I enter into evidence Item #12
July 1, 2010 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Where would one get copies of evidence presented in a U.S. congressional hearing? Difficulty: 1940s.

Started with a long story, but decided it wasn't worth it, since the story revolves around something I need to see the document to really understand. The short story is: in the early 1940s, a document was entered into evidence during a congressional hearing. I'd like to see the entire document, but I can't find any source which has actually seen the document aside from citing that face that the document was entered into evidence in a congressional hearing. This has resulted in some circular research where everybody cites one source that didn't really research the document in the first place. I want to go to the original source of the quote.

Who keeps track of this evidence -- is it National Archives, Library of Congress, does Congress have their own records people? Is it possible to get copies, and how would that be done? I'm not looking for transcripts of the hearing, I've got copies of those -- I want copies of the evidence itself.
posted by AzraelBrown to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ask a Law Librarian.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2010

I was just about to page MrMoonPie. Damn.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:37 PM on July 1, 2010

Congress has their own records at the office of the committee that did the hearing. What committee was it?
posted by Michael Pemulis at 1:48 PM on July 1, 2010

Response by poster: How amusing -- I asked whether it was the National Archives, Library of Congress, or Congress' own internal records:

sperose: It's the National Archives
MrMoonPie: Check with Library of Congress
Michael Pemulis: Congress has their own records

So, I was on the right path, which happens to be three tributaries now matter how I cut it :)

Michael Pemulis: It was the "Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections", which Wikipedia says is now called the Committee on Rules and Administration.
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:15 PM on July 1, 2010

The hardest way to go about it would be to visit the committee itself, and ask to look for the record. The physical artifact is most likely located in the Senate Russell Office Building, and according to US law, the records as part of public domain. The easiest thing to do is probably to contact your Senator, and tell the nice staffer who you get what your issue is and what to do about it.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 2:20 PM on July 1, 2010

Sorry the last post made no sense, I'm surreptitiously posting from work and had no time to proofread.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 2:21 PM on July 1, 2010

ACTUALLY -- the easiest thing to do is probably to get access to Lexis Nexis Congressional, probably through a library, and do your search there.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 2:22 PM on July 1, 2010

Response by poster: Looks like Michael Pemulis will be the big winner:

"Committee on Privileges and Elections, 1871-1946" lists a bunch of stuff, but adds, "While these cases are the most extensively documented, many other cases involving the seating of Senators and related matters are documented in the records of the committee."

sperose gets an honorary mention, though -- I'm looking for the Langer records, and the National Archives do say that they have large files on him.

On preview: Thanks, Pemulis!
posted by AzraelBrown at 2:24 PM on July 1, 2010

Sorry for spam-filter, but I used to work at a House committee and would always marvel at the old and rotting books that lined the halls of my workplace and wondered if they would ever be of academic interest.

http://www.lexisnexis.com/help/CU/TP/Committee_Hearings.htm may help you a little, with these quotes:

LexisNexis Congressional also makes available annotated indexing for hearings held from 1833-1969 through the optional historical indexes module.
LexisNexis Congressional also makes available, through the U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection optional module, annotated indexing and searchable PDFs for hearings published as sections of numbered congressional reports or documents contained in the Senate Library bound Serial Set collection, 1833-1934, as well as other hearings not previously identified.


The transcripts of unpublished hearings are transferred to the National Archives. Senate hearings generally remain closed for 20 years, and House hearings remain closed for 30 years. Hearings that contain classified or sensitive material generally remain closed for 50 years.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 2:30 PM on July 1, 2010

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