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DIVISION OF GEOGRAPHIC NAMES
(GEORGE C. MARTIN, Executive Secretary)
The Division of Geographic Names was in process of organization on July 1, 1934.
The Division was established by the Secretary of the Interior on June 16, 1934, in consequence of Executive Order 6680, April 17, 1934, whereby the United States Geographic Board was abolished and it was further ordered that all of the functions of said Board, together with its chairman, secretary, and clerk-stenographer, records, supplies, equipment, and property of every kind, and unexpended balances of appropriations, be, and they are hereby, transferred to the Department of the Interior to be administered under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior.
From August 1, 1934, following the retirement, on July 31, 1934, of Mr. Frank Bond, who had been chairman of the former board, until an advisory committee was appointed on September 30, 1934, the work of the Division was in charge of Mr. John J. Cameron, who had been secretary of the former board, and who was appointed assistant to the executive officer, Division of Geographic Names, on June 16, 1934.
On September 30, 1934, an advisory committee on geographic names was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, who directed that the advisory committee “ will function relatively in the same capacity as the old United States Geographic Board”; that an executive committee, appointed October 17, 1934, and consisting of three members of the advisory committee, “will be charged with the duty of keeping the machinery running in an efficient manner”; and that “Mr. John J. Cameron will serve as acting executive secretary.”
Under the foregoing arrangement, the work of the Division, in its broader aspects, was directed by the executive committee, while Mr. Cameron was responsible for the administrative routine and investigative activities of the office of the Division. Decisions on geographic names, up to their final approval by the Secretary of the Interior, were made by the executive committee. The advisory committee, as a whole, delegated most of the matters involving decision on individual geographic names to the executive committee, and reserved for its own activity chiefly the broader problems of procedure and nomenclature.
The organization outlined above continued until June 24, 1935, when George C. Martin was appointed as executive secretary of the Division of Geographic Names, and when Mr. Cameron resumed his. former duties as assistant to the executive officer. The advisory committee held three meetings during the year, in
, which there was formulation of organization and general policy, discussion and adoption of general rules and procedure in nomenclature, and approval of special rules concerning the spelling of foreign names, especially of Russian names in Alaska. The use of the possessive form in geographic names was also considered.
The executive committee held 21 meetings during the year at which 214 names were approved. In addition to the names that were automatically rejected by the approval of the above, 15 other new names were rejected as unsuitable for one reason or another, with a request that unobjectionable names be submitted as substitutes. Six of the rejected names were disapproved because they were proposed in honor of living persons. In the case of all new names, evidence was required as to the fact that the persons after whom the features were to be named were no longer living. In addition to the above, there was consideration, without final action, of 58 names, some of which were approved in subsequent meetings.
There was submitted for publication at the close of the fiscal year the manuscript of a report containing all decisions rendered between July 1, 1934, and June 30, 1935, and entitled “Decisions of the Advisory Committee on Geographic Names, No. 1." This report includes the 214 decisions noted above and also 53 decisions that were rendered but not published by the former board, and that were reaffirmed by the advisory committee, making 267 names in all that were approved.
The successful accomplishment of the work of the Division of Geographic Names is dependent on close and cordial cooperation with all the map-making and map-using departments of the Federal Government, with the State geographic boards and with other State and municipal officers and organizations, and with a large number of private investigators of local geography, local history, and other subjects that concern geographic names. Cordial cooperation has been maintained with all of these sources of help, and is gratefully acknowledged.
DIVISION OF TERRITORIES AND
(ERNEST GRUENING, Director)
The Division of Territories and Island Possessions was created by Executive Order No. 6726, issued by the President on May 29, 1934, and effective 60 days thereafter. This order provided for the transfer of all functions pertaining to Puerto Rico previously vested in the Bureau of Insular Affairs, War Department, to the Division of Territories and Island Possessions to be administered under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. In accordance with the intention of the order to centralize and coordinate territorial affairs, the activities pertaining to Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands, already under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, were transferred to the new Division. These activities included not only the general supervision of the respective governors' offices, but also The Alaska Railroad, The Alaska Road Commission, Alaska reindeer, Alaska insane, the Virgin Islands Co., the Government-owned Bluebeard Castle Hotel at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico Hurricane Loan Relief Section, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission.
During the year the Division functioned effectively in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in establishing a farming community at Palmer, Alaska. This is generally referred to as the Matanuska Valley colonization project. Two hundred families on relief rolls, including approximately 1,000 people, were selected from the States of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and colonized in Alaska.
A fire in the early fall of 1934 practically wiped out the city of Nome, Alaska. Through the efforts of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration made $50,000 available for emergency-relief purposes; funds and the services of the American Red Cross were also promptly secured; and a representative of the Public Works Administration was sent from Washington by airplane to Nome, Alaska, to work out a reconstruction program for the stricken city.
An interdepartmental committee on Alaska under the chairmanship of the director of the Division of Territories and Island Possessions was created by the President to work out a plan for the coordination of Federal activities in the Territory. This committee held several meetings dealing with the colonization project, road building, air-field construction, geological service, fisheries, etc., and it is believed that a constructive long-range program for colonization and development of Alaska's vast natural resources will result.
The Division has been active in supervising the administration of the Government of the Virgin Islands and in formulating a program for the economic and social rehabilitation of the people living in the islands. This program, which was well under way, embraces subsistence homesteads, restoration of the sugar and rum industries to the position of importance which they occupied in previous years; establishment of a number of small industries; road building, etc. The Government-owned Bluebeard Castle Hotel was completed during the year and opened to the public on January 1, 1935. The first 6 months of its operation were encouraging, and a comprehensive program for tourist development is planned for the future.
The economic and social problems of Puerto Rico are extremely formidable. The island is overpopulated and the masses of the people are prostrated. The Division is giving close attention to the situation, and it is believed that a long-range program, financed by the Federal Government, for the economic and social rehabilitation of the people is the only practical solution. Such a program is being formulated and it is hoped that it will be made effective in the near future.
Hawaii is a well-organized and comparatively prosperous Territory, and while it has many problems, the local government is functioning very effectively in their solution. During the year the Division's activities in relation to Hawaii have been generally routine in character.
THE ADVISER ON NEGRO AFFAIRS
(ROBERT C. WEAVER, Adviser) The activities of the office of the Adviser on Negro Affairs may be divided into two groups: Those matters which concern the Department of the Interior and the Public Works Administration; and those things which are outside the direct province of the Department of the Interior and the Public Works Administration.
Prior to the transfer of the Division of Subsistence Homesteads to the Rural Resettlement Administration, this office concerned itself with the participation of Negroes in the plans of the Subsistence Homesteads Division. Much time was spent by this office in keeping itself apprized of developments and directing to the attention of the Secretary the inactivity of the Subsistence Homesteads Division as it affected Negroes.
This office has called to the attention of the Administration of Public Works the discrimination against Negro labor which has occurred in the Public Works Administration. It has attempted to devise plans for the prevention of such discrimination and has succeeded in preparing a formula of prima facie evidence which has been accepted by the Administrator of Public Works.
The Adviser on Negro Affairs has consulted constantly with the Housing Division in the planning of housing projects in Negro slum areas. He has supplied the Housing Division with pertinent data from Census reports for the Negro population in some 30 cities, and has offered any other information which he has deemed useful. He also has made some suggestions as to policy insofar as it affected Negro participation in the program of the Housing Division.
The Adviser on Negro Affairs and his assistant have visited proposed sites for housing developments, have negotiated agreements for the employment of Negro workers on the projects, and have nurtured favorable opinion among colored people toward proposed housing developments. In order to facilitate the latter, this office not only has explained the program to the local residents, but it also has insisted upon integration of Negroes into the program. This has been accomplished through Negro representation on local sponsoring committees and the employment of colored architects on the projects. 20481-35-3