U.S. Presidential Documents

Harvard College Library's Government Information Services are housed in Lamont Library. This is a central reference and referral point for United States government information. As a federal depository it houses a comprehensive collection of presidential documents.

Part 1 of the following guide lists some of the most useful research tools related to presidential material and notes the location of the collections. Part 2 lists presidential material in microform, some are extensive collections of letters and papers, others may be more ephemeral works. Part 3 is a chronological list of all U.S. Presidents, with birth and death dates, years of each individual's term, and the corresponding session of Congress.

1. Presidential Documents and Reports by Type:

Web Links to the Executive Branch

USA.Gov Federal Executive Branch provides links to the Executive Office of the President including the White House office and agencies such as the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget. Also links to executive agencies.

Public Statements of the President


The American Presidency Project contains over 52,000 documents related to the study of the American Presidency including Public Papers from Hoover to present, Inaugural addresses and State of the Union messages from Washington to most recent; also radio addresses, convention speeches, presidential candidate debates, audio and video selections, data on popularity, public appearances , election statistics and more.

Presidential Papers is a full text, indexed database on CD-ROM containing presidential papers from Washington through Clinton, previously published in Messages and Papers of the Presidents and Public Papers of the Presidents. Location: Documents (Lamont): CD-ROM Doc J81.3.P74 199x

Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents (1789-1897) is online as part of 19th Century Masterfile.

GPO Access Papers of the Presidents of the United States (1994+ ) Keyword searches for all years or single years.

GPO Access Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (1993+ )


Paper editions

Inaugural Addresses, 1789-1969
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 445 (vols. 12852-12853) H.Doc 91-142

Public Papers of the Presidents (Hoover-present, except F.D.R., for which, see next entry)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1010.5

The Public Papers and addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Location: (Widener) US 8005.22.5;Location: Lamont: E806.R749

Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (1965-2000, for later years see electronic sources listed above)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1010.10

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Messages and Documents

Richardson: Compilation of Messages and Papers of the President. 1789-1897 Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 445 (vol. 3265)

Other sets of Richardson (up to 1908)
Location: Widener: US 83.9 through US 83.16.5

Messages and Documents of the Presidents. 1858-1920
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1005.5

State of the Union Messages, 1790-1966
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1012.2

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Executive Orders and Proclamations

Indexes and Guides

CIS index to presidential executive orders & proclamations (1789-1983)
Location: Documents (Lamont): Ref KF70.A55 1986

List and Index of Presidential Executive Orders unnumbered series (1789-1941)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 22.10

Table of Executive Orders appearing in the Federal Register and the CFR (1936-1954)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 22.5

Presidential Executive Orders, 1862-1938 (nos. 1-8030)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 22.15


Compilations/Texts 1936+

Code of Federal Regulations (Title 3) (1936+ )
Location: Documents (Lamont): Doc Ref KF 70.A3x

In Federal Register
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Microfiche GS 4.107: 07 (1936-1984);
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Microfiche AE 2.106 (1985-current year)

In U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News (1950+ )
Location: Documents (Lamont): Doc Ref KF 48.W45

Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders. (1961-1985)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1020.10


Compilations/Texts Pre 1936

Executive Orders (1845-1936; nos. 1-7403)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film S 1130

Executive Orders (1929-1936; nos. 5076-7315)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1020.5

Herbert Hoover: Proclamations and Executive Orders (1929-1933)
Location: Documents (Lamont): US Doc 1010.7

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Special Reports

Economic Report of the President,
Location: Documents (Lamont): Ref HC106.5.A272 (1947+ )
Location: GPO Access Economic Report of the President: Downloadable Reports / Tables (1955+ )

U.S. Participation in the U.N.Report by the President to Congress
Location: Widener: US 83.17 (1946-1991)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): S 1.70/8: (1992+ )
Location: U.S. Department of State U.S. Participation in the United Nations (1999+ )

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Press Releases

Press Releases (prior to Jan. 18, 1965)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film S 755

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Declassified Documents

Each of the following microfilm collections has a paper guide, with the call number Index Film (# same as the collection):

Map Room messages of President Roosevelt (1939-1945)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film A 349

Presidential Diaries of Henry Morgenthau, Jr. 1938-1945
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film W 7020

Map room messages of President Truman, 1945-1946
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film W 6830

Potsdam Conference Documents (1945)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film W 6829

Official conversations and meetings of Dean Acheson, 1949-1953
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film W 6816

Minutes and documents of the cabinet meetings of President Eisenhower, 1953-1961
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film A 326

Minutes of telephone conversations of John Foster Dulles and of Christian Herter (1953-1961) 
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film A 327

Minutes and documents of the cabinet meetings of President Johnson
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film A 407

Daily diary of President Johnson (1963-1969)
Location: Microforms (Lamont): Film A 408

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Other Papers

The "Papers" of many presidents are held in microform. These may be found by checking in HOLLIS Classic Catalog under the name of the president, or using the Extended Search mode of Hollis, under the name of the president as author and under "Microforms" in location.

Increasingly, efforts are being made to provide digitized presidential papers. Some examples include:

Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower from The Johns Hopkins University Press via E-Resources is a collection
including documents from the Eisenhower Presidential Library, as well as private collections and public archives in the U.S. and U.K.

Presidential libraries may also provide needed information. They may include selected speeches, diaries, letters, etc. as well as information about the archive. National Archives Presidential Libraries provides links to the Presidents' museums and libraries from President Hoover to the most recently established presidential library.

Some of the earlier Presidential papers are also being made available electronically by institutions such as the Library of Congress. Although some are still only in their early stages there are some noteworthy collections:

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress 1741-1799

The Thomas Jefferson Papers
The papers may be searched by keyword or browsed by series. The largest of these, General Correspondence, comprises almost two-thirds of the total collection and includes letters, memoranda, notes, drafts of documents, small maps, drawings, and designs.

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

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Page Last Reviewed: June 22, 2010