United States Civil Service Commission

Alternative names

Hide Profile

The United States Civil Service Commission was established by the Civil Service Act of 1883. The Commission replaced the “spoils system” and democratized the process of hiring for federal jobs; first, because it required that these positions be filled through competitive examinations which were open to all citizens; second, because it required selection of the best-qualified applicants without regard to political considerations.

During World War II, the need for federal employees resulted in an increase in hiring. The number of employees which was about 800,000 strong in 1938, increased to almost 4,000,000 by 1945. However, many of the war-time positions were temporary. During the period after the war, the number of federal employees was reduced, with war-service and temporary appointees being displaced.

The Classification Act of 1949 contained many important features which had long been recommended by the Commission. Among other provisions, it established new and simplified schedules of grades and salaries; provided for three new grade levels at the top of the classification structure; and delegated to each agency the authority to classify its own positions, below the three highest grades. The new Classification Act provided for bringing about 20,000 additional positions under its provisions, and covered about 885,000 positions in the departmental and field services of the Government.

When the Korean emergency began, the federal service was again faced with urgent recruiting needs. To meet this need, the Commission instructed its operating offices to establish boards of examiners to the maximum practical extent. Boards of examiners demonstrated, during the emergency, that they could do a huge competitive recruiting job with speed and effectiveness.

In 1951, the Commission invited agencies to establish boards of examiners in their headquarters offices to give them a greater opportunity to participate in the selection of their own personnel and to get improved and faster recruiting services. After the armistice in Korea, there was a very substantial decrease in the size of the federal workforce. However, the board of examiners program continued to play a large and vital role in the operations of the competitive civil service system.

In 1978 the Civil Service Commission was reorganized and renamed the Office of Personnel Management.

From the guide to the United States Civil Service Commission Announcements and Other Papers, 1949-1950, (Special Collections Research Center)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Civil Service Reform Association (New York, N.Y.). Civil Service Reform Association records, 1880-1947. Cornell University Library
referencedIn White, Leonard Dupee, 1891-1958. Leonard D. White papers 1913-2002 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Ellsworth, Harris, 1899-1986. Mathew "Harris" Ellsworth papers, 1936-1956. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Civil Service Reform Association files, 1881-1896 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections.Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. Public Policy Papers.
referencedIn Alan K. Campbell Papers, 1967-1998 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Blackburn, Katherine C. Papers, 1913-1946. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Theodore Roosevelt Papers, 1759-1993, (bulk 1878-1919) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn John Robert Procter Papers, 1867-1903 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Samuel H. Ordway papers, 1913-1972 University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. Abstract of provisions of the Civil Service law and rules : with decisions affecting the Coast and Geodetic Survey. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
referencedIn Jones, Roger W. (Roger Warren), 1908-. Reminiscences of Roger Warren Jones : oral history, 1967. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1971-1978 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Frank Kameny Papers, 1843-2006, (bulk 1957-1996) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Lawton, Frederick J. (Frederick Joseph), 1900-1975. Papers, 1943-1963. Harry S Truman Library
referencedIn Papers of Betty Friedan, 1933-1985 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Douds, Charles T., 1898-1982. Charles T. Douds papers, 1942-1946. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Garfield, James Rudolph, 1865-1950. James Rudolph Garfield papers, 1879-1950 (bulk 1890-1932). Library of Congress
referencedIn Kellock, Katharine Amend, b. 1892. Katharine Amend Kellock papers, 1924-1969. Library of Congress
referencedIn McReynolds, William H., 1880-1951. Papers, 1939-1946. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. Letterbooks of Theodore Roosevelt, 1889-1895. Library of Congress
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1963-1964. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Aronson, Albert H. Oral history interview with Albert Henry Aronson, 1965. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Ximenes, Vicente 1919-. Oral history interview with Vicente Ximenes, 2004 [videorecording]. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. Papers, 1837-1908. Winterthur Library
referencedIn Earl Browder Papers, 1879-1990 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Papers, 1898, 1909-1963 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Oral history interviews, 1974-1977 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn United States. Dept. of the Treasury. General Records of the Office of the Secretary. National Archives Library, National Archives Records Administration
referencedIn Black, John Charles, 1839-1915. Papers, 1830-1928. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
referencedIn Horace Mann Bond Papers, 1830-1979, 1926-1972 Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries
referencedIn Historical Records Survey. Kentucky. Survey of federal archives project material, 1936-1941. Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, Kentucky State Archives
referencedIn Gardener, Helen H. (Helen Hamilton), 1853-1925. Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1913-1941 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Niles, Mary Cushing Howard. Niles Family Papers, 1899-1992. Swarthmore College, FRIENDS HIST LIBR
referencedIn Howard, Dowell J. (Dowell Jennings), 1897-1957. Papers of Dowell Jennings Howard, 1913-1957. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Papers, 1918-1993 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Merrill, Adelbert Howard, 1897-1976. Papers, 1872-1972 (bulk 1931-1942). Raymond H. Fogler Library
referencedIn Women's Action Organization. Oral history interviews, 1974-1977 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Papers, 1941-1995 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn White, Sue Shelton, 1887-1943. Papers, 1898-1963 (inclusive), 1909-1963 (bulk). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Katharine Amend Kellock Papers, 1924-1969 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Baruch, Ismar. Ismar Baruch, Compiler. U.S. Employment Service and U.S. Civil Service. Miscellaneous Bound documents, 1836, 1909-1953. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Hembree, Joel F. (Joel Franklin). Some missing links with regard to domestic and foreign quotations of cotton prices and their use / Joel F. Hembree. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Papers, 1840-1961. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Frederick L. Wellman Papers, 1915 - 1981 Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. Institutional file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Kilgore, Harley Martin, 1893-1956. Papers, 1941-1956. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. Papers, 1837-1908. Winterthur Library
referencedIn Civil Service Reform Association (New York, N.Y.). Civil Service Reform Association files, 1881-1896. Princeton University Library
referencedIn James Rudolph Garfield Papers, 1879-1950, (bulk 1890-1932) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Lawton, Esther C. (Esther Christian), 1910-1998. Esther C. Lawton papers, 1935-1996 (bulk 1971-1978). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Boulder Daily Camera. Civil service (Colo.) printed materials 1950-1962. Boulder Public Library
referencedIn Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965. Papers, ca.1895-1965. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Ordway, Samuel H. (Samuel Hanson), 1900-1971. Samuel H. Ordway papers, 1913-1972. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
referencedIn Rosen, Bernard, 1920-. Our Life Together and in Public Service 1942-2005. American University, American University Library; Bender Library
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. President's letter of transmittal to Congress, [1889]. Rosenbach Museum & Library
referencedIn A. W. Greely Papers, 1753-1997, (bulk 1880-1935) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Greely, A. W. (Adolphus Washington), 1844-1935. A.W. Greely papers, 1753-1959 (bulk 1880-1935). Library of Congress
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission. Lawton post office records, 1901-1984. Museum of the Great Plains
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIh, 1892-1896 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Moffett, Guy, 1882-1963. Papers of Guy Moffett, 1920-1963. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Papers, 1923-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Kameny, Frank, 1925-2011. Frank Kameny papers, 1843-2006 (bulk 1957-1996). Library of Congress
creatorOf United States Civil Service Commission Announcements and Other Papers, 1949-1950 Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Alabama. Dept. of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor (1939-1943). Administrative files, 1939-1942. Alabama Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Brassor, Francis P., 1899-1978. Papers, 1940-1978. Harry S Truman Library
referencedIn Palmer, Alison. Papers, 1971-1978 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919. Theodore Roosevelt papers, 1759-1993 (bulk 1878-1919). Library of Congress
referencedIn Hampton, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1922-. Reminiscences of Robert Edward Hampton : oral history, 1967. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Walton, George E. Report of rating in rural carrier examination, 1907, 1910. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Kuder, George Frederic, 1903-. Reminiscences of George Frederic Kuder: oral history, 1984. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Lyons, Eugene J., 1904-. Reminiscences of Eugene J. Lyons : oral history, 1976. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alabama. Dept. of Industrial Relations. Division of Labor (1939-1943). corporateBody
associatedWith Alison Palmer person
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Aronson, Albert H. person
associatedWith Betty Friedan person
associatedWith Blackburn, Katherine C. person
associatedWith Black, John Charles, 1839-1915. person
associatedWith Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972 person
associatedWith Boulder Daily Camera. corporateBody
associatedWith Brassor, Francis P., 1899-1978. person
associatedWith Browder, Earl, 1891-1973 person
associatedWith Campbell, Alan K., Archives. person
associatedWith Catherine East, 1916-1996 person
associatedWith Civil Service Reform Association (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908. person
associatedWith Douds, Charles T., 1898-1982. person
associatedWith Ellsworth, Harris, 1899-1986. person
associatedWith Gardener, Helen H. (Helen Hamilton), 1853-1925. person
associatedWith Garfield, James A. (James Abram), 1831-1881 person
associatedWith Garfield, James Rudolph, 1865-1950. person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Greely, A. W. (Adolphus Washington), 1844-1935. person
associatedWith Hampton, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1922- person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Hembree, Joel F. (Joel Franklin) person
associatedWith Historical Records Survey. Kentucky. corporateBody
associatedWith Howard, Dowell J. (Dowell Jennings), 1897-1957. person
associatedWith Jones, Roger W. (Roger Warren), 1908- person
correspondedWith Kameny, Frank, 1925-2011. person
associatedWith Kellock, Katharine Amend, b. 1892. person
associatedWith Kilgore, Harley Martin, 1893-1956. person
associatedWith Kuder, George Frederic, 1903- person
associatedWith Lawton, Esther C. (Esther Christian), 1910-1998. person
associatedWith Lawton, Frederick J. (Frederick Joseph), 1900-1975. person
associatedWith Lyons, Eugene J., 1904- person
associatedWith McReynolds, William H., 1880-1951. person
associatedWith Merrill, Adelbert Howard, 1897-1976. person
associatedWith Moffett, Guy, 1882-1963. person
associatedWith Ordway, Samuel H. (Samuel Hanson), 1900-1971. person
associatedWith Palmer, Alison. person
associatedWith Paul A. Freund person
associatedWith Perkins, Frances, 1880-1965. person
associatedWith Procter, John Robert, 1844-1903 person
correspondedWith Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 person
associatedWith Rosen, Bernard, 1920- person
associatedWith SUE SHELTON WHITE, 1887-1943 person
correspondedWith Sutherland, Arthur E., 1902-1973 person
associatedWith United States. Congress. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of the Treasury. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. President (1885-1889 : Cleveland) corporateBody
associatedWith Wales, Salem Howe, 1825-1902. person
associatedWith Walton, George E. person
associatedWith Wellman, Frederick Lovejoy, 1897- person
associatedWith White, Leonard Dupee, 1891-1958. person
associatedWith White, Sue Shelton, 1887-1943. person
associatedWith Women's Action Organization. corporateBody
associatedWith Ximenes, Vicente 1919- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Job Description
Civil service--Personnel management
Government publications--United States
Civil service
United States--Officials and employees--Job descriptions
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1901

Active 1984

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6wd7pm1

Ark ID: w6wd7pm1

SNAC ID: 65569859