New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Executive Office Commissioner's Subject and Correspondence Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of subject and correspondence files of the commissioner. Typical records include briefing documents; reports; meeting files; speeches; interdepartmental memorandums; correspondence between members of the executive office; and correspondence with state and federal agencies, private and public groups, and individual members of the public.
1,318.5 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


13063-95: Arranged by department official and therein chronological and/or alphabetical (by subject).

13063-95A, 13063-09: Arranged by type of record (subject files, speech files, clippings) and therein roughly alphabetical or chronological.

13063-14: Chronological.

Administrative History

Created on July 1, 1970, the New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is the regulatory agency for environmental issues in the State with the mission to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being. DEC is the successor to the Conservation Department, originally established in 1911 as the Conservation Commission, a culmination of smaller Commissions such as the Fisheries, Game and Forest Commission, and later renamed the Conservation Department in 1926. DEC’s primary services include providing permits, licenses, and registrations to businesses, government agencies and individuals for activities that impact the environment; investigating environmental issues; and educating people on how to better protect the environment.

With a central office located in Albany, the DEC is headed by a commissioner, who is assisted by executive managers. The Department has 24 divisions and offices and is further organized into bureaus to fulfill the functions and regulations established by Title 6 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR). Some programs are also governed by federal law.

A native of Schoharie County, Sharon J. Mauhs served as a district attorney of Schoharie County (1926-1933) and assistant state attorney general (1933-1937). After leaving the Republican party, he became Democratic chairman of Schoharie County in 1945 and was elected to the assembly for two terms (1948-1952). Mauhs was appointed commissioner of the New York State Conservation Department by Governor Averell Harriman, after a departmental controversy led former commissioner Louis A. Wehle to resign. Mauhs served as commissioner from 1956-1958. While commissioner, he served as chairman of the Water Power and Control Commission and the Whiteface Mountain Authority, and served on the Water Pollution Control Board and the Delaware River Basin Advisory Committee.

J. Winthrop Aldrich served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner during the terms of several DEC commissioners. Langdon Marsh served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the DEC.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of subject and correspondence files of the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Typical records include correspondence, briefing documents, reports, meeting files, and other records related to carrying out executive level decision and policy making of the commissioner.

13063-95: This accretion consists of the records (correspondence, memorandums, and reports) of special assistant to the commissioner J. Winthrop Aldrich (1976-1992) and executive deputy commissioner Langdon Marsh (1993-1995). There are references on several boxes to "G. Spielmann" who may have been a DEC staff member at some unidentified level.

13063-95A: This accretion represents the papers of Sharon J. Mauhs, who was Commissioner of the New York State Conservation Department from 1956-1958. The papers are in three groups: subject files (ca. 1955-1958), speech files (1938, 1942-1962; bulk 1955-1958), and clippings and printed matter (1907-1964; bulk 1957-1964). The bulk of the material comes from Mauhs' service as Conservation Commissioner.

The bulk of the subject files contain Mauhs' office records as commissioner starting in 1958; included are correspondence, reports, memorandums, newsletters, brochures, press releases, and other material. Files contain some items dating a year or two prior to his service as commissioner. The speeches are manuscripts, typescripts, reprints, and processed copies, along with some related correspondence, memorandums, and notes. At least half of the speeches were given by Mauhs as commissioner; the others appear to be political or civic in nature. The news clippings and unrelated printed materials are in addition to those included in the subject files.

13063-96: The bulk of this accretion consists of interdepartmental memorandums, correspondence between members of the executive office, and correspondence with other state agencies, private and public groups, and individual members of the public. Correspondence concerns such topics as waste recycling, refuse disposal, health issues, protection of natural resources, cleanup of hazardous waste sites, and the regulation of hunting and fishing.

13063-09, 13063-10: These accretions consist of files created by the office of Commissioner Erin M. Crotty, who served from March 2001-February 2005. Commissioner Crotty was appointed by Governor George Pataki, and was the first female commissioner of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation.

13063-14: This accretion consists of the subject and correspondence files of Commissioners Henry Williams, Thomas Jorling, Langdan Marsh, Michael Zagata, and John Cahill dating from 1986-2000. The records include correspondence to the governor, legislators, state and federal agencies and local officials, and to the general public. Additional records include meeting files, memorandums, orders, and decisions. The records cover environmental topics such as education, solid and hazardous material, air pollution, compliance, fish and wildlife protection, and global warming.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this material.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B1882 Deputy Commissioner for Environmental Management correspondence and subject files, contains related records.

Other finding aids

13063-95, 13063-96, 13063-14: Container list is available at the repository.

13063-95A, 13063-09, 13063-10: Folder list is available at the repository.

13063-95A: A comprehensive guide to the records, prepared by staff of the FDR Library, is available at the repository.

Processing Information

Accretion 13063-80A was determined to have records specifically documenting the Conservation Department's (later Department of Environmental Conservation) development and promulgation of rules and regulations. Therefore, the accretion was reaccessioned in 2004 as Series B1837, New York State Conservation Department Rules and Regulations.

Acquistion Information

13063-14: This accretion was transferred under records disposition number 20635, and includes records from transfer lists 880003, 8803A, 8803B, 880022, 890022, 89022A, 900034, 90034A, 910020, 92020A, 91020B, 920017, 930013, 940113, 970035, 980011, 990126, 000126, and 010126.

Access Terms

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