Established by an Act of Congress in 1879 and charged with responsibility for "classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain," the U. S. Department of the Interior's Geological Survey has been the Nation's principal source of information about its physical resources the configuration and character of the land surface, the composition and structure of the underlying rocks, and the quality, extent, and distribution of water and mineral resources. Although primarily a research and fact-finding agency, it has responsibility also for the classification of Federal mineral lands and waterpower sites, and since 1926 it has been responsible for the supervision of oil and mining operations authorized under leases on Federal land. From the outset, the Survey has been concerned with critical land and resource problems. Often referred to as the Mother of Bureaus, many of its activities led to the formation of new organizations where a management or developmental function evolved. These included the Reclamation Service (1902), the Bureau of Mines (1910), the Federal Power Commission (1920), and the Grazing Service (1934, since combined with other functions as the Bureau of Land Management). Mrs. Rabbitt's summary of the Survey's history in the following pages brings out well the development of these diverse activities and the Survey's past contributions to national needs related to land and resources.