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About this collection

The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) was established in 1933 as a federal government-sponsored program to refinance home mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure. In 1935 the Federal Home Loan Bank Board prompted HOLC to review the lending practices and levels of security for real-estate investments in 239 cities. Field agents visited cities and interviewed bankers, mortgage lenders and other business owners about lending practices and compiled statistics to generate a socioeconomic outlook of the city, which they assembled into reports called city survey files.  San Antonio was one of the cities surveyed during 1935-1936.

Additionally, these survey files contained “residential security maps” that color-coded the levels of security for real estate investment. These maps contained 4 grade codes: “Type A” indicated newly developed areas that were considered the best locations for mortgage lending; “Type B” neighborhoods were marked as “still desirable;” “Type C” neighborhoods were labeled as “definitely declining;” and “Type D” neighborhoods, marked in red, were labeled “hazardous” for lending. This red color coding often outlined neighborhoods in the older sections of cities, where homeowners and tenants had lower incomes, or in neighborhoods that were made up of ethnic or racial minorities. The denial of mortgages to these Type D neighborhood inhabitants led to an increase in racial segregation and urban decay in many cities across the United States. (Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining#Mortgages)

The two reports and 4 maps in this collection were digitized from originals located in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). UTSA Libraries Special Collections purchased the unrestricted digital copies in 2016. The two reports are typed with some handwritten notes--a transcript has been provided for full text searching. The 4 maps are hand colored appendices to each report--these show the grades of security and racial concentrations in San Antonio. The reports are downloadable PDFs and the maps are downloadable JPG images.

The collection is organized as follows:

HOLC San Antonio City Survey Report 1 (1935)

HOLC San Antonio City Survey Report 2 (1936)

NARA Citation: Record Group 195: Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 1933-1989. Series: City Survey Files: Federal Loan Agency. Federal Home Loan Bank Board. Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. (07/01/1939- 02/24/1942) National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. ARC Identifier 720357 / MLR Number A1 39

Other HOLC maps and reports for US cities can be found linked through a guide from the Ohio State University Libraries and from Urban Oasis.org.

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