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To the Research Library Staff of The Buffalo History Museum,
Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!
As the National Archives and Records Administration uses the term, Records Groups (RGs) rarely have a specific geographical context. Instead a RG typically consists of the records of a major government entity, usually a bureau or an independent agency. Most RGs also include records of any predecessors of the organization named in the title of the RG. Within each RG will be multiple record series. Some series may be specific to a particular geographic area or arranged geographically. However, many will not be specific to a particular location but may still include information about that location. Also, the activities of an agency in a particular geographic region will often be strongly influenced by policy set at the national level.
Because multiple organizations were involved with various aspects of Prohibition enforcement, several different records groups will have records relating to Prohibition. There are no record series at the National Archives that include information only about the countries you name or that will address all aspects of Prohibition enforcement. However, the following are a list of just a few of the record groups and record series which might contain information relevant to enforcement in the Buffalo area.
Record Group 21: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009
Buffalo fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. The two record series created by this court that are most likely to include information relating to violations of the Volstead Act are Criminal Dockets, 1900 - 1961 (National Archives Identifier 118818095) and Criminal Case Files, 1838 - 1989 ( National Archives Identifier 56020997).
Record Group 60: General Records of the Department of Justice, 1790 - 2002
Class 23 (Liquor Violations) Litigation Case Files and Enclosures, 1910 - 1970 (National Archives Identifier 596535)
Class 54 (Customs Violations) Litigation Case Files, 1915 - 1978 (National Archives Identifier 1160680)
While these records are not specific to the Buffalo area, they are arranged according to the Department of Justice's (DOJ) duplex-numeric classification system, in which the secondary numbers usually represent the "judicial district" where the case began or to which the case may relate. Western New York is designated by the state number 33w or the district number 55.
Record Group 60 also contains Docket of Ship Seizures in Prohibition Cases, 1923 - 1927 (National Archives Identifier 5240713) that might include ships and boats seized while attempting to cross the Great Lakes.
Record Group 58: Records of the Internal Revenue Service, 1791 - 2006
General Records, 1920 - 1934 (National Archives Identifier 6172183)
Policy Documents, 1925 - 12/18/1958 (National Archives Identifier 7450735)
Identification Card Files of Prohibition Agents, 1920 - 1925 (National Archives Identifier 6125748)
Record Group 26: Records of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1785 - 2005
Record Group 10: Records of the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, 1929 - 1931
Multiple series particularly those of the Committee on Prohibition.
It is possible that Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Record Group 85) and Records of the United States Customs Service (Record Group 36) may have records related to border patrol and counter-smuggling operations along the Canadian border during Prohibition, although the information currently available in the National Archives Catalog does not make it easy to identify specific record series that are relevant. Questions about our holdings for these RGs can be directed to National Archives at New York (RE-NY) via firstname.lastname@example.org and National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email@example.com.
We hope this information is helpful.
Thank you so much! We had a hunch that answering these questions was not as easy as our researchers were hoping. I will dig into the links!
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Dear Research Library Staff of The Buffalo History Museum -
The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress holds the records of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice which may have materials relating to prohibition in Buffalo, New York. You can access the finding aid for this collection on our Website here.
This collection has been microfilmed and is eligible for interlibrary loan. The Library of Congress Loan Division can provide further information about our loan program.
Feel free to contact the Manuscript Reading Room for additional assistance.
Manuscript Reading Room
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4680
Thank you so much! We appreciate your time & effort!