This is exciting news for digital access to US history. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), working in cooperation with the Library of Congress, has completed the digitization of all historical issues of the Congressional Record. The digital record now dates to the first appearance of the Record from March 5, 1873.

The final release of this project, covering the period 1873-1890, is now available to the public free of charge on GPO’s govinfo website. The release covers the debates and proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate from the 43rd through the 51st Congresses.

The period of 1873-90 in Congress was notable for a number of events including:

  • Key Presidential events – The second term of President U.S. Grant; the disputed election of 1876, resulting in the presidency of Rutherford Hayes; the election and assassination of President James Garfield; the administration of President Chester Arthur; the election and first non-consecutive term of President Grover Cleveland; and the first two years of the administration of President Benjamin Harrison
  • The admission of Colorado, Montana, Washington, North and South Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming as state
  • The Panic of 1873
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1875
  • The Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand)
  • The Sherman Anti-Trust Act
  • The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act (Agricultural Colleges Act of 1890)

It is one of a series of projects in recent years in which the Library of Congress and GPO have collaborated to expand free public access to congressional information in digital formats.