Presidential Records


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Amy Carter and Jimmy Carter participate in a speed reading course at the White House.

Every day the President, the Vice President, and their staff generate thousands of textual, electronic, and audiovisual records that can provide insight into the issues confronting our nation. Each administration also holds tens of thousands of artifacts given to Presidents, their families, and administrations. Presidential Libraries preserve not only these official records and artifacts, but some libraries also preserve the personal papers of Presidential family members, associates, and friends. Together, these archival materials provide a comprehensive view of our Presidents and our history. Our mission is to provide equitable public access to federal government records in our custody and control.

The Collections

The National Archives maintains the collections from the Hoover Presidency to the most recent former president. Between the presidential and vice presidential collections the National Archives holds over 250,000 cubic feet of textual records, 24,000 cubic feet of audio visual records, 600 terabytes of electronic records, and nearly 800,000 artifacts. View collection specific statistics on our Frequently Asked Questions pages. 

The collections are available to view onsite at the presidential libraries across the country, at the National Archives facilities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, virtually from the libraries’ websites, and in our National Archives Catalog. View records and record descriptions by using the National Archives search box above or by visiting each of the Library and Divisional websites for further information.

Archival Collections on Presidential Library Websites

Each Presidential Library has made archival collection descriptions and some digitized content available on their websites. We are currently working to ensure all digitized collections on the Presidential Library websites are also in the National Archives Catalog.

Types of Presidential Collections

There are three types of Presidential materials held by the National Archives. The law that applies to the materials depends on how the materials are defined and the year it was created.

Presidential Daily Diaries

The Presidential Daily Diary is the official record of the presidents’ travel, meetings, and telephone calls. View all of the digitized Presidential Daily Diaries from Roosevelt onward.

Archived White House Websites 

The National Archives provides public access to "frozen" White House websites. 

Digital Artifact Collections

The museum collection of the Presidential Libraries and Museums contain nearly 800,000 objects given to Presidents, their families, and administrations. 

National Archives Catalog

The National Archives Catalog contains descriptions for the National Archives’ nationwide holdings in the Washington, DC area; regional facilities; and Presidential Libraries. The Catalog is a work in progress and currently contains descriptions for 95% of our records, described at the series level. This means you can find basic information about the records, including size and location, from the description. Additionally, every week we are adding more file unit and item descriptions, many of which include digital files.

Requesting Access to Unclassified and Classified Collections

Learn about requesting access to our unclassified and classified presidential materials including information on Freedom of Information Act requests and Mandatory Declassification Review requests. 

Planning a Research Visit

Research rooms are generally open Monday through Friday and are closed on all Federal holidays. Onsite research visits are by appointment only. Contact the Library or Division in custody of the records you would like to access to schedule a research appointment.


There are several options available to researchers who wish to access copies of records that are not available in the Catalog or on the Library or Division’s website. Researchers may request copies/scans/digital reproductions produced by archival staff or utilize onsite, self-service copy stations for a fee. Additionally, researchers may bring their own flatbed scanners or digital cameras in research rooms for no fee. 

Additional Research Resources

Beyond the collections at the National Archives are many institutions and collections that can provide further information about the Presidency.

Research Grants

Several private foundations associated with our Presidential Libraries provide grants-in-aid to assist researchers studying Presidential Library holdings. View available opportunities on the Research Grants page.