It seemed fitting to start the “Anti-Obscurant” series at the beginning….
Record Group 1, Records of the War Labor Policies Board, 1918-19, is about as obscure as one can get. This temporary World War I agency has the distinction of being Record Group 1 because its records were the first records received by the National Archives in the mid-1930s. The records measure a mere 12 cubic feet, and there are only 7 record series.
The Board was established by the Secretary of Labor on 13 May 1918. It was composed of representatives of the Labor, War, Navy, and Agriculture Departments; the War Industries Board; the U.S. Shipping Board; the Emergency Fleet Corporation; the Railroad, Food, and Fuel Administrations; and the Committee on Public Information. It was abolished in March 1919.
The Board formulated uniform policies for war labor administration, and promoted better housing conditions for war workers. After the Armistice, it considered proposals for canceling government contracts and for demobilization, and made studies of domestic and foreign wartime labor conditions and of labor policies relating to immediate postwar conditions in the United States.
After reading through the descriptions of the agency’s record series, it’s fairly clear that the Board’s records would most interest labor historians, World War I historians, and persons researching Chairman Felix Frankfurter, Executive Secretary George L. Bell, business adviser Herbert F. Perkins, economic expert Walton H. Hamilton, and staff member Helen Bary, who created two of the series.
Record Group 1 is clearly not a useful record group for genealogists—unless your ancestor was involved with the Board, in which case you may learn more than you wanted about the Board’s concerns during its 10-month existence.