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The Department of Commerce.

Origin and Organization of the Department.


The preamble to the Constitution lays down broadly two great aims of government - (1) the defense of the life, liberty, and property of the citizen, and (2) the promotion of his general welfare.

In the year following the adoption of the Constitution, three of the executive branches of Government, with Secretaries, were established First, the Department of Foreign Affairs, by act approved July 27, 1789 (name changed to Department of State by act approved September 15 of the same year); second, the War Department, created by the act of August 7, 1789 (then embracing naval affairs); and third, the Treasury Department, established by act of September 2, 1789. Until the Department of Commerce (and Labor) was organized, in 1903, the Treasury Department was the principal agency of government through which a limited supervision of the commercial and industrial life of the nation was administered, and the designation sought to be given its chief officer in the constitutional convention was that of "Secretary of Commerce and Finance."[1]

The record of events from the close of the Revolution to the constitutional convention at Philadelphia in 1787 shows that the desire to foster the commerce and trade of the States was the paramount and controlling argument which made the Union possible.

The constitutional convention of the thirteen States was the direct outcome of the Annapolis convention of five States, and this convention, in turn, was born of the Mount Vernon convention of delegates from the States of Virginia and Maryland, assembled to adjust and promote commerce and trade between those two States. The commissioners from Virginia and Maryland met at Alexandria, in the former State, in the spring of 1785, but General Washington extended to them the hospitality of his home, which they accepted, and the delegates - all prominent men of their day, and friends of Washington - conducted acted their deliberations at Mount Vernon, aided, no doubt, by the counsel of their host, whose interest in and knowledge of the subject under discussion had long been manifest, and who, two years later, presided at the constitutional convention at Philadelphia. The sole subject of this meeting at the home of Washington was the commerce and trade between the two States; but in reality these men were enacting the prologue to what was to be in fact an indissoluble Union.

The Mount Vernon convention recommended that representatives be appointed annually to confer on the commercial and trade relations of the States. In considering this report, Maryland passed a resolution inviting Pennsylvania and Delaware to join in these annual conventions; while in the Virginia assembly, Madison penned a resolution appointing commissioners to meet such as should be delegated by the other States "to take into consideration the trade of the United States," and "to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and permanent harmony.''[2]

The immediate result of the conference on trade and commerce held at Mount Vernon was that in the following year, 1786, commissioners from five 0f the thirteen States assembled by appointment at Annapolis "to take into consideration the trade and commerce of the United States.'' In this convention, Hamilton drew up an address, which Madison and Randolph signed with him, recommending a general meeting of the States in a future convention, and an extension of the powers of their delegates to other objects than those of commerce, as in the course of their reflections on the subject they had been "induced to think that the power to regulate Trade is of such comprehensive extent and will enter so far into the General System of the Federal Government, that to give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its precise nature and limits, may require a correspondent adjustment of other Parts of the Federal System."[3]

In the constitutional convention, August 20, 1787, Mr. Gouverneur Morris, seconded by Mr. Pinckney, submitted a proposal that there should be a council of state to "assist the President in conducting the public affairs,'' the third member of this council to be a "Secretary of Commerce and Finance,'' whose duties were, in part, to "recommend such things as may in his judgment promote the commercial interests of the United States.'' This plan also provided for a Secretary of Domestic Affairs to have supervision of agriculture, manufactures, roads, and navigation.[4] The Constitution, as adopted, makes no provision for a cabinet or council of state, but President Washington immediately invited the Secretaries of the three departments first mentioned, and the Attorney General, appointed under the act of September 24, 1789, to become members of his official family. The Department 0f Justice was established by the act approved June 22, 1810.

During the period between the close of the Federal convention and the ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton, writing on the subject of commerce, said:

The importance of the Union, in a commercial light, is one of those points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has, in fact, commanded the most general assent of men who have any acquaintance with the subject. This applies as well to our intercourse with foreign countries as with each other.[5]

In 1788, the same year in which the above was written by Hamilton, Commodore John Paul Jones, in a letter to the Marquise de Lafayette concerning the Constitution, stated:

Had I the power I would create at least seven ministries in the primary organization of government under the Constitution. In addition to the four already agreed upon, I would ordain a Ministry of Marine, a Ministry of Home Affairs, and a General Post Office; and, as commerce must be our great reliance, it would not be amiss to create also as the eighth a Ministry of Commerce.[6]

The remarkable foresight of the great commodore enabled him to name the Cabinet very much as it is to-day, practically in the order in which it grew, agriculture being included by him in the Interior (Home) Department, where it actually was for a time. The labor interests, however, are now also provided for in a separate department.

When the Constitution had been ratified by eleven States, and the Congress, under its authority to "regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States," proceeded solemnly to treat the commerce and manufactures of the two remaining States in the same manner as those of any foreign country, it was from a sense of their commercial interests that they hastened to enroll themselves with their sister Commonwealths, although one of these two States had not even participated in the convention.

Thus, not only were the commercial and industrial interests of the States an important and controlling influence in bringing them into the Federal convention, but a realization of the commercial advantages of the Union induced the States to ratify the Constitution.

In his first annual address to Congress, President Washington said:

The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation.

The first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, gave special consideration to the commerce and industries of the country, and his special reports on these subjects, in which he recommended that a board be established for promoting arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, demonstrate that he considered this function of the Treasury Department one of primary importance.

Hastened by impending war with France, the act of April 30, 1798, was passed, establishing the Navy Department, and its Secretary became the fifth member of the Cabinet. In 1829 the Postmaster General entered the Cabinet for the first time, on the invitation of President Jackson, though this office had been in existence since the act of September 22, 1789. The General Post Office was constituted the Post Office Department by the act approved June 8, 1872.

The discussions in the early Congresses looking toward the establishment of another executive department centered around what was termed a "Home Department," and the then important work of government in connection with land and Indian affairs formed the nucleus from which was established, under the act of March 3, 1849, the Department of the Interior, whose Secretary became the seventh Cabinet member. As the business interests of the country entered largely into the provisions of the various measures anticipating the Interior Department, it may be well to notice some of these reports.

In a bill to establish a Home Department, introduced by Representative Vining, of Delaware, in the First Congress, July 23, 1789, the duties of the proposed department were, in part, "to report to the President plans for the protection and improvement of manufactures, agriculture, and commerce." The outcome of this movement was the change in name of Department of Foreign Affairs to Department of State, above noted, and the giving of duties to the State Department not compatible with the original name.

President Madison's message of December 3, 1816, recommended the establishment of "an additional department in the executive branch of the Government"; and the Senate committee to which this recommendation was referred reported a bill to establish a Home Department to have charge of such subjects as the President might direct. In 1825 the subject was again revived, and Representative Newton offered a resolution that a department to be denominated "the Home Department should be established for the purpose of superintending whatever may relate to the interests of agriculture and manufactures, the promotion of the progress of science and the arts, the intercourse and trade between the several States byroads and canals." This resolution was not agreed to.

In his message of December 6, 1825, President John Quincy Adams recommended a reorganization of the executive departments, and the committee of the House of Representatives to which this matter was referred, by its chairman, Daniel Webster, reported a bill to establish a new department. The report stated that "at the organization of the Government it appears to have been the original design, in regard to the executive departments, that there should be a distinct and separate department for such internal or domestic affairs as appertain to the General Government."

On December 25, 1836, the resolution of Mr. Benton, of Missouri, that "the annual statement of the commerce and navigation of the United States be hereafter printed under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury, and be communicated in printed form as soon as possible after the commencing of each stated session of Congress," was adopted by the Senate.

Notwithstanding the discussions leading up to the establishment of the Department of the Interior, very few of the commercial and industrial agencies of Government were put under the control of that department, most of them remaining under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The movement for the creation of an additional executive department, following the establishment of the Interior Department, took many and varied phases. The names proposed in the different bills to establish a new department indicate their provisions. These names included the following titles, grouped together in various ways: Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Industries, Manufactures, Patents, Mining, Navigation, Transportation, and Mechanics.

The first industries of the country to be accorded an executive department by the Congress were those of agriculture, when the Department of Agriculture, established by act of May 15, 1862, was constituted an executive department, with a Secretary of Agriculture (eighth member of the Cabinet), by the act of February 9, 1889. The commercial and manufacturing interests of the country, as far as governmental supervision and cooperation were concerned, were left to offices distributed among the several departments. The business of government increased in volume as the country grew in age, and during the last half of the nineteenth century the work of the fiscal branch of the Treasury so absorbed the attention of the head of that department that his supervision of commercial matters had lost the importance it had enjoyed under the first Secretary of the Treasure.

Commercial conventions at Detroit in 1865, and at Boston in 1868, and the National Board of Trade in 1874, memorialized the congress for the establishment of a Department of Commerce, in order that the rapidly increasing volume of capital invested in commerce and manufactures might be the subject of governmental aid and supervision. Many similar petitions were later presented to the Congress, and the subject was referred to in several political platforms and annual messages of the President. These petitions, and the representatives of commercial organizations before time committees of Congress, stated that the United States was a distinctly commercial and industrial nation; that the Twelfth Census showed the aggregate value of the products of the manufacturing establishments of the United States, during the census year ended June 1, 1900, to exceed thirteen billion dollars, which is probably nearly four times the aggregate value of all the products of agriculture during the same year; that the same arguments advanced for the creation of the Department of Agriculture were applicable to one for the commercial and industrial life of the country; that the manufacturing interests in the United States exceeded in volume and importance the industrial interests of any nation in the world and yet there was no Government office specially charged with any duties relating directly to them, and that in this respect the United States was almost alone among the nations of the world: that agriculture, labor, transportation, mining, fisheries, and forestry all had distinct recognition in one form or another, but not so with the manufacturing interests.

The country's need for a Department of Commerce, which had become national in scope in 1874. was forced to give way temporarily in order that all the energy of the commerce committees of Congress might be centered upon the eradication of the transportation evil of rebates. This resulted in the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887.

The movement for the establishment of the Department gathered headway, however, and in the Fifty-seventh Congress legislation providing for its organization was enacted. The legislative history of the act creating the Department appears in the Congressional Record for that Congress, and, while interesting. is too extended for more than the briefest outline here.

On December 4, 1901, Senator Nelson introduced in the Senate a bill (S. 569) "To establish the Department of Commerce," which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce; On January 9, 1902, the bill was reported with certain amendments (S. Rept. No. 82. 57th Cong., 1st sess.). The discussion on the bill began in the Senate on January 13, was continued on January 16, 20, 22, 23, 27, and 28, and the bill passed the Senate with a number of amendments, including one changing the name to Department of Commerce and Labor,'' on the last-named date.

The act was received in the House and referred to the committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce on January 30, 1902. On January 6, 1903, the committee submitted a report (H. Rept. No. 2970, 57th Cong., 2d sess.) recommending that the bill of the Senate (S. 569) be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and substituting in lieu thereof an entirely new bill. The House bill, however, embraced most of the features contained in the Senate bill, the main contention being as to what bureaus should be embraced in the new Department.

On January 15, 1903, the bill was taken up under a special continuing order to be considered until finally disposed of in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union. On January 17 the debate was concluded in the House and the bill was passed.

The bill was in due course sent to a committee of conference. (For Senate proceedings see Congressional Record of January 19 and 29, and February 10 and 11, 1903, and for House proceedings see Record of January 29 and February 9 and 10, 1903.) The conference report was agreed to in the House on February 10 and in the Senate on February 11, and the bill was signed by the President on February 14, 1903.

Thus the Secretary of Commerce and Labor became the ninth member of the President's Cabinet.

The labor interests first received recognition in the establishment of the Bureau of Labor under the act of Congress approved June 27, 1884: this Bureau was constituted the Department of Labor, and the Commissioner of Labor was continued in charge, by the act of Congress approved June 13, 1888. By the act of February 14, 1903, the Department of Labor was on July 1, 1903, transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor, and made a bureau thereof. By the act of March 4, 1913, the name of the Bureau was changed to "Bureau of Labor Statistics," and by the same act it was transferred to and made a part of the new Department of Labor, the head of which became the tenth member of the President's Cabinet. The act of March 4, 1913, transferred also from the Department of Commerce and Labor to the Department of Labor the Commissioner General of Immigration, the commissioners of immigration, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the Division of Information, the Division of Naturalization, the Immigration Service at Large, and the Children's Bureau. Also the Division of Naturalization was created an independent bureau, and the title of the head thereof was changed from Chief, Division of Naturalization, to "Commissioner of Naturalization." The act of March 4, 1913, also changed the designation of the Department of Commerce and Labor to "Department of Commerce," and the title of the Secretary was changed to "Secretary of Commerce."

It may appear strange that one hundred and fourteen years elapsed before a Department of Commerce became a reality, when its need was felt and its value recognized at the very beginning. The answer is ready. Conservative action on the important subject of increasing the number of executive departments has been the rule of the Congress. The name "Department of Foreign Affairs'' was changed to "Department of State'' in order that the field of that department might be enlarged and the creation of a home department avoided; the naval affairs were consolidated with those of the Army to make unnecessary a separate Department of the Navy. In this grouping in one department of matters that would logically form two, it was but natural that commerce and finance should at first abide together. The tendency of the national legislature to follow and not lead in enlarging the executive side of government compelled the Department of Commerce to wait, as each of the older departments in its turn had waited, until the demand for the legislation became paramount and unanimous, and until the field of its activity was already so large and the appeal so urgent that none but an affirmative answer could be given.


The initial step in the organization of the Department was the appointment, by the President, of George B. Cortelyou as the first Secretary on February 16, 1903; the nomination was confirmed by the Senate on the same day, and the Secretary, after taking the oath of office on February 18, established temporary headquarters at the White House.

The temporary headquarters were later moved to the building known as the Builders' Exchange, at 719-721 Thirteenth Street NW., where, in a large room divided by partitions, the work of organization was begun on March 16, 1903, though a Commissioner of Corporations, Chief Clerk, and Disbursing Clerk had been appointed prior to that date. A few weeks later the Willard Building, which was then under construction at 513-515 Fourteenth Street was rented by the Department, and the Secretary, with as much of his force as was organized, moved in as soon as the building was completed. This building was the headquarters of the Department until September 1, 1913, though such of its bureaus as it had been impracticable to accommodate there were located about the city wherever suitable quarters could be found. The Department now, however, occupies a building which was designed especially for its needs at Nineteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., where it will probably be located until its proposed new building is erected by the Government on the site which has already been acquired south of Pennsylvania Avenue between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets NW, In addition to the offices of the Secretary, the following bureaus of the Department, which are the only ones occupying rented quarters, are housed in the Commerce Building: Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Bureau of Lighthouses, Bureau of Navigation, and the Steamboat Inspection Service. The three remaining bureaus of the Department (the Bureau of Standards, at Pierce Mill Road; the Bureau of Fisheries, at the corner of Sixth and B Streets SW.; and the Coast and Geodetic Survey, at New Jersey Avenue near B Street SE.) occupy government owned buildings.

On the morning of June 17, 1903, under the auspices of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Nation's flag was raised for the first time over the new Department, and its headquarters was formally placed in commission. The entire personnel of the Department assembled at the flagstaff on the roof with a committee of the Grand Army of the Republic to witness the ceremony. Brief addresses were made by Judge I. G. Kimball, department commander, Grand Army of the Republic, and Secretary Cortelyou.

The law creating the Department transferred to it on July 1, 1903, certain departments and bureaus which had theretofore been independent offices or under the older executive departments, and this important date in the life of the new Department was marked by the assembling in the office of the Secretary of its general officers and a number of distinguished guests. The speakers on this occasion were Rev. Franklin Noble; Rev. D. J. Stafford; Secretary Moody, of the Navy Department; S. N. D. North, Director of the Census; and H. B. F. Macfarland, Commissioner of the District of Columbia.

Secretary Cortelyou made an address in which he recounted the work of preliminary organization, and spoke of the great opportunities before the Department in aiding and guiding the commerce and industries of the country and of the principles upon which the Department would administer the laws defining its powers. In closing, he said:

No other department has a wider field, if the just expectations of the framers of the legislation are realized. None will have closer relations with the people or greater opportunities for effective work. While we can not dedicate a new and imposing structure to the uses of the Department, we can at least, and I am sure we all do, dedicate ourselves to the work which Chief Executives have recommended and Congress in its wisdom has set apart to be done. In this spirit I have thought it altogether fitting and proper that we should have these brief exercises, and that in them we should emphasize the fact that if we are to have the highest success as a nation in our commercial and industrial relations, whether among ourselves or with other peoples, we must keep ever to the front and dominant always those sturdy elements of character and the dependence upon Divine guidance which were so signally shown by the founders of the Republic, and to which we can not too often revert in these busy and prosperous times which make memorable for us the opening years of the new century.

The Department of Commerce, as at present constituted, in addition to the offices and divisions in the immediate Office of the Secretary, consists of the Bureau of the Census, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Bureau of Fisheries (to which the administration of laws and regulations governing Alaskan fur-seal and salmon fisheries and fur-bearing animals has been assigned), the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce (which has among its duties the direction of the work of commercial attachés at foreign capitals and of commercial agents at home and abroad, the Bureau of Lighthouses and the Lighthouse Service, the Bureau of Navigation (under which are the Shipping and Radio Services), the Bureau of Standards, and the Steamboat-Inspection Service.

Most of these bureaus and services were transferred to the Department on July 1, 1903, by the act of February 14, 1903, known as the organic act. The Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Bureaus of Lighthouses (formerly the Lighthouse Board), Navigation, and Standards, and the Steamboat Inspection Service were previously under the Treasury Department and the Bureau of the Census was in the Interior Department, while prior to July 1, 1903, the Bureau of Fisheries was an independent office (not assigned to any department). The Alaskan fur-seal fisheries also were formerly in the Treasury Department.

The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce is a consolidation (effected by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation act of August 23, 1912) of the former Bureaus of Manufactures and Statistics, the first of which was created by the act of February 14, 1903, and the second was transferred to the Department by the same act, being a consolidation of the Bureau of Statistics of the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Foreign Commerce of the State Department.

A short history and description of the work of each of these several bureaus appears under its respective heading.

The act approved September 26, 1914, creating a Federal Trade Commission, provides that upon the organization of the commission and the election of its chairman the Bureau of Corporations, which was created by this Department's organic act, shall cease to exist, and that all clerics and employees of this Bureau shall be transferred to and become clerks and employees of the commission.

Duties Assigned to Office of the Secretary.

The duties of the Office of the Secretary of Commerce are largely of a supervisory nature, but embrace also some matters not properly coming directly under one of the several bureaus of the Department. The organization consists of the offices of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Solicitor, and Chief Clerk, the Disbursing Office, the Appointment Division, and the Divisions of Publications and Supplies. Each of these units has assigned to it certain well-defined duties, as indicated under the headings which follow.

Secretary of Commerce.

The organic act of February 14, 1903, creating the Department, as modified by the act of March 4, 1913, creating the Department of Labor, provides for a Secretary of Commerce, whose term of office shall be the same as that of other Cabinet officers. The provisions of Title IV of the Revised Statutes with amendments thereto are made applicable to this Department. The organic act also provides for an Assistant Secretary, a Chief Clerk, and a Disbursing Clerk.

Under its organic act it is the duty of the Department to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce, the mining, manufacturing, shipping, and fishery industries, and the transportation facilities of the United States, and the Secretary of Commerce is charged with the responsibility of carrying out the purpose of the Department as thus broadly outlined. Specifically, however, the powers and duties of the Secretary may be briefly summarized as follows:

The administration of the Lighthouse Service, including the establishment and maintenance of aids to navigation.

The taking of the census.

The making of coast and geodetic surveys.

The collection and publication of statistics on foreign and domestic commerce, and the promotion and development of the foreign and domestic commerce of the United States.

The investigation of the cost of production, including field investigation at home and abroad.

The inspection of steamboats and the enforcement of laws pertaining thereto for the protection of life and property.

The propagation and distribution of useful food fishes and the supervising of Alaskan fur-seal and salmon fisheries.

Jurisdiction over merchant vessels, including their registry, measurement, licensing, entry, clearance, etc., and the enforcement of the act requiring wireless equipment on vessels.

The standardization of weights and measures.

The formulation of regulations (in conjunction with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Agriculture) for the enforcement of the food and drugs act and the insecticide act.

It is the further duty of the Secretary of Commerce to make such special investigations and furnish such information to the President or Congress as may be required by them on the foregoing subject matters and to make annual reports to Congress upon the work of his Department.

By the act of March 2, 1907, the Secretary of Commerce is created a trustee of the Foundation for the Promotion of Industrial Peace.

Assistant Secretary.

The Assistant Secretary performs such duties as are prescribed by the Secretary, and in his absence acts as head of the Department.


The office of the Solicitor of the Department of Commerce was authorized by the legislative act of March 18, 1904. The Solicitor, who is an officer of the Department of Justice, is the chief law officer of the Department. His duties are to act as legal adviser to the Secretary of Commerce and the chiefs of the various bureaus, and to render opinions on questions of law arising in the course of business in the Department. He prepares and examines all contracts and bonds entered into or required by the Department, and has charge of the preparation of all legal papers to which the Department is a party. He also renders such legal service in connection with matters arising in the administrative work as may be required of him by the Secretary or the Attorney General.

The Assistant Solicitor, who acts as Solicitor in the absence of the latter, is charged with the general superintendence of the clerical force of the office. He also has general charge of the preparation and examination of all legal papers of the Department, and performs other legal service in connection with the work of the office.

Chief Clerk and Superintendent.

The Chief Clerk and Superintendent enforces the general regulations of the Department, exercises general supervision ever its employees, and superintends all of the Department's buildings in the District of Columbia. He is charged with the general supervision of all expenditures from the appropriations for contingent expenses and rent; the receipt, distribution, and transmission of the mail; the telegraph and telephones; the library and the stock and shipping section of the Department and of all the property and equipment of the Department. He also discharges all business of a miscellaneous character which does not come specifically within the scope of one of the regular bureaus.

Disbursing Clerk.

The Disbursing Clerk, whose office was created by the act establishing the Department, has general supervision of the financial transactions of the Department. In his office are kept the appropriation ledgers covering all appropriations made for the support of the Department, and all transactions, whether by the Treasury Department or any bureau, or office of the Department, affecting those appropriations are recorded therein.

It is his duty to prepare for submission to the Secretary of the Treasury, to be forwarded to Congress in accordance with law, all estimates covering appropriations desired for the various activities of the Department.

He disburses all appropriations made for the support of the Department with the exception of those for the support of the Coast and Geodetic survey and most of the appropriations for the Lighthouse Service at large, which are disbursed by special disbursing agents appointed for that purpose.

He prepares for the signature of the Secretary all requisitions for advances of funds from appropriations under the control of the Department, and makes the proper entries in the appropriation records of the Department kept in his office.

All claims against the Department received or payment by the Disbursing Clerk are given an examination to determine whether they are legal claims against the Government and are paid either by check or by cash, according to the nature of the account.

The collections by the Department covering amounts for property sold and various other miscellaneous receipts are handled through and accounted for in the office of the Disbursing Clerk.

Appointment Division.

The Appointment Division was organized in February, 1904. The position of Chief of the Division was created by the act making appropriations for the legislative, executive, and judicial expenses of the Government for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1907.

The duties of the Appointment Division involve the supervision of matters relating to appointments, transfers, promotions, reductions, removals, and all other changes in the personnel, including applications for positions and recommendations concerning the same, and the correspondence connected therewith; the preparation and submission to the Secretary of all questions affecting the personnel of the Department in its relations to the civil-service law and rules; the preparation of nominations sent to the Senate and of commissions and appointments of all officers and employees of the Department; the preparation of official bonds, the compilation of statistics in regard to the personnel, including material for the Official Register, and the custody of oaths of office, records pertaining to official bonds, service records of officers and employees, correspondence and reports relating to the personnel, reports of bureau officers respecting the efficiency of employees, and records relating to leaves of absence. The Chief of the Division signs notices of appointments and other changes affecting the personnel of the Department.

Division of Publications.

The preliminary work looking to the organization of the Division of Publications was begun in April, 1903, by the detail of a clerk from the then Bureau of Statistics, one of the bureaus transferred to the new Department by the act of February 14, 1903, though the Division was not formally organized until July 1, 1903. The purpose in creating a division of publications was to have in one central office complete control over the Department's publication work and over all expenditures for the same, in order to secure uniformity and effect economy, The Division is charged with the conduct of the business which the Department transacts with the Government Printing Office and with general supervision over all printing for the Department, including editing and preparing copy, illustrating and binding, and keeping records of expenditures.

It has in charge also the distribution of publications, the maintenance of mailing lists, the advertising done by the Department, and the correspondence which its various duties entail.

Division of Supplies.

The Division of Supplies is charged, under the immediate direction of the Chief Clerk, with the purchase and distribution of all supplies for the use of the Department in Washington, except certain supplies for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the Bureau of Standards. It also purchases and distributes office supplies end equipment for the field services. All accounts under the appropriations for contingent expenses and rent are maintained in this Division. The Chief of the Division of Supplies, by virtue of an order of the Secretary, is Auditor of Property Returns, and a record of all property in the custody of those bureaus and offices of the Department rendering returns to the Secretary is maintained in his office. He is, by virtue of an order of the Secretary, Chairman of the Board of Survey, for the examination and condemnation of unserviceable property and the disposition of same by public auction or otherwise. The record of all sales of property belonging to the Department within the District of Columbia are maintained in his office.

The annual contracts made by the Department for the hauling of ashes and rubbish, the laundering of towels, the shoeing of horses, and the care of clocks are handled in the Division.

[1] - Documentary History of the Constitution.

[2] - Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

[3] - Documentary History of the Constitution.

[4] - Documentary History of the Constitution.

[5] - Federalist.

[6] - Original manuscript in archives of Congressional Library.

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