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United States Government Information by Subject: Historical

Historical American Documents

Portals & Catalogs

Locating Older Federal Documents and Archived Websites

United States Government Manual (1935-2019) holds official information on the agencies of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches. Includes quasi-official agencies; international organizations in which the United States participates; and boards, commissions, and committees

The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization that began archiving the Internet in 1996. Search for archived government websites through the Wayback Machine interface. Search for older Federal documents--now online--through the Advanced Search interface. In addition, some Federal agencies add access to their websites and online documents through the FEDLINK interface.

The Library of Congress Web Archiving Program preserves U.S. and select international government, organizational, political, legal, and news websites. Websites are selected according to the Library’s collection policies.

HathiTrust U.S. Federal Documents is a collection within HathiTrust, a partnership of research institutions and libraries digitizing their print collections for public use. While privately published materials may not be fully accessible, government publications usually are. Downloading and printing are not available.

FRASER is a digital library of U.S. economic, financial, and banking history. Primarily collecting materials from the Federal Reserve System, it also includes those from  agencies that directly affect the banking system, state and local governments, economic and policy research institutions, nongovernmental banking and policy institutions.

Google Books is adding digitized federal documents.  Using the advanced search screen, try searching for GPO, gov. print. off., or other variations in the publisher box.  Or search by agency, title, etc.

University of North Texas Libraries' Digital Library archives thousands of government documents, as well as some defunct websites in the CyberCemetery.

Current and historical federal publications can be identified in GPO's Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.  Earlier guides are available:

  • 1774-1881: Poore's Descriptive Catalogue of The Government Publications of the United States, September 5, 1774-March 4, 1881 available at: GovDoc Ref  Z 1223 A 1962 and at the UNT Digital Library
  • 1789-1909: Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909 available at GovDoc Ref  Z 1223 A113 and at the UNT Digital Library;
  • 1881-1893: Ames' Comprehensive Index to the Publications of the United States Government available at: GovDoc Ref Z 1223 A 1905B and at the UNT Digital Library
  • 1893-1940: Catalog of the Public documents of the Congress and of all departments of the Government of the United States available at GovDoc Ref Z 1223 A13.
  • 1885-1976: Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications available at GovDoc J 85 GP 3.8/8: and some issues at HathiTrust and The Internet Archive.  

WorldCat

WorldCat is a catalog for locating books, journals, videos, and government documents held by libraries. You will need to sign in using your netID and password. Within the catalog entry for a print document, select the Submit request to UAlbany button to request the document through our Interlibrary Loan Department. The catalog entry for an online government document or website usually includes a link to the full document on the Internet.

Collaboration

Genealogical Research

The University Libraries do not conduct genealogical research for patrons. Government websites that may be helpful in your research include the United States National Archives, which holds immigration, naturalization, passport, and veteran records, as well as 1790-1940 census records, the New York State Library, and the Albany County Hall of Records. Cornell University Library has a getting started guide to genealogy.

Access to local newspapers, such as Albany's Times-Union and others, is facilitated through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

The New York State Library provides free access to census records about NYS citizens through 1940 via Ancestry.com: New York.

Reference & Gov't Information Librarian

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Karina Ricker
Contact:
UAlbany, University Library #208
(518)442-3629
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