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shipments of property to Government agencies, and made 3,113 outside messenger trips.

Telephone switchboard.—The switchboard handled a total of 147,957 calls during the year.

BUILDING AND EQUIPMENT A large portion of the time of the Executive Officer is taken up with matters pertaining to the building and grounds. During the fiscal year 1937 the following areas and offices, which had not been completed on June 30, 1936, were either completed or were placed in such condition that they could be occupied and used: The division offices on the twentieth tier, east and west, a portion of the permanent receiving room, room 106, nine offices on the sixth floor, the cloak rooms in the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance lobby, and room G-13, which was partitioned to provide additional space for the Divisions of Photographic Reproduction and Research and of Repair and Preservation. By the end of the year the murals had been placed in the Exhibition Hall and the special lining for the exhibit cases had been installed, the card catalog trays had been placed around the wall in the central search room, and the opera chairs had been installed in the auditorium.

The contract for the extension to the building was completed on February 19, the final inspection was made on April 1, and the final payment was made by the Public Works Branch of the Treasury Department on June 22. The completion of this contract provides The National Archives with 29 additional stack areas. After stack equipment has been installed in the extension, The National Archives will have an additional 1,120,049 cubic feet of document area with a storage capacity of 448,813 cubic feet.

By June 30, 1937, the manual fire-alarm stations and the watchman stations had been put into operation in the entire original building; the aero system, which sets off an alarm immediately in case of fire, had been installed in the receiving room, in the trucking room, and in a number of the stack spaces; and the automatic burglaralarm system, which records in the office of the captain of the guard any entrance into or any noise within an area, had been installed in the same stack spaces. Other installations during the year included the hydraulic press for the Division of Repair and Preservation, the table for the cleaning of film for the Division of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings, and the temporary film-storage cabinets for the storage of film while it is being processed, viewed, and studied by the latter Division.

The following work was unfinished at the end of the fiscal year 1937: The cutting of a window in room G-7, occupied by the Division of the Central Files; the erection of a storeroom for the National


Park Service on the loading platform in the trucking room; the partitioning of a central workroom for the cabinet maker; and the partitioning of the offices of the Chiefs of the Divisions of Department Archives. In the area occupied by the Division of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings, although the film vaults had been prepared for the installation of a special air-conditioning unit, the purchase and installation of the unit was delayed by lack of funds, and the shelves and specially designed film-storage cabinets had not been installed in the vaults. A contract for additional paneling in the auditorium had been let, but the work was unfinished; and certain changes on the thirteenth tier to permit the construction of a workroom for treating motion-picture film were incomplete.

Under the provisions of the second contract for the equipment of the stack areas, stack equipment, including containers for documents, had been installed by June 30, 1937, in the third tier east and in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth tiers, west and southwest, thus making available for use a total of 80,144 cubic feet of document area and 29,454 square feet of floor area.

The third stack contract was awarded on April 6, 1937, and provided for the installation within 120 days of metal stack columns and metal floors only, in the thirteenth to nineteenth tiers of the northwest, southwest, south, southeast, and northeast stack spaces, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth tiers of the north stack space, all of which are in the original building.

Under the fourth stack contact, which was let on June 10, 1937, metal stack columns, metal floors, cork composition floor covering, and metal shelving, but no document containers, are to be provided for the entire extension of the building, with the following exceptions: The third tier in all parts of the extension, which will be reserved for the Division of Maps and Charts and will be equipped with portable map cases already contracted for, and the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first tiers in the northeast central stack space, which will be reserved for the use of the Division of Photographic Reproduction and Research in conditioning and storing still film and in processing microfilm.


The Executive Officer continued to serve as liaison between The National Archives and the National Archives Association, and in March 1937 he became a member of the board of directors and chairman of the credit committee of the National Archives Employees' Federal Credit Union. During the year he also attended the annual meetings of the American Historical Association and of the Society of American Archivists.


(From the report of the Chief, Mr. TATE) The year 1936–37 has served to clarify the diversified activities of this Division, and a distinct tendency toward stratification of its work is evident. Four classes of activities predominated: (1) Photographic work, including the making of photographs of various kinds, microphotography, photostatic work, and the photographic restoration of documents; (2) photo-mechanical and mechanical services, including the reproduction of forms, form letters, memoranda, and the like by means of the multilith process, the making of addressograph plates and the mechanical side of maintaining a mailing list, and the use of plan-copying equipment for the reproduction both of plans and of limited quantities of typewritten material; (3) the conditioning and storage of still film; and (4) research into the applications of photography and similar processes to documentation,

Some 6,000 photographic negatives and prints, 2,383,149 microcopies, and 15,214 photostats were made during the year. In the field of mechanical and photo-mechanical services 669,930 pieces were produced by the multilith process from 1,094 duplicating plates, 3,568 addressograph plates were prepared, and 23,788 pieces were run through the addressing machine. Although the plan-copying machine was not available until the closing weeks of the year, 91 square feet of copy were produced on it. Miscellaneous work included the mounting of 3,505 photographs, the making of 135 lantern slides, and the completion of various experimental projects.


General.—The photographic work has been exceedingly diversified during the past year. The routine photographing of records in depositories or in transit and of buildings in which records have been stored has been continued and expanded. The resulting photographs, many of which are now irreplaceable, show the exact condition of various archival depositories before the transfer of all or part of their contents to the National Archives Building. Shipments of records in transit were photographed to illustrate the precautions taken when valuable papers are being moved. Additional photographs were taken of the National Archives Building to show details of its construction and use. Photographs of equipment undergoing tests at the National Bureau of Standards were made for purposes of record. Full tone and line copies of documents in The National Archives were made, and some of them have been used by various publications.

Microfilming.—Two large projects of microfilming undertaken during the year were the reproduction of the Veterans' Administration index and the reproduction of the “refer from" cards at the Library of Congress.

The Veterans' Administration index, a file of some 2,600,000 cards, is being reproduced because the transfer to The National Archives of a portion of the indexed records, while the remainder is retained by the Administration, makes it imperative that a copy of the index be available in both places. It was economically undesirable to reproduce these cards by other than photographic methods. A rotary, highspeed, card-copying, microphotographic machine, specially equipped for photographing multicolored cards, was purchased for The National Archives and later three similar machines were rented. It was determined to use 16mm single perforate film and to reproduce the cards at a ratio of reduction of 17 diameters to 1. As the film is to be used in reading machines, a fairly elaborate coding system for card location was devised. With the cooperation of the Division of Cataloging, numbered “guides”, which are projected on the screen of the reading machine as brief flashes of light, were placed at intervals of about every 100 cards throughout the file. The numbers of the flashes on each roll of film and the names that immediately follow each of them are typed on slips of paper affixed to the container that holds the roll. This makes it possible to determine between which flashes the desired entry will be found. When the film is placed in a reading machine, the reader can quickly turn to the desired name by counting the flashes as they pass over the reading screen. Cataloging experts state that this method of locating cards on film is as rapid as the use of an ordinary card index.

The “refer from” cards at the Library of Congress presented a somewhat different problem. The file is unique and cannot be removed from the Library; hence, personnel from this Division was sent with a portable camera to make film copies of approximately 17,000 cards. The copies are to be enlarged on special photographic paper and duplicate prints are to be made in order that two sets of the cards (one for the Division of Cataloging and one for the Division of the Library) will be available in The National Archives.

Photostatic work.-An increasing volume of photostatic work has been required during the year, including the making of copies of documents in The National Archives for official purposes and for private use. The photostat machine was also used for making copies for the National Archives library of material which could not be procured by purchase and of borrowed notes and manuscript reports pertaining to materials in the custody of The National Archives.


It has been possible during the year virtually to complete a small but well-rounded duplicating unit. Duplicated materials include form letters, forms, memoranda, reports on useless papers, and similar intra-organization materials. The process of duplicating should not be confused with printing, however, as all the printing for The National Archives is done at the Government Printing Office as provided by law.

One entirely new system of duplicating has been inaugurated. This process, known as “direct image” duplicating, requires a special typewriter and a carbon-paper ribbon for preparing metal plates from which copies are made on the multilith machines. The resultant product is similar in appearance to typewritten material and is far more permanent than hectograph or mimeograph copies, which cost approximately the same amount.

The operation of the plan-copying machine is another phase of photo-mechanical activity. The machine includes a three-tube, mercury-vapor, continuous printer and a continuous-developing machine. Tracings, photographic negatives, and typewritten materials may be duplicated at a cost of about 2 cents a square foot. Direct positive copies are made without an intervening negative step; and, as ammonia vapor instead of water is used in developing the image, paper shrinkage is reduced to a minimum. The paper is not highly sensitive, and the entire process may be performed in an ordinary lighted



In view of the large amount of film and other negatives for still pictures in Government depositories, space has been allocated in the National Archives Building for the establishment of conditioning laboratories and for the installation of suitable storage vaults and containers for negatives of different types, but no equipment has been installed as yet. As nitrate film offers decided fire, gas, and explosion hazards, and as glass negatives are extremely fragile, suitable containers must be designed for them, and this work has been undertaken. Meanwhile, through the cooperation of the Division of Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings, it has been possible to accept 287 rolls of aerial-mapping film and 204 mosaic 20" x 24" nitrate negatives, which have been stored temporarily in the vaults of that Division. A new process of film duplicating may make it possible to duplicate dangerous nitrate film directly on a nonexplosive safety film base for long-time storage and use.


Research has been carried on continuously throughout the year, and much of it has been integrated and correlated with work proceeding in other parts of the country. The most important investigations were those dealing with photography and documentation. An inquiry into the merits of particular photographic emulsions, bases, developing and fixing formulas, and printing paper was made in an effort to

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