Preliminary Inventory Of The Records Of The National Park Service
Compiled by Edward E. Hill
The National Archives
National Archives Publication No. 67-2
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. A66-7740
GSA through the National Archives and Records Service is responsible for administering the permanent noncurrent records of the Federal Government. These archival holdings, now amounting to about 900,000 cubic feet, date from the days of the Continental Congresses; they include the basic records of the three branches of our Government-Congress, the courts, and the executive departments and independent agencies. The Presidential Libraries-Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower-contain the papers of the those Presidents and many of the their associates in office. Among our holdings are many hallowed documents relating to great events of our Nation's history, preserved and venerated as symbols to stimulate a worthy patriotism in all of us. But most of the records are less dramatic, kept because of their continuing practical utility for the ordinary processes of government, for the protection of private rights, and for the research use of students and scholars.
To facilitate the use of the records and to described their nature and content, our archivists prepare various kinds of finding aids. The present work is one such publication. We believe that it will prove valuable to anyone who wishes to use the records it describes.
LAWSON B. KNOTT, JR.
The first step in the records-description program of the National Archives is the compilation of preliminary inventories of the material in some 380 records groups to which the holdings of the National Archives are allocated. These inventories are called "preliminary" because they are provisional in character. They are prepared as soon as possible after the records are received without waiting to screen out all disposable material or to perfect the arrangement of the records. They are compiled primarily for internal use, both as finding aids to help the staff render efficient reference service and as a means of establishing administrative control over the records.
Each preliminary inventory contains an introduction that briefly states the history and functions of the agency that accumulated the records. The records themselves are described series by series, that is, by units of records of the same form or that deal with the same subject or activity or that are arranged serially. Other significant information about the records may sometimes be given in appendixes.
Several finding aids that give an overall picture of materials in the National Archives have been published. A comprehensive Guide to the Records in the National Archives (1948) and a brief guide, Your Government's Records in the National Archives (revised 1950), have been issued. A guide devoted to one geographical area-Guide to Materials on Latin America in the National Archives (1961)-has been published. Forty-four Reference Information Papers, which analyze records in the National Archives on such subjects as transportation, small business, and the Middle East, have so far been issued. Records of the Civil War have been described in Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War (1962) and Civil War Maps in the National Archives (1964), those of World War I in Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-21 (1943), and those of World War II in the two-volume guide, Federal Records of World War II (1950-51). Genealogical records have been listed in Guide to Genealogical Records in the National Archives (1964). Many bodies of records of high research value have been edited by the National Archives and reproduced on microfilm as a form of publication. Positive prints of this microfilm, many of which are described in the List of National Archives Microfilm Publications (1965), are available for purchase.
ROBERT H. BAHMER
Last Modified: Tues, Sep 24 2002 08:47:54 am EDT