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Congressional Record

Predecessors to the Congressional Record (CR) 1789 - 1873

Publication of the Debates and Actions of Congress 1789-present

  • Annals of Congress, 1789-1824 (1st - 18th Congress)
    Gales & Seaton edited this selection of Congressional debates and legislative actions as reported in the press (there was no official publication of Congressional proceedings).  42 volumes, each with separate index for House and Senate proceedings.  Appendix for each Congress listing public laws and some executive reports.
  • Register of Debates in Congress, 1824-1837 (18th Congress 2nd session - 25th Congress 1st session)
    Reporters transcriptions of Congressional speeches and debates. Appendices for each session contain presidential messages, public laws, and selected executive department and congressional committee reports
  • The Congressional Globe, 1833-1873 (23rd - 42nd Congress)
    A daily publication with bound cumulative volumes published at the end of each Congressional session.  Initially described as "sketches of the debates and proceedings" by the mid-19th century improvements led to this being a verbatim account of debates.
  • Congressional Record, 1873-present (43rd Congress - )
    Published daily when Congress is in session; permanent bound volumes published at the conclusion of each Congressional session (pagination differs from daily edition).  Contains House and Senate floor proceedings (verbatim), notice of all bills introduced, full text of conference committee reports, notices of committee and Presidential actions and communications, and statements submitted by members of Congress for publication.  Use About the Congressional Record provided by to understand the different sections included in the CR as well as how to search this free online edition effectively.

Overview of the Congressional Record and Its Predecessor Publications by Rick McKinney  (LLSDC, 2015)

Proceedings of Congress 1789-present - Open Access options

Print, Microfiche, and Online editions listed here are available free of charge to all users.


Print = Books. Tried and true, we all know how to use these!

Visit the NU Libraries to use materials in print or microfiche/microfilm format.  Location and call numbers are available by following the links noted below.


Microfiche is a 4"x6" translucent material that allows miniaturization of published material. Equipment is available to support reading the content and reproducing pages to paper or digital copies.  The equipment is in University Library Room B190 (map; instructions) and the Main Library Mitchell Multimedia Center 2nd floor (map; instructions provided at that location).

ONLINE EDITIONS (available years vary by provider)

Predecessors to the Congressional Record

Congressional Record Daily Edition



Bound Edition

The primary ways in which the bound edition differs from the daily edition are continuous pagination; somewhat edited, revised, and rearranged text; and the dropping of the prefixes H, S, and E before page numbers.

  • Congressional Record - Bound (1873 to current via Google Books - Search then Browse selected pages with some pages or whole volume parts missing and unsearchable)
  • Congressional Record - Bound (1873 to 1988 via Hathi Trust  Digital Library - complete page by page but many volume parts are missing -  Browse, Search, Find in Vol. Part)
  • Congressional Record - Bound (1873 to 1993 via Internet Archive - Search Title and Date then Browse volume parts and Find words and phrases - Magnify, Browse, Download)
  • Congressional Record - Bound (1873 to 1877 via Library of Congress - Browse, Print/Save images)
  • Congressional Record - Bound (1873-2013 via GPO's - searches include the official business for each day's proceedings of Congress included in the House, Senate, and Extensions of remarks sections. Searches will not include the History of Bills, the compilation of Daily Digests, the resume of all business transacted during the entire Congress, and the subject index to the Bound Edition.


Congressional Record 1873 - present: Subscription Options

The links below are subscription editions of the Congressional Record and available to NU-affiliated users only. Subscription versions may provide search or viewing options unavailable in the free versions.

Bound / Permanent Edition

Daily Edition


Predecessors to the CR

  • Congressional Record - Predecessors (1789 to 1873 via HeinOnline - Annals of Congress 1789-1824, Register of Debates 1824-1837, Congressional Globe 1833-73 - Search, Browse, Cite Retrieve, Print/Download)
  • Congressional Record - Predecessors (1789 to current via Proquest Congressional Record Permanent Digital Collection - Search, Print/Download)
    • Use the ADVANCED SEARCH in ProQuest to limit your search to the CR

Congress to Year Conversion Chart

congress (i.e., 2-year time-frame)

When referring to a time-period (e.g., the 114th Congress which convened on January 6, 2015) rather than the legislative branch generally, a Congress is the national legislature in office (for approximately two years). It begins with the convening of a new Congress comprised of members elected in the most-recent election and ends with the adjournment sine die of the legislature (typically after a new election has occurred).

 Source: Glossary of Legislative Terms,



 1st  1789-1790     39th  1865-1866     77th  1941-1942     115th  2017-2018
 2nd  1791-1792     40th  1867-1868     78th  1943-1944     116th  2019-2020
 3rd  1793-1794     41st  1869-1870     79th  1945-1946     117th  2021-2022
 4th  1795-1796     42nd  1871-1872     80th  1947-1948     118th  2023-2024
 5th  1797-1798     43rd  1873-1874     81st  1949-1950       
 6th  1799-1800     44th  1875-1876     82nd  1951-1952       
 7th  1801-1802     45th  1877-1878     83rd  1953-1954       
 8th  1803-1804     46th  1879-1880     84th  1955-1956       
 9th  1805-1806     47th  1881-1882     85th  1957-1958       
 10th  1807-1808     48th  1883-1884     86th  1959-1960       
 11th  1809-1810     49th  1885-1886     87th  1961-1962       
 12th  1811-1812     50th  1887-1888      88th  1963-1964       
 13th  1813-1814     51st  1889-1890     89th  1965-1966       
 14th  1815-1816     52nd  1891-1892     90th  1967-1968       
 15th  1817-1818     53rd  1893-1894     91st  1969-1970       
 16th  1819-1820     54th  1895-1896     92nd  1971-1972       
 17th  1821-1822     55th  1897-1898     93rd  1973-1974       
 18th  1823-1824     56th  1899-1900     94th  1975-1976       
 19th  1825-1826     57th  1901-1902     95th  1977-1978       
 20th  1827-1828     58th  1903-1904     96th  1979-1980       
 21st  1829-1830     59th  1905-1906     97th  1981-1982       
 22nd  1831-1832     60th  1907-1908     98th  1983-1984       
 23rd  1833-1834     61st  1909-1910     99th  1985-1986       
 24th  1835-1836     62nd  1911-1912     100th  1987-1988       
 25th  1837-1838     63rd  1913-1914     101st  1989-1990       
 26th  1839-1840     64th  1915-1916     102nd  1991-1992       
 27th  1841-1842     65th  1917-1918     103rd  1993-1994       
 28th  1843-1844     66th  1919-1920     104th  1995-1996       
 29th  1845-1846     67th  1921-1922     105th  1997-1998       
 30th  1847-1848     68th  1923-1924     106th  1999-2000       
 31st  1849-1850     69th  1925-1926     107th  2001-2002       
 32nd  1851-1852     70th  1927-1928     108th  2003-2004       
 33rd  1853-1854     71st  1929-1930     109th  2005-2006       
 34th  1855-1856     72nd  1931-1932     110th  2007-2008       
 35th  1857-1858     73rd  1933-1934     111th  2009-2010       
 36th  1859-1860     74th  1935-1936     112th  2011-2012       
 37th  1861-1862     75th  1937-1938     113th  2013-2014       
 38th  1863-1864     76th  1939-1940     114th  2015-2016       



This guide is indebted to the work of the Legislative Research Special Interest Section of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington DC.  The LLSDC original guide listing free/fee versions of the Congressional Record (CR) has been adapted here to show what is available at the Northwestern University Libraries - what years, formats, and and whether freely available to all users or those commercial editions which are available to NU-affiliated users through a library subscription.