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Core Documents of Our Democracy: Basics on Historical Document Research

The resources found in this guide are vital sources of information that support the public's right to know about the workings and essential activities of the Federal Government.


Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications 1900-1971

  • Using this index stops you from having to search the Monthly Catalog year by year. 
  • Once you’ve found the desired subject the year will be in parenthesis and the page number or citation number will follow. 
  • Find topic in the index, then go to the particular Monthly Catalog for the exact tangible document information, and then use that information to search in Proquest. 
  • Be prepared to use era appropriate terminology when searching the index.

Once you have identified the document you are looking for in the Monthly Catalog, go to the database ProQuest Congressional Hearings and choose the following options to find the document you're interested in:

  • Under "Legislative & Executive Publications" select "Search by Number"
  • Then under "Publication Search" choose "Publication Number"
  • To get the exact document listed in the Monthly Catalog, select the appropriate:
    • Publication type (examples:  House Report (H.rpt.), Senate document (S.doc.), Senate Hearing (S.hrg.)
    • Congress
  • Type in the publication number
  • Click on "Search"

Image of ProQuest Congressional Hearings Search by Number page

Checklist of United States Public Documents 1789-1909

  • The book is set-up in SuDoc order detailing what’s been published and the history of that document including possible changes in department or agency or if/when the document ceased publication

Cumulative Title Index to United States Public Documents 1789-1976

  • Anything before July, 1976 is pre-online, so this document is very useful for research prior to that date.
  • Only useful with exact titles.  This book will give you the SuDoc number for the specific title.

Cumulative Subject Guide to United States Government Bibliographies

  • Search a particular topic and it will provide you with SuDoc numbers significant to the topic.

CIS Legislative Histories

  • This document shows the progression of a law through congress including bills, hearings, etc…
  • This document is ONLINE ONLY in our collection.

Print Versions of the Documents Referenced in this Section may be found in the Documents Alcove