GPO Celebrates 160 Years of Keeping America Informed

GPO Celebrates 160 Years of Keeping America Informed

On March 4, 2021, GPO celebrated its 160th birthday. In celebration, we’re sharing stories of the people who helped GPO make it 160 years, their memories of the agency, and historic GPO moments. Follow GPO on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all the latest celebratory moments.

President James Buchanan signed Joint Resolution No. 25 that authorized the creation of GPO on June 23, 1860. The agency opened its doors on March 4, 1861, the same day President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated.

“Congratulations to the entire GPO team, past and present, for achieving this 160-year milestone of serving the Nation,” said GPO Director Hugh Nathanial Halpern. “GPO’s mission of Keeping America Informed has been constant through wars, economic busts and booms, national tragedies and celebrations, and yes, even through today’s global pandemic. GPO’s willingness to adapt the latest technologies of the last 160 years is one of the reasons for its relevance today. But the single most important factor in GPO’s resilience has been its people.”

GPO began delivering Government information with horses during the Civil War and throughout the 19th Century.

At the dawn of the 20th Century, GPO began distributing Government information through its partnership with libraries, which is still going strong today.

GPO embraced machine typesetting during the early 1900s with Monotype and Linotype machines. Typesetting productivity was transformed from minutes per line to lines per minute. And, the agency made deliveries to Congress using some of the first automobiles.

GPO began producing the U.S. passport in 1926 and the State Department continues to choose GPO to produce passports with the latest security features.

GPO entered the computer age in the late 1960s by adapting operations to computerized typesetting with the Linotron.

Perhaps, the biggest transformation in the agency’s history occurred at the end of the 20th century when GPO entered the Digital Age by putting Government information online. Today, the public can use govinfo to access information anywhere on their mobile devices.

GPO production areas adapted by using more efficient press and bindery equipment with the introduction of the inkjet and eight-color presses.