American State Papers, 1789-1838
An Archive of Americana Collection
A rich resource not only for people studying American history or political science....also an invaluable source of information on social issues.
Tom Glynn, History and Political Science Selector, Rutgers University Libraries

Quick Facts

  • Contains legislative and executive documents of the first 14 U.S. Congresses
  • Provides superior images through digitization of the original print volumes
  • Features extensive, expert indexing that helps ensure the most accurate search results


American State Papers, 1789-1838 enables students and scholars to easily search and browse legislative and executive documents of the first 14 U.S. Congresses. Part of the America’s Historical Government Documents suite of collections, this digital edition is the essential complement to the digital U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994. This seminal set of U.S. government documents is a rich source of primary material on wide-ranging aspects of early American history. Beyond, American State Papers is cross-searchable with the digital U.S. Congressional Serial Set and all other Readex Archive of Americana collections.

Superior images and bibliographic records
Readex’s digital edition of the American State Papers features not only new bibliographic records for every one of its nearly 6,300 documents, but also superior images created by digitizing every page of every publication from the original print volumes issued between 1832 and 1861. By combining extensive indexing from Readex’s expert editors with high-quality original images, this edition of this landmark work gives students and scholars the most fruitful and accurate search results possible.

A detailed record of the birth of the nation
The American State Papers, originally republished in the second quarter of the 19th century, is a retrospective collection of largely Congressional, but also Executive, materials originating from 1789 through 1838. Readex’s digital American State Papers illuminates key moments in early American history as they occurred and influential decisions as they were made. This collection covers such historical events as Lewis and Clark’s Expedition, Burr’s Conspiracy and Arrest, the Treaty of the Creek Indians made by Andrew Jackson and much more.

American State Papers also includes speeches and messages of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison. Other documents address battles with the Seminole Indians, the capture of the British Fleet on Lake Champlain, depredations committed by Mounted Riflemen, exploration of the Pacific Ocean, free negroes in North Carolina, land for female academies, protection of the western frontier, trade with China and myriad other fascinating topics.

America’s Historical Government Documents
In addition to American State Papers, 1789-1938, and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1819-1984, this suite of authoritative digital editions of essential sources on U.S. history and politics also includes House and Senate Journals, Series 1, 1789-1817, and Senate Executive Journals, 1789-1980.


American State Papers are a rich resource not only for people studying American history or political science. They are also an invaluable source of information on social issues.”
— Tom Glynn, History and Political Science Selector, Rutgers University Libraries

MARC Records

Readex offers catalog records in MARC format for every publication in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994. These Serial Set MARC records, totaling more than 363,000, offer the high level of indexing found in the full citations of the Readex digital edition. Readex also offers more than 6,200 catalog records in MARC format for every publication in its digital edition of American State Papers.

For more information on acquiring these MARC Records, contact Readex at 800.762.8182 or

Readex’s cataloging of the Serial Set includes:

1) Description, which may include the title, statement of responsibility, edition, material specific details, publication information, series, notes and standard bibliographic numerical data specific to the Reports, Documents and Journals of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

2) Main entry (either the “United States Congress. Senate” or “United States Congress. House of Representatives”) and added entries (full official committee name)

3) Subject headings, based on the following authorities:

• Legislative Indexing Vocabulary of the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress
• Library of Congress Subject Headings
• United States Congressional Biographical Directory for names of Senators and Representatives
• Getty Thesaurus of Geographical Names

View three samples of Serial Set MARC records.  

In addition, Readex offers Simple Dublin Core records—at no charge—to customers of the full digital edition of the Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set. Under the guidance of Terry Reese, Cataloger for Networked Resources and Digital Production Unit Head, Oregon State University Libraries, Readex has generated Simple Dublin Core records from our basic Serial Set citation records. Our generation of these records follows the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH).

View two samples of Serial Set Simple Dublin Core records.


American State Papers, 1789-1838 contains almost every legislative document of the first 50 years of U.S. history. It is an excellent complement to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980, the House and Senate Journals, Series 1, 1789-1817 and the Senate Executive Journals, Series 1, 1789-1866. It provides a rich source of primary material on a wide range of topics in early American history. American State Papers is cross-searchable with all the other collections in Readex’s Archive of Americana. It will open new horizons for researchers, as it makes this primary material available to much larger audiences. It will be of great value for political scientists and historians and will serve a wide range of academic disciplines, as it will foster new interpretations of life and events in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
— Norman Desmarais, Acquisitions Librarian, Providence College, in Reference Reviews (2008)

American State Papers is “… an extensive archive of U.S. history documents, offering roughly 6,300 documents. The archive provides access to every Congressional and Executive document of the first 14 U.S. Congresses, and additional coverage through the 25th Congress, as well as tables, maps, charts and other illustrations. The collection is particularly strong in military history, with 205 documents about military bases and posts and 134 on military construction. Other documents address topics such as westward expansion, Native American affairs and issues surrounding slavery. This collection also includes numerous speeches and messages by Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison. Users can browse the archive by category: Subjects, Publication Category, Standing-Committee Author, Document Class, and Congress. Simple and advanced searches are available, enabling easy access into this large collection of documents. For those with access, this site is a valuable resource for researching the government and military in the early United States.”
— History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web

“This collection includes all legislative and executive branch documents from the first 25 U.S. Congressessome 40,000 digitized pages of content covering 6,000 documents. Originally divided into 10 document classes (e.g., foreign relations, military affairs, public lands), the documents are digitized from the original printed volumes, published 1832-61. From the main search page, users may enter keywords in a search box. The default search field is set to ‘citation text.’ Researchers may also browse by subject (e.g., armed forces and conflict, food and agriculture, personal names), publication category, congressional committee, or the original ten document classes, or by Congress. The advanced search function lets users combine searches in different fields and limit by date.

“Searching within documents is easy—search terms appear highlighted over the digitized text. Citations include hyperlinked subjects, allowing greater access to other relevant documents. The My Collection features permit users to save documents during the search session with the ability to e-mail the materials. Researchers will be impressed with the clarity of the documents and images. A zoom feature is available to enlarge documents with the option to download in either PDF or JPG format. Librarians will like the fact that the database is open-URL compliant and supports federated searching. … Summing up: highly recommended.”
— Joe Hardenbrook, Library Instruction Coordinator & Research/Instruction Librarian, Staley Library, Millikin University in Choice (January 2006)

For more information, contact a Readex representative by calling 800.762.8182 or by using our easy contact form.
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