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U.S. Civil War in Government Documents: Executive Agency Docs

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Executive Agency Docs

To look more deeply into government materials published during the Civil War, we present this list of executive agencies which were operating in the 1860s and which had publications printed by the Government Printing Office.  Each agency likely produced a published annual report in additon to other printed materials. Annual reports are a good place to start.  The SuDoc number found next to each entry can be used in conjuction with the Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909  (Hereafter abbreviated 1909 Checklist) available through Hathi Trust and in print in the library. All documents in the Checklist are arranged in SuDoc order but not chronological order.  There are several other ways to access Civil War era publications from federal agencies:

  • Retreive annual reports in full text from the U. S Congressional Serial Set database. Some (not all) of the agencies' annual reports will be included.
  • Get a list of agency publications from the CIS Index to U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909: Guide to Documents listed in Checklist of U.S. Public Documents, 1789-1909, not printed in the U.S. Serial Set (See MERLIN record for this item on the Documents Reference shelf.) This reference work functions as a subject index to the Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909.

 

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FEDERAL EXECUTIVE AGENCIES IN OPERATION 1861-1865

  • Department of Agriculture (1862- ) SuDoc: A 1

Example of search process:
1) View list of this agency's publications in the 1909 Checklist, in Hathi Trust
2) Note publications you want to get, for example the agency's Annual Report
3) Optional: check the CIS Index to U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909: Guide to Documents listed in Checklist of U.S. Public Documents, 1789-1909, not printed in the U.S. Serial Set (See MERLIN record)
4) Find the Annual Report in the MU Libraries' print collection by doing an author/title search in MERLIN, OR
5) Find the Annual Report freely available in Hathi Trust, OR
6) Find the Annual Report in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set database

  • Freedman’s Savings and Trust (March, 3 1865-1920) SuDoc: FS 1-- Example: Hathi Trust
  • Government Printing Office (1860- ) SuDoc: GP 1
  • Department of the Interior (1849- ) SuDoc: I 1
    • General Land Office (1849-1946) SuDoc: I 21
    • U.S. Department of the Interior Library (1849- )SuDoc: I 22
    • Patent Office (1849-1925) SuDoc: I 23
    • Bureau of Pensions (1849-1930) SuDoc: I 24
  • United States Marshals Service (1789- ) SuDoc: J 25
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims (1855-1982) SuDoc: Ju 3
  • Supreme Court (1790- ) SuDoc: Ju 6
  • Library of Congress (1800- ) SuDoc: LC 1
  • Department of the Navy (1798-1947) SuDoc: N 1
    • Bureau of Construction and Repair (1842-1940) SuDoc: N 4
    • Bureau of Equipment (1862-1910) SuDoc: N 5
    • Marine Corps (1798-1947) SuDoc: N 9
    • Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (1842-1947) SuDoc: N 10
    • Nautical Almanac Office (1849-1947) SuDoc: N 11
    • Naval Academy (1845-1947) SuDoc: N 12
    • Naval Observatory (1842-1947) SuDoc: N 14
    • Bureau of Naval Personnel (1862-1947) SuDoc: N 17
    • Bureau of Ordinance and Hydrography (1842-1947) SuDoc: N 18
    • Bureau of Supplies and Accounts (1842-1947) SuDoc: N 20
    • Bureau of Yards and Docks (1842-1947) SuDoc: N 21
  • The National Academies (1863- ) SuDoc: NA 1
  • United States Postal Service (1792- ) SuDoc: P 1
    • Bureau of Finance (1836-?) SuDoc: P 4
    • Division of Dead Letters (1825-1904) SuDoc: P 7
    • Money Orders Division (1864-1951) SuDoc: P 9
  • Department of State (1789- ) SuDoc: S 1
    • Bureau of Rolls and Library (1789-1921) SuDoc: S 8
  • Smithsonian Institution (1846- ) SuDoc: SI 1
  • Department of the Treasury (1789- ) SuDoc: T 1
    • Comptroller of the Currency (1863- ) SuDoc: T 12
    • Commissioner of Customs (1849-1894) SuDoc: T 16
    • Bureau of Engraving and Printing (1862- ) SuDoc: T 18
    • Board of Examiners (1853-1909) SuDoc: T 19
    • Library (1818-?) SuDoc: T 23
    • Lighthouse Board (1852-1903) SuDoc: T 25
    • United States Mint (1792- ) SuDoc: T 28
    • Special Agents Division (1860-1915) SuDoc: T 35
    • Steamboat Inspection Service (1852-1903) SuDoc: T 38
    • Treasurer of the United States (1789-1940) SuDoc: T 40
    • Office of the Solicitor of Treasury (1830-1870) SuDoc: T 44
  • Department of War (1789-1947) SuDoc: W 1
    • Subsistence Department (1775-1912) SuDoc: W 5
    • Engineer Department (1802-1947) SuDoc: W 7
    • Military Academy (1802-1947) SuDoc: W 12
    • California Department (1858-1865) SuDoc: W 13
    • Department of the East (1853-1903) SuDoc: W 17
    • Department of the Gulf (1862-1911) SuDoc: W 18
    • Department of the Missouri (1862-1911) SuDoc: W 20
    • Department of Texas (1853-1911) SuDoc: W 24
    • Northern and Northwestern Lakes Survey (1841-1947) SuDoc: W 33
    • Ordnance Department (1812-1947) SuDoc: W 34
    • Pay Department (1816-1912) SuDoc: W 36
    • Provost Marshal General (1863-1947) SuDoc: W 37
    • Quartermaster’s Department (1812-1912) SuDoc: W 39
    • Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (March 3, 1865-1947) SuDoc: W 41
    • Signal Office (1860-1947) SuDoc: W 42
    • District of Columbia Soldiers Home (1851-1947) SuDoc: W 43
    • Medical Department (1818-1947) SuDoc: W 44
    • Pacific Division (1847-1907) SuDoc: W 51
    • Department of Washington (1861-1869) SuDoc: W 52
    • Atlantic Division (1865-1907) SuDoc: W 64
    • Department of the South (1862-1883) SuDoc: W66
    • Department of Virginia and North Carolina (May 22, 1861-1870) SuDoc: W 67
  • Architect of the Capitol (1793- ) SuDoc: Y 3: Ar 2

If if seems there would have been more executive agencies than what in this list, consider that many were organized after the Civil War.  The nation's first Education Bureau was established by an act passed in 1867.  The Department of Justice got its start in 1870 and the Department of Commerce wasn't organized until 1903.  Before the establishment of executive agencies, these issues were handled by subject-specific congressional committees.  Incidentally, one finds the same pattern at the Missouri state level.

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To find a similar list for Missouri state government agencies active during the Civil War, check our Missouri Historical Documents Browser and click on years 1861, 1863, 1865, etc.

 

 

Govt Documents Coordinator

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Marie Concannon
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