When most people think of government documents, they think of boring, hard-to-read reports that go on for pages and pages. So you might think the American State Papers, 1789-1838 and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 are nothing to get excited about. In actuality, however, these sets both contain a wealth of information and images that are both interesting and informative.
The American State Papers, 1789-1838 contain legislative and executive documents from the first fourteen U.S. Congresses. Reports, documents, and journals of the 15th through 103rd Congresses are available in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994. These materials cover more than just American government history – they also include fascinating glimpses of American and world history on a variety of subjects, such as botany, ethnography, travel, natural history, and lots more.
Pictures and maps are scanned from original prints; documents are now scanned from original prints as well (previously they were scanned from microfilm). In addition to the usual search parameters, the search interface allows for searching by bill or resolution number and congress number. You can also browse by subject, type of publication, personal name, act name, geographic name, and standing committee name. Researchers can export information to RefWorks and create their own personal collections on the database.
Below are just a few examples of research topics using materials from these sets.
Around the World in 80 Documents: 19th-Century Publications on Europe, Africa and Asia in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set by Steve Daniel, Senior Editorial Consultant, Readex
Resolving a Stolen Past: The General Allotment Act, Individual Indian Money Accounts, and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set by Charles D. Bernholz, Professor and Government Documents Librarian, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Promoting Silkworms: Using Electronic Texts and Digital Images for a Historical Exhibition by Dana Dauterman Ricciardi, Curator, Framingham Historical Society and Museum
Transcontinental Railroad Construction and Chinese Laborers in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set by Suping Lu, Professor and Liaison Librarian, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Take a look and see what interesting things you can discover!