Senate Executive Journals, 1789-1980
A record of the Senate's proceedings in Executive Session
Readex's America's Historical Government Documents suite is recommended for all U.S. academic libraries and research collections.
Suzanne L. Holcombe, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University in Reference Reviews

Quick Facts

  • Illuminates key moments in American history as they occurred and influential government decisions as they were made
  • Covers the confirmation of presidential nominees, the ratification of treaties, the careers of military officers and more
  • Cross-searchable with U.S. Congressional Serial Set, American State Papers, and House and Senate Journals


From its inception, the United States Senate has maintained a record of its proceedings in executive session. Known as the Senate Executive Journals, these publications capture the minutes of floor action on military events, judicial appointments, foreign affairs and other important issues, providing an essential record of American congressional and political history over nearly 200 years. With Readex’s comprehensive digital edition, these valuable historical documents are now available online in a fully searchable collection.

Senate Executive Journals, 1789-1980 features the deliberations of American Senators on a wide variety of events, organizations and people, with a strong focus on nominations across military, judicial and executive branches and on international treaties. Ideal for students and scholars of U.S. history, political science and foreign policy, this extensive collection helps illuminate key moments in American history as they occurred and influential government decisions as they were made. It also enables researchers to track the careers of military and naval senior officers, bureaucrats and others in the Federal sphere.

A variety of historically significant topics
When the first Senate Executive Journals were published in 1828, only 50 copies were printed. These rare records of early U.S. history provide insight into Indian treaties, Western territories, Spanish-American relations, the Monroe Doctrine, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark’s expedition and much more. Later proceedings continue to cover the Senate’s exercise of its powers of advice and consent as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

Part of America’s Historical Government Documents
As an essential part of America’s Historical Government Documents, Senate Executive Journals, 1789-1980 is cross-searchable in full-text with American State Papers, 1789-1838, House and Senate Journals, 1789-1817 and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980. Additionally, these four collections are also cross-searchable with other Readex Archive of Americana resources, offering unprecedented depth for research on nearly any topic in American history.


“The NewsBank Readex digital collection Archive of Americana presently includes four suites that give online access to historical U.S. materials from 1639 to 1980. Offering access to government publications is the America’s Historical Government Publications suite, which includes the Senate Executive Journals, 1789-1980. Other sets include the American State Papers, 1789-1838; the House and Senate Journals, 1789-1980; and the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980. ...

“The Senate Executive Journals complement their companion sources. Issued by volume for every session of Congress, including an index, the Executive Journals are the proceedings of the executive sessions of the U.S. Senate. Officially titled the Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, these proceedings are not included in the Senate Journal and are issued several years after the events occur as they are for the closed session deliberations. As many of the executive sessions are open, the proceedings and debates appear in the Congressional Record (Schmeckebier and Eastin, 1969, pp. 145-6). The executive sessions consist primarily of motions and actions in regard to the executive nominations (the Presidents’ nominations to office), treaties negotiated, and other matters ...

“The contents are organized by day within the Congressional session, so the indexes are necessary to locate information. The Proceedings are issued in paper by the US Government Printing Office (GPO) and distribution is limited. They are available for deposit within the Federal Depository Library Program; Superintendent of Documents number is Y 1.3/4: (volume). Searching within the paper is difficult unless the specific year is known.

“Readex has the Proceedings available on its website from the 1st through the 66th Congresses, 1789-1921. The projected publication schedule for the completion of the collection to 1980 is 1921 to 1948 (Spring 2009) and 1948 to 1980 (Fall 2009). Content can be browsed by Congress or searched. Browsing by Congress is by date and then page; the index is also available. Page numbers are listed on the left and page images are given for each page. Images can be downloaded as bitonal or colour PDF or JPEG, either as one page or a range of pages. Printing is possible after the images are downloaded. The citation for each page may be viewed, printed or exported. And each page may be checked to be included in My Collection.

“With the Simple Search, content can be searched by keyword in Full Text, Citation Text, Title, Author, Congress/Session No., Volume No. and Language. Phrases are to be put in quotation marks. Advanced Search offers two terms or phrases to be searched using AND, also by Full Text, Vol. No. or Year. Results can also be limited to tables. Results are in chronological order and highlight the term searched and on what page it occurs. Other links in the results include the Full Citation, First Page and View Found Pages. Searches are tracked and can be viewed in the View My Searches link. Searching by keyword can also be done within a publication. Pages that contain the term(s) are highlighted, and the words searched marked in red.

“The Help link in the top right menu bar yields an extensive list of topics for the Senate Executive Journals. Categories include Searching, Search Operators, Displaying/Viewing, Printing/Downloading, Other Functions, Troubleshooting/FAQ, Hints, Background, Helpful Information. Each page gives detailed information and includes links to the other available Help topics on the left for easy navigation. This is an excellent resource that explains how to search the material; the background/historical information is very useful as is the citation guide.

“Given the difficulty of searching this material due to its indexing, Readex deserves accolades for the layout of the Proceedings offering all necessary access points. The page images given for its online collections enhance the searching experience. The search capability that they offer for this resource is outstanding and to be recognized, as it gives access to personal names for nominations or treaties that would otherwise be mostly inaccessible. ...

“Readex’s America's Historical Government Publications suite is recommended for all U.S. academic libraries and research collections.”
Suzanne L. Holcombe, Associate Professor, Documents Librarian, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University in Reference Reviews (Vol. 23, No. 4, 2009)

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