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detection systems, which was officially adopted and which, it is believed, represents the most effective solution of this problem yet provided in any public building of this character. The results of these studies aroused the interest of archives officials elsewhere, and requests for information concerning the protective devices adopted were received from a number of institutions outside of Washington.

3. Considerable time, also, was devoted to determining the routing and the number of night and day watchmen required for the adequate protection of the National Archives Building and its contents. This work was done in collaboration with representatives of the Director of the National Park Service, who has general custody of the care and protection of the building. It involved an examination of the different floors and stack areas of the National Archives Building, the timing and routing of watchmen, and the determination of points for stack observation through glass apertures in doors and for the location of punch clocks.


Intensive studies of the functions to be performed by the professional divisions were undertaken and the following reports were submitted to the Archivist:

1. A report on the control of archives during the accessioning period and while in the National Archives Building, dealing with the types of office records required, procedure in requisitioning archives by searchers, the fixing of custodial responsibility, and the like.

2. A tentative report on cataloging procedure for The National Archives, including consideration of such problems as card catalogs versus inventories, the appraisal of present departmental indexes, the central catalog, and the catalog plan.

3. A tentative report on classification procedure for The National Archives, dealing with principles of classification, a suggested plan of classification, and research studies required as a basis for such plan.

4. In cooperation with the Chief of the Division of Accessions, forms were drawn up for use in making the preliminary survey of the national archives. These included: (1) The survey questionnaire; (2) instructions on "How to fill in the survey questionnaire”; and (3) á “Confidential memorandum for deputy examiners on procedure in making archival surveys.”

In addition to the foregoing studies the special assistant devoted much of his time to the writing of job specifications for positions in the professional divisions and to the allocation of specific applications to the grades thus established.


The National Archives Act (sec. 9) requires the Archivist to submit to Congress on January 1 of each year, with the approval of the National Archives Council, "a list or description of the papers, documents, and so forth (among the archives and records of the Government), which appear to have no permanent value or historical interest, and which, with the concurrence of the Government agency concerned, and subject to the approval of Congress, shall be destroyed or other wise effectively disposed of.” During the last session of Congress, the chairman of the House Committee on the Disposition of Executive Papers requested the Archivist to examine and make recommendations as to the disposition of papers that had been recommended to Congress for destruction prior to the appointment of an Archivist. Accordingly a staff of four well-trained special examiners was organized for this purpose under the supervision of the Acting Director of Archival Service. Upon their reports, concurred in by the Archivist, Congress at its last session authorized the disposal of 125 series of archives.

As a result of the work of these special examiners and the cooperation of other Government agencies, an orderly procedure for the consideration of such papers with reference to their permanent value and historical interest has been established in place of the more or less haphazard methods heretofore followed.


Public meetings and addresses.—The Acting Director of Archival Service attended, as the representative of the Archivist, the annual conventions of the Special Libraries Association (Boston, June 11-14), and the American Library Association (Denver, June 24-28); At both of these meetings, through contacts with many professional workers, he sought and obtained valuable information on such points as professional methods and equipment, available professional employees, and ways in which libraries and other research institutions may cooperate, to mutual advantage, with The National Archives.

Brief addresses dealing with The National Archives were made before group meetings at both of these associations, and a paper on The National Archives, prepared by the Archivist, was read before a joint meeting of the associations of State and saw librarians at Denver on June 28.

Research.-Some research was undertaken at the Library of Congress on the history of the movement for a national archives establishment, on legislation relating to the National Archives Building, and on legislation governing the care of official records and the disposition of useless papers.

Public documents.—Legislation was necessary to provide The National Archives with public documents. This matter was discussed with the Chief of the Division of Documents of the Library of Congress and with the secretary of the Joint Committee on Printing at the Capitol. As a result of these discussions and after study of pertinent past legislation a tentative bill was drafted, which was subsequently enacted as Public, No. 151, Seventy-fourth Congress, approved June 17, 1935.


(From the report of the Chief, Mr. OWEN) This Division was organized on May 14, 1935, with the appointment of Thomas M. Owen, Jr., as Chief.

The first task of the Division was to organize and inaugurate a preliminary survey of the archives of the Government in the District of Columbia. This survey was conducted under the authority of section 3 of the National Archives Act, which provides that the Archivist “shall have full power to inspect personally or by deputy the records of any agency of the United States Government whatsoever and wheresoever located, and shall have the full cooperation of any and all persons in charge of such records in such inspections.” The purposes of the survey were to locate the depositories in the District of Columbia in which Government archives are stored; to estimate their volume; to ascertain the conditions under which they are stored as to exposure to hazards (such as fire, theft, dirt, the elements, and insects), and as to impediments to work in them (such as inaccessibility, lack of ventilation, insufficient light, and disorderly arrangement); and to assemble other data necessary for determining what classes of these records should be transferred to the National Archives Building.

To conduct this survey, a staff of nine well-trained deputy examiners was organized. They were furnished with a carefully prepared form for their reports, which, when properly filled out, would supply all the desired information.

During the brief period in which they were at work before June 30, 1935, they surveyed 55,179 cubic feet of records in the following departments: State, Treasury, War, Post Office, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. In many cases they found important records stored in unsuitable depositories; exposed to the hazards of fire, dirt, vermin, theft, the elements, and neglect; and so situated that it was impossible for anyone to work with them with any degree of comfort or efficiency. It should be clearly understood that the officials and employees are not responsible for the situation described and that in all the departments surveyed the representatives of The National Archives received the fullest cooperation. In addition to the information mentioned above, the deputy examiners obtained valuable data on the various systems of classification and indexing in use in the several departments; on the rules and regulations governing the use of the records; and on accumulations of maps and charts, films, photographic plates, and sound recordings.


(From the report of the Chief, Dr. HILL) The Division of Classification of The National Archives began its activities with the appointment of the Chief, Roscoe R. Hill, who took the oath of office on May 7, 1935. No further appointments in the Division were made during the fiscal year 1934–35.

The brief portion of the year covered by this report during which the Division functioned was devoted to general consideration of problems of classification as affecting The National Archives. From various sources a considerable amount of information, including especially a number of the systems now in use in various agencies of the Government, was assembled. This material served to indicate more clearly the scope of the problems involved in the proper classification of the documents and records that will ultimately be transferred to The National Archives. General research on subjects pertaining to this Division was undertaken.

The Chief of the Division visited the State archives establishments of Ohio, at Columbus; of Indiana, at Indianapolis; and of Illinois, at Springfield; the McCormick Library, at Chicago; and the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, at Pittsburgh.' The purpose of these visits was to observe what is being done in the State archives and similar depositories with reference to the classification of their documents. Interesting conferences were held with their officials, and considerable information on the scientific care and classification of documents was secured.

The impression gained from this trip was that a most friendly attitude toward The National Archives and its work exists among all who are interested in historical research. State officials and others evinced a desire to cooperate in every possible way and expressed the opinion that The National Archives will be of great service to State archives establishments and analogous State and local organizations.


(From the report of the Chief, Dr. FLIPPIN) The Division of Research was organized with the appointment of Percy Scott Flippin as Chief on June 17, 1935.

During the 2 weeks covered by this report the Division began an investigation into the history of the Federal archives from 1774 to date. The purpose of this research is to compile as complete a collection as possible of official data concerning the care and preservation of the archives of the Government of the United States to be found in messages of the Presidents to Congress, reports and recommendations of executive departments, petitions and memorials from whatsoever source, committee reports, bills introduced into Congress, laws, and other records.


(From the report of the Chief, Capt. BRADLEY) This Division was organized with the appointment of its Chief, John G. Bradley, on January 19, 1935.

It is the function of this Division to carry into effect the provisions of section 7 of the National Archives Act, which are as follows:

The National Archives may also accept, store, and preserve motion-picture films and sound recordings pertaining to and illustrative of historical activities of the United States, and in connection therewith maintain a projecting room for showing such films and reproducing such sound recordings for historical purposes and study. For these purposes the National Archives Building contains eight concrete vaults for the storage of films and a projecting room for showing them.

The motion-picture industry is still in its infancy and its experience sheds little light on the problems of durability and preservation of films. There is very little published literature on the subject.

The Division of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings, therefore, is to a considerable extent pioneering in a new field. The problems with which the Division has been chiefly concerned are (1) accessions, (2) preservation, and (3) service.


Either by direct authority or by inference from the National Archives Act, accessions of motion-picture records and sound recordings may be made through four channels: (a) Direct transfer from other Government agencies, (6) gifts from non-Federal institutions, (c) purchase under contract, and (d) recording.

Transfer. -A preliminary survey was made by mail to ascertain what motion-picture records and what quantities of them were to be found in the various departments, agencies, and independent establishments of the Government. Although this was by no means an accurate study it revealed some five million feet of motion-picture film and many thousands of phonographic records. The films include the World War pictures, of which there are nearly a million feet; pictures of tribal life among American Indians; studies in sanitation; agricultural-extension pictures; and others. The disk recordings include studies in primitive languages, folk music, and the like.

Gifts.-In a lesser degree the non-Federal field has been surveyed for source material that might come to The National Archives as gifts. The offers have been generous and include far more than can be accepted. The problem has become, therefore, one of selective discrimination. It will be well, however, to consider some of these possible accessions seriously: Pictures that illustrate the early history of the country in the making; pictures of explorations, such as the Byrd polar expeditions; pictures of Indian and Filipino tribal life; pictures of the inauguration of Presidents; and news reels of historical value.

Purchase and recording.-A study has also been made of possible subjects that would justify recording at public expense, either through purchase under contract or by actual recording by the Division. Many current and future events of historical importance will probably not be recorded unless The National Archives makes provisions for doing so.


In the matter of storage and preservation some very definite steps have been taken toward perpetuating film records over a long period of time. The Chief of the Division personally visited many cities, institutions, and individuals, seeking help—Hollywood, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc., the Eastman Kodak Co., the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the DuPont Film Manufacturing Co., the Radio Corporation of America, Electrical Research Products, Inc., and others. The question was constantly asked: “How can motion-picture films be preserved for one hundred years?". The answer (in substance) was generally: “We are interested only in producing and selling pictures”; or, “We are interested in the manufacture and sale of film and are not, therefore, primarily concerned with preserving such property for any great length of time."

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