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American Studies

This guide contains resources and research techniques for students in American Studies.

Primary Sources from the U.S. Government

U.S. Government documents provide a rich source for primary source material for the study of U.S. history. Falling into the broad category of anything published or created by a government entity, these cover almost every subject and date from the origins of our country to the present day. To get an overview of the difference departments and agencies of the U.S. Government throughout history and to see the major publications of each agency, refer to the Guide to U.S. Publications (Z1223.Z7 A574) in the reference section on the 5th floor of Pius Library.

Statistical Sources

Congressional Documents

Public Papers of the Presidents

The Public Papers of the Presidents have been published for every president since Herbert Hoover in 1929. The volumes contain a compilation of speeches, press conferences, public messages, etc. Executive orders and proclamations were not regularly included until 1977 (beginning with the Jimmy Carter administration), the sources below include an archive of these documents.

The National Archives (NARA)

There are many records and papers produced by agencies that never get released. They are not actually classified they are just considered internal departmental documents and are therefore not published. Records like these as well as other published and classified documents eventually end up at NARA. Although NARA puts select material online, there is even more material that is available only on microfiche or at one of the National Archives locations. 

Other Historical Government Documents

Many Government Documents from the last 20 years and frequently used historical documents can be found in the Libraries Catalog just like other books. We have many additional documents dating back to the 1860s that are not included in the catalog. They are located at the off campus Locust Street Library Facility and can be viewed by appointment, or sent by request to Pius Library. Contact Rebecca Hyde for more details. The resources below can help you identify documents we may have.

Library of Congress