5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 10, 2020 9:42 AM by Legislative Archives

    Final Disposition of 1899 census of Porto Rico population schedules

    Lidio Rivera Newbie

      I am attempting to determine the final disposition of the population schedules of the 1899 census of Porto Rico (Puerto Rico). Latest reference I have been able to locate is to a 1912 letter from the Secretary of Commerce to the House of representatives dated January 15, 1912 (62nd Congress, 2nd Session, Document No.460) recommending that the schedules be disposed. I'd like to know if hey were ever actually destroyed or if they might still be laying around in some dusty boxes in a basement somewhere.

      Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

       

      Thanks.

          • Re: Final Disposition of 1899 census of Porto Rico population schedules
            Lidio Rivera Newbie

            Hi Alice,

             

            Thank you for taking the time to respond to my query. I have copies of the 2 English versions of the report as well as it's translation into Spanish. While they contain valuable statistical information they do not include any of the actual census schedules which is what I'm looking for. I suspect they most likely no longer exist but since I have been unable to find a definitive answer as to their actual destruction I'm hoping against hope that those  65,000 schedules are sitting somewhere in a musty warehouse collecting dust and waiting to be discovered.

            Did find your 3rd link an interesting read.

             

            Thanks again, much appreciated.

             

            Best regards,

             

            Lidio

          • Re: Final Disposition of 1899 census of Porto Rico population schedules
            Legislative Archives Adventurer

            Hi Lidio -- thanks for posting to History Hub!

             

            While the House Committee on the Disposition of Useless Executive Papers could approve of disposal, there wouldn't have been any follow-up by the legislative branch as to whether or not the records were actually disposed of.

             

            The publication Measuring America, published by the Census Bureau in 2002, has a section on the availability of population schedules (starting on page 110) -- it indicates that in Puerto Rico a "census was taken, but no manuscript copies are known to exist."

             

            I'd recommend connecting with an archivist familiar with the records of the Bureau of the Census (Record Group 29) to see if there's information on the final disposition. You can send an email to archives1reference@nara.gov.

             

            Cheers!

            Sarah

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              • Re: Final Disposition of 1899 census of Porto Rico population schedules
                Lidio Rivera Newbie

                Hi Sarah,

                         

                Thank you for taking the time to respond to my query.

                 

                While I agree that the Committee on the Disposition of Useless Executive Papers would have had no role in the actual disposition of the schedules I am still interested in pursuing any committee actions after the January 1912 date as in my research on this subject I have read where the committee took similar actions in the past on this very same issue. This tells me that the no action had been taken to destroy the schedules though previously approved by the committee. As I alluded to in a previous comment I am still hoping beyond hope to either ascertain when, and perhaps where and how, the schedules were actual destroyed or to perhaps, though highly unlikely, that they are still sitting somewhere waiting to be rescued.

                 

                Thanks for the link to Measuring America, looks like a great reference source for future research.

                 

                And I will certainly be following up on your great suggestion on reaching out to the archives 1 reference section. Great idea and much appreciated!

                 

                Thank you again for responding to my initial query, much appreciated.

                 

                Best regards,

                 

                Lidio

                  • Re: Final Disposition of 1899 census of Porto Rico population schedules
                    Legislative Archives Adventurer

                    Hi Lidio --

                     

                    It doesn't look like we have many records from the Committee on the Disposition of Executive Papers -- and from what I can tell, these records range from the 74th to 90th Congresses.

                     

                    National Archives facilities are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have access to original, unpublished records during this time. When the building reopens and it is safe for staff to return to work I can take a look at these boxes. Alternatively, when the building re-opens to the public, you are welcome to visit and view these records in our research room in Washington, D.C.

                     

                    The best way to search for additional reports issued by the committee is via ProQuest Congressional, a subscription database with the full text of the Serial Set. You can check for access to ProQuest through local academic or law libraries.

                     

                    To arrange a research visit, please email us at legislative.archives@nara.gov.

                     

                    Cheers!

                    Sarah