Monday, July 21, 2008

Online Full-text Congressional Hearings 1824-1979 from LexisNexis

From Penn Libraries New & Noteworthy:

LexisNexis Congressional Hearings Retrospective 1824-1979

LexisNexis Congressional Hearings Digital Retrospective Collection A 1824-1979 has been acquired in a cooperative arrangement between Biddle Law Library and the Penn Libraries.

Congressional Hearings Retro A is a work in progress, including both published and unpublished U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives legislative, oversight, investigative and nomination hearings for 1824 through 1979. When completed, Retro A will provide more than 73,000 hearings with 12.8 million pages. More than 20,000 of these hearings are unpublished, gathered from the National Archives and other archival collections. At present (June 2008), Retro A provides 27,054 hearings with 8.7 million pages for 1934-1979. An average of 2,200 hearings with 569,000 pages are added each month, with completion expected in late 2008.

Some interesting highlights of the current Congressional Hearings Retro A collection include:

The strike at Lawrence, Mass. U.S. House. Committee on Rules. March 1912.

[Wages and Hours Act.] Fair Labor Standards Act of 1937. Part 1. U.S. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor, and U.S. House. Committee on Labor. June 1937.

"The Pumpkin Patch" testimony [Hiss-Chambers Hearings]. Hearings regarding Communist espionage in the U.S. Government. Part 2. U.S. House. Committee on Un-American Activities. December 7-10, 1948.

[Kefauver Committee's first TV broadcast.] Investigation of organized crime in interstate commerce: Part 8, Louisiana. U.S. Senate. Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. January-February 1951.

Treatment of Hansen's Disease in the Territory of Hawaii. U.S. House. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Territories and Insular Possessions. April 24, 1951.

"Have you no sense of decency, sir?" [Army-McCarthy Hearings.] Special Senate investigation on charges and countercharges involving: Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens, John G. Adams, H. Struve Hensel and Senator Joe McCarthy, Roy M. Cohn and Francis P. Carr. Part 59.
U.S. Senate. Committee on Government Operations. June 9, 1954.

Nomination of Thurgood Marshall. U.S. Committee on Judiciary. July 1967.

John Kerry on Vietnam [Fulbright Hearings]. Legislative proposals relating to the war in Southest Asia. U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations. April-May 1971.

Wounded Knee massacre. U.S. Senate. Committe on Judiciary. February 5-6, 1976.

The Congressional Hearings Retro A provides online fulltext documents in searchable PDF-format files. The LexisNexis hearings search interface is integrated with other LexisNexis Congressional products including the Serial Set (1818-1969) and Statutes at Large (1789-present). Each hearing is indexed for subject, Congressional committee and relevant federal agencies, witness name, date, and SuDoc numbers and other bibliographic identifiers, and a brief abstract is provided.

Although Biddle Law Library and the Penn Libraries hold in other formats virtually all published hearings in this digital collection, many of our Great Depression- and World War II-era hearings on paper are among those government documents recognized as most in need of preservation, and most of our hearings holdings prior to 1968 are uncataloged. In addition to providing an alternative format to brittle paper and improving access to these important materials, the fulltext search capabilities of Congressional Hearings Retro A permit searches for distinctive phrases in testimony that elude subject indexing.

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