The Library of Congress > American Memory
banner image
return to home page table of contents about the guide abbreviations search banner image

The General Collections



Starting Places
Secondary Sources
Microform Materials
Doctoral Dissertations
arrow graphicCongressional Documents
Indexes to Anthologies
Biographical Sources
Women's Writings
Other Sources




Congressional Documents

Throughout its history, Congress has held hearings and debated matters of import to women. Witnesses have argued for and against these subjects, and the full text of this testimony, both of individual women (and men) and of representatives of women's (and men's) organizations, can be found through multiple Congressional Information Service indexes. These index U.S. congressional documents (hearings, reports, documents, and committee prints; published and unpublished) from 1789 to the present.

see caption below

Group of emigrants from eastern Europe. Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer. [1899]. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-5545 (color film copy transparency)

bibliographic record

Some examples of hearing topics include

  • suffrage
  • prostitution
  • abortion
  • education
  • war pensions
  • immigration
  • pornography
  • pure food and milk
The Congressional Record, with floor debates and statements read into the record, reveals the plans, words, and opinions of congressional representatives. For example, in proposing the creation of a United States Women's Armed Services Academy in 1955, Senator Dennis Chavez praised the “spontaneous patriotism of our womanhood,” adding that “women yield nothing to men in that direction. Always and always and always, American women have stood with their men in all things contributing to the welfare and security of our country.”4 Since 1917, the voices of the women who have served in Congress appear here too.

The current publication, the Congressional Record, is available in print (1873-present; MRR Alc; Law) and online (1989-present).

The earlier versions of the Congressional Record are also available in microform (MicRR) and online:

Congressional documents, especially hearings, may contribute details on many topics outside the legal or political realm, such as rhetoric used by women, descriptions of family life and concerns, and ways women are treated in public. Hearings may contain reproductions of photographs, statistics, charts, or maps. See the essay “Marching for the Vote” for examples of types of information found in one hearing.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: To look specifically for congressional documents, search the Congressional Information Service indexes in print form (MRR Ref Desk, MRR Alc, LAW) and on CD-ROM, CIS Congressional Masterfile I and II (1789-1997, CCC). With the numbers found in the indexes, items may be requested in the Microform Reading Room or the Law Library.

SAMPLE LCSH: Print editions of many congressional documents are fully cataloged and can be found in the online and card catalogs using LC subject headings.

red line
Home Table of Contents About the Guide Abbreviations Search
The Library of Congress> > American Memory