in a plan for "serial numbering." On Mar. 3, 1817, all the documents were brought
into the numbered series by the passage of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the secretary of the Senate and clerk of the House of Representatives be directed, in
making any further contracts for the printing of Congress, to stipulate andrequire that the same, excepting
only the bills, or when otherwise specially directed by either House, shall be done in royal octavo
form, the size of the pages to be the same as those of the laws of the United States, and that when any
tables will not admit, with the use of a small type, of compression into that size, they shall be so printed
as to fold conveniently into the volume.
Repeating the "document number"
The provision in the resolution of Dec. 14, 1813, that the number of each document
shall be "distinctly marked on the top of the title-page and every subsequent page,
in addition to the number of each page of such document," was observed to the commencement
of the 2d session of the 33d Congress, when the "document number"
was dropped from the top of all but the first page of the document. No evidence
has been found of the repeal of this resolution.
The document number has been, however, carried as a part of the printer's signature
mark on most of the documents, beginning with the 2d session of the 33d
Congress; and since about the middle of Feb. 1904, during the 2d session of the 58th
Congress, the signature marks of the upnumber carry also the number of the Congress
and session. Certain large documents and certain annual reports have always
been exceptions to this custom.
For some time prior to the 2d session of the 59th Congress, in some cases as early
as the 2d session of the 49th Congress, the bound volumes of the Congressional reserve
carried both a volume signature mark and an individual document signature mark;
but beginning with the 2d session of the 59th Congress, the individual document
signature mark, while retained on the upnumber, is eliminated from the bound
volume (reserve). Therefore, the present custom in binding the Congressional reserve
has resulted in only one appearance of the document number on each document,
namely, on the top of the first page.
Arrangement of the documents
The separating of the committee reports from the other documents was begun by
the House at the commencement of the 16th Congress, but the Senate did not adopt
any plan of arrangement until the 30th Congress, 1st session, when the following
plan was adopted by each House:
Executive documents, containing communications from the President or the Executive
Miscellaneous documents, containing amendments, resolutions, petitions, memorials,
and special reports of all kinds other than of committees.
The above arrangement was in vogue through the 53d Congress, 3d session. Beginning
with the 54th Congress, in accordance with provisions of the general printing
act of Jan. 12, 1895, the four series in each House of Congress were reduced to three,
by the consolidation of the former "executive documents" and "miscellaneous documents."
From the 54th Congress, therefore, we have in each House only 3 series,
namely, Journals, Documents, and Reports, the arrangement in each House being
in the order just mentioned, from the beginning of the 54th Congress through the
1st.session of the 57th. During this period, as well as prior thereto, all the publications
of the Senate preceded those of the House.
Beginning with the 2d session of the 57th Congress, in order to facilitate the work
of binding up the Congressional set, a change in the arrangement was made so as to
United States. Superintendent of Documents. Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909, Third Edition Revised and Enlarged, Volume 1, Lists of Congressional and Departmental Publications. Washington. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1029/. Accessed August 21, 2014.