Heritage Documentation Programs
Heritage Documentation Programs is a division of the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), and Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS). These programs were established for the purpose of documenting historic places in the United States. Records consist of measured drawings, archival photographs, and written reports, and are archived in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
In 1933, NPS established the Historic American Buildings Survey following a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, a young NPS landscape architect. It was founded as a make-work program for architects, draftsmen and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. Guided by field instructions from Washington, D.C., the first HABS recorders were tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America's architectural heritage. By creating an archive of historic architecture, HABS provided a data base of primary source material for the then fledgling historic preservation movement.
Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)
The Historic American Engineering Record program was founded on January 10, 1969, by NPS and the American Society of Civil Engineers. HAER documents historic mechanical and engineering artifacts. Since the advent of HAER, the combined program is typically called "HABS/HAER". Today much of the work of HABS/HAER is done by student teams during the summer, or as part of college-credit classwork.
Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS)
In October 2000, NPS and the American Society of Landscape Architects permanently established a sister program, the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS), for the systematic documentation of historic American landscapes. A predecessor to HALS was the Historic American Landscape and Garden Project (HALGP). Between 1935 and 1940, the project recorded historic Massachusetts gardens. The project was funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), but was administered by HABS, which supervised the collection of records.
Library of Congress
The permanent collection of HABS/HAER/HALS is housed at the Library of Congress. As a branch of the U.S. Federal Government, its created works are in the public domain. Many images, drawings, and documents are available through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, including proposed, demolished, and existing structures; locales, projects, and designs.
HABS photograph: First Bank of the United States, Philadelphia (note HABS border with record numbers)
HABS drawing: James Madison's Montpelier
HAER photo: Control panel, Critical Mass Laboratory, Rocky Flats Plant, Colorado
HABS photograph: Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, Washington, D.C.
HABS photograph: Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling c.1400, Arizona
- Jack E. Boucher, chief HABS photographer
- Jet Lowe, chief HAER photographer
- Eric DeLony, former chief of HAER
- White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, an earlier privately funded effort to document American buildings, many of the contributors to which joined the HABS project.
- "Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey". Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
- "HAER: 30 Years of Recording Our Technological Heritage". IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 25 (1). 1999. JSTOR i40043493.
- "Documenting Complexity: The Historic American Engineering Record and America's Technological History". IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 23 (1). 1997. JSTOR i40043489.