William C. Redfield to Thomas Wallace Swann




Redfield doesn't believe an "Auxiliary Federal Census Bureau" is needed in order to complete a survey of African American labor.


National Archives and Records Administration 570/1/12/2 box #96 file #6700142


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library





Your letter of December 22, with statement attached submitting a proposition for the organization of an Auxiliary Federal Census Bureau, has been referred by the President to this Department for reply.

The purpose of the new bureau is defined to be that "of making a complete and general Survey which will clearly illustrate the bearing of Negro labor and its scientific relation to the general economic, industrial, and sociolgical progress of the United States." In this connection I will call your attention to the fact that the Bureau of the Census in this Department is about to publish a comprehensive report on "Negroes in the United States," which will bring together in one volume all the data relating to the Negroes contained in the various census reports and also a considerable amount of data not previously tabulated or published, bearing upon economic, educational, and social conditions among the Negroes.

I do not mean to imply, however, that this publication covers exactly the same ground as the investigation which you have in mind, but if any new investigation is necessary and justifiable it seems to me that the existing machinery of the Federal government ought to be sufficient for the purpose and that in the interests of economy and efficiency, it should be assigned to some one of the governmental bureaus already organized for the conduct of statistical inquiries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, would seem to be especially fitted and equipped for conducting any investigation that may be called for or authorized regarding Negro labor. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the organization of the new bureau such as that proposed is, at the present time and under existing conditions, unnecessary and inadvisable.

Very truly yours,

William C. Redfireld

Mr. Thomas Wallace Swann,
Dietz Building,
Washington, D. C.

Original Format





Redfield, William Cox, 1858-1932, “William C. Redfield to Thomas Wallace Swann,” 1917 January 4, CB122916A, Race and Segregation Collection, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.