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US Government Information in the Study of History

describes historically significant documents in the Library's collection, and important web sources for history


The National Archives & Records Administration (NARA, or is the major archives website for government information—interpreted broadly so as to include material such as military and older Census records.

Here are the major sections of the website of interested to researchers:

And here are some specific sites of interest for browsing and just for fun:

Other Sites:

In the Library


NOTE that the Library ceased receiving new tangible government documents in Spring, 2016, and withdrew large numbers of tangible documents during the previous year.

NOTE: some of the following reference guides were published some time ago. They are still valuable resources for older collections of archives but be aware that they will not refer to newer material or to newer methods of access.

References from the National Archives (NARA)

NOTE: NARA publications dated prior to 1986 are classified GS 4.; after that date, AE 2.

  • The Emerging Nation : a documentary history of the foreign relations of the United States under the Articles of Confederation, 1780-1789. AE 1.114/3:N 21. 1996.
  • Guide to the Records of the U.S. Senate at the National Archives. Y 1.1/2:13853. 1989.
  • Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives. Y 1.1/2:13886. 1989. Describe committee and general records, divided into pre- and post-1968 archives. Useful addition material includes: an introductory chapter on research methodology, a glossary of terms, bibliography and detailed index.

The Library has other publications from the National Archives of interest to researchers, especially items in these series:

  • General Information Leaflets AE 1.113: . Pamphlets with general information on the Archives and their collections. For example, "Visitor's Guide: The National Archives Experience" AE 1.113:18/2010.
  • Reference Information Papers (AE 1.124:). More substantial research guides dealing with particular collections or subjects, such as "Records Relating to Personal Participation in World War II" AE 2.124:80,82.

Other Archives

Both of these substantial volumes identify repositories of papers, oral history tapes and tape transcripts:

Guide to the Research Collections of Former U.S. Senators, 1789-1995. Y 1.1/2:14218.
Guide to the Research Collections of Former Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-1987.  Y 1.1/2:13874.