December 20, 2017 Historical Versions of the United States Code Now Online
Codified U.S. Laws from 1925 Now Available, Searchable on loc.gov
Press Contact: Brett Zongker (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Janice Hyde (202) 707-9836
More than 60 years of U.S. laws are now published online and accessible for free for the first time after being acquired by the Library of Congress. The Library has made available the main editions and supplements of the United States Code from 1925 through the 1988 edition.
The U.S. Code is a compilation of federal laws arranged by subject by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. The Library’s U.S. Code Collection is fully searchable. Filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, title and/or subject. PDF versions of each chapter can be viewed and downloaded.
The collection is online at loc.gov/collections/united-states-code/. This provides access to editions of the U.S. Code that previously were not available to the public online for free.
“For the first time these historical materials will be available online for free in a searchable format,” Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sanchez said. “The U.S. Code provides a convenient tool for locating the law in force at a particular point in time. These historical editions will help students, historians and other researchers delving into the primary sources of our government and democracy.”
The first edition of the U.S. Code was published in 1926, and the second was published in 1934. Thereafter, main editions have been published every six years with annual cumulative supplements published yearly in between. Of the 53 U.S Code titles, 27 have been enacted by Congress into positive statutory law, becoming legal evidence of the law that can be presented in federal and state courts. For titles that have not been enacted into positive law, the Statutes at Large still govern.
The digital versions of the U.S. Code in the new collection were acquired by the Law Library of Congress through a purchase agreement with William S. Hein & Co, Inc. The acquisition is part of the Law Library’s transition to a digital future and in support of its efforts to make historical U.S. public domain legal materials freely and easily available to Congress and the world. Users will access this collection from a link on loc.gov and law.gov.
More recent editions of the U.S. Code from 1988 to the present are available online from the U.S. Government Publishing Office and the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Code digital collection is among several collections made available online during the past year. Other newly digitized collections include the papers of U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James K. Polk; the papers of Alexander Hamilton, Sigmund Freud and Margaret Bayard Smith; and more than 4,600 newspapers from Japanese-American internment camps.
Established by an act of Congress in 1832, the Law Library makes its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community, and sustains and preserves a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.9 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at loc.gov/law.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.