Monday, April 9, 2012

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

From the time of Herbert Hoover (1929) to Barack Obama (2012), the Federal Register Division of the National Archives and Records Service has published official, multiple volumes about the Presidency of each individual who served or is serving in the office of President. These volumes are presented in chronological order.

There was a series that covered the period from 1789 to 1897 and 1896 to 1899. These were assembled by James D. Richardson and published under the authority of the Congress. Then private compilations were issued. The Public Papers of the Presidents series was officially done as of 1957.

The volumes contain photographs, addresses to the Nation and appointments as well as information about bill signings and vetoes. There are included: executive orders; proclamations; interviews with the news media; meetings with foreign leaders and letters and messages. Each volume contains a subject index, name index, document category list, a digest of White House announcements, nominations submitted to the Senate and a checklist of White House press releases.

This set is an excellent, official resource for information about our Presidents.

Photograph: Attending the funeral service for Former President Gerald R. Ford at the Washington National Cathedral, January 2007. Public Papers of the Presidents: George W. Bush 2007, Volume 1, Photographic Portfolio.

Note that there are former Presidents in attendance: George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and the widow of Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan.

The State Library holds this set of documents which can be accessed at our reference desk in room 341 of the State House. The call numbers are: GS 4.113 and AE 2.114.

The Government Printing Office (GPO) has a searchable database for these documents at: The University of Michigan has digitized the set which one can access through the State Library’s catalog ( Choose the keywords: Public Papers of the Presidents.