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Government Manual 1935-1994

Digitized historical editions of Government's official handbook now available

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized the U.S. Government Manual (the “Manual”) and made content freely accessible and available on govinfo for the years 1935-1994. The Manual is the Government’s official handbook of agency organization for all three branches of Government. Listings include the legislative authority, programs, activities, and brief history of each agency; officials heading the major units of operation; and contact information for follow up or additional information. The publication was titled the U.S. Government Organization Manual from 1949-1972. In earlier years, several editions were published within a year, but the annual publication schedule was adopted in 1948.

The Manual includes organizational charts for various agencies, boards, commissions, and committees. Readers can discover how and when both large agencies and smaller offices were first established, how they changed, and whether they were assimilated into other agencies in the Government, or became obsolete. Some examples of information members of the public can expect to find in the Manual:

  • The Sugar Division of the Department of Agriculture required the Secretary of Agriculture to determine annually “the sugar requirements of consumers in the continental United States and to fix marketing or import quotas for the various sugar-producing areas, domestic and foreign, supplying this market.” (1939 edition)
  • There was no Vice President of the United States from November 1963 until January 1965. The 1964–1965 edition lists the position as vacant. When President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the Presidency after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, there was no provision for appointing a new Vice President. The 25th Amendment, passed in 1967, addressed the issue of succession. (1964–1965 edition)
  • The vital statistics functions performed by the Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, were transferred to the U.S. Public Health Service, which was once a division of the Federal Security Agency. (1953 edition)