Guide to the Research Collections
American Government Documents (Billings *KR)
This group, numbering over 5,000 pieces represents one of the richest collections in the library. The principal materials are session laws, collected statutes, and legislative journals. Not only individual documents, but early volumes in series ordinarily located in the general collections, are to be found in the Rare Book Division if they are scarce or valuable.
No terminal date is set for inclusion in the Rare Book Division's collection of documents. Generally speaking all colonial, provincial, state and federal documents before 1801 are located here. Also included are documents published by the federal government through the first fourteen congresses; a checked copy of A. W. Greely's Public Documents of the First Fourteen Congresses, 1789-1817
(1900), which serves as the division's official record, shows a strong collection in this field. The executive and legislative documents of the various states are also noteworthy. If the library does not have and cannot secure original printings it attempts to provide photographic reproductions of this early material. Grace E. MacDonald's three check lists, Check-list of Session Laws, Preliminary Check-list of Statutes,
and Preliminary Check-list of Legislative Journals
(1936-37), marked to show the division's holdings, serve as the official record. Approximately 300 documents bound in 5 volumes once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
Documents in the division issued by the Confederate States of America number about 360 pieces and consist of a rather scattered grouping of presidential messages; senate bills, acts, and statutes; and reports. There is also material from a number of the separate states of the Confederacy.
Further comments on the Research Libraries' entire rich collection of these materials appears in chapter 36 of this Guide
and in connection with such various subject areas as American history, law, etc.