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Selected Historical Full Text U.S. Documents



Avalon Project (Yale Law School)

The Avalon Project provides "digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government." As noted in their purpose statement, "we do not intend to mount only static text but rather to add value to the text by linking to supporting documents expressly referred to in the body of the text."

Archival Research Catalog (National Archives)

A searchable database with access to over 56 percent of the records in the National Archives including record groups, collections, and artifacts. Over 125,000 items are digitized images and available on the web. The site offers a variety of search strategies including limiting to full text material.

Access to Archival Databases (National Archives)

Online access to records in a small selection of historic databases preserved permanently in NARA. Out of the nearly 200,000 data files in its holdings, NARA has selected approximately 475 for this database. This provides access to 85 million historic records created by over 30 agencies. Information is also provided to help the user understand the data elements used.

Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States (National Archives)

The guide provides a general overview of NARA's holdings of federal records at the record group level, and is intended to assist researchers in identifying which record groups may have material relevant to their research topics.

National Archives and Records Administration. Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents

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Census of Population and Housing, 1790-2000

Full text of the historical decennial census from 1790-2000 in PDF files. Lovejoy Library has a paper set located in the U.S. Documents Collection.

Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000

Provides information on questions asked on each census along with copies of the forms utilized. Also available in paper format, Lovejoy Library Book Collection, HA37.U62 M43 2002.

Statistical Abstract of the U.S. 1878- 2008

"The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It is designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference and as a guide to other statistical publications and sources." Also available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, C3.134: year.

United States Historical Census Data Browser, 1790-1970

The data provided describes the people and economy of the United States for each state and county from 1790 until 1970. The sources for the data set include the US Decennial Census.

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Continental Congress

Journals of the Continental Congress

"The First Continental Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774. The Second Continental Congress ran from May 10, 1775, to March 2, 1789. The Journals of the Continental Congress are the records of the daily proceedings of the Congress as kept by the office of its secretary." "The Journals were printed contemporaneously in different editions and in several subsequent reprint editions. None of these editions, however, includes the "Secret Journals," confidential sections of the records, which were not published until 1821…" Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, Z2.8:2:vol. and Z4.5:vol.

Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789

"The twenty-six volumes of the Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789 aims to make available all the documents written by delegates that bear directly upon their work during their years of actual service in the First and Second Continental Congresses, 1774-1789."

Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution

"A five-volume collection compiled by Jonathan Elliot in the mid-nineteenth century. The volumes remain the best source for materials about the national government's transitional period between the closing of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787 and the opening of the First Federal Congress in March 1789."

Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

Farrand's Records remains the single best source for discussions of the Constitutional Convention.

Congressional Debates

Annals of Congress

"The Annals of Congress, formally known as The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States, covers the 1st Congress through the first session of the 18th Congress (1789 to 1824)." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, X1-X42.

Register of Debates

"The Register of Debates is a record of the congressional debates of the 18th Congress, 2nd Session through the 25th Congress, 1st Session (1824-37)." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, X42-X71.

Congressional Globe

"The Globe, as it is usually called, contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congresses (1833-73)." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, X72-X180.

Congressional Record

"The Congressional Record began publication in 1873. Printed by the Government Printing Office, it is the fourth and final series of publications containing the debates of Congress." Available in microfiche format, Lovejoy Library, Microforms Collection.

Journals of Congress

House Journal

Mandated by the Constitution, "the House Journal should be seen as the minutes of floor action. It notes the matters considered by the House and the votes and other actions taken. It does not record the actual debates which can be consulted through the "Link to date-related documents" in the full text transcription of the Journal." Coverage is from 1789-1875.

Senate Journal

Provides the same coverage as the House version.

Senate Executive Journal

"From its inaugural session, in addition to its legislative journal, the Senate has maintained a separate record of its executive proceedings that relate to its functions of confirming presidential nominees and consenting to the making of treaties." Coverage is from 1789-1875.

Congressional Documents/Hearings

American State Papers

"The American State Papers, comprising a total of thirty-eight physical volumes, contain the legislative and executive documents of Congress during the period 1789 to 1838." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Rare Oversize Collection, J33 .A48 1832.

U.S, Congressional Serial Set

"The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set, began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st Session (1817). Documents before 1817 may be found in the American State Papers ." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Rare Book Collection Storage, Y1.1/2:Serial no.

Congressional Hearings (Law Library, Library of Congress)

Hearings provide testimony "received from members of congress, officials of the executive branch, policy experts, interest groups and sometimes the general public on legislative proposals, the functioning of government programs, subjects of controversy, and matters under investigation." The Law Library is currently involved in a pilot program with Google to digitize the enter collection of 75,000 hearings. To date, three test collections have been compiled: Census (U.S.), Freedom of Information/Privacy, and Immigration.

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Foreign Relations of the United States 1860-1960

"The Foreign Relations of the United States series is the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Book Collection, JX233 .A3.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1968

Native American Treaties

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler

" Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler, is a historically significant, seven volume compilation of U.S. treaties, laws, and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes. The volumes cover U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1883 (Volume II) and U.S. laws and executive orders concerning Native Americans from 1871-1970 (Volumes I, III-VII)."

Early Recognized Treaties with American Indian Nations. University of Nebraska Electronic Text Center

The text of the nine treaties, created between the years 1722 and 1805 which are not listed in Kappler but recognized by the State Department as legitimate treaties.

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American Presidency Project

"The American Presidency Project is the only online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database:
•The Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Washington - Taft (1789-1913)
•The Public Papers of the Presidents: Hoover to Bush (1929-1993)
•The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: Clinton - G.W. Bush (1993-2007)"

Public Papers of the President (University of Michigan Digital Library)

Public Papers of the President, 1991-

"The Public Papers of the Presidents contain most of the President's public messages, statements, speeches, and news conference remarks. Documents such as Proclamations, Executive Orders, and similar documents that are published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, as required by law, are usually not included for the presidencies of Herbert Hoover through Gerald Ford (1929-1977), but are included beginning with the administration of Jimmy Carter (1977)." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, U.S. Documents Collection, AE2.114: and Book Collection, J80 .A283.

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United States Statutes at Large

"The United States Statutes at Large, commonly referred to as the Statutes at Large, is the official source for the laws and resolutions passed by Congress 1789-1875." Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Reference Book Collection, KF50 .U5; KF50 .U52; KF50 .U524.

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Selected Historic Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court (LII, Cornell University)

"The LII collection of historic decisions of the US Supreme Court contains over 600 of the court's most important decisions through the whole period of its existence." Access is provided by opinion author, party name, and topic.

Supreme Court Decisions, 1893+ (FindLaw)

FindLaw offers U.S. Supreme Court decisions from 1893 to present, briefs from 1999-2000 term to present, orders from October 1998 term to present, and dockets for the current term. Cases are searchable by title, full text, and citation.

U.S. Supreme Court

"The bound volumes of the United States Reports contain the fourth and final generation of the Court's opinions" which are the official record and "contain not just opinions, but the full text, from cover through index, of bound volumes 502 et seq., including all of the opinions, orders, and other materials." Coverage is from 1991 to 2004 and is updated when new bound volumes are published.

U.S. Supreme Court

These are preliminary prints of the material found later in the bound volumes. They include bench opinions, slip opinions, and preliminary prints. Coverage is from 2004 to present.

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Central Intelligence Agency. FOIA Reading Room

"The CIA has established this site to provide the public with an overview of access to CIA information, including electronic access to previously released documents."


A digital archive containing the publications of over 45 U.S. Government agencies and commissions which are no longer functioning. Documents of agencies such as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and National Bioethics Advisory Commission are included on the site.


Historic records of FBI files on famous and infamous individuals and organizations. Noted personalities or organizations include John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Groucho Marx and the Ku Klux Klan. Accessible through an alphabetical index or a subject based index.

General Land Office Records

Provides access to Federal land conveyance records for the Public Land States as well as image access to more than three million Federal land title records for Eastern Public Land States, issued between 1820 and 1908. Also included are images of Serial patents (land titles issued between 1908 and the mid-1960's). State survey plats and field notes, dating back to 1810, are being added as each state is complete.

Geological Atlas of the United States

"The U. S. Geological Survey produced a series of maps folios between 1894 and 1945 entitled Geologic Atlas of the United States. Each of the folios includes both topographic and geologic maps for each quad represented in that folio, as well as geologic reports with information on the geology and economic geology on that area. Only 227 folios were produced, so the area covered is very limited." Available in paper format at Lovejoy Library, Map Collection, G1201.C5 U5 + vol.

Historic Government Publications From WWII: A Digital Collection (Southern Methodist University)

"Over 300 pamphlets and other documents related to WWII and issued by U.S. government agencies during the war years are available on this site. The documents may be browsed or searched."

Historical Publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights

A "complete electronic record of United States Commission on Civil Rights publications held in the Thurgood Marshall School of Law Library's collection and available on the USCCR web site."

Library of Congress, American Memory Project

"American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience."

National Security Archive

The National Security Archive is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

United States. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies: Series I, 1-53; Series II, 1-8; Series III, 1-5; Series IV, 1-4 (1880 - 1901)

Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Book Collection, E491 .U61.

United States. Naval War Records Office. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion: Series I, vols. 1-27; Series II, vols 1-3 (1894 - 1922)

Available in paper format, Lovejoy Library, Book Collection, E591 .U58.

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