Created by Congress in June 1860, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) began operation on March 4, 1861 with 350 employees. Occupying the corner of North Capitol and H Streets from its inception, GPO continues to adopt the most efficient and cost-effective production methods of delivering authentic and secure government documents and products to the American public. 

With the increase in digital communication and expanding publishing technologies, GPO has streamlined and transformed from a print-only operation to an integrated publishing organization. On December 17, 2014, Congress redesignated the agency the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

GPO’s history program documents over 150 years of Keeping America Informed through publications, exhibits, public programs, and research. In 2017, the American Printing History Association honored GPO with its Institutional Award, recognizing a “distinguished contribution to study, recording, preservation or dissemination of printing history.” The award citation honors GPO’s “services in advancing the understanding of the history of printing and its allied arts.”

Online Photo Gallery

GPO's historic photo collection (Best viewed through Chrome and Firefox) consists of images and drawings of GPO dating to 1861, photographs of our building, printing presses, equipment, employees, and now-historic documents.

GPO History

GPO During the Civil War

150th Anniversary History Exhibit

Keeping America Informed: The U.S. Government Printing Office 1861–2011: 150 Years of Service to the Nation, is our permanent exhibit that features information on GPO's dissemination activities and work with digital technology. Exhibit galleries—adjacent to the GPO Visitor Center, near the main entrance at 732 North Capitol Street NW—are open to the public Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special tours and night openings are scheduled occasionally.

Special Exhibits