J. Establishment of Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings
Using some preliminary data that Schneider gathered before his European trip, Interior and Park Service officials began discussions leading toward the organization of a separate branch of historic sites and buildings as early as the summer of 1934. The purpose of the branch was to direct the comprehensive planning and development needs posed by the expanding Service historical program as a result of the reorganization of 1933. Accordingly, the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings of the Washington office was authorized by the Department of the Interior appropriation act for fiscal year 1936. The memorandum announcing the formation of the new branch, which began functioning nearly two months before passage of the Historic Sites Act on July 1, 1935, described the responsibilities of the organization
Dr. Chatelain was designated as acting assistant director of the branch. 
Because the Civil Service provisions for personnel in the new branch included only three additional employees, it was necessary to supplement the staff with ECW personnel. At the same time steps were taken to initiate civil service examinations for historian and archeology positions for the purpose of establishing a more permanent staff. 
After the regionalization plan for the National Park Service was adopted in 1936, changes were made in the duties and responsibilities of the branch vis-a-vis those of the historians in the regional offices and at the park level. On July 30 Chatelain issued a memorandum outlining the functions of the Washington office of the branch:
After some five years as head of the historical program of the National Park Service, Chatelain resigned from his position as acting assistant director of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings effective September 15, 1936, to take employment with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Branch Spalding, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park, was designated to serve as the acting assistant director on that date until further notice. 
A complete statement on the organization and functions of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings was prepared on August 27, 1937. The statement noted:
As the coordinator of all the branches in the general administration of historical areas, it was the duty of the assistant director "to advise with the Branch of Land Acquisition and Regulation in approving historic lands for acquisition, determining methods of regulation, drafting legislation for establishment and protection of historical areas." He was to consult "with the Branches of Engineering and Plans and Design on problems of location and type of roads and trails, buildings, public use areas, and other physical developments in historical areas" and to confer "with the Branch of Operations regarding budget and personnel matters affecting historical areas." Master plans and individual project plans were subject to his review and approval.
The assistant director was directly responsible to the director for the administration and implementation of an interpretive and museum program in the historical areas. He was responsible for the relationship of the National Park Service to learned societies, educational institutions, and civic and other organizations devoted to history and archeology. It was his duty to see that the Park Service initiated and put into effect a national policy of historic preservation, including the Historic Sites Survey, under the guidelines set forth in the Historic Sites Act.
The Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings consisted of two divisions--the Research and Survey and the Coordinating divisions. The Deputy Assistant Director in charge of the Research and Survey Division had direct responsibility for conducting the Historic Sites Survey and the research program connected with the survey as well as that required to administer the historical and archeological areas in the National Park System. It was his duty to provide for the coordinated historical and archeological research program of the Park Service, both in Washington and the field, to supervise the formulation of basic historical plans for each area in the National Park System, and to produce research products geared toward the Servicewide interpretive and educational programs. The Research and Survey Division collected and analyzed data and acted as a clearing house of information in the specialized spheres of historical and archeological activity, thus providing aid in the solution of administrative and technical problems in the field.
The division was composed of three sections, each supervised by a section chief: historical research, archeological research, and Historic Sites Survey.
The Historical Research Section organized the Park Service research program as a whole, interpreted its objectives and methods to the field, and followed the execution of the planned program for each area to insure its sound and adequate basis. The chief of this section was responsible for the development and execution of three principal research activities in Washington and at each historic site in the National Park System: (1) the systematic accumulation of basic historical source material of all types applicable to each area; (2) the preparation and maintenance of proper bibliographies, catalogues, indexes, lists, and guides to these materials; and (3) the interpretation of these materials so as to insure an historically-sound physical development for each park and to obtain an historically accurate interpretation of the area for educational uses. The program of this section was carried forward through historians attached to the individual parks with the aid of a small research staff in Washington.
The chief of the Archeological Section planned and directed, through the field technicians, all archeological study and investigation necessary to the preservation and development for public use of archeological areas in the National Park System. The chief planned and supervised archeological surveys of all national areas containing prehistoric remains to identify and evaluate for preservation all important prehistoric sites and objects within the boundaries of each park. His duties included planning and direction for the systematic accumulation of all archeological reports and other data pertinent to an area and responsibility for the introduction and maintenance of appropriate scientific archeological records. A major task of the field personnel of this section was to translate the scientific conclusions of their studies and that of other archeologists who had worked in an area into sound park development. Among his other responsibilities the chief of this section assembled data on techniques of preservation and the latest scientific methods for transmittal to the field, contributed to the interpretive program for archeological areas, directed the archeological side of the Historic Sites Survey, and coordinated the archeological activities of the Park Service with those of the Smithsonian Institution and other scientific organizations.
The chief of the Historic Sites Survey Section was charged with general responsibility for the conduct of the survey authorized by the Historic Sites Act. He planned and supervised through the survey historians in the regional offices the study and investigation on a nationwide basis of historic sites and structures and organized the material from such studies for the purpose of developing long-term plans for their acquisition, preservation, interpretation, and utilization.
The deputy assistant director in charge of the Coordinating Division was responsible for the educational and general administrative functioning of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings. He formulated and directed the interpretive program for historical and archeological areas in the National Park System and aided the assistant director in the handling of administrative routine such as personnel, fiscal affairs, and correspondence pertaining to interpretation and miscellaneous matters.
The deputy assistant director in charge of the Coordinating Division was assisted by two field coordinators--the chiefs of the General Historical and Civil War sections. As specialists in educational methodology, public relations, and the history embodied in their respective groups of areas, the field coordinators visited each area frequently, advised park superintendents and historians relative to the program of historical interpretation and research, and provided the liaison between the field and the Washington office regarding such matters.
The deputy assistant director in charge of the Coordinating Division was also aided by the ECW coordinator who maintained close touch with all ECW activity in historical areas and represented the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings in its dealings with the Branch of Recreational Planning and State Cooperation. He reviewed all ECW and other emergency projects proposed for historical and archeological areas and attended to their proper clearance within the branch.
The ultimate expression of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings was expressed through the field historical staff. The personnel of that staff performed directly the historical interpretive function and carried out a large portion of the research program. Representing the branch in the office of the park superintendent or the regional office, they advised their supervisors in all matters pertaining to history and archeology, including interpretation and physical planning and development. 
Several months later Director Cammerer issued a memorandum clarifying the attitude of the National Park Service as to the functions of the members of the field historical staff. The memorandum read:
Branch Spalding continued to serve as the acting assistant director of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings until May 16, 1938. On that date Ronald F. Lee entered on duty as the assistant director in charge of the branch (a title that would soon be formally changed to chief, Branch of Historic Sites). 
An administrative reorganization of the Washington office (effective August 1, 1938) provided for certain changes in the organization of the Branch of Historic Sites and Buildings. The name of the branch was shortened to the Branch of Historic Sites and Lee's title as head of the branch was changed to that of Supervisor of Historic Sites. The branch had two divisions: Historic Sites Division, under Francis S. Ronalds, assistant chief; and Archeologic Sites Division, under Dr. Arthur R. Kelly, acting assistant chief (permanent appointment received on October 3, 1938). The Historic Sites Division had two sections under the new office realignment: Research and Survey Section under Alvin P. Stauffer, supervisor; and Planning and Interpretative Section, under Charles W. Porter, supervisor. The functions' statement of the branch as outlined on an organizational chart of the "Branch of Historic Sites," approved on August 1, 1938, was:
In 1939 Herbert E. Kahler, who had been superintendent at Morristown for about a year, traded jobs with Francis Ronalds and became in effect Lee's assistant. Thus, in the final productive years before the outbreak of World War II, Lee became in effect chief historian and Kahler assistant chief historian in the operation of the organization. 
Chapter Five continues with...