Brown University Celebrates 150 Years of Service as a Federal Depository Library
150 Years as a Federal Depository LibraryThe Brown University Library marks July 29, 1861, as its official designation dateas a Federal Depository Library. While the library received copies of federalgovernment documents through various channels since its inception in 1764,Senator James F. Simmons designated the library in 1861 in accordance with anewly enacted law [11 Stat. 379] granting each Senator the authority to assignone depository in his state. Brown is the oldest depository library in RhodeIsland and among the oldest in the nation.This exhibit commemorates 150+ years of the library’s service in meeting thegovernment information needs of the Brown community and the people ofRhode Island. The exhibit touches on the following themes: • Early printed government documents • The U.S. Congressional Serial Set • The role of the U.S. Government Printing Office • Rhode Island history in U.S. government documents • Life at Brown University in 1861 • About Senator James F. Simmons • Rhode Island’s congressional support of Depository Libraries • Government information in the making: Brown’s role on the national stage • The Federal Depository Library Program
Government Document No. 1 The first official document produced by the government of what would become the United States of America is today known simply as “Government Document No. 1.” Dated September 22, 1774, the document was a 6¾ inch by 4¼ inch broadside, or public notice, issued by the First Continental Congress and printed in Philadelphia, whereFrom: Keeping America Informed The U.S . Government Printing Office 150 the Congress was meeting. William andYears of Service to the Nation, Washington : U.S.G.P.O., 2011.The original Government Document No. 1 is housed in the Library Thomas Bradford, who provided all printingCompany of Philadelphia. for the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776, printed it. Signed by Charles Thomson, Secretary, it called for the non- importation of British goods “until the sense of Congress, on the means to be taken for preservation of the Liberties of America, is made public.”
While the original (and only) copy ofGovernment Document No. 1 is housedin the Library Company of Philadelphia,Brown University Library and the JohnCarter Brown Library own copies of anumber of other official documents fromthat time period printed by the samepublisher, William and Thomas Bradford.In addition, Brown’s collections includematerial from the colonial period, like this24-page pamphlet written in 1765 byStephen Hopkins, Rhode Island’s colonialgovernor and chancellor of the newlycreated College of Rhode Island, what istoday Brown University.From: Brown University Library, Sidney S. Rider Collection on RhodeIsland History, John Hay Library (photo courtesy of the Center for DigitalScholarship).
Congressional Serial SetIn the early days of the new nation, Congress developeda system for organizing its documents for posterity.Beginning in 1817, serial numbers were assigned toSenate and House documents, congressional committeereports, presidential and executive publications, treatymaterials, and other selected documents. Thisnumbering scheme proved to be an orderly andconvenient way of identifying and preserving thedocuments and reports issued by Congress. Knowntoday as the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, thesepublications have been produced continuously sincethat time.The Serial Set contains innumerable unique andunusual items, including the first published work of theartist James McNeil Whistler (at right), who as a youngman worked briefly as an engraver in the cartographicsection of the U.S. Coast Survey. Other notablehistorical documents in the Serial Set include a reprintof Jefferson’s Bible, early reports from Lewis and Clark,correspondence surrounding the revolt on the shipAmistad, a description by Commodore Matthew Perry ofhis journeys to Japan, the records of the War of theRebellion, the annual ethnological reports from theSmithsonian Institution, as well as reports of numerouscongressional investigative committees covering topicsranging from Pearl Harbor to Iran-Contra.The Brown University Library holds the only From: Keeping America Informed The U.S . Government Printing Office 150comprehensive print copy of the Serial Set in RI. Years of Service to the Nation, Washington : U.S.G.P.O., 2011.
Digital Congressional Serial SetIn commemoration of its150th year as a Federal Depository Library, the Brown University Library purchased access to thedigital version of the entire U.S. Congressional Serial Set collection (produced by ProQuest). The digital collection covers al lHouse and Senate reports and documents from 1789 on, including, for example, the following documents:Below at left: A letter from the Governor of Rhode Island in 1789 to Below at right: A resolution from 2001 expressing the senseGeorge Washington, President of the United States, laying out RI’s desires of Congress that the George Washington letter to Touroto maintain friendly relations with the US government, despite the fact that Synagogue in Newport, RI, is one of the most significantRI had not yet ratified the new federal Constitution. The US Constitution early statements buttressing the American constitutionalwas officially approved in June 1788 when nine states had ratified it. RI was guarantee of religious freedom.the last of the original 13 states to ultimately ratify; after initially rejectingthe Constitution by popular referendum in March 1788, RI finally held aratifying convention (as specified by the Constitutional Convention) in May1790, and passed it by the narrowest of margins (32 to 30).
Printing Government Documents Up through the 1850s, Congress relied exclusively on newspapers and other private printers to carry out the printing of government documents. However, perennial cost overruns and repeated instances of scandals, fraud, and corruption eventually led to public outcry and a number of major congressional investigations. Ultimately, Congress established its own Government Printing Office (GPO) with passage of Joint Resolution 25 (at left), signed by President James Buchanan on June 23, 1860. GPO opened for business on March 4, 1861 (the same day as Abraham Lincoln’s presidential inauguration) and has occupied the corner of North Capitol Street NW and H Street NW in the District of Columbia for its entire history. The original 1861 building (below) was replaced in 1903, and in 1930 a new addition was erected that essentially doubled the size of the building.From: Keeping America Informed The U.S . Government Printing Office 150Years of Service to the Nation, Washington : U.S.G.P.O., 2011.
The Emancipation ProclamationIn 1862, the young Government Printing Office undertook the most significant printing job of its day, or perhaps any since then: theproduction of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. After drafting a “Preliminary Proclamation” and previewing it withSecretary of State William Seward and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on July 13, Lincoln raised the matter in a Cabinet meeting onJuly 22, to mixed reaction. On September 22, five days after the Union army turned back the Confederate army’s advance into the Northat the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln brought the document before the Cabinet again, and the proclamation was ordered to be printed.The Emancipation Proclamation was issued ingeneral orders format, as an order from theCommander-in-Chief to the armed forces, thusmaking it unnecessary to go through Congressto activate the Proclamation. GPO printedfifteen thousand copies of General Orders,Number 139, dated September 24, 1862, whichincluded the Proclamation. Copies weredistributed among the various militarycommanders and their troops.The printed version of the final EmancipationProclamation was printed by GPO and issuedJanuary 3, 1863. Well aware of its significance,Public Printer John Defrees closely followed theprogress of the Proclamation, writing inDecember 1862 to President Lincoln’ssecretary, John G. Nicolay, “Only a few eventsstand out prominently on the page of thehistory of each century… The proposedproclamation of the President will be that oneof this century.”The Brown University Library owns a copy of a rare first printing or trial issue’ of the Proclamation, which preceded the final form. Fiftycopies are known to have been printed and signed by President Lincoln (negative photocopy shown above on left); of those, twelve areknown to still exist today. At right is the image of a letter between Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase, dated September 2, 1862, which containsdraft text of the Emancipation Proclamation. Text adapted from: Keeping America Informed The U.S . Government Printing Office 150 Years of Service to the Nation, Washington : U.S.G.P.O., 2011. Photos courtesy of the Brown University Center for Digital Scholarship.
Rhode Island History in U.S. Government Documents… At the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, moved the school and its “practice ship” the USS Constitution to Newport, RI. The academy remained in Newport, based at Fort Adams and leasing the Atlantic Hotel, from May 1861 until August 1865, when it returned to Annapolis. The March 19, 1862, letter from the Secretary of the Navy (at left) detailed the events leading up the move to Newport: “The naval school and public property at Annapolis attracted the attention of the disloyal and disaffected about the period when the conspiracy culminated. Some demonstrations were made towards seizing the property, and also the frigate Constitution, which had been placed at Annapolis, in connexion with the school, for the benefit of the youths who were being educated for the public service. Prompt measures rescued the frigate and government property from desecration and plunder, and the young men, under the superintendence and guidance of Captain Blake, contributed in no small degree to the result. As it was impossible, in the then existing condition of affairs in Annapolis and in Maryland, to continue the school at that point, and as the valuable public property was in jeopardy, it became necessary to remove the institution elsewhere. Newport, Rhode Island presented many advantages, and the War Department tendered Fort Adams for the temporary occupation of the students, which was at once accepted, and the school, with the frigate and other public property, were removed thither.”Above: Front page of Senate Executive Document No. 35 (1862),in U.S. Congressional Serial Set Volume 1122. Image fromProQuest Congressional digital Serial Set collection.At right: U.S.S. Constitution off Goat Island (RI), c. 1861.Photo from Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial exhibit, U.S. NavalWar College Museum, Newport, RI.
Rhode Island History in U.S. Government Documents… Following devastating floods in downtown Providence caused by hurricanes in 1938 and 1954, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed plans to erect a hurricane barrier at the northern end of Narragansett Bay at the mouth of the Providence River. In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Public Works, Providence Mayor Walter Reynolds described the destruction from Hurricane Carol in 1954: $40 million in commercial property loss, “telephone service was seriously disrupted and electrical power in the city was almost completely shut off,” “a depth of 4 to 5 feet of water in our high-value downtown district, thousands of parked automobiles submerged…” The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier was the first structure of its type to be approved for construction in the United States (as part of the comprehensive Flood Control Act of 1958). The project was completed in 1966 at a cost of $16 million. At this same hearing, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts spoke in support of the New Bedford hurricane dike project. That project was completed in 1962 and is the largest stone structure in the eastern US.Above: Front page of Senate hearing on projects included in the FloodControl Act of 1958 (from ProQuest Congressional Digital Collection).At right: Fox Point hurricane barrier, Providence, RI. Photo fromProvidence Department of Public Works.
Brown in 1861…• President Barnas Sears (Brown Class of 1825) was the university’s 5th president (serving from 1855 to 1868)• The Brown faculty consisted of 11 men (including President Sears)• 232 men were enrolled as Brown students• Typical first-term classes were: o Greek composition and history o Livy, with Latin composition and the history of Rome o Geometry• Students lived in rooms on the upper floors of University Hall; pranks such as rolling paving stones or cannon balls down the full length of the hallways were common until the The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 affected campus in a summer of 1860, when much to the dismay of number of ways: students, partitions were built dividing the • Enrollment dropped to 205 during the war floors into two sections • A list of 21 current students who had enlisted in the• The university library was located on the first floor Army since the beginning of the war was featured in the of Manning Hall and consisted of approximately November 1861 issue of The Brunonian 29,000 volumes and assorted pamphlets • At its September 1861 meeting, the Brown Corporation• Rubin Guild (Brown Class of 1847) was the conferred an honorary degree to US Army Brigadier university librarian (serving from 1847 to 1893) General Ambrose E. Burnside, who commanded the 1st Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Image above right: Western view of Brown University, Providence, , from New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery
Brown in 1861…Newspapers during the week of July 29, 1861, were ablaze with news of the Battle ofBull Run (fought July 21, 1861), the first major land battle of the American Civil War.Troops from the 2d Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry, led by Colonel Ambrose E.Burnside, fought in the battle which claimed many casualties on both sides. Major Sullivan Ballou (Brown Class of 1852) died on July 29 from wounds sustained at Bull Run. His remains are buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence. A letter from Major Ballou to his wife dated a month before the battle was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War in 2002. The letter read in part: “I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt…”According to Civil War Record of Brown University, compiled by Brevet Major HenryBurrage (Brown Class of 1861) and published in 1920, 417 Brown graduates and non-graduates served in military duty during the Civil War (for both the North and theSouth); of those, 39 died in service.
About Senator James Fowler Simmons… • Designated Brown as a Federal Depository Library in the summer of 1861 • Born near Little Compton, RI, September 10, 1795 • Moved to Providence in 1812; employed in various manufacturing concerns in RI, MA, and NH • Moved to Johnston, RI, in 1827 • Member of RI state House of Representatives 1828- 1841 • Elected as a Whig to the US Senate, served from March 4, 1841, to March 3, 1847; unsuccessful candidate in 1846 and 1850 • Again elected to the US Senate as a Republican in 1856 election; began term on March 4, 1857 • Lost reelection try in March 1862 to William Sprague IV• In 1861-62, involved in a scandal for obtaining a War Department contract for the manufacture of rifles for a Providence businessman and receiving five percent commission• Senate committee issued report in July 1862 stating that, while no laws were violated, his actions were “indefensible”; Simmons resigned August 15 before an expulsion vote could be taken; the remainder of his term was filled by Samuel G. Arnold, Jr.• Died in Johnston, RI, July 10, 1864 (interment in North End Cemetery, Providence, RI)
RI’s Congressional Support for Depository Libraries…Senator James Simmons named Brown as a Federal Depository Library in 1861. Other members of Congressfrom Rhode Island also have been supportive of depository libraries over the years, including: Henry Bowen Anthony (Brown Class of 1833), Senator from 1859 to 1884; a former editor of the Providence Journal, was chair of the Joint Committee on Printing (overseeing the Government Printing Office) for 25 years; bequeathed to Brown University Library the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays. Adin Ballou Capron, represented RIs 2nd congressional district from 1897 until his death in 1911; designated the Westerly Public Library as a Federal Depository Library in 1909. John E. Fogarty, represented RIs 2nd congressional district from 1941 to 1944 and again from 1945 until his death in 1967; champion of the Library Services and Construction Act; 1963 recipient of American Library Trustee Association’s Citation of Merit; 1966 Lifetime Membership honoree by American Library Association; designated the Warwick Public Library as a Federal Depository Library in 1966.
RI’s Congressional Support for Depository Libraries…Senator James Simmons named Brown as a Federal Depository Library in 1861. Other members of Congressfrom Rhode Island also have been supportive of depository libraries over the years, including: Claiborne Pell, Senator from 1961to 1997; wrote the legislation that established the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; sponsored a program which provided financial aid for the needy to attend college (later renamed Pell Grants in his honor); long-time member of the Joint Committee on Printing and the Joint Committee on the Library (Library of Congress); champion of the Library Services and Construction Act. Patrick J. Kennedy, representative RI’s 1st congressional district from 1995 to 2011; member of the House Appropriations Committee from 2001 to 2011,which oversaw funding for federal programs, including library programs; designated the Roger Williams University Library as a Federal Depository Library in 2003. Lincoln D. Chafee (Brown Class of 1975), Senator from 1999 to 2007; designated the Newport Public Library as a Federal Depository Library in 2002.
RI’s Congressional Support for Depository Libraries…Senator James Simmons named Brown as a Federal Depository Library in 1861. Other members of Congressfrom Rhode Island also have been supportive of depository libraries over the years, including: Jack Reed, Representative from 1991 to 1997, Senator from 1997 to present; author of numerous bills that provided funds and support for libraries, museums, and schools; named Library Journals 2002 Politician of the Year; 1994 recipient of Friends of Libraries USA Public Service award; named Library Champion by American Library Association; contributed Congressional Record statements honoring RI depository libraries in 1995 and 2011. James Langevin, Representative from 2001 to present; as Rhode Island Secretary of State (1994-2001), oversaw the RI State Library and the State Publications Clearinghouse Program, and established the states Public Information Center; in 1998 published, “Access Denied,” a report based on research by Brown University students which examined compliance with RI’s Open Meetings Law. Sheldon Whitehouse, Senator from 2007 to present; member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee which oversees programs supporting education and libraries; as successor to the Senate seat held by James Simmons in 1861, he requested that a ceremonial flag be flown above the US Capitol building on July 29, 2011, the 150th anniversary of Brown University’s Federal Depository Library designation.
Government Documents in the Making: Brown’s Role on the National Stage… John E. Savage An Wang Professor of Computer Science, Brown University Testified on April 12, 2011, at a hearing before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. The committee was investigating threats associated with cyber security and ways to respond to cyber crime and terrorism. For a copy of Professor Savage’s testimony, see http://judiciary.senate.gov/pdf/11-04-12%20Savage%20Testimony.pdf Martin A. Weinstock Professor of Dermatology and Community Health, Brown University Testified on May 20, 2010, before the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, requesting funding in the Department of Defense budget for melanoma research. For a copy of Dr. Weinstock’s testimony, see http://josiah.brown.edu/record=b5708380~S7 (Part 4, Page 234)
Government Documents in the Making: Brown’s Role on the National Stage… Joan M. Teno Professor of Community Health and Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University Testified on September 24, 2008, before the US Senate Special Committee on Aging on “Honoring Final Wishes: How To Respect Americans Choices at the End of Life.” For a copy of Dr. Teno’s testimony, see http://josiah.brown.edu/record=b4941876~S7See alsohttp://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/07/hospicefor recent information on Dr. Teno’s research on hospice carefor dementia patients.
Government Documents in the Making: Brown’s Role on the National Stage… Glenn C. Loury Merton P. Stoltz Professor of Social Sciences, Department of Economics, Brown University Testified on October 4, 2007, before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress as it examined the human, societal, and economic costs of America’s prison incarceration rates. For a copy of Professor Loury’s testimony, see http://josiah.brown.edu/record=b4469984~S7 James W. Head Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University Came to Brown University in 1973, following his work with the NASA Apollo program, in which he analyzed potential landing sites, studied returned lunar samples and data, and provided training for the Apollo astronauts. For a copy of one of Professor Head’s early publications describing significant achievements in NASA’s planetary geology program, see http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19770013028_1977013028.pdf
The Federal Depository Library ProgramThe origins of the Federal Depository Library Program dateback to 1813 when Congress first authorized legislation to sendone copy of the House and Senate Journals and othercongressional documents to certain universities, historicalsocieties, state libraries, and other institutions. Congressbelieved that one of the most effective ways to provide thepublic with the information needed to hold the governmentaccountable was to place these fundamental documents inlocal libraries where people would have free access to them.In 1858-1859, Congress formalized the system and gave each Member of Congress theability to designate a depository library is their district or state. Brown University Librarywas designated a depository in 1861, making it one of the oldest in the nation. Theadministration of the Federal Depository Library Program was transferred to the USGovernment Printing Office in 1895.There are ten depository libraries in RI and 1,210 depository libraries nationwide. Togetherthese libraries work to meet the federal government information needs of their localcommunities. Each library selects the material that supports their local programs andinterests, and provides services to help connect users to the federal government informationthey need. The FDLP is one of the key building blocks of an “informed citizenry.”
Federal Government Information Today… The vast majority of government information today is created and produced digitally and disseminated via the web. From congressional debates to decennial census data, from public health reports to matters on foreign relations, from environmental studies on climate change to the latest change in the unemployment rate, users can identify and access government information through a variety of online channels.Staff at Federal Depository Libraries help students, researchers,and the public at large find and use the government informationthey need in all forms – historical and current, print and digital. Documents to the People!
For more information on the government documents collectionsat Brown University Library and the Federal Depository LibraryProgram, please contact Dan O’Mahony at email@example.com.
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