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Government Information in the Study of History

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

Congressional Documents

Online

This section includes content produced by the Congress.  More information about Congress is included in the US Serial Set described on this page.

Congressional Documents: 1789 - 1873/5
Congressional Documents: 1873 - present
In Hein Online 
Tangible

The Blume Library ceased receiving the Congressional Record (daily) issues in 2007. We ceased receiving the CR (bound) with our last microfiche issue in 2011.image of U.S. Congressional Record in print - decorative Congressional Record and related publications are available in the Library as follows:

  • Congressional Record, 1977- present: in Documents Microfiche Collection (X 1.1:)
  • Congressional Record, 1964-Jan., 1977: hardbound, in Documents Collection (X 1.1:)
  • Congressional Record, 1873-1963: microfilm, in the Reference area of the Library
  • Congressional Globe, 1833-1873: microfilm, in the Reference area of the Library
  • Register of Debates, 1824-1837: microfiche, in the Reference area of the Library
  • Annals of Congress, 1789-1824: microfiche, in the Reference area of the Library

Journals. 

1979- present. These records of the proceedings of the House and Senate are the only publications expressly required of them by the Constitution. They are published at the end of each Congressional Session and give daily summaries of motions, action taken, and roll call votes. They are received in the Library in microfiche and classified "XJ," so they are filed immediately following the Congressional Record. Each volume includes a summary legislative history of all bills introduced in the Session, and an index of subjects and names.

Continental Congress and other early records:

  • Index to the Journals of the Continental Congress. GS 4.2:C 76/2/774-89.
  • Index to the Papers of the Continental Congress. GS 4.2:C 76/3/774-789.
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress. LC 1.34: . Includes all documents written by delegates to Congress bearing directly on their work during 1774-89.

History of Congress

Online
Tangible

Many of these print sources may also be available online via govinfo.gov.

  • Black Americans in Congress, 1870-2007. Y 1.1/2:14904. 
  • Capitol builder: the shorthand journals of Montgomery C. Meigs, 1853-1859, 1861 : a project to commemorate the United States Capitol bicentennial, 1800-2000. Y 1.1/2:14612. Notes by architect Meigs, who oversaw many building projects in Washington during this period, including major additions to the Capitol. 
  • Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-2012. Y 1.1/7:108-225. 
  • Historical Almanac of the U.S. Senate. Y 1.1/2:13947. 1989. Chronology of important events relating to the Senate. Includes many photographs and other illustrations, and an index.
  • History of the United States Capitol: a chronicle of design, construction, and politics. Y 1.1/2:14620. From planning through 20th-century additions and improvements to the Capitol building.
  • History of the United States House of Representatives, 1789-1994. Y 1.1/2:14248.
  • The Senate, 1789-1989: Addresses on the History of the U.S. Senate. Y 1.1/2:13723. By Robert Byrd. A compilation of Byrd's addresses, delivered on the Senate floor from 1981-87. Extensive notes, a short bibliography and a detailed index are included.
  • Women in Congress, 1917-2006. Y 1.1/2:14903. 

US Serial Set

US Serial Set print volumesThe Serial Set contains reports of Congressional Committees on legislation before them, as well as more ceremonial publications, which are called "documents."

The Serial Set is shelved in the position of classification number Y 1.1/2: in the Documents Collection on the 2nd floor. Volumes received prior to 1997 are tan-colored and hardbound, and shelved by the sequential Serial Set Numbers printed in black on their spines.

For more detailed information on the Blume Library's Serial Set holdings, see the Congress, Legislation, etc. guide. 

In Hein Online

Presidency

Online
Presidential Documents
In Hein Online
Presidential History
Tangible
White HouseArrangement of Presidential documents in the Library

Presidential documents are classified PR in the documents stacks, with a number following the PR designating the presidency. For example, publications from Jimmy Carter's presidency are classified PR 39....

Some miscellaneous publications, such as speeches and one-time reports, are classified in PREX 1.2: Over the years, there has seemed to be little logic behind the decision to place a commission's report in PR or PREX. For this reason, browsing the stacks alone should not be substituted for a search of the Library Catalog when looking for Presidential publications. Look at govinfo.gov for online versions.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Some important series of Presidential documents are classified oddly, or are in different locations within the Library:

  • Economic Report of the President. Classified PR xx.9: , where "xx" is the number of the presidency. Note that this means these reports are dispersed throughout the PR section of the stacks. 
  • President's budget. These volumes are classified PREX 2.8: , therefore shelved together within the stacks. 
  • Public Papers of the Presidents. 3rd FLOOR--J 82Texts of documents from administrations of Hoover to the present (Franklin Roosevelt excepted). Note: Prior to the Hoover Administration (1928-32) there is no official compilation of Presidential papers.
  • Compilation of Presidential Documents. Texts of documents, which used to be published weekly, and which are later compiled into the Public Papers series. At the Law Library.
  • Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the U.S. Y 1.1/2:13914. 1989. Gives addresses of presidents from Washington through George H.W. Bush. A brief historical note, and picture, precede each text. 
  • Presidential Vetoes. Y 1.3:S.PUB.102-12; 107-10. Lists vetoes chronologically; gives bill numbers and references to veto messages and other related material. There is a subject index. Senate Publication 102-12 covers vetoes from 1789-1988. The latest update publication is 107-10, which covers 1989-2001.

Specific Presidents

Online
Tangible

Selected print materials on individual presidents involved in events of major historical interest.

Kennedy Assassination materials
  • Warren Commission report and associated materials. The Report itself (published in 1964) is a single volume classified PR 36.8:K 38/R 29. Accompanying the Report are 15 volumes of hearings and another 11 volumes of exhibits submitted in conjunction with the hearings; these are classified PR 36.8:K 38/H 35. Each volume contains a detailed table of contents and notes; plus, there is an overall index of names in volume 15.
  • House Select Committee on Assassinations. In 1978, this House Committee revisited the assassination of Kennedy (in addition to that of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and issued 12 volumes of hearings. A general description of the coverage in each volume appears on the cover. Volume 12 includes lengthy bibliographies of writings about the assassination. The hearings are classified Y 4.AS 7:K 38.
Presidential Impeachment materials
Richard Nixon
  • The House Judiciary Committee, which investigated Nixon administration activities prior to recommending articles of impeachment to the full House, issued a 22-volume Statement of Information detailing the findings of their investigation. These volumes, along with 4 volumes of appendices, are classified Y 4.J 89/1:IN 3. General descriptions of the content of each volume appear on its cover. A summary of their findings is classified Y 4.J 89/1:IN 3/4. In addition, there is a 4-volume response to the Committee's case submitted by Nixon's counsel. This Statement is classified Y 4.J 89/1:IN 3/2. Transcripts of the famous "White House tapes," as submitted to the Committee by the President, are available at PR 37.2:C 76
Bill Clinton
  •  Since Clinton was actually impeached and tried (unlike Nixon, who resigned before he could be impeached) the documentary trail is more complete in his case. We have the result of the House Judiciary Committee's inquiry ("Consideration of Articles of Impeachment") at Y 4. J 89/1:IN 7/19,20. There are also two sets of documents which emerged from the Senate trial. The Evidentiary Record is 22 volumes, classified Y 1.1/3:106-3. The Proceedings of the U.S. Senate in the Impeachment Trial of President William Jefferson Clinton is shelved at Y 1.1/3:106-4 and consists of 4 volumes: Preliminary Proceedings, Floor Trial Proceedings, Depositions and Affidavits, and Statements of Senators.

Judiciary

Online

This section includes information about the US Supreme Court as well as other federal courts.

Agencies

Individual agencies — and even sub-agencies and facilities such as laboratories, bases and research centers — often publish self-histories. Some example agencies include the NASA, the National Park Service, the Federal Reserve system, etc.

Sample Search: Search the Library Catalog using the term  "History" AND the agency's name.

Alternatively, agencies often provide historical information on their homepages in sections such as "About Us," "About the Agency," "History," "Archives.

Another important type of agency historical publication are legislative histories of important laws.

Sample Search: Search the Library Catalog using the term  "Legislative History" AND the agency's name.