Compilations of Papers

American State Papers
Legislative and executive documents of Congress, 1789-1838; includes messages and speeches of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, 1789-1814. Available from the following sources:

A Compilation of Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Compiled by James Daniel Richardson and originally published in 10 volumes by GPO, 1896-99; subsequently updated. Available in the following formats:

Public Papers of the Presidents

U.S. Congressional Serial Set
Includes texts of messages to Congress, including inaugural addresses and vetoes. Available in the following formats:

  • ALF print [15th Congress, 1817-107th Congress, 2002]; see our Guide for access.
  • ProQuest Congressional. IUB authentication required. Includes 1789-2011.
  • Selected documents and reports from the 23rd (1833)-64th (1917) Congresses are available at the Library of Congress U.S. Serial Set.

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
Includes verbatim texts of speeches, news conferences, radio addresses, executive orders, etc., chronologically arranged. Indexed and full-text through Academic Search (Ebsco).

Presidential Papers by Major Type

Most of these documents are also available in the compilations listed above.

Executive Orders
Executive orders have to do with the management of government business and have the force of law; E.O. 9066, for example, authorized the exclusion of people from "military areas," leading to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Since 1936 executive orders have been published in the Federal Register and codified, along with proclamations and other documents signed by the President, in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3: The President. Available in the following sources:

Proclamations are frequently used to establish the National Week or Month of ..., but may also have more substantive content. Proclamation 6641 [1993], for example, implemented NAFTA and Proclamation 2541 [1942] denied 8 accused German-American Nazi saboteurs access to civilian courts. (The Military Order establishing the Military Commission which tried the accused saboteurs is included in the Executive Orders.) Available in the following sources:


Individual Presidents

See our Guide to Presidents of the United States.


Related Resources

Executive Branch Information:

  • The Executive Branch, edited by Joel D. Aberbach and Mark A. Peterson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • United States Executive Branch: A Biographic Directory of Heads of State and Cabinet Officials, edited by Robert Sobel and David B. Sicikia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
    • ET2 print: shelved ET2 Desk Reference, E176 .U575 2003
  • United States Government Manual
    • Online from GPO Access, 1995-present
    • Hathi Trust includes various years.
  • Vice Presidents of the United States, 1789-1993
    • ET2 print: shelved SuDocs stacks, Y 1.1/3:104-26

Guides to the Presidency:

Presidential Libraries:

Presidential Information home

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