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the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 1932-1964
Record Group 234
National Archives & Records Service
The General Services Administration, 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 more than 1 million cubic feet, date from the days of the First Continental Congress and consist of the basic records of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of our Government. The Presidential libraries of Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson contain the papers of those Presidents and many of their associates in office. While many of the archival holdings document events of great moment in our Nation's history, most of them are preserved because of their continuing practical use in the ordinary processes of government, for the protection of private rights, and for the research use of scholars and students.
To facilitate the use of the records and to describe their nature and content, 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.
ARTHUR F. SAMPSON Administrator of General Services
The first step in the records description program of the National Archives and Records Service is the compilation of preliminary inventories of material in the more than 400 record groups to which the holdings of the Office of the National Archives are allocated. These inventories are called “preliminary” because they are provisional in character. Compiled primarily for internal use, they are intended both as finding aids to help the staff render more 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 created and accumulated the records. The records themselves are described series by series; that is, by groups of file units of the same type or form, or that deal with the same subject or activity, or that are arranged serially. These series, in turn, are generally listed under subgroup headings that indicate their immediate office of origin within an agency, or, on occasion, the functions to which they relate. Other significant information about the records may sometimes be given in appendixes.
Another series of finding aids, inventories, have essentially the same content as preliminary inventories but are issued only after the records have been analyzed to ensure their completeness, to eliminate disposable materials, and to perfect the arrangement and description of those retained.
In addition to inventories and other finding aids that relate to particular record groups, the National Archives issues publications that give an overall picture of materials in its custody. A new, comprehensive Guide to the National Archives of the United States will be issued. A guide devoted to one geographical area-Guide to Materials on Latin America in the National Archives (1961)-has been published. Reference information papers analyze records in the National Archives on such subjects as transportation, small business, and the Middle East. Records of the Civil War have been described in Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War (1962), Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America (1968), and Civil War Maps in the National Archives (1964); those of World War I in Handbook of Federal World War Agencies and Their Records, 1917-1921 (1943); and those of World War II in the two-volume guide Federal Records of World War II (1950-51). Records of genealogical interest and value have been listed in Guide to Genealogical Records in the National Archives (1964), and a major segment of our motion picture holdings is described in the Guide to the Ford Film Collection in the National Archives (1970). The extensive body of maps and charts is described in the Guide to Cartographic Records in the National Archives (1971).