Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 14: Revision of Laws

Chapter 14. Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees

Table of Contents

Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee Records discussed in this chapter:
Committee on Revision of Laws (1868-1946)

Jurisdiction and History

14.36 The Committee on Revision of Laws was established in 1868 after having been a select committee for several years. Its jurisdiction included the revision and codification of the statutes of the United States. When the committee was established, it replaced the old Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business (1795-1868).

14.37 The committee reported bills providing for the revision and codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States. Occasionally, bills concerning changes in law rather than revision and codification were referred to the committee, such as the transfer of certain bureaus from one executive department to another.

Records of the Committee on Revision of Laws, 40th-79th Congresses (1868-1946)

Record TypeVolumeCongresses (Dates)
Minute Books5 vols.50th-53d (1887-95), 62d-63d (1911-15)
Docket Books6 vols.45th (1877-79), 48th (1883-85), 50th (1887-89), 52d (1891-93), 62d-63d (1911-15)
Petitions and Memorials1 in.48th (1883-85), 53d (1893-95), 62d (1911-13)
Committee Papers12 in.44th (1875-77), 48th (1883-85), 62d (1911-13), 68th (1923-25), 71st (1929-31), 76th-77th (1939-43)
Bill Files2 in.67th (1921-23), 69th (1925-27)
TOTAL:1 ft., 3 in. and 11 vols. (11 in.) 

14.38 The committee was not one of the most active and during most of its history little legislation was referred to it. The minute books and docket books reflect the lack of activity; none of the minute books includes minutes for more than five meetings per Congress. The minutes for the 51st Congress (1889-91) include only two meetings, and the major business conducted at the organizational meeting was the passage of a resolution providing that the committee would meet only on the call of the chairman.

14.39 The petitions and memorials referred to this committee include prayers concerning government employment of Civil War veterans (1883-85), support for Coxey's army and pleas to give work to the idle through public works (1893-95), and concern from several chambers of commerce over the corporation tax (1911-13).

14.40 The committee papers include copies of bills and resolutions as well as printed copies of several codifications. One file (44A-F34) contains correspondence with executive branch departments regarding proposed changes and corrections in the law. The bill files consist of printed bills, reports, and hearings.

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.