Society for History
in the Federal Government

History
at

the Federal Government

An Educational Portal to Federal History, Historical Resources, and Historical Programs

Learn
about the rich and varied histories
of over 260 federal agencies


Discover
troves of federal documents,
images, artifacts, 
and more

New Feature
Specialized historical resources

History@fedgov Blog - Under Construction

AGENCY HISTORIES

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History@fedgov links to every existing history page created by an agency of the federal government, from Cabinet departments to the smallest independent commissions. This comprehensive collection provides a detailed record, not just of government in the nation’s Capital, but of its activities across the United States throughout history. The histories are organized below under the three branches government.

These histories vary widely in scope. Some provide only brief accounts of an agency’s origins. Others include book-length narrative histories, rich collections of historical documents and images, classroom-ready teaching and learning materials, and more.

Many federal agencies have a historical office. Among their varied services, federal historians research and write for publication and internal use, edit historical documents, preserve historical sites and artifacts, and provide historical information to the public through Websites and other media. When contact information for a historical office is available on an agency Website, it is provided here with the agency's listing. If you work in or know of a historical office that is not listed, please send contact information to SHFGoutreach@gmail.com.

Educational Resources Page: Visit this page for ideas on how to critically evaluate federal agencies and their histories, and for study questions and activity ideas for the use of teachers and for students of all ages. Be sure also to take advantage of the excellent educational pages included with many Agency Histories and in the Historical Resources listings below.

Alphabetical Finding Aid: If you are interested in a particular agency, use this list to quickly see if it is included and to connect directly to its history page.

If you know of an agency whose history is not represented here, or if you find a broken link, please contact us at SHFGoutreach@gmail.com. We will be happy to update the listings as needed.


EXECUTIVE BRANCH

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The more than 250 Executive Branch agency history links are listed separately. To see links, click on one of the categories below. You may also click here to see the complete list of links.

The President of the United States

The Civilian Cabinet Departments:

The Department of Defense and Related Agencies

Independent Agencies and Government Corporations

Miscellaneous Bodies: Boards, Commissions, and Committees; Quasi-Official Agencies; and Bilateral Organizations

Architect of the Capitol

Government Accountability Office
Contact the Historian at krustenm@gao.gov

U.S. House of Representatives
Contact the Historian at history@mail.house.gov
Office of the Clerk

Open World Leadership Center

U.S. Senate

Senate Historical Office
Contact the Historian at historian@sec.senate.gov

Congressional Budget Office

Government Publishing Office
Contact the Historian at gbarnum@gpo.gov

Library of Congress
“Jefferson’s Legacy” - Brief History
Contact the Historian at jcole@loc.gov

U.S. Botanic Garden

JUDICIAL BRANCH

General Sources on Federal Agency History

Federal Judicial Center

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Court of International Trade

U.S. Sentencing Commission

“Research by Federal Government Organization,” National Archives and Records Administration
This list of over 400 existing and past departments, bureaus, and other offices links to NARA’s descriptions of the Record Groups (RGs) that contain their official records. The descriptions of the RGs contain valuable information on the creation of the offices and on changes in organization that they underwent.

This is an important tool for obtaining basic information on the organizations and for planning research into their histories. Please check the list to supplement histories linked from History@fedgov or for information about offices that are defunct or existing offices that do not maintain history pages.

"History of Agency Organizational Changes," U.S. Government Manual
This section contains about a thousand entries that describe briefly any organizational changes the government has made in existing or past agencies. Those that have never undergone any such changes do not appear here.

Internet Archives/Wayback Machine
The Wayback Machine maintains a searchable database of over 300 billion past websites or out-of-date versions of current sites, including many versions of most federal history web pages.

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HISTORICAL RESOURCES

caption for this imageThe federal government has been creating and collecting physical documents and objects that represent both its own and American history since the founding era. The Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the other resources linked below preserve these materials and make them available to the public. Check out the many teaching and learning aids that they provide. 
And be sure to explore the resources available in many Websites in the Agency Histories section above. NEW - The more substantial collections are featured below under "Specialized Historical Collections."


Library of Congress

Education Resources

Government Publishing Office

Catalog of current and historical publications

GOVINFO.gov

“Ben’s Guide” to the Federal Government – Learning pages

National Archives and Records Administration

Educator Resources

America’s Historical Documents

Center for Legislative Archives

National Declassification Center Blog

Presidential Libraries and Museums

National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian History Explorer

American Art Museum/Renwick Gallery

Anacostia Community Museum

Archives of American Art

Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Design Museum

Freer – Sackler Museums of Asian Art

National Portrait Gallery

National Postal Museum

National Museum of African Art

National Museum of American History

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of the American Indian

National Air and Space Museum

National Park Service

Virtual Museum

Learn and Explore Pages

National Register of Historic Places: Teaching with Historic Places

Heritage Documentation Programs


Specialized Historical Collections

Federal offices in all branches often provide substantial historical and learning materials in association with their history pages. The known sources are listed below. In some cases the agency-history link is duplicated. We invite users to alert us to additional resource-pages via email at shfgoutreach@gmail.com.

The Congress

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate


Civilian Departments

Department of Agriculture - Forest Service

Department of Agriculture - National Agricultural Library

Department of Commerce - Census Bureau

Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Department of Energy

Department of Health and Human Services - Food and Drug Administration

Department of Health and Human Services - National Institutes of Health

Department of Homeland Security - U.S. Coast Guard

Department of Labor

Department of State – Foreign Relations of the United States series

Department of the Interior - Fish and Wildlife Service

Department of the Treasury - Bureau of the Mint

Department of Transportation - Maritime Administration

Department of Veterans Affairs - National Cemetery Administration


Department of Defense and Related Agencies

Office of the Secretary of Defense

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Air Force Historical Research Agency

Army Center of Military History

Army Corps of Engineers - History Collections

Naval History and Heritage Command

Central Intelligence Agency Library

National Security Agency – Central Security Service

Military History Museums

Army Women’s Museum

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Naval History and Heritage Command – Visit Our Museums

National Cryptological Museum

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

National Museum of the U.S. Army


Independent Agencies

Federal Trade Commission

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Science Foundation

Social Security Administration


Branch History Societies

Three semi-official historical organizations, one for each branch of government, supplement government sources and provide extensive documentary and learning materials.

U.S. Capitol Historical Society

Supreme Court Historical Society

White House Historical Association

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Society for History in the Federal Government 
shfg.primary@gmail.com
PO BOX 14139
Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044

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