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Presidential Papers

About Presidential Papers Biographical Information Guides Elections Vetoes
Executive Orders & Proclamations Official Papers and Speeches Personal papers and correspondence Declassified Documents Selected Internet Resources

About Presidential Papers

There are four categories of papers that are considered "presidential papers" 1.They are:

Public/published papers are proclamations, executive orders, presidential messages, speeches and statements. These are funnelled into established series (e.g. the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents)

Personal papers are those not created in the course of duty, such as personal diaries, journals, family momentos.

Executively Controlled documents are privileged from disclosure to congress or the courts because the incorporate national secrets, classified or legal information, or policy making records (e.g. the Nixon tapes), or National Security Directives. According to a 1992 GAO report, of the 1042 NSDs issued since 1961, only about 247 have been declassified. GAO tried to study these, but could only get a hold of 5. 2

Official documents are working documents generated in the course of daily presidential activitied. Until 1978 all official presidential records were considered private property. Now law mandates that they pass into custody of the Archivist of the United States. President Nixon caused the change in this law when he temporarily deposited his papers at the National Archives. Congress seized the Nixon papers by passing a law giving the government control over them.

1- Hirshon, Arnold, "The Scope, Accessability and History of Presidential Papers," Government Publications Review, v. 1:4, p.363-390.
2- United States. General Accounting Office, Report to the Chairman, Legislation and National Security Committee, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives. National Security: The Use of Presidential Directives to Make and Implement U.S. Policy. GAO/NSIAD-92-72, January 1992.

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Biographical Information

American political leaders, 1789-2000. Washington, D.C. : CQ Press c2000.
E176 .A513 2000 Doe Reference Biographies

Biographical directory of the American Congress. [1774/1996] Alexandria, Va. : CQ Staff Directories, c1997
JK1010.B5 Doe Reference Biographies
The initial section of this volume is a list, for each administration, of the Cabinet Officers and tenure of office.

Biographical directory of the United States executive branch, 1774-1989. Robert Sobel and David B. Sicilia, editors. New York : Greenwood Press, 2003.
E176 .U575 2003 Doe Reference Biographies

Facts about the presidents : a compilation of biographical and historical information / Joseph Nathan Kane ; Janet Podell & Steven Anzovin [editors].
E176.1 .K3 2001 Doe Reference Biographies and Moffitt Reference

Justice, Keith L. Public office index. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c1985
JK7 1985 v. 1 Doe Reference Biographies
Includes listing with members of their Administrations, terms of office, succession of Cabinet officers. Biographical information for presidents, vice-presidents, and cabinet offiers is limited to dates of birth, date of appointment, date left office, date of death etc.

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Ragsdale, Lyn. Vital statistics on the presidency : Washington to Clinton. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly, c1996.
JK518 .R34 1996 Doe Reference Govt/Stat

Congressional Quarterly's guide to the presidency. Michael Nelson, editor. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc., c1996.
JK516.C571 1996 MAIN

Zink, Steven D. Guide to the Presidential advisory commissions, 1973-1984. Alexandria, VA : Chadwyck-Healy, 1987.
JK468.C7 Z561 1987 GREF

Marin, Fenton S. How to research the presidency. Washington, DC : Congressional Quarterly, c1996
JK516.A12 M37 1996 Doe Reference and Moffitt

Wolanin, Thomas R. Presidential advisory commissions : Truman to Nixon. Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1975.
JK468.C7.W641 MAIN
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Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. elections. 4th ed. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc., c2001.
J JK1967 .C662 2001 Doe Reference Govt/Stat

Petersen, Svend. A statistical history of the American presidential elections : with supplementary tables covering 1968-1980. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1981.
JK1967.P4 1981 Doe Reference

America votes. Washington : Congressional Quarterly
JK1976.G67 Doe Reference Govt/Stat (latest)

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United States. Congress. Senate. Library. Presidential Vetoes; Record of Bills Vetoed and Action Taken Thereon by the Senate and House of Representatives.
J81.C38 Doe Reference Govt/Stat

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Executive Orders & Proclamation

Executive orders and proclamations are the way the President prescribes the conduct of business in the executive branch. Executive Orders relate to how and what executive agencies (Dept of Agriculture etc.,) do. For example, E.O. 9066 was a directive to the U.S. War Relocation Authority to intern Japanese Americans. Most Executive Orders have the force of law.

Presidential proclamations may be pardons (and therefore have the force of law) or may be for celebratory times such as National Dairy Week.

Proclamations appear in
Statutes at large of the United States
  • KA10 A2 GREF (1789-present)
  • Library of Congress Law Library (1789-1875)
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional (1789-present) UC Access Only
  • Federal Register
  • GPO Access (1994-present)
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional (1980-present) UC Access Only
  • Hein Onlin (1936-1993) UCB Access Only
  • J10.A15 Main [v.1(1936)-15(1950) indexes bound with volumes]
  • Microfilm 1345J [v.16(1951)-v.45(1980) indexes in GREF]
  • Microfiche 4604 [v.46(1981)- present, indexes in GREF].
  • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3(bound and indexed in GREF)
  • JK630.A4 1949 GREF (1936-present)
  • GPO Access (1996-present)
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional (1981-present) UC Access Only

  • Executive orders appear in:
    Federal Register
  • GPO Access (1994-present)
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional (1980-present) UC Access Only
  • Hein Onlin (1936-1993) UCB Access Only
  • J10.A15 Main [v.1(1936)-15(1950) indexes bound with volumes]
  • Microfilm 1345J [v.16(1951)-v.45(1980) indexes in GREF]
  • Microfiche 4604 [v.46(1981)- present, indexes in GREF].
  • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3, 1936- (bound and indexed in GREF)
  • JK630.A4 1949 GREF (1936-present)
  • GPO Access (1996-present)
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional (1981-present) UC Access Only
  • Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 1965-
    Public Papers of the President

    Historical Records Survey Presidential executive orders. New York, Books, inc., [1944]
    J80.A62 Doe Reference Govt/Stat v. 1-2 (1944)

    Historical Records Survey List and index of presidential executive orders, unnumbered series. Newark, N.J., Historical records survey, Work projects administration [1943]
    J80.A62a Doe Reference Govt/Stat

    Library of Congress. Legislative Reference Service. Table of Executive orders appearing in the Federal register and the Code of Federal regulations.
    J80.A63 Doe Reference Govt/Stat

    CIS index to presidential executive orders & proclamations. Washington, D.C. : Congressional Information Service, Inc., c1986-c1987.
    KF70 .A55 1986 GREF

    Presidential executive orders: numbers 1-7403 (1845-June 1936)
    MICROFILM 20463

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    Papers and Speeches

    Weekly compilation of Presidential documents. Washington, D.C. : Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration : U.S. G.P.O.
  • J80.A78 MAIN 1(1965)-36(2000)
  • GPO Access (1993-present)
  • Hein Online (1977-2003) UCB Access Only
  • Includes the text of proclamations and executive orders, addresses and remarks, communications to Congress, letters etc. It also cites laws approved by the President and lists all nominees sent to the Senate. Each issue has a cumulative index, and there are separate cumulative indexes published quarterly, semiannually, and annually.

    Presidential papers. CD-ROM. Provo, UT : CDex Information Group, 1995.
    J81.B97 1995 compu/d GREF (Ask at Doe Reference Desk)
    Messages and papers of the presidents George Washington through William Howard Taft, and the public papers of the US presidents Herbert Hoover through Bill Clinton. The Presidential Papers of Franklin D. Roosevelt: (1933-45) are included as limited selection of FDR's many collected papers, and are organized chronologically. Omitted are the papers of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge. The CD-ROM has not been reissued and does not include papers past December 1993.

    United States. President. Public papers of the Presidents of the United States, containing the public messages, speeches, and statements of the President. Washington, U.S. GPO
  • J80.A73 MAIN (1929-1933, 1945-).
  • Also available on CD-ROM as Presidential Papers.
  • GPO Access (1993-present)
  • Prior to the 1977 volume, the Public Papers of the President was an edited version of The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, beginning with the Carter Administration, the Public Papers were expanded to include virtually all materials published in the Weekly Compilation.

    The Roosevelt years were privately published as The public papers and addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, with a special introduction and explanatory notes by President Roosevelt, New York, Random House 1938-50: MAIN E807.A5.

    Cumulative indexes are shelved as follows:

    Hoover J82 D5 1979 GREF
    Truman J82 D7 1979 GREF
    Eisenhower J82 D8 1978 GREF
    Kennedy J82 D9 1977 GREF
    Johnson J82 E1 1978 GREF
    Nixon J82 E2 1977 GREF
    Ford J82 E3 1980 GREF

    United States. President. A compilation of the messages and papers of the presidents, prepared under the direction of the Joint committee on printing, of the House and Senate, pursuant to an act of the Fifty-second Congress of the United States (with additions and encyclopedic index by private enterprise). New York, Bureau of national literature, inc. [1917?]
  • J81.B96b 1923 MAIN v.1-20 (1897-22)
  • Notes: Vols. 1-10 issued also as House misc. doc. no. 210, 53d Cong., 2d sess. and available as J81.B96b MAIN v.1-10 (1899) (v. 10 is index)
  • Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897: via Nineteenth Century Masterfile, 1899 edition. From drop-down box V, select "Compilation of the Message and Papers of the Presidents," set all the other drop-downs to "No Indexes Selected," then enter your search to locate early U.S. presidential documents on your topic.
  • Also available on CD-ROM as Presidential Papers.
  • This compilation attempts to collect the papers of earlier Presidents and contains texts of annual messages, special messages, veto messages, executive orders and proclamations. However it is not complete. Vols. 1-18 paged continuously.

    United States. President. The statesman's manual. The addresses and messages of the presidents of the United States, inaugural, annual, and special, from 1789 to 1854; with a memoir of each of the presidents, and a history of their administrations: also the Constitution of the United States, and a selection of important documents and statistical information. Reference ed. . New York, E. Walker, 1854.
    J81 A54 MAIN
    The Manual begins with Washington and ends with Taylor. It also has a memoir of each of the Presidents, and a history of their administrations as well as a chronological table and a comprehensive analytical index in the last volume.

    United States. President. Message from the President of the United States to the two Houses of Congress at the commencement of the ... session of the ... Congress, with reports of the heads of Departments and selections from accompanying documents. Washington
    J80.A3 MAIN
    Library has: 1841/42(27th Congress), 1849/50(31st Congress)-1862/63(37th Congress)

    United States. President. The abridgment ... containing the annual message of the President of the United States to the two Houses of Congress ... with reports of Departments and selections from accompanying papers.Washington
    J80.A5 MAIN
    Library has: 1858/59(35th Congress, 2nd sess.)-1862/63(37th Congress), 1864/65(38th Congress, 2nd sess.)-1878/79(45th Congress), 1880/81(46th Congress, 3rd sess.)-1886/87(49th Congress, 2nd sess.), 1988/89(50th Congress, 2nd sess.)-1893/94(53rd Congress), 1898/99(55th Congress, 3rd sess.), 1910(61st Congress, 3rd sess.) 1912(62nd Congress, 3rd sess.), 1913(63rd Congress, 2nd sess.), 1915(64th Congress, 1st sess.)

    United States. President. [Press Release]. Washington
    MICROFILM 4895 J Mews/Micro 1965-1972//
    J80.A7 MAIN 1931-1965, 1972- Library lacks: Some issues

    United States. President. The State of the Union messages of the Presidents, 1790-1966. With an introd. by Arthur M. Schlesinger. Editor: Fred L. Israel. New York, Chelsea House, 1966.
    J81.C66 MAIN Library has: v.1-3 (1966)

    Inaugural addresses of the Presidents of the United States from George Washington 1789 to George Bush 1989. Bicentennial ed. Washington, D.C. : U.S. G.P.O. : 1989. Senate document (United States. Congress. Senate) ; 101-10.
  • J81.C89 1989 GREF
  • Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States via Bartleby Library: Great Books Online
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    Personal papers and correspondence

    Presidential papers.

    The Library of Congress presidential papers collections are mainly composed of letters to and from the President. Also included are diaries, financial papers, applications for office, and other miscellaneous items. The collections are generally divided into separate series according to types of papers (e.g. legal papers, financial papers, military papers, etc.).

    (Abbreviations: SU = Stanford University, CSL = California State Library, UCD = University of Calfornia Davis, UCSB = University of California Santa Barbara)

    See also: Schick, Frank L. Records of the presidency : presidential papers and libraries from Washington to Reagan Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1989 CD3029.82 .S351 1989 Doe Reference and GREF

    Name of
    Call no.Index Other
    Arthur, Chester Alan, 1829-1886 Law Case 13, Drawer 1 Micro Room Law Lib KF5051.A7 .A78 Micro Room
    Main E692.A12 U5

    SU, CSL, UCD

    Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908 Law Case 13, Drawer 1 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .C44 Micro Room
    Main E697 .U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933 Law Case 13, Drawer 3 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .C66 Micro Room SU, CSL, UCD
    Garfield, James Abram, 1831-1881 -- Main E687.A12.G37 SU, UCD
    Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1885 Law Case 13, Drawer 6 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .G73 Micro Room
    Main E672.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Harrison, Benjamin, 1833-1901 -- Law KF5051.A7 .H37
    Main E702.A12 U5
    Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841 Law Case 13, Drawer 7 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .A78 Micro Room
    Main E392.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845 Law Case 13, Drawer 7 Micro Room
    Periodicals MICROFILM 4007 E
    Law KF5051.A7 .J33 Micro Room
    Main E381.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 Periodicals MICROFILM 4001 E Law KF5052.5 .J452
    Main E332.Z5 V6

    SU, UCD
    Web: American Memory

    Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875 Law Case 13, Drawer 8 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .J64 Micro Room SU, CSL, UCD
    Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Law Case 13, Drawer 9 Micro Room
    Periodicals MICROFILM 4002 E
    Law KF5051.A7 .L55 Micro Room
    Main E457.1 .U66
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Web: American Memory
    Madison, James, 1751-1836 Law Case 14, Drawer 2 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .M38 Micro Room SU, CSL, UCD
    McKinley, William, 1843-1901 Law Case 14, Drawer 2 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .M35 Micro Room
    Main E711.6.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Monroe, James, 1758-1831 Law Case 14, Drawer 4 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .M65 Micro Room
    Main E372.A12 U5
    SU. CSL, UCD
    Pierce, Franklin, 1804-1869 Law Case 14, Drawer 4 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .P54 Micro Room
    Main E432.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Polk, James Knox, 1795-1849 Law Case 14, Drawer 4 Micro Room
    Periodicals MICROFILM 4074 E
    Law KF5051.A7 .P74 Micro Room
    Main E416.A12 U53
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 -- Main E757.A12.U5 v.1-3 SU, UCD
    Web: American Memory
    Taft, William Howard, 1857-1930 -- Law KF5052.2 .T34
    Main E762.A12 U5 v.1-6
    SU, UCD
    Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850 Law Case 14, Drawer 5 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .A78 Micro Room
    Main E422.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Tyler, John, 1790-1862 Law Case 14, Drawer 5 Micro Room Law KF5051.A7 .A78 Micro Room
    Main E397.A12 U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862 Law Case 14, Drawer 6 Micro Room GREF E337.8 .W479 1989 SU, CSL, UCD
    Washington, George, 1732-1799 Law Case 14, Drawer 6 Micro Room Law KF5051.A2 W37 Micro Room
    Main E312.Z5U5
    SU, CSL, UCD
    Web: American Memory
    Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 Law KF5052.5 W55
    Main E771.A37 v.1-69
    Law KF5052.5 .W552
    Main E767.A12 W55 Index v.1-3
    SU, UCD

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    Declassified Documents

    There are different ways of locating declassified documents in The Library. The library owns many microfilm sets of declassified documents. There are also several WWW resources available that UCB subscribes. See also: Declassified Government Documents Research Guide.

    Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) UC Only
    DDRS is a collection of declassified material from presidential libraries. The libraries receive declassified documents from various government agencies: the White House, the CIA, the FBI, the State Department and others. The database ranges from the years immediately following World War II, when declassified documents were first made widely available, through the 1970's. Nearly every major foreign and domestic even of these years is covered: the Cold War, Vietnan, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement and others. The documents range in size and scope from telegrams, correspodence and unevaluated field reports to lengthy background studies and detailed minutes of cabinet level meetings.
    Digital National Security Archive UC Only
    The Digital National Security Archive contains the most comprehensive collection of primary documents available: The database contains more than 35,000 of the most important, declassified documents that led to the policy decisions. The Collections: The Digital National Security Archive contains twelve complete collections, Afghanistan, Berlin Crisis 1958-1962, Cuban Missile Crisis, El Salvador, Iran-Contra Affair, Intelligence Community, Iran Revolution, Military Uses of Space, Nicaragua, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Philippines, and South Africa.
    United States. National Security Council. Documents of the National Security Council, Washington, D.C. : University Publications of America
  • UA23.15.I53 1994 GREF (guide to basic set, and supplements 1-4)
  • UA23 A12 G85 GREF (supplements 5-9)
  • Microfilm 18908 UA News/Micro
  • Microfilm 18908 UA suppl.1 - suppl 9.
  • The National Security Act of 1947 established the National Security Council (NSC) and its membership (the President, Vice-President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, etc.) to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and other departments and agencies of the government to operate more effectively on matters involving the national security.

    As a part of its work the NSC generated many documents including National Security Council Actions, National Security Action Memoranda, National Security Study Memoranda, Presidential Review Memoranda, Presidential Decision Directives, and Presidential Directives. The guides provide an explanation of these document "types" as well as other documents which were specific to presidential administrations. The guides also list each of the documents reproduced in the microfilm. The originals of the documents microfilmed here are housed at the National Archives as National Security Council Files, Record Group 273.

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    Selected Internet Resources

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