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Government Information: Documents as Primary Sources

Presidential Papers

The Public Papers of the Presidents is a series starting with Herbert Hoover and continuing through Barak Obama that contains messages to Congress, speeches, transcripts of news conferences, selected important press releases of the White House and other activities of the Presidents (read more information about the series). The print series is in the Government Documents Collection on the ground floor of the JB Duke Library. The online version of The Public Papers of the Presidents is available for Presidents Reagan through Obama.

For earlier Presidents see: 

Papers of George Washington (Revolutionary War Series and Colonial Series)  (print)

Papers of John Adams (print)

The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (print) (online)

The Papers of James Monroe (print) (online)

John Quincy Adams and American continental empire; letters,papers and speeches (print)

The Papers of Andrew Jackson (print)

The American Presidency Project: Martin Van Buren

The American Presidency Project: William Henry Harrison 

The American Presidency Project: John Tyler

The Correspondence of James Polk (print)

The American Presidency Project: Zachary Taylor

The American Presidency Project: Millard Fillmore

The American Presidency Project: Franklin Pierce

The Works of James Buchanan,  Comprising His Speeches, State Papers, and Private Correspondence (print)

The Lincoln Papers; The Story of the Collection, with Selections to July 4, 1861

Abraham Lincoln, His Speeches and Writings

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln (online)

The Papers of Andrew Johnson (print)

The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (print)

The American Presidency Project: Rutherford B. Hayes

The Life and Letters of James Abram Garfield (print)

The American Presidency Project: Chester Arthur

The American Presidency Project: Grover Cleveland

The American Presidency Project: Benjamin Harrison

The American Presidency Project: William McKinley

The Works of Theodore Roosevelt (print)

Presidential Addresses and State Papers of William Howard Taft(print)

The Papers of Woodrow Wilson (print)

The American Presidency Project: Warren Harding

The American Presidency Project: Calvin Coolidge

The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (print)

Formerly Classified Documents

The Digital National Security Archive contains first hand accounts of historical events as well as declassified documents that reveal the operations of many international issues from post World War II through the 21st century. Letters, telegrams, situation reports, telephone coversations, cables and memoranda derived from the CIA, FBI, the State Department and Congressional material are included. Many were obtained by FOIA requests. These primary douments give insight into the American response to historical events.

Archives Unbound contains 99 sets of documents, each set focusing on a different topic, from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. Documents include memos, letters, covert reports, records of agencies, churches, and goverments. Some are in languages other than English.

Both of these resources work best when searching within a collection, not across the whole database. It helps to know specific people, dates and incidents before searching.