National Archives and Records Administration
Central Plains Region
2312 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131-3011
Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24)
The Bureau of Naval Personnel originated as the Bureau of Navigation, established by an act of July 5, 1862. It is responsible for training and educating officers and enlisted men. The Coast Signal Service was organized within the Bureau in 1897. It cooperated with the Life Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Weather Bureau in maintaining a lookout for the approach of enemy vessels and in checking the movements of American vessels. The Service was discontinued at the close of the Spanish-American War. Among the field establishments administered by the Bureau have been Naval Reserve (formerly Naval Militia) units, including one in St. Louis.
Records of the Naval Reserve unit in St. Louis. The records relate to the history of the unit, including the acquisition and use of USS Huntress, and naval reserve training activities in Missouri. They consist of a bound volume of reports. Non-textual records include photographs.
U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26)
The U.S. Coast Guard was established in the Department of the Treasury by an act of January 28, 1915, which consolidated that department's Revenue Cutter and Lifesaving Services. The Coast Guard took over the administration of lighthouses in 1939, and in 1942 assumed functions of the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (see RG 41) relating to navigation and inspection laws and to merchant marines. On April 1, 1967, the Coast Guard became a part of the Department of Transportation and assumed responsibility for functions transferred to it from the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) pertaining to the admeasurement and documentation of U.S. vessels.
The Second Coast Guard district was established at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1939. It exercises jurisdiction over the portion of the western United States through which the "Western Rivers" flow, including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, western Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Records of Coast Guard cutters and some air stations, light stations, supply depots, and support vessels operating in the Second District, 1969-1978. The records document daily activities and vessel inspections of ships of U.S. registry and include weather observations and watch officers' remarks. The records are logbooks.
Records of the Second Coast Guard District Headquarters, 1959-76. The records include instructions, manuals, and staff directives. Non-textual records include photographs.
Records of the Second District Command, 1921-1978. The records document enrollment and ownership of commercial vessels. They provide detailed descriptions and specifications of commercial vessels, as well as information on their ownership and construction. They consist of vessel documentation case files containing admeasurement forms and certificates, and correspondence. See RG 41 for related records.
Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (Record Group 41)
Navigation laws were passed by the First Congress in 1789 and were enforced by customs officers under the supervision of the Treasury Department. In 1884, a Bureau of Navigation under the control of the Commissioner of Navigation was established within the Treasury Department to administer the navigation laws. In 1903, it was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor along with the Steamboat Inspection Service, which had been established in the Treasury Department in 1852 to formulate rules and regulations for steamboat inspections.
The two bureaus were merged in 1932 to form the Bureau of Navigation and Steamboat Inspection, which was renamed the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation (BMIN) in 1936. In 1942, its functions relating to merchant vessel documentation were transferred to the Bureau of Customs (see RG 36) while those pertaining to merchant vessel inspection, safety of life at sea, and merchant vessel personnel were transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard (see RG 26). The Bureau was abolished in 1946.
Records of supervising and local inspectors (Steamboat Inspection Service) and vessel documentation files (Bureau of Navigation) for the following ports along the Mississippi, Missouri, Red (Minnesota) and Yellowstone Rivers:
- Cairo, Illinois;
- Dubuque, Iowa;
- Duluth, Minnesota;
- Galena, Illinois;
- Kansas City, Missouri;
- Minneapolis, Minnesota;
- Pembina, North Dakota;
- St. Louis, Missouri;
- St. Paul, Minnesota.
The records usually document, for American merchant and fishing vessels, the name; date and place of construction; homeport; dimensions; and measurements. There are bills of sale, certificates of registry, enrollments or licenses, master carpenter certificates, mortgages and maritime liens, oaths that owners and masters took to obtain a vessel license, and records of admeasurement and inspection of vessels. Non-textual records include photographs. See RG 26 for related records.
Naval Districts and Shore Establishments (Record Group 181)
Soon after its establishment in 1798, the Department of the Navy created navy yards and other fleet service shore establishments. A system of naval districts for the United States, its territories, and possessions was not formally established, however, until 1903. This system was supervised by the Bureau of Navigation until 1915 when it became the responsibility of the Chief of Naval Operations. By the end of World War II, the districts exercised almost complete military and administrative control over naval operations within their limits, including naval shipyards, stations, training stations, air installations, and advance bases.
Records of U.S. Naval Air Stations in Olathe, Kansas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Naval Reserve Training Command, Omaha, Nebraska, 9th (Omaha) Naval District. The records document administration and general operations of the districts. Most of the records are station journals, notices and instructions, and aircraft accident and crash reports. Non-textual records include photographs.