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Federal Government Publications

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Since 1877, the Kansas State Historical Society has been part of the Federal Depository Program. Currently, the program has more than 1200 libraries across the nation, including at least one in every congressional district. Depository collections have made a commitment to provide free public access to federal government publications and information. These publications may be in traditional print on paper format or, increasingly, in digital web access formats.

Particular strengths of the historical society's federal government documents collection include a complete run of the Congressional Record and its predecessors from 1789 to date and a near-complete collection of the Congressional Serial Set, a compilation of documents prepared by or submitted to Congress, which began publication in 1817 and--more than 15,000 volumes later--is still being produced. Within its pages may be found topics ranging from mid-19th-century Army explorations along the Santa Fe Trail to the establishment of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

The KSHS depository collection also includes many late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century publications from federal executive departments, especially the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior. The State Archives has a strong collection in 19th and 20th century military history, including sources on Indian depredations, training in the mounted cavalry and the transition to the armored mechanized cavalry. The Center for Military History Series on the wars and conflicts with U.S. Army involvement is quite comprehensive. KSHS has complete runs of the Yearbook of Agriculture, 1894-1993, and Statistics of Railroads in the U.S., 1888-1953, to name but two titles. Statistics for the federal census from 1840 to 1990 are also available.

A random sampling of other titles includes:

  • Slavery in the Courtroom: An Annotated Bibliography of American Cases (Library of Congress, 1985)
  • U.S. Infantry Tactics ... for the Use of the Colored Troops (War Dept., 1863)
  • Wheat & Flour Prices from Farmer to Consumer (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1913)
  • U.S. Commission on Obscenity & Pornography: Technical Report (1969-70)
  • Instructions Relative to Entries Under the Homestead, Pre-emption, and Timber Culture Laws (General Land Office, 1883)
  • The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (War Dept., 1880-1901)
  • Horsemanship and Horsemastership, Fort Riley (Cavalry School, Fort Riley (3 v. set, 1941-1942)
  • Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 - 1 October 1946 (1947-49)
  • Analyses of Kansas Coals (U.S. Mines Bureau, 1929)

The current collecting policy of the depository emphasizes publications relating specifically to the land and people of Kansas, including agricultural, climatic, demographic, economic, geological, and historical information. We also collect military history, presidential and congressional documents and reports, and publications of the National Archives and the Library of Congress. The depository collection also includes maps from the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies for Kansas and adjacent states.

As federal government publishing moves from traditional print on paper to electronic dissemination, the Kansas State Historical Society depository is working to provide public access to Internet sources of federal government information.

Helpful websites for finding federal government information

U.S. Federal Government Agencies A listing of federal agencies on the Web, arranged by organizational hierarchy. Prepared by Louisiana State University Regional Depository.  

Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the Federal Government.

U.S. Government Information via Yahoo Yahoo's search engine for government information. Especially good for browsing by topic or agency.

Federal Print Publications

Catalog of U.S. Government Publications The Government Printing Office catalog of electronic and print publications from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the U.S. government dating back to 1976 and earlier. Includes a directory of federal depository libraries.

Federal agency specific web pages of interest to Kansans

United States Department of Agriculture USDA’s site provides a search engine and easy search for their publications, statistics on all things agricultural under the jurisdiction of the USDA.

U.S. Army Center of Military History The Center of Military History records the history of the U.S. Army. The site provides access to digital books, provides lists of titles for the many series of volumes that are available in traditional print titles, digital images of military actions, a directory of army military museums by state and a list of Medal of Honor winners by war.

U.S. Census Bureau The Census Bureau site provides detailed population, housing, ethnic, economic, and education statistics for the United States. Information can be structured to be community specific. Learn more about how to use American Fact Finder and the American Community Survey information.

National Archives The National Archives serves as the keeper of the history of the United States and the records created by the government. Researchers can find sources important in doing family history, military history, or a high school term paper. The home page of the site has a popular links section for the most commonly requested materials.

Library of Congress The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world. The site has special sections for families, researchers, and librarians. For digital resources online also look at American Memory.

Department of the Interior The Department of Interior has the responsibility to protect America’s natural resources. In Kansas this includes national grasslands, national historic sites, wildlife refuges, and federal reservoirs. The tourist section provides information on all sites managed in Kansas by the Department of the Interior.