GPO Completes Digitization of the Historical Congressional Record

Issues final release for the period 1873-1890

WASHINGTON - In cooperation with the Library of Congress, the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has completed the digitization of all historical issues of the Congressional Record dating to the first appearance of this publication on March 5, 1873. The final release of this project, covering the period 1873-1890, is being made available to the public free of charge on GPO's govinfo ( Today’s release covers the debates and proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate from the 43rd through the 51st Congresses.

For this project the Library created digital images of the Congressional Record pages. GPO devised the necessary metadata to preserve the pages and make them accessible and searchable by users across a variety of digital platforms. It is one of a series of projects in recent years in which the Library and GPO have collaborated to expand free public access to congressional information in digital formats.

For background on the Congressional Record and the importance of this document, see GPO’s official history, Keeping America Informed: The U.S. Government Publishing Office 1861–2016: A Legacy of Service to the Nation, Washington, DC: GPO, 2016; at",pp, 18-19.

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

  • 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 states
  • The Panic of 1873
  • he Civil Rights Act of 1875
  • The Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand)
  • The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
  • The Sherman Anti-Trust Act
  • The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act

“This final digital release of the historic issues of the Congressional Record gives the public easy access to the historic debates of Congress on smartphones, tablets, laptops and personal computers,” said Acting GPO Director Jim Bradley. “We are pleased to have completed this project with the Library of Congress to provide the public with digital access to this publication that traces the history of our life as a Nation since 1873.”

GPO is the Federal Government's official, digital, secure resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government. The GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of Congress, the White House, and other Federal agencies in digital and print formats. GPO provides for permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge through, partnerships with approximately 1,150 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program, and our secure online bookstore. For more information, please visit

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