Government Publications


MARC Records for the U.S. Congressional Serial Set and American State Papers

Readex offers MARC records for the documents and reports of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 based on the high level of indexing found in the full citations of the Readex digital edition. MARC records are also available for every publication in Readex's American State Papers, 1789-1838. To convert its indexing to MARC records, the Readex government publications cataloguing team worked with an expert advisory board that included Terry Reese, Gray Chair for Innovative Library Services, Oregon State University Library; Becky Culbertson, Shared Cataloging Program Manager, California Digital Library; and Leona Faust, Senate Librarian, United States Senate Library. Three sample records are available here.
MARC Records for the U.S. Congressional Serial Set and American State Papers

Announcing the Winners of the 2010 GODORT Silent Auction

Congratulations to Esther Crawford, Rice University, and Michelle McKnelly, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, winners of the 2010 GODORT Silent Auction for the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship. Esther had the winning bid for the seven-day stay in Chester, Vermont, and Michelle won the four-day stay in Naples, Florida. Enjoy the getaways! Over $1,600 was raised to support the Rozkuszka Scholarship, which since 1994 has provided financial assistance to an individual currently working with government documents in a library and completing a master's degree in library science. GODORT and Readex would like to thank all the participants for their support of this worthy cause.
Announcing the Winners of the 2010 GODORT Silent Auction

Bismarck's Birthday Verses: The Chicago Latin Version

From America's Historical Newspapers

When one thinks of Prince Otto von Bismarck, 19th-century Germany’s Iron Chancellor, birthday cakes and greetings do not first come to mind. But they did — at least the birthday greetings — in perhaps an unexpected place and certainly in a most unusual way in a Chicago newspaper in 1874. On April 1, 1874, Bismarck — still not fully recovered from a serious illness contracted the year before (not nervous exhaustion from overwork in redesigning the European continent but rather a case of gout) — celebrated his 60th birthday in Berlin amid much adulation from the new Germany, his enthusiastic nationalist supporters, and foreign dignitaries. Just a little more than a month later, the Chicago Inter Ocean newspaper published on May 2, 1874 a macaronic poem [i.e. a poem, usually in Latin, interspersed with vernacular words or phrases] celebrating Bismarck’s birthday. It is, I think, a poem which raises at least a couple of questions.
“SALUTES NATALICIAE AD BISMARCKIUM PRINCIPEM

Tot mitto Tibi salutes,

Quot ruras Gallia cutes,

Quot Roma habet clamores,

Bismarck's Birthday Verses: The Chicago Latin Version

Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

A Readex breakfast event during the 2010 American Library Association annual conference included a presentation by Steve Daniel, an internationally known authority on government documents. In "Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes," Daniel traced the history of the idea of a water route through Central America as it is documented in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Daniel writes:
"The building of the Panama Canal was without doubt one of the great engineering and technological achievements of the modern era, equal in every respect to the first transcontinental railroad and putting a man on the moon. Its completion in 1914 was the realization of a dream that dates back to the early years of European settlement in the New World. "Because of the Serial Set’s importance as a collection of legislative history materials, the even greater importance of the 19th and early 20th century Serial Set as a fundamental resource for research on the major and minor issues of American political, economic and social history is sometimes overlooked.  Highlighted here are only a small number of the hundreds of publications in in the Serial Set that might be cited on the Panama Canal." 
Here is Daniel’s PowerPoint. A video of his live presentation will be available here soon. Daniel adds:
"Whether it’s biographical research on Civil War generals and politicians, the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage in America, or the building an interoceanic canal, the Serial Set is a logical place to begin."
Dredges, Gunboats, and Mosquitoes: The U.S. Congressional Serial Set and the Building of the Panama Canal

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

[The Pope’s Stone, Part One discussed the theft and destruction of a block of marble sent by Pope Pius IX in 1853 to be placed in the Washington Monument, under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This Part Two recounts some inflammatory background to that embarrassing episode in American history in the form of the perilous visit of a Vatican prelate just before the destruction of the stone.]

The announcement of his upcoming visit was short and succinct, in no way foreshadowing the waves of bigotry, chaos, and violence, which over the following seven months would accompany his progress through America. Baltimore’s Sunof June 27, 1853 reported simply:

"Monsignor Bedini, Archbishop of Thebes, former Commissary Extraordinary of the Pontifical Government to the Legations, has left Rome as special Envoy of His Holiness to the United States. He is charged by the Holy Father to pay a visit to the government at Washington, and also to hold interviews with different Prelates of the Church in the United States, and to acquire the most exact information respecting the interests and condition of the Catholic Church in this country. After making as along a visit as may be of advantage in the United States, Monsignor Bedini will go to Brazil, where he is to reside as Apostolic Nuncio near that Government."

Gaetano Bedini was born on May 15, 1806 in Sinigaglia, Italy, also the birthplace of Pius IX, not far from the Adriatic. After his ordination in 1828, Bedini was awarded a Doctor Utriusque Juris (i.e. doctorate in civil and canon law) and became secretary to Cardinal Altieri, Papal Nuncio at Vienna. In 1846 he was sent by the Pope to serve as Apostolic Internuncio [a sort of junior ambassador] to the Imperial Court of Brazil, where in the words of J.F. Connelley

The Pope's Stone, Part Two: The Bloody Bedini Background

Silent auction for the GODORT Rozkuszka Scholarship: Enjoy a vacation in Naples, Florida or Chester, Vermont

Established in 1994, the W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship provides financial assistance to an individual who is 1) currently working with government documents in a library and 2) trying to complete a master's degree in library science. Sponsored by Readex and GODORT (American Library Association's Government Documents Round Table), the award is named after W. David Rozkuszka, a former Documents Librarian at Stanford University whose talent, work ethic and personality left an indelible mark on the profession. The scholarship award is $3,000, and has assisted twelve students with their library education since 1995. Place your bid today to stay in beautiful Naples, Florida or charming Chester, Vermont.  Auction bidding ends at noon on July 12, 2010.  Thank you for supporting the GODORT W. David Rozkuszka Scholarship!
Silent auction for the GODORT Rozkuszka Scholarship: Enjoy a vacation in Naples, Florida or Chester, Vermont

Join Readex to Hear James McGrath Morris and Steven Daniel at the 2010 American Library Association Annual Conference

Will you be attending the American Library Association conference this summer?  If so, make a date with Readex to attend a special breakfast event focusing on the use of digital resources for historical research.

Photo by Michael Mudd

Join Readex to Hear James McGrath Morris and Steven Daniel at the 2010 American Library Association Annual Conference

Electronic Resources that Help Illuminate Past Lives

Increasingly, a writer attempting to produce the definitive biography of a 19th or 20th-century American will find that essential tools include searchable databases of government documents and newspapers. T.J. Stiles, author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (2009, Alfred A. Knopf), which recently won the National Book Award, was able to utilize the digital edition of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set to uncover vindicating facts about the patriotism of his often maligned subject. In his article “Commodore Vanderbilt: Patriot or War Profiteer?,” Stiles writes:

I was ready to indict and convict Vanderbilt of war profiteering, if that’s where the evidence led me. Instead, it convinced me that the Commodore deserved his gold medal. Vanderbilt has often been treated with cynicism by historians, who are ready to believe the worst of a staggeringly rich, secretive, and combative man. Certainly I did not set out to rehabilitate his reputation. But I couldn’t ignore the evidence—evidence provided in breathtaking abundance by Congress in its Serial Set, now more accessible than ever thanks to digitization.

Electronic Resources that Help Illuminate Past Lives

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