National Archives Building (Archives I)
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Public Reference Information: (202) 501-5400
Center for Legislative Archives: 501-5350

National Archives II
8601 Adelphi Road
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General reference information (301) 713-6800
Cartographic reference (301) 713-7040
Textual reference (301) 713-7250
Motion Picture, Sound, & Video reference (301) 713-7060
Electronic Records reference (301) 713-6645
Still Picture reference (301) 713-6660

Information about NARA holdings:

General Publications:

Guide to the National Archives of the United States (1974, revised ed.,1987).
Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications (with) Supplementary List...1974-1982 (1982).
Guide to Cartographic Records in the National Archives (1971).
Microfilm Resources for Research: Comprehensive Catalog (Revised, 1986).
Regulations for the Public Use of Records in the National Archives, General Information Leaflet No. 2 (1987).
Select List of Publications of the National Archives and Records Service, General Leaflet No. 3 (1986).


Inv. Inventory
PI Preliminary Inventory
RG Record Group number


PI #94, compiled by Harold T. Pinkett (Washington: 1956).

Records of the Bureau of Entomology.


Before 1878 the personnel of the Division of Entomology consisted merely of an official known as the Entomologist and a clerical assistant. Investigations of the Division were confined mainly to research work in Washington, D.C. After 1878 the investigations were broadened considerably by field and experimental work. Important in this connection was the transfer from the Interior Department to the Division in 1881 of the work of the United States Entomological Commission, which had been established by Congress in 1877 to report on the crop damage of migratory locusts in the West and on methods for preventing such damage (19 Stat. 357). This transfer led to the beginning of the Division's employment during the 1880's of field agents to observe insects in particular localities and to cooperate with other Federal agents, State officials, and farmers in the development of methods to eradicate or control insect pests. One such project involved the meteorologist Cleveland Abbe and his employer, the U.S. Signal Office. Related papers are found in RG-27 and in the Library of Congress.

NC-136, Supplement to PI #94, compiled by William F. Sherman (Washington, November 1965).


Chiefly correspondence and reports concerning cooperative projects undertaken by the Bureau with other agencies. Arranged alphabetically by name of agency and thereunder chronologically.

71. REPORTS FROM FIELD STATIONS ON WEATHER CONDITIONS. 1905-30. 2 ft. Although these reports are presented in several different forms and furnish different types of data, they relate chiefly to temperatures and precipitation. One report for 1929 is a temperature and precipitation graph for selected cities throughout the world. Arranged by State and thereunder chronologically.


PI #191, compiled by Helen Finneran Ulibarri (Washington: 1979).


An act approved May 15, 1862, provided for a Department of Agriculture to be headed by a Commissioner without Cabinet rank. Isaac Newton, the head of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, became the first Commissioner of Agriculture. His staff initially included a chemist and a superintendent of an experimental garden and was soon increased by the appointment of an entomologist and a statistician. Newton's early activities centered on the collection of crop production statistics, which were obtained mainly through correspondence with members of agricultural organizations and individual farmers and businessmen. His activities included distribution of weather reports prepared by voluntary observers of the Smithsonian Institution.

By an act approved February 9, 1889, the Commissioner of Agriculture became the Secretary of Agriculture with Cabinet rank, and an office of Assistant Secretary was established. During Secretary Jeremiah M. Rusk's administration, 1889-93, the weather service functions of the War Department's Signal Office were transferred to the U.S. Weather Bureau of the Department of Agriculture (1891-1940).

A List of successive Commissioners of Patents and Superintendents, Commissioners, and Secretaries of Agriculture during the period in which agriculture was a major contributor to meteorological observations include:

Commissioners of Patents:

Henry L. Ellsworth, 1836-1845; Edmund Burke, 1845-1849; Thomas Ewbank, 1849-1852; Silas H. Hodges, 1852-1853; Charles Mason, 1853-1857; Joseph Holt, 1857-1859; William D. Bishop, 1859-1860; Philip F. Thomas, 1860-1861; David P. Holoway, 1861-1862.

Superintendents of Agriculture (Patent Office):

Thomas G. Clemson, 1860-1861; Isaac Newton, 1861-1862.

Commissioners of Agriculture:

Isaac Newton, 1862-1867; John W. Stokes, 1867-1867; Horace Capron, 1867-1871; Frederick Watts, 1871-1877; William G. LeDuc, 1877-1881; George B. Loring, 1881-1885; Norman J. Colman, 1885-1889.

Secretaries of Agriculture:

Norman J. Colman, 1889-1889; Jeremiah M. Rusk, 1889-1893; J. Sterling Morton, 1893-1897; James Wilson, 1897-1913; David F. Houston, 1913-1920; Edwin T. Meredith, 1920-1921; Henry C. Wallace, 1921-1924; Howard M. Gore, 1924-1925; William M. Jardine, 1925-1929; Arthur M. Hyde, 1929-1933; and Henry A. Wallace, 1933-1940.

During Secretary Wallace's last year of service, responsibility for the U.S. Weather Bureau was transferred to the Department of Commerce.

This series is the best primary source of information on the relationship of the Federal Government to agriculture. It relates primarily to policy, organization, and procedure and often summarizes the results of work done in constituent units of the Department. It contains letters sent and received, memorandums and reports by the Secretary and by the Assistant or Under Secretary and often other officials in his immediate office.


Records of the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office:

Officials of the Federal Government and other individuals had long encouraged U.S. consuls to obtain new and improved varieties of seeds, plants, and animals for importation to the United States. In 1836 Henry L. Ellsworth, a man long interested in the problems of agricultural improvement, became Commissioner of Patents, within the Department of State. He soon began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through Members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839 the Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for "the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes." Ellsworth's interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the various new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, the preparation of statewide reports about crops in different regions, and the application of chemistry to agriculture. In 1849 the Patent Office was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. During the ensuing years, agitation for a separate bureau of agriculture within the Department or a separate department devoted to agriculture kept recurring.

1. LETTERS AND REPORTS OF THE AGRICULTURAL DIVISION OF THE PATENT OFFICE. 1839-60. 21 vols. 5 ft. Arranged chronologically. Name index at the beginning of each volume. A typewritten list summarizing the contents of letters, essays, and reports and arranged chronologically is available for each volume. Letters sent by the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office for the period 1849-62 are in Records of the Secretary of the Interior, Record Group 48.

Records of the Immediate Offices of the Commissioner and Secretary of Agriculture:

3. LETTERS SENT (GENERAL). 1882-97. 61 vols. 7 ft. Arranged chronologically. Name index at the beginning of each volume. Beginning in 1891, many letters reflect a new function of the Department - the work of the Weather Bureau. Each volume is labeled "Domestic."
4. LETTERS SENT TO CONGRESSMEN. 1886-93. 12 vols. 2 ft. Arranged chronologically. Name index in each volume.
6. SUBJECT INDEX TO LETTERS RECEIVED. 1903-6. 4 ft. Arranged by subject and thereunder by date. On 5- by 8-inch cards showing name of sender (person or Government agency) and date and abstract of letter. This is an index to part of the incoming correspondence of the Secretary, 1893-1906, described in entry 8.
7. INDEX TO LETTERS RECEIVED CONCERNING PERSONNEL. 1903-6. 1 ft. Arranged by name of applicant. On 5- by 8-inch cards showing name of applicant and date and abstract of letter. This is an index to part of the incoming correspondence of the Secretary, 1893-1906, described in entry 8.
8. LETTERS RECEIVED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. 1893-1906. 23 ft. Arranged by year and thereunder by name of sender. For indexes, see entries 6 and 7. Correspondence, reports and memorandums received from Government officials and private individuals about such subjects as the work of the Weather Bureau.
15. LETTERS SENT BY THE SECRETARY'S OFFICE. 1893-1941. 1,129 vols. and unbound material. 300 ft. Arranged alphabetically by name of office or bureau that prepared the letter and thereunder chronologically. This is almost a complete set of copies of all letters signed by the Secretary. Many letters were prepared by the bureaus of the Department, and he main file on any particular matter remained in the bureau most familiar with the subject. Copies of letters prepared by the following subordinate offices for the signature of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1893-1929, have been reproduced in National Archives Microfilm Publication M440, Letters Sent by the Secretary of Agriculture, 1893-1929 (563 rolls). The records for 1930-41 are unbound and have not yet been filmed. Name index, subject index and index of letters sent to government agencies is available. Weather Bureau (14 vols.), 1897-1929.
17. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY. 1906-70. 3,543 ft. Arranged by year and thereunder by subject. Index to this series is available. Also available is a list that gives the subjects and dates of the letters received for the years 1906-56.

NC-14. Subject-Numeric Headings of Correspondence Files of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, 1906-56, compiled by Harold T. Pinkett, Charles E. Neal, and Monroe A. Betha (Washington, 1962). Ca. 2,570 linear feet.

Aerological Work, 1912-13
Climate-Weather Conditions, 1909-31; 1935
Forecasts, 1906-09; 1924-35
Forecasts, 1936-39
Forecasts, 1940
Hurricanes, 1936-39
Instruments (incl. Thermometers), 1906-39
International Conferences, Congresses, and Meetings
Meteorological Conference, Int'l. 1929-32; 1935
Meteorological Work, 1908-09; 1912-14; 1916-31; 1933-39
Meteorology, 1940-56
Mt. Weather, 1940
Oceanography, 1924-25; 1928
Rainfall, 1906-09
Stations, 1940-52
Tornado, 1912-13
Weather, 1928-39
Weather, 1940
Weather Bureau Investigations, 1912-14
Weather, Crops and Markets (Publication), 1922-24

23. SUMMARY STATEMENT OF FUNCTIONS AND LAWS RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT. 1897. 1 vol. 1 in. Arranged by name of office, division, or bureau. Statement of functions and laws governing the work of organizational units of the Department.
24. DIRECTIVES. 1897-1941. 5 1/2 ft. Arranged mainly chronologically. Orders, memorandums, and circulars to chiefs of bureaus, officers, and employees of the Department regarding personnel actions, organizational changes, departmental policies, and other matters.
26. ANNUAL REPORTS. 1921-30. 2 ft. Arranged chronologically and thereunder alphabetically by name of bureau. Reports made to the Secretary by bureau chiefs about work accomplished during the year.
28. LETTERS SENT BY ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF AGRICULTURE. 1889-1929. 130 vols. 14 ft. Arranged chronologically. Index at the beginning of each volume. The letters are to agricultural college officials, private individuals, and Congressmen about such subjects as the Department's exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition, construction of telegraph lines for Weather Bureau stations. Letters for the years 1889-94 are reproduced as M122, Letters Sent by the Assistant Secretaries of Agriculture, 1889-94 (16 rolls).

Records About Scientific Work:

37. LETTERS SENT BY THE DIRECTOR OF SCIENTIFIC WORK. 1920-29. 12 vols. 1 ft. Arranged chronologically. Index in each volume arranged by name of recipient.
Letters and memorandums to bureau chiefs, agricultural educators, congressmen, and experiment station officials relating to the need for cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior in the collation of all studies concerning the right type of farming in the drought-ridden northern Great Plains area and the Rio Grande Valley. He was later appointed director of Scientific Work in October 1921. His functions included general supervision of scientific research and scientific personnel with a view to directing the work toward the solution of national agricultural problems and the selection of scientific manuscripts for publication.
39. CORRESPONDENCE OF THE SCIENTIFIC ADVISER TO THE SECRETARY. EARL N. BRESSMAN. 1933-38. 3 ft. Arranged by subject. Correspondence and memorandums to bureau chiefs, the budget officer, the Secretary, and other Government officials about the Agricultural Research Center.

Records of the Office of the Solicitor:

87. RECORDS OF INVESTIGATIONS BY THE SOLICITOR. 1913. 1 ft. Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent. Contains correspondence concerning the involvement of certain Weather Bureau employees in promoting the chief of the Bureau to be Secretary of Agriculture.
97. RECORDS CONCERNING THE WEATHER BUREAU. 1928-41. 4 ft. Arranged According to a numerical classification scheme. Memorandums of agreement and correspondence with State offices, other Federal agencies, and foreign countries about joint operation of meteorological stations and construction of meteorological apparatus and instruments.

Records of the Office of Information:

The Office of Information was created in 1913 as a press service for the Department. A series of farm radio programs included the weather reports and informational and educational programs that reported results of the Department's work.

123. PRESS RELEASES. 1913-63. 194 ft. Arranged by year and thereunder by number. Information issued to newspapers, farm journals, trade publications, magazines, press associations, and correspondents concerning scientific discoveries and action programs.
125. CLASSIFICATION MANUAL. 1 vol. 2 in. The volume, which was in effect until December 31, 1944, is divided into two parts: a list of subjects in alphabetical sequence from "abaca" to "zinnia" and a list of numbers from 1 to 20 with numerical refinements indicating the subjects. The list of general subjects includes entry no. 18: Weather.
127. THE OFFICIAL RECORD. 1922-33. 24 vols. 2 ft. Arranged chronologically. Each volume indexed by subject or name (except vol. 12 for 1933). Weekly official announcements and information about the work of the Department and of the various bureaus. This publication was a means of presenting a cross-sectional view of departmental activities and of communicating to Department workers.

Records Relating to Fiscal, Property, and Personnel Matters, Including Appropriation Journals, and Salary Books:

169. RECORDS CONCERNING DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 1905-33. 5 ft. Arranged numerically. Index at the beginning of the records keys the number to the name or location of building. Correspondence about all aspects of the management of Department buildings.

Records Relating to World War I Activities:

201. BEVERLEY T. GALLOWAY FILE RELATING TO NATIONAL DEFENSE. 1917 and 1918. 4 ft. Chiefly Arranged alphabetically buy name of correspondent with some few subject categories. Correspondence with State colleges of agriculture, bureau chiefs, other Government officials, Council of National Defense, Congressmen, and the National Research Council. There are also some minutes of the Inter-bureau Committee on National Defense and the Interdepartmental Advisory Commission of National Defense.

Records Relating to World War II and Postwar Activities:

Records of the Division of Agriculture, National Defense Advisory Commission:

204. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE. 1940 and 1941. 29 ft. Arranged alphabetically by subject. A subject index in Appendix II contains the following entries: Aircraft, Aviation Department, Flying Schools, Radio, Research, Scientific Devices.
208. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE. 1941-43. 45 ft.
Arranged by year and thereunder by a subject-numeric classification. A subject index in Appendix III contains the following entries: Radio and Radar Division Requirements Committee, 1943; Weather, 1942.

Cartographic Records:


Arranged chronologically. Published records, including a map dated 1912 and an atlas dated 1914, showing field activities of the individual bureaus within the Department.
258. PUBLISHED ATLASES AND GRAPHIC SUMMARIES. 1889-1948. 23 items. Unarranged. Map-related publications of the Department, including a copy of the Atlas of American Agriculture - Physical Basis, 1936; advance sheets of the Atlas issued prior to the complete work relating to natural vegetation, weather, frost, the growing season, and rural population, 1918-28.
264. MAPS PREPARED FOR THE 1941 YEARBOOK OF AGRICULTURE. 1941. 10 items. Unarranged. Miscellaneous manuscript maps relating to world climate, floods, the hydrologic cycle, and population prepared as illustrations for the yearbook.

Audiovisual Records:

265. HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS. 1886-1959. 23,000 items. 141 ft. Arranged alphabetically by subject. Photographs, collected by the Office of Information, illustrating the functions of the Department. Describes all phases of U.S. agriculture.

Records of the Office for Agricultural War Relations

PI #37, compiled by Harold T. Pinkett (Washington: 1952).

5. GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE. 1941-43. 45 ft. Related to agricultural programs and problems in connection with defense and war needs. Subject index includes the following entries: Scientific Devices; Weather, 1942.


NM-53, compiled by Maizie H. Johnson (Washington, 1965).

The records described in this inventory are textual records in Record Group 18, Records of the Army Air Forces. They are for the period 1914-47, with some records as late as 1955, and they amount to about 4,700 cubic feet. Related records are in RG-98, RG-107, RG-111, RG-120, RG-339, RG- 340 and RG-341.


On August 1, 1907, an air service was established when the Chief Signal Officer created an Aeronautical Division with his office. Capt. Charles Def. Chandler and two enlisted men were assigned to the Division with responsibility for all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and kindred subjects.

By an act of Congress approved July 18, 1914, an Aviation Section was created in the Signal Corps and charged with the duty of training 60 officers and 260 enlisted men in matters pertaining to military aviation. The National Defense Act of June 3, 1916, provided an appropriation of $13,281,666.

Pursuant to an Executive order issued on May 20, 1918, the duties connected with the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps were transferred to two separate and newly established agencies, the Division of Military Aeronautics and the Bureau of Aircraft Production. Maj. Gen Charles T. Menoher was appointed Director of Air Service in December 1918.

Consolidation of the two aviation agencies into a unified Air Service began with War Department General Order No. 19 of January 29, 1919.

The Air Corps Act of July 2, 1926, changed the name of the Air Service to the Air Corps. With the creation of the General Headquarters Air Force in March 1935 at Langley Field, the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps retained responsibility only for material, training and related noncombat Air Forces, was created and charged with control of both agencies. At the same time the General Headquarters Air Force was renamed the Air Force Combat Command. By a general reorganization of the War Department in March 1942, these two agencies were merged into the single Headquarters Army Air Forces, under a Commanding General. In 1946 a general postwar reorganization was effected and in September 1947 the Army Air Forces was redesignated the United States Air Force under the newly created Department of the Air Force, as established by the National Security Act of 1947. Cf. A History of the United States Air Force, 1907-1957 (1958).


Entries include:

Books, Periodicals, etc.
    Blank forms--for letter--log books
    War Department publications
    Technical books
    Manuals, regulations
    Dictionaries, nomenclature, and directories
    Charts, posters, and cartoons
    Weather Bureau Activities
    Atmospheric pressure
    Wind velocity
    Aerial navigation
    Bureau of Mines....Department of the Interior
    Bureau of Standards.... Department of Commerce
    Captive (kite)
    Accessories and parts
Administrative Services Division: Library Branch

304. MEMORANDA OF THE ARMY AIR FORCES, 1942-45 2 vols. 5 in.

Cartographic Records, 1917-47. 6,657 items. Contain incomplete sets of aeronautical charts of the world at varying scales and special maps published by the Army Air Forces and its component units, including the Directorate of Weather.

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