Happy 281st birthday, George!
Although we officially celebrate it on the third Monday of February each year, George Washington’s birthday is February 22, 1732. Many happy returns, President Washington! If you are interested in knowing more about our first president, Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, maintains a website devoted to all things George. You can even subscribe to his daily blog!
As a humble gift to the legacy of George Washington and the men who followed him, we offer a few fun presidential facts. Earlier this month was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth; however, the month with the most presidential birthdays remains October, with six. In addition to being a statesman and lawyer, Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender and co-owner of an Illinois saloon. Andrew Jackson was involved in over 100 duels and carried bullets from two of them in his body throughout his life.
The only president from Indiana is Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president. He was a lawyer and longtime resident of Indianapolis. A foundation in his name maintains his former residence and promotes the memory of his contributions to America. Unsurprisingly, the National Archives and presidential libraries are terrific resources for presidential research. For a basic discussion of the different types of presidential documents, where they are located, and links to additional executive branch resources, check out the National Archives’ Presidential Documents Guide. To find more information about the presidents, their lives (and their wives), check out The American Presidency Project and the First Ladies’ Presidential Library.
Presidential documents are published in a variety of places; among them the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 3 and the Compilation of Presidential Documents.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 3 contains the full text of all Presidential Proclamations, Executive Orders, and other presidential documents, as well as helpful finding aids and tables. It is also the preferred Bluebook source for presidential documents. The CFR is available electronically from the Government Printing Office’s FDSys, with coverage from 1996 to the present, and accessible through HeinOnline (IU-Bloomington restricted), which has PDFs of the CFR from 1938 onward. The law library at the Maurer School of Law has the CFR in print from its first publication in 1936. Roughly the past 30 years of Title 3 volumes are located on the 1st floor (Row 102), while older ones are housed on the 4th floor.
Prior to January 19th, 2009, the Compilation of Presidential Documents was published on a weekly basis; after that time, the Compilations became daily. These are available from FDSys, from 1993 to present as well as the Federal Register Library in HeinOnline (IU-Bloomington restricted). In addition, the law library has the entire print run of Weekly Compilations, spanning 1965 through 2009. As always, please don’t hesitate to ask a friendly reference librarian for assistance if you need it.
On their next birthday, consider purchasing “Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies,” for the ardent presidential and music fan in your life. An album with a song composed to capture the legacy of each and every president from Taft’s ” There was no longer use to hide the fact it was Gout,” to Lyndon Johnson’s “Ladybird Take Me Home,” there is something for everyone to enjoy.