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On June 9, 1937, the Administrative Secretary delivered an address on “The National Archives" before the Aberdeen, N. C., Kiwanis Club at a meeting held at Pinehurst, N. C.


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During the fiscal year 1937, the procedure for furnishing authenticated copies of documents in the custody of the Archivist was changed. All requests for authenticated copies of records are now filed with the Division of Reference, in which Division certification forms are prepared. The copy to be authenticated is then checked by this Office with the original records, as is the certification form, and the ribbon and wafer are attached and the seal affixed thereto. A charge of 25 cents is made for each authenticated copy except those prepared for official Government use, for which no charge is made. During the fiscal year 1937, this Office issued 367 certifications of records.


Numerous conferences were held by the Administrative Secretary with officials of The National Archives regarding measures necessary to clarify and simplify the procedure for the disposition of executive papers having no permanent value or historical interest. In response to a request from Representative Charles J. Colden, chairman of the House Committee on the Disposition of Executive Papers, a conference was held with him relative to the draft of a bill “To provide for the disposition of certain records of the United States Government”, which he later introduced as H. R. 7504. The bill was referred to the Committee on the Disposition of Executive Papers and hearings on it were announced for July 1 and 2. The Administrative Secretary and the Assistant Director of Archival Service were designated to represent the Archivist at these hearings.

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(From the report of the Director, Mr. BUCK)


Six publications of The National Archives were prepared or edited in this Office and were released during the fiscal year—the Second Annual Report of the Archivist, two bulletins, and three circulars. Bulletin No. 1, which consists of an article entitled “The National Archives of the United States”, is a 13-page pamphlet containing a brief account of the history, organization, and functions of the establishment. Bulletin No. 2, a 10-page pamphlet, contains two articles, “The Conference of Archivists at Chattanooga, December 28, 1935” and “Problems of American Archivists”, by Theodore C. Blegen. Two of the three circulars issued are popular and pictorial in nature

and are intended for general distribution to visitors to the building and to others casually interested in The National Archives. Circular No. 1, entitled The National Archives of the United States, contains, in addition to textual matter, 29 illustrations of the building and of the progressive steps in the accessioning of records; and Circular No. 3, entitled The Murals in The National Archives, consists of reproductions of photographs of the murals in the Exhibition Hall, together with a key to the personages depicted and other pertinent information about the paintings and the artist, Barry Faulkner. Circular No. 2 consists of the Rules and Regulations for the Use of Records.


In January work was begun on a project for the compilation of a "Guide to the Federal Archives of the United States", which will describe the scope, character, quantity, subject matter, origin, history, arrangement, location, availability, and value for research or official use of all records of the Government, whether within the District of Columbia or elsewhere in the United States, and will include information concerning extant indexes, inventories, and other aids to their use. Plans for the guide were drawn up by the Director and were the result of much study and repeated conferences with other members of the staff of The National Archives. The compilation of portions of the guide dealing with the 10 executive departments and the judiciary was assigned to various deputy examiners and former deputy examiners, who are to perform this task under the supervision of the Director.

To make available to the compilers of the guide needed information concerning the history, organization, functions, and records of the agencies of the Government, it was obviously essential to assemble, organize, and coordinate bibliographical and other pertinent data existing in The National Archives and elsewhere. Suggestions for accomplishing this end were drafted by the Director and were given to the Division of Research, which at once embarked upon the first phase of the project by selecting printed Library of Congress cards for appropriate works. These cards, combined with a tentative bibliography already compiled by the Director, will form the basis for an annotated bibliography of all available material. Executive orders relating to the activities and functions of Government agencies have been selected by the Division of Research and, with the cooperation of the Director, are being classified according to the agency concerned.

With a view to providing more detailed information regarding portions of the material in the files of four executive departments and the Senate, arrangements have been made for the Division of Photographic Reproduction and Research to microfilm a calendar of this material at the University of Illinois. Compiled over a period of 20 years by Dr. Newton D. Mereness for a group of State historical agencies, the calendar lists on cards some 280,000 documents relating to the region embraced in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. The microfilm reproduction of the calendar will be in the custody of the Division of Reference.

Since the compilation of the proposed guide will extend over several years, it was decided in May to concentrate at first on the part dealing with the records in the custody of The National Archives at the close of the fiscal year 1937, with a view to the prompt publication of this part and its distribution to scholars and others who might be interested in knowing of the availability of the material described. Considerable progress on this section of the project had been made at the close of the year.


The Director continued his compilation of a bibliography of all printed material believed to be of value in connection with the activities of The National Archives and for that purpose checked other bibliographies such as the set of Griffin's Writings in American History and Bemis and Griffin's Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States. The listing of Government publications of interest to The National Archives, an undertaking begun in the preceding fiscal year by the assistant to the Director, was carried forward as time permitted by checking through the shelf list of all Government documents in the library of the Superintendent of Documents. Because of the slowness of the process, however, a preliminary selection was made by examining the current price lists of Government publications issued by the Superintendent of Documents, and a checked set of these price lists was turned over to the Chief of the Division of the Library.


No meeting of the Commission was held during the fiscal year, and as yet no action has been taken on the Commission's report transmitted to Congress on March 17, 1936, recommending the compilation, editing, and publication of documentary material relating to the ratification of the Constitution and the first ten amendments thereto.

The pressure of other work has prevented much progress in the efforts of this Office to bring up to date the 1908 survey of the historical publications of the Government, as requested by the Commission. Some additions have been made to the bibliography of Government historical publications by drawing off titles from the Checklist of United States Public Documents, from the shelf list of the library of the Superintendent of Documents, and from some of the early numbers of the Monthly Catalog of United States Public Documents. Some time has been devoted also to studying and arranging the bibliographical data already assembled and to making plans for a statement that could be used as the basis for a report by the Commission on a comprehensive scheme for all documentary historical publications of the Government.


Each quarter since October the Office has prepared a page of “Notes Concerning The National Archives” for distribution to professional journals in the field of the social sciences. Other informative statements regarding the establishment have been written from time: to time by the Office for publication in encyclopedias, almanacs, and the like and for use by members of the staff.

On the invitation of the Director of Science Service, the Director of Publications attended a conference on January 16 to consider the formation of an "American Documentation Institute." Later he was appointed a member of the planning committee, and he represented the Archivist at the organization meeting of the institute on March 13, at which he served as chairman and was elected one of the five trustees. Subsequently the trustees named the Director as treasurer

. of the institute.

At the request of the program committee of the American Historical Association, the Director, as chairman of the organizing committee for a "Society of American Archivists”, arranged for a conference of archivists to be held during the 1936 meeting of the association in Providence; and at this conference the report of the organizing committee and a draft constitution were presented. Thereupon the Society of American Archivists was formally established, and the constitution as drafted was adopted with some minor changes. The Director was elected a member of the council of the society, and Dr. Philip C. Brooks of the staff of The National Archives was elected secretary. The Director also served as a member of the committee on program for the first annual meeting of the society, which was held in Washington on June 18 and 19.

The Director attended during the year a conference of executives of historical agencies in the Middle West, at which he discussed “Relations between The National Archives and Historical Agencies”; the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, at which he was elected treasurer of the organization; a meeting of the joint committee on materials for research of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council, at which matters of interest to The National Archives were discussed; a conference under the auspices of the Social Science Research Council to discuss the planning of research in comparative local history; and a meeting of the Agricultural History Society. He also visited the Hall of Records in Annapolis to advise with the Archivist of Maryland concerning the valuation for insurance purposes of the material in his custody. The assistant to the Director attended the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, and all members of the staff of the Office attended the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists.

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