Foreign Relations of the United States

Offered by the University of Wisconsin Libraries in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago Libraries, this collection is composed of a digital facsimile of the Foreign Relations of the United States series. The original series is produced in print by the State Department’s Office of the Historian through the Government Printing Office, and it documents the official record of major historical declassified U.S. foreign policy decisions. So far, several collaborative libraries have donated materials to the digital project and other interested libraries are encouraged to contribute. Ultimately, the goal is to “inspire further collaboration among research libraries to enlarge the public domain of knowledge accessible via the Internet.” The series begins in 1861 with Abraham Lincoln’s administration and runs through 1960. Although the materials are for the most part organized chronologically, it is important to note the website’s caveat that dates depicted on the volumes do not always represent historically documented dates. Fortunately, each volume has a subject and author index, and source and abbreviation tables are also generally provided. Documents may also be browsed or searched. When using the browse feature, it will be helpful to conduct a “Control F” search for specific terms contained within the titles, as the list is composed of 375 volumes. A full text search feature is provided with Boolean and proximity search options included. Searches may encompass the whole work, or may be narrowed by title, author, or illustration. All materials are freely available, and it is a treat to see these historical documents in PDF. Requests for reprints are accepted, but filled only if “a reasonable level of interest is shown.” Researchers may be additionally interested to know that many volumes published after 1945 are available through the State Department website, and the Office of the Historian website provides a full description of Foreign Relations of the United States, as well as a list of online volumes.

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