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Government Information (United States): Presidential Documents

Resources for United States Government Information at UCSB Library

American Presidency Project

A full text archive of presidential documents can be found at the American Presidency Project. This is the only online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database:

  • The Messages and Papers of the Presidents:
    • Washington to Taft (1789–1913)
  • The Public Papers of the Presidents:
    • Hoover to G.W. Bush (1929–2006) & Obama (2009)
  • The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents:
    • Carter to G.W. Bush (1977–2009)
  • The Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents:
    • Obama (2009+) 

The archives also contain thousands of other documents such as party platforms, candidates' remarks, Statements of Administration Policy, documents released by the Office of the Press Secretary, and election debates.

Compilations of Presidential Documents

Compilation of Presidential Documents (1965+)

The Compilation of Presidential Documents is published daily, and consists of all materials released by the White House Office of the Press Secretary, including proclamations and executive orders, speeches and press conferences, communications to Congress, reorganization plans, resignations, and retirements. Also included are acts approved by the President, nominations submitted to the Senate, and White House announcements and press releases.

This information is now released as the Daily Compilation. Prior to the Obama administration, the Weekly Compilation compiled presidential statements, messages, remarks, and other materials released by the White House Press Secretary, going back to 1965. Contents of this publication are also compiled into an annual series entitled Public Papers of the Presidents. The Public Papers series covers administrations beginning with Herbert Hoover in 1929, with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt.

Print: Government Information collection reference shelves (annual cumulative index bound with individual volumes).

  • 1965–1985: GS 4.114:
  • 1985–2000: AE 2.119:

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

Published since 1929 (except for Franklin Roosevelt’s administration), the Public Papers is an edited annual cumulation of the Weekly Compilation. Appendices of the Public Papers include a digest of the President’s daily public schedule, a list of nominations, a checklist of press releases not printed, a list of acts approved, and a list of proclamations and executive orders.  Volumes covering the administrations of Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama are included in the Public Papers series.

The Public Papers do not include materials published in the Federal Register such as executive orders, administrative orders, or presidential proclamations.

Texts of proclamations and executive orders were included from 1977–1988 (Carter and Reagan) only; for other years, the list in the Appendix refers to the Federal Register and the Weekly Compilation, where the text can be found.

Print:  Main Library, J80 .A28: 1929–1933; 1945+ (index at end of each volume)

Executive Orders and Proclamations

Executive Orders are the formal means through which the President of the United States prescribes the conduct of business in the Executive Branch. Executive Orders are sometimes referred to as “Presidential Legislation,” a form of executive lawmaking used in instances in which the Constitution of Congress directly or indirectly permits the President to take action.

Proclamations are general announcements of policy issued to the nation as a whole, and are commonly associated with ceremonial occasions such as the observance of National Bowling Week, 1987 (Proc. No. 5596), or National Skiing Day, 1988 ( Proc. No. 5756). A few substantive proclamations deal with trade policy or tariff issues.

United States Statutes at Large (proclamations only)
Reference KF50 .A3

Presidential Executive Orders, numbered 1–8060, 1862–1938
Government Information Microfiche J80 .A73 1944a (index included on fiche)

CIS index to presidential executive orders & proclamations:

Code of Federal Regulations. Title 3: The President
Reference KF70 .A3 C57
Index to the Code of Federal Regulations
Reference KF70 .A34 I46

Federal Register
Print: Government Information Reference AE 2.106: (most recent two years only)
Microfilm: Government Information Microfilm AE 2.106: (1936-2001)

Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders
Reference KF70 .A473

Digital Archives

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