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HIST 5350: Frontier in American History: Government Information Sources
Historians often overlook a wealth of information on historical events published by the U.S. Government. Much of this material is available in libraries round the country in print form (Including the Alkek library) and, increasingly, in online formats.
Many publications of the U.S. Government fit the definition of a primary source, as defined in the tab at the top of this page.
Please Note: Some of our collection of documents does NOT appear in the online catalog. The Government Information staff have put together a guide HERE with more information about how to access the collection and how to contact the staff.
How to find out what's available
Since some of the items in our collection of government documents do not appear in the online catalog, here are some sources for finding out what is is available-
Start with the Catalog of Government Publications for the most recent materials (1976-date)
The U.S. Serial Set (see link below) contains a wealth of information on all eras of American history. See this guide for information on how to mine this wonderful resource.
The Serial Set includes reports and documents either produced or ordered by Congress, as well as presidential communications and treaty materials. It is a broken into parts (collections). Collection 1 begins in 1789 with the American State Papers and provides comprehensive, full-text access to Congressional and Executive branch documents and reports published in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set through 1969. Collection II provides coverage from 1970 to present. Collection II also contains Senate and Executive Documents and Reports 1817-1978.
Index (including links to online sources) to the Catalog of United States Government Publications, including documents generated by the legislative and executive branches and other Federal Government agencies. Coverage 1976 to present
HathiTrust makes over 8.8 million volumes of digitized book and journal collections available from some of the nation’s great research libraries. Coverage: 1600-present Many full text U.S. Documents available here.
The annual reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology began publication in 1879 and document anthropological research on Native Americans conducted during the exploration and settlement of the American West. Ostensibly scientific and therefore replete with detailed observations and illustrations. You can find more Smithsonian Institution Annual reports and Bulletins from the Bureau of American Ethnology in call numbers SI 2.1: and SI 2.3: respectively in the Gov. Info. collection on the 4th floor