcy, civil (law, equity, and admiralty), and criminal cases. Among general topics covered are biography, civil rights, commerce and corporate history, demographics, genealogy, immigration and ethnic groups, the impact of Federal regulatory programs, judicial administration, labor relations and union activity, maritime history, and State and local political activity. Among specific topics covered are collection of debts, enforcement of contracts, claims for damages; counterfeiting, and smuggling or violations of customs regulations; European immigration and the exclusion and deportation of Chinese; evasion of import duties; the illegal sale or manufacturing of alcoholic beverages; infringement of patent or copyright; interstate transfer of stolen property; mutiny or murder on the high seas; prize condemnations; theft, assault, or murder on Federal property; and violations of Federal election laws and civil rights legislation, international agreements (such as the Migratory Bird Act); Selective Service regulations, and slave importation laws. References to specific cases are noted above under the name of the court.

Records are primarily case files - papers in a specific case filed by attorneys or issued by the court, such as affidavits, complaints, depositions, indictments, judgments or final decrees, motions, petitions, subpoenas, and writs. Bankruptcy case files also contain petitions of creditors and schedules of assets and liabilities. Case files are arranged numerically by the docket number assigned when the case was filed. Documentary exhibits submitted as part of court proceedings usually were returned to the parties involved, but they are sometimes included in the case file. (Transcripts are seldom part of the file.)

There are also docket books - a summary of proceedings in each case, including a brief abstract of motions and orders, a record of the fees collected, and a statement of the disposition of the case; minute books or journals - a daily chronological record of court proceedings, often including information about financial accounts and the collection of fees, lists of jury members, names of attorneys admitted to practice, and the text of orders appointing court officials; naturalization papers - declarations of intention, petitions for naturalization, depositions, and certificates of naturalization; order or judgment books - the text of each order or judgment and a record of the amount of any monetary judgment; record of proceedings (only for U.S. commissioners) - a printed form that gives the name of the defendant, and summaries of the nature of the charge, the actions taken, and the disposition of the case. Nontextual records include maps and photographs.

Finding Aids
Draft inventories for each court.
Minute, docket, and order books often have indexes to the names of the parties involved in the proceedings. There is no cumulative index by subject, case name, or other access point. Records for a case can usually be located by case number and name of the court. The number sometimes can be determined from indexes in minute, docket, or order books but these are not available for all courts. Additional information may be available from the clerk of the court involved.

Related Microfilm Publications
M1208, Indexes to Registers and Registers of Declarations of Intention and Petitions for Naturalization of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, 1820-1906;
M1232, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for Western Washington, Northern Division (Seattle), 1890-1952;
M1233, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the King County Territorial and Superior Courts, 1864-1889 and 1906-1928;
M1234, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the Thurston County Territorial and Superior Courts, 1850-1974;
M1235, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the Snohomish County Territorial and Superior Courts, 1876-1974;
M1236, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the Montana Territorial and Federal Courts, 1868-1929;
M1237, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, Southern Division (Tacoma), 1890-1953;
M1238, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the Pierce County Territorial and Superior Courts, 1853-1923;
M1242, Index to the Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for Oregon, 1859-1956;
M1538, Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Courts for the State of Montana, 1891-1929;
M1539, Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Courts for the State of District of Alaska, 1900-1924.

Record Group 22
Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Administrative History
The Fish and Wildlife Service was formed on June 30, 1940, by merging the Bureau of Fisheries (established in 1903) with the Bureau of Biological Survey (established in 1885). The service is responsible for administering Federal laws for the control and conservation of fish, game, birds, and other wildlife and administering national wildlife refuges.

Records Description
Dates: 1897-1988
Volume: 301 cubic feet
Records of the Pacific Northwest Regional Office, Portland, Oregon, 1937-67. The records relate to the fisheries of the Columbia River and its tributaries and the effects of dams upon these fisheries. The records also document participation of the Fish and Wildlife Service in various interagency committees formed for the study and management of the Columbia River Basin and of agency supervision of wildlife refuges in the region. The records are primarily general correspondence.

Records of the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Seattle, 1947-1969. The records document local subjects such as the fisheries of the Columbia and other area rivers, marine mammals, and the effect of Federal legislation on local issues; international topics such as whaling and pollution; and the participation of the Bureau in various board committees and commissions. There are also studies of the California salmon and the Washington Coho salmon. Included are general correspondence and project files.

Records of the National Fishery Reserach Center, 1897-88. The records document fish counts and other fisheries data for the Pacific Northwest and are primarily general correspondence with a few manuscript publications and some survey data.

Finding Aids
Box contents list.

Top of Page

Record Group 25
Records of the National Labor Relations Board

Administrative History
The present National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created by the National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) of July 5, 1935. It was preceded by two earlier boards: the National Labor Board (NLB) was established August 5, 1933, and a first NLRB, established on June 19, 1934. The functions of the NLB and the first NLRB were closely tied to the mission of the National Recovery Administration (NRA); when the NRA was declared unconstitutional on May 27, 1935, the first NLRB ceased to function.

The Wagner Act created the second (present) NLRB, which was to determine the unit of employees appropriate for collective bargaining, conduct elections for employee representatives, and force employers to end specified unfair labor practices in industries other than the railroads and, after 1936, the airlines. The functions of the NLRB have subsequently been modified by the War Labor Disputes Act of June 25, 1943, the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (the Taft-Hartley Act), and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (the Landrum-Griffin Act).

All three boards utilized a system of regional boards to deal with labor controversies in the field.

Records Description
Dates: 1933-35
Volume: 5 cubic feet
Records of the Seattle Regional Office. The records relate to meetings of the regional board and the National Longshoremen's Board; activities in the Portland area; Board decisions; and elections. Included are docket sheets, general correspondence, minutes, and weekly reports.

Records of the 17th District (Seattle) and the 19th District (Portland) Offices. The records relate to labor issues, particularly those concerning longshoremen and manufacturing. The records are correspondence.

Finding Aids
Box contents list.

Top of Page

Record Group 26
Records of the U.S. Coast Guard

Administrative History
The U.S. Coast Guard was established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of January 28, 1915, that consolidated that department's Revenue Cutter and Lifesaving Services. The Coast Guard took over the administration of lighthouses in 1939 and in 1942 assumed functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (see RG 41) that related to navigation and inspection laws and to merchant seamen. On April 1, 1967, the Coast Guard became a part of the Department of Transportation and assumed responsibility for Bureau of Customs functions (see RG 36) pertaining to the admeasurement and documentation of U.S. vessels.

Records Description
Dates: 1873-1988
Volume: 658 cubic feet
Records of the following offices of the 13th Coast Guard District:

  • Astoria, Oregon, 1900-1979;
  • Coos Bay, Oregon, 1953-1947;
  • Olympia, Washington, 1940-1941;
  • Portland, Oregon, 1871-1979;
  • Port Townsend, Washington, 1991;
  • Seattle, Washington, 1873-1988;
  • Tacoma, Washington, 1955-1966.

The records include administrative files from the headquarters of the 13th Coast Guard District, "unit histories" compiled at the end of World War II documenting wartime activities of district units, vessel documentation files, inspection records, and records relating to the merchant marine, including logbooks.

Records of Coast Guard cutters and some light stations and light ships from the 13th Coast Guard District. The records document daily activities and include weather observations and watch officers' remarks. The records are logbooks.

Finding Aids
Folder title lists.

Related Microfilm Publications
M1373, Registers of Lighthouse Keepers, 1845-1912;
T919, Index by District to U.S. Coast Guard Reports of Assistance, 1917-1938;
T925, U.S. Coast Guard Casualty and Wreck Reports, 1913-1939;
T926, Index to U.S. Coast Guard Casualty and Wreck Reports, 1913-1939

Top of Page

Record Group 27
Records of the Weather Bureau

Administrative History
The Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress of October 1, 1890, in the Department of Agriculture. It took over the Weather Service that had been established in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the War Department in 1870. The Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce in 1940. In 1965, the Bureau was consolidated with the Coast and Geodetic Survey to form the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA). When ESSA was abolished in 1970, the Weather Bureau, now renamed the National Weather Service, was incorporated into the newly formed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Records Description
Dates: 1906-07
Volume: less than 1 cubic foot
Records of the Weather Office, Lewiston, Idaho. The records document the office's Bureau operations, and include fiscal records and administrative correspondence.

Related Microfilm Publications
T907, Climatological Records of the Weather Bureau, 1819-1892 (selected rolls).

Top of Page

Record Group 30
Records of the Bureau of Public Roads

Administrative History
The Bureau of Public Roads had its origins in an act of March 3, 1893, which authorized the creation of an Office of Road Inquiry in the Department of Agriculture. After a number of changes in title, the Office became the Bureau of Public Roads in 1918 and retained that designation until 1939 when it became the Public Roads Administration as part of the Federal Works Agency. On July 1, 1949, it was transferred to the General Services Administration and renamed the Bureau of Public Roads, which was then transferred to the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 7 of 1949. An act of October 15, 1966, transferred the Bureau to the Department of Transportation where its functions were assigned to the Federal Highway Administration (see RG 406).

Under the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, the Bureau has supervised Federal-State cooperative programs for road construction, reconstruction, and improvement. It also administers the highway beautification program and is responsible for developing and administering highway safety programs, constructing defense highways and roads in national parks and forests, expanding the interstate highway system, and providing assistance to foreign governments.

Records Description
Dates: 1919-69
Volume: 601 cubic feet
Records of Federal aid projects in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The records document project funding and construction activities such as the building of Interstates 5 and 405 near Seattle. They are correspondence and case files, including project and final agreements, plans and specifications, narrative progress reports, and vouchers. Nontextual records include right-of-way maps and photographs.

Finding Aids
Truman R. Strobridge, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Bureau of Public Roads, PI 134 (1962).

Top of Page

Record Group 32
Records of the U.S. Shipping Board

Administrative History
The U.S. Shipping Board, established by the Shipping Act of 1916, was formally organized on January 30, 1917, to regulate carriers by water and develop a naval auxiliary and merchant marine. On April 16, 1917, the Board established the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation (known after 1927 as the U.S. Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation) to procure, construct, charter, equip, man, operate, and dispose of merchant vessels for the Board. Under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and subsequent legislation the Board was given additional responsibilities. The Board was abolished by Executive Order 6166 of June 10, 1933, and its functions were administered through the U.S. Shipping Board Bureau in the Department of Commerce until that Bureau was abolished by the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

Records Description
Dates: 1917-29
Volume: 19 cubic feet
Records of the following offices of the Fir Production Board:

  • Portland headquarters office;
  • Seattle headquarters office;
  • Washington State Office, Seattle;
  • Puget Sound District Office, Seattle.
The records document communications with Fir Production Board members Lynde Palmer, C.W. Stimson, and J.H. Bloedel. The district office records document testimony from officers concerning accidents. The records are correspondence, engineering reports, crew lists, and service records.

Finding Aids
Entries 300, 301, 305-307, 310, 330, and 546 in Forrest R. Holdcamper, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Shipping Board, PI 97 (1956).

Top of Page

Record Group 36
Records of the U.S. Customs Service

Administrative History
The Customs Service, created by an act of July 31, 1789, became part of the Department of the Treasury when that Department was established in September 1789. The Service has been responsible for the enforcement of numerous laws and regulations pertaining to the import and export of merchandise, collection of tonnage taxes, control of the entrance and clearance of vessels and aircraft, regulation of vessels involved in the coastwise and fishing trades, and the protection of passengers. A Bureau of Customs was established on March 3, 1927, to supervise these activities, and in 1942 it assumed the responsibilities of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (see RG 41) relating to the registering, enrolling, licensing, and admeasurement of merchant vessels. This responsibility was assigned to the Coast Guard in 1967 (see RG 26).

The act that established the Customs Service in 1789 also provided for the creation of collection districts in various coastal, river, Great Lakes, and inland ports. A collector of customs in each district was responsible for the enforcement of all rules and regulations, including the protection of American seamen and passengers and the forwarding of basic data on immigration, imports, and exports. Occasionally the collector acted as the depository for Federal funds and collected taxes for the Bureau of Internal Revenue. A naval officer in each district, coordinate in rank with the collector, was required to keep separate accounts and copies of all manifests and entries and to countersign certain of the collector's accounts. A surveyor, under the collector's supervision, kept a daily record of all vessel arrivals and clearances and was assisted by inspectors, weighers, and gaugers in the collection and payment of bounty allowances and fees and the admeasurement of foreign vessels for tonnage duties.

Records Description
Dates: 1853-1982
Volume: 814 cubic feet
Records of the Willamette, Oregon, and Puget Sound, Washington, Districts (and their successors) including the following offices:

  • Aberdeen, Washington, 1894-1956;
  • Anacortes, Washington, 1914-82;
  • Astoria, Oregon, 1900-66;
  • Bellingham, Washington, 1940-70;
  • Coos Bay, Oregon, 1879-1962;
  • Marshfield, Oregon, 1910-37;
  • Newport, Oregon, 1897-1917;
  • Olympia, Washington, 1927-67;
  • Orcas Island, Washington, 1922-31;
  • Port Townsend, Washington, 1944-63;
  • Portland, Oregon, 1845-1966;
  • Seattle, Washington, 1853-1966;
  • Tacoma, Washington, 1911-56.
The records document entrances and clearances of vessels, collection of duties and fees, vessel documentation (registry, enrollment, licensing, and admeasurement), and bills of sale and mortgages of vessels. Records for the Puget Sound District include correspondence, 1852-1913, and contain frequent references to smuggling from Canada and enforcement of the Chinese exclusion laws.

Finding Aids
Folder title lists.
Unpublished preliminary inventory for the Puget Sound District.

Related Microfilm Publications
M174, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Treasury from Collectors of Customs ("G", "H", "I" Series), 1833-1869;
M175, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Treasury to Collectors of Customs at All Ports, 1789-1847, and at Small Ports, 1847-1878 ("G" Series);
M176, Letters Sent by the Secretary of the Treasury to Collectors of Customs at Pacific Ports ("J" Series), 1850-1878;
M178, Correspondence of the Secretary of the Treasury with Collectors of Customs, 1789-1833;
M188, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Treasury from Collectors of Customs at Port Townsend, Washington, Relating to Nominations for Office, 1865-1910;
M237, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897;
M261, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1846;
M497, Letters Sent by the Commissioner of Customs Relating to Smuggling, 1865-1869;
M575, Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820-1873;
M1476, Lists of Chinese Applying for Admission to the United States through the Port of San Francisco, 1903-1947;
M1484, Customs Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Port Townsend and Tacoma, Washington, 1894-1909;
M1632, Merchant Marine License Applications, Puget Sound District, 1888-1910;
M1633, U.S. Customs, Puget Sound District Logbooks and Shipping Articles, Circa 1890-1937;
T519, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, June 16, 1897-June 30, 1902;
T621, Index (Soundex) to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, July 1, 1902-Dec. 31, 1943.

Top of Page

Record Group 41
Records of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation

Administrative History
Navigation laws were passed by the First Congress in 1789 and were enforced by customs officers under the supervision of the Treasury Department. In 1884, a Bureau of Navigation under the control of the Commissioner of Navigation was established within the Treasury Department to administer the navigation laws. In 1903, it was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor along with the Steamboat Inspection Service, which had been established in the Treasury Department in 1852 to formulate rules and regulations for steamboat inspections. The two bureaus were merged in 1932 to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, which was renamed the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (BMIN) in 1936. In 1942, its functions relating to merchant vessel documentation were transferred to the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) while those pertaining to merchant vessel inspection, safety of life at sea, and merchant vessel personnel were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard (see RG 26). The Bureau was abolished in 1946.

Records Description
Dates: 1866-1946
Volume: 530 cubic feet
Records of collectors of customs, functioning as field agents for the BMIN, at the following ports:

  • Astoria, Oregon, 1896-1948;
  • Coos Bay, Oregon, 1878-1947;
  • Longview, Washington, 1929-42;
  • Marshfield, Oregon, 1910-37;
  • Newport, Oregon, 1883-1932;
  • Olympia, Washington, 1865-1946;
  • Port Angeles, Washington, 1903-36;
  • Portland, Oregon, 1873-1946;
  • Port Townsend, Washington, 1881-1898;
  • Seattle, Washington, 1866-1946;
  • Tacoma, Washington, 1898-1951;
  • Yaquina, Oregon, 1900-12.
The records usually document, for American merchant and fishing vessels, the name; date and place of construction; home port; dimensions; and measurement. There are bills of sale, certificates of registry, enrollment or licenses, master carpenter certificates, mortgages and maritime liens, oaths that owners and masters took to obtain a vessel license, and records of admeasurement and inspection of vessels.

Finding Aids
Draft inventory.
Alphabetical index to the case files by name of vessel.

Top of Page

Record Group 43
Records of International Conferences, Commissions, and Expositions

Administrative History
The Office of the Commissioner, U.S. Science Exhibit, of the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, was created to plan and carry out U.S. participation in the "Century 21 Exposition" to be held at Seattle, Washington, in 1962. The U.S. Science Exhibit had three primary objectives: first, to depict the role of science in modern civilization; second, to create wider public interest in the objectives, nature, spirit, and actual work of science throughout the world; and third, to encourage careers in science.

Records Description
Dates: 1959-63
Volume: 59 cubic feet
Records of the Office of the Commissioner. The records relate to planning, exhibiting, and closing the U.S. Science Exhibit; and businesses, organizations, and individuals who participated. The records are general and exhibit files. Nontextual records include artwork, blueprints, movies, photographs, and sound recordings.

Finding Aids
Draft preliminary inventory.

Record Group 48
Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior

Administrative History
The Department of the Interior was created by an act of March 3, 1849. During the more than 130 years of its existence some functions have been added and others removed so that its role has changed from that of general housekeeper for the Federal Government to that of custodian of the nation's natural resources. The Secretary of the Interior, as the head of an executive department, reports directly to the President and is responsible for the direction and supervision of all activities of the department.

Records Description
Dates: 1951-87
Volume: 72 cubic foot
Records of the Regional Solicitor's office, Portland, Oregon. The records relate to litigation involving various Department of the Interior bureaus, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, and National Park Service. Among other issues, the cases relate to Indian land allotments, Indian hunting and fishing rights, water use, boundary disputes, timber sales, wild horse management, and mining and grazing leases. The records consist of contracts, correspondence, litigation case files, minutes, press releases and clippings, reports, and transcripts.

Finding Aids
Folder title list.

Related Microfilm Publications
M126, Correspondence of the Office of Explorations and Surveys Concerning Isaac Stevens' Survey of a Northern Route for the Pacific Railroad, 1853-1861;
M189, Interior Department Territorial Papers: Washington, 1854-1902;
M191, Interior Department Territorial Papers: Idaho, 1864-1890;
M606, Letters Sent by the Indian Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1849-1903;
M693, Interior Department Appointment Papers: Idaho, 1862-1907;
M814, Interior Department Appointment Papers: Territory of Oregon, 1849-1907;
M825, Selected Classes of Letters Received by the Indian Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1849-1880;
M1049, The Territorial Papers of the United States: Oregon, 1848-1859.

Restrictions
Access to some files or portions of documents is restricted because of personal privacy concerns.

Top of Page

Record Group 49
Records of the Bureau of Land Management

Administrative History
The General Land Office (GLO) was established within the Treasury Department by an act of April 25, 1812, to administer all public land transactions except surveying and map work (which came under the supervision of the GLO in 1836). In 1849, the GLO was transferred to the Department of the Interior where it was merged with the Grazing Service in 1946 to form the Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau classifies, manages, and disposes of public lands and their resources and administers Federally-owned mineral resources on non-Federal land and on the Outer Continental Shelf.

Records Description
Dates: 1851-1978
Volume: 2924 cubic feet
Records of land offices of the territories (and later States) of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The records document activities of the surveyors general, deputy surveyors in the field, and the local land offices. They also relate to settlers' requests for land or mineral surveys. Included are applications and correspondence.

Records of the district land offices for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. The records relate to decisions and actions affecting the sections of each township. They contain the names of purchasers or grantees, the law under which the land was acquired, and plat book maps of each township after the land was surveyed. Included are correspondence, plat books, and tract books.

Records of land offices in Roseburg and Oregon City, Oregon. The records relate to Oregon donation land claims. They are case files, including affidavits, applications, cash receipts, proofs, and public notices.

Records of grazing district offices in Oregon and Idaho. The records relate to range improvement projects and activities of the advisory boards. Included are case files, correspondence, and minutes.

Records of the National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho. The records relate to the coordination of multi-agency, state, and federal responses to forest and range fires in the U.S. They are cooperative agreements, publications, and fire reports.

Finding Aids
Harry P. Yoshpe and Philip P. Brower, comps., Preliminary Inventory of the Land-Entry Papers of the General Land Office, PI 22 (1949).

Related Microfilm Publications
M25, Miscellaneous Letters Sent by the General Land Office, 1796-1889;
M27, Letters Sent by the General Land Office to the Surveyor General, 1796-1901;
M145, Abstracts of Oregon Donation Land Claims, 1852-1903;
M203, Abstracts of Washington Donation Land Claims, 1855-1902;
M815, Oregon and Washington Donation Land Files, 1851-1903;
M1620, Federal Land Records for Idaho, 1860-1934.

NARA's Seattle Facility Main Page

The National Archives at Seattle >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.