The Public Documents

In his introduction to Public Documents of the First Fourteen Congresses, 1789-1871, published in 1900, A.W. Greeley takes note of the remarkably complete collection of early scarce documents possessed by the then young University of Chicago Library:

"In the City of Washington there is no complete collection [of US Public Documents] in any one library, whether that of Congress, of the Senate, of the House of Representatives, of the State Department, of the Navy Department, or of the War Department...As to other cities, in the West, the University of Chicago Library contains perhaps the fullest set in the country."

Researchers believe Stephan A Douglas donated his large collection of government documents to the Old University of Chicago Library. The connection to UChicago may be inferred, but we have yet to uncover direct evidence linking Regenstein's near-comprehensive holdings to a Douglas gift.

title page of government document
Register of Debates in Congress

United States Congress. Register of the Debates in Congress Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the ...Session of the..Congress. Washington: Printed and published by Gales & Seaton, 1825-1837.

The are fourteen numbered volumes in the Register of Debates series, resulting in a total of twenty-nine bound items. The Register is not a verbatim account of the proceedings, but rather a summary of the "leading debates and incidents" of the period. Appendices include presidential messages and the texts of laws.

This volume from Regenstein's complete series bears the bookplate of the Old University Library.

title page with Old University notation

United States Congress. The Congressional Globe. Washington: Blair & Rives, 1834-1873.

The Globe, as it is usually called, contains the congressional debates of the 23rd through 42nd Congress (1833-1873). There are forty-six volumes in the series, which which is succeeded by the Congressional Record, the official record of debates that remains in use today.

This volume from Regenstein's complete series bears a bookplate indicating it was a gift received from the Old University of Chicago Library. A pencil inscription indicating provenance is also visible on the title page.