Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909, Third Edition Revised and Enlarged, Volume 1, Lists of Congressional and Departmental Publications

complete catalogue in dictionary form, containing entries for all publications of the
Government, both Congressional and departmental, and covering a period of two years.
Document catalogues have been issued by Congresses, beginning with the 53d, one
book for each Congress, with the exceptionof the 54th, which was issued in two books,
one for each session.
The Document index was provided for by the same section of the above-mentioned
act. It is an index to Congressional documents only, and in a single volume supplants
six indexes; for prior to the 54th Congress the six series of the Congressional setSenate
executive documents, Senate miscellaneous documents, Senate reports, House
executive documents, House miscellaneous documents, and House reports-were each
separately indexed and the index for each of these series was repeated in all volumes
of that series. The Document indexes began with the 54th Congress, 1st session, and
are issued after the close of each regular session. This makes 2 indexes for each Congress.
In the case of the 55th Congress, however, 3 were issued, the index to the
documents and reports of the special session (the 1st) being separately issued, whereas
for other special sessions called since that time the indexes thereto have been incorporated
in the index for the regular session.
Section 69 of the same act made provision for the Monthly catalogue, which has been
issued for each month from Jan. 1895, 12 numbers for each year. The Monthly catalogue,
like the Document catalogue, includes both Congressional and departmental
publications, with the exception of the period from July, 1907, to June, 1908, covering
the 1st session of the 60th Congress, during which time all Congressional publications
and such departmental publications as were not obtainable were omitted from
the Monthly.
The Document catalogue is the permanent record. It replaces the Monthly catalogues
for the period covered, the Monthlies being ephemeral in character. The
Document catalogue also covers the same ground, though in a different way, as do
the 2 Document indexes for the same Congress.
Beginning with Mar. 4, 1893, therefore, our Document catalogues, Document indexes,
and Monthly catalogues have been the keys which unlocked the treasures to be found
in public documents issued during recent years; but what keys were there to unlock
the treasures of more than a century, that is, from 1789 to 1893? There were Poore's
Descriptive catalogue, Ames's Comprehensive index, and a few other working tools,
all of which dealt mostly with Congressional documents and said comparatively little
about the multitudinous publications of the Executive Departments and independent
Government establishments which from their very beginnings have poured forth a
steady stream of books and pamphlets. Unfortunately, only comparatively few Government
publishing offices have attempted to preserve for posterity a complete fiile
of their own publications. It is therefore no wonder that general lists or indexes
have been so few and so unsatisfactory. The most important bibliographical aids for
general research work among public documents are briefly mentioned in the following
For the very early period there is an interesting old volume composed of 4 separately
printed indexes, each with its own title-page, the whole preceded by a leaf
containing the half-title "Index to documents and reports, House of Representatives,
1789-1839," and a table of contents. Each of the 4 indexes had appeared in the sheepbound
set of Congressional documents, either as a part or as the whole of serial numbers
104, 85 2, 209 2, and 350. The first of these indexes covers from the 1st to the
14th Congress, 1789-1817, for Executive documents, and from the 1st to the 15th Cone
gress, 1789-1819, for reports of committees. The second covers from the 15th to the
17th Congress, 1817-23, and indexes both Executive documents and reports. The

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. Accessed May 24, 2016.