Did you know that UIS is a Senate designated federal documents depository? Yes, that’s right, we are a selective depository collecting primary source material produced by the U.S. Congress, Legislature and the executive branch as well as other agencies and federal bodies. Since the advent of digital archiving, which really began to proliferate in the 21st century, most information provided through the Government Printing Office (the folks we work with in obtain government documents) is available online.
Recently, the Library of Congress, likely spurred on by the enormous popularity of the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton,” has digitized many of the papers of Alexander Hamilton, first treasury secretary of the United States. The collection includes over 12,000 items dating from 1708 to 1917 (although not the Federalist essays). Learn more about and gain access to the collection at: https://www.loc.gov/collections/alexander-hamilton-papers/about-this-collection/
The GPO has begun a retrospective digitization of the bound volumes of the Congressional Record, most recently releasing the 1950s, 1940s & 1930s in digital format. The Congressional Record is the official organ of Congress which is a verbatim transcript of everything that occurs on the House & Senate floors (and has existed in some form since the advent of the first Congressional Congress in 1789). Needless to say, this provides for a vitally rich historical record. Here is some of what you can find at your fingertips at: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/collection/crecb
1951-1960 (82nd thru 86th Congresses):
- The final two years of President Harry Truman’s Administration
- President Dwight Eisenhower’s Administration
- The Korean War
- The Cold War
- The creation of NASA
- Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956
1941-1950 (77th thru 81st Congresses):
- World War II, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous “day that will live in infamy” address to Congress requesting a declaration of war against Japan
- VE and VJ Days
- The Franklin Roosevelt Presidency through April 1945 and the Presidency of Harry Truman through 1950
- The Marshall Plan
- The beginning of the Cold War
1931-1940 (72nd thru 76th Congresses):
- The Great Depression.
- The last two years of the Herbert Hoover Administration and the elections of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, 1936, and 1940.
- The 21st Amendment (ending Prohibition).
- The New Deal (Emergency Banking Act, Civilian Conservation Corps, Tennessee Valley Authority Act, Glass-Steagall Act, National Industrial Recovery Act, Wagner Act, Social Security Act, Rural Electrification Act, etc.).
- Senator Huey Long.
- FDR’s court-packing plan.
- The various Neutrality Acts, Lend Lease, and the beginning of World War II.
NOTE: to make the best use of the Congressional Record you will need the dates that discussions occurred on the floor:
If you would like to further explore government documents and information and how they might be of value to your teaching or scholarship, please contact Pamela M. Salela, the UIS liaison to Government Information. You can find her contact info on the government Information research guide at: https://libguides.uis.edu/docs