Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 12: Committee on the Library

Chapter 12. Records of the Administration Committee and Its Predecessors

Table of Contents

Records of the House Administration Committee and Its Predecessors from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committees discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on the Library (1806-1946) History and Jurisdiction

12.24 The standing Committee on the Library was composed of the House members of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress. Its jurisdiction included all legislation or matters touching on the Library of Congress, and statuary, pictures or works of art on the Capitol grounds.

Records of the Committee on the Library 9th-79th Congresses (1806-1946)
Record TypeVolumeCongresses (Dates)
Minute Books 22 volumes 50th-54th (1887-97), 56th-67th (1899-1923), 79th-77th (1927-42)
Docket Books 18 volumes 48th-63d (1885-1915), 65th-68th (1919-25)
Petitions and Memorials 2 feet 38th (1963-65), 42d (1871-73), 48th-50th (1883-89), 52d-55th (1891-99), 58th-67th (1903-23), 69th-71st (1925-31), 73d-79th (1933-46)
Committee Papers 8 feet 17th (1819-21), 19th (1825-27), 35th (1857-59), 48th-79th (1883-1946)
Bill Files 12 feet 58th-79th (1903-46)
Total22 feet and 40 volumes (3 feet)  
Committee Records Summary Table

12.25 The minute books that have been preserved for almost every Congress between 1887 and 1947 often contain only partial minutes. In most cases the docket books were kept more meticulously and provide more information regarding committee activity relating to specific legislation.

12.26 Although this committee usually was not the recipient of many petitions and memorials, particular subjects occasionally drew relatively large numbers. Examples are the 1895-97 question of whether a statue of Pere Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit, should be kept in Statuary Hall (54A-H18); the designation of a "day of National Prayer and Humiliation," 1917-19, (65A-H9); and the construction of a memorial to Franklin Roosevelt, 1945-46, (79A-F23).

12.27 Committee papers contain correspondence, documents submitted to the committee, reports of commissions and other bodies, and original reports of the committee. The committee papers before the 58th Congress generally contain less than 1 inch of records per Congress, much of which is related to bills and resolutions pending before the House. The file from 1887-89 (50A-F20) provides a representative sample of subjects: correspondence related to the purchase of Indian paintings by John Mix Stanley; the purchase of Erastus Thatcher's manuscript "History" of the District of Columbia; the preservation of the Confederate archives; the location of a new Library of Congress building; the purchase of several portraits; the erection of monuments and memorial bridges at various locations in the United States; the incorporation of the National Historical Society; the priority of the invention of the telegraph machine; the exchange of congressional documents with Canada and Chile; and resolutions of the Joint Commission on the Completion of the Washington Monument. After the 57th Congress "Papers Accompanying Specific Bills and Resolutions" or "bill files" are filed separately.

12.28 The volume of the committee papers increases significantly after the turn of the century. For this period there are records relating to: memorials; grave sites; portraits and paintings; the designation of a national flower and of a national anthem; the purchases of the tomb of George Washington (67A-F26) and of Monticello (67A-F26); monuments to the women of the Civil War (64A-D12); and funding proposals for various documentary publications (19A- D11, 61A-F31). Also included are large files for a 1930 bill authorizing the purchase of the Vollbehr Collection of Incunabula for the Library of Congress (71A-D18); a 1933-34 study of botanic gardens in the United States and other countries (73A-F18); and a 1937-38 report prepared for the commemoration of the DeSoto expedition of 1539 (75A-F24). The records also contain bills, resolutions and correspondence proposing recognition of persons of national importance such as George M. Cohan (73A-D19), Samuel Wilson, better known as "Uncle Sam" (71A-F24), Charles V. Gridley (55A-F21.2), and John Gray, the last surviving Revolutionary War veteran (50A-F20).

Related Records

12.29 Although the Library Committee functioned as a standing committee of the House, its members also served as members of the Joint Committee on the Library. Records of the Joint Committee on the Library (see Chapter 23) are arranged in two parallel collections: a House collection and a Senate collection. The Joint Committee records are not distributed between the two collections in a systematic way, and in the period between 1823 and 1851 (18th-31st Congresses) they are found in both collections. The records of the Joint Committee for recent Congresses have been in the custody of the Committee on House Administration.

Table of Contents

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.