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Understanding the U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Congresses: 1st-34th ... 35th-45th ... 46th-50th ... 51st-54th ... 55th-57th ... Key

"The United States Congressional Serial Set, commonly referred to as the Serial Set or Congressional Series or (before 1907) the Sheep-bound set, began publication with the 15th Congress, 1st session (1817). Documents of the first fourteen Congresses were published as the American State Papers. The Serial Set contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. Hearings are generally published separately. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations."

Excerpt and photo from the American Memory, Library of Congress.

A new term of Congress begins every two years and each Congress is two years long. The 1st Congress was held from 1789 to 1791, the 2nd Congress from 1791-1793, and so on.... Usually there are two "sessions" in this two year period, one for each year.

The entry "H.mis.doc. 10 (32-2) 685" means the record is House (of Representatives) miscellaneous document number 10, from the (32nd Congress-2nd Session), and can be found in volume 685 of the published Congressional records.

The entry "Ind.aff. 108 (9-1) ASP07" means document 108, 9th Congress, 1st Session, and can be found in the American State Papers, Indian Affairs, volume 7.

Key:
H.misdoc (House miscellaneous document)
H.rp. (House report)
S.misdoc. (Senate miscellaneous document)
S.rp. (Senate report)

ASP (American State Papers)

Ind.aff. (American State Papers, Indian Affairs)
Mil.aff. (American State Papers, Military Affairs)
Pub.land (American State Papers, Public Lands)


Congresses: 1st-34th ... 35th-45th ... 46th-50th ... 51st-54th ... 55th-57th ... Key