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New York State Documents: A Finding Guide: Historic Documents
 

Historical background on New York State documents with details on finding and viewing them in various formats (paper, microfiche, and electronic/online). Click on the TABS to access each section.

Legislative Documents Plus

From 1820 to 1829, legislative documents were published in their entirety in the Journal of either house (see LEGISLATIVE JOURNALS, below). The most important component of our historic New York State documents collection is the bound series of collected documents known as the "Legislative series of documents," covering 1830 through 1976. These series include not only legislative documents but also some publications of the executive and judicial branches.

Legislative Series of Documents
Title Years Call number
Legislative documents of the Senate and Assembly 1830 RMC Rare J 87 .N7o, also Law KFN 5005 .N53
Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York. 1831-1918 1831-1865: RMC Rare J 87 .N7h; 1866-1918: Annex J 87 .N7h Also, Law
Documents of the Senate of the State of New York 1831-1918 1832-1865: RMC Rare J 87 .N7g; 1866-1918: Annex J 87 .N7g
Legislative Documents. (Senate and Assembly) 1919-1976 * Olin J 87 .N7j [~1000 volumes; shelved in B52 Olin/will be moved to the Annex]
* (Cornell's set stops with 1975. Only the NYSL and New York Public Library received the volumes for 1976.)

Similar documents following this set were received and cataloged individually either as serials or monographs; search the Cornell Library Catalog for individual titles. Cornell has some documents which are included in the collected series cataloged separately as well.

Indexes to Legislative Series of Documents

Olin Reference has print guides to the Legislative Series of Documents which are invaluable for locating individual documents in these large sets.

General Index to the Documents of the State of York, from 1777 to 1871, Inclusive. Albany, The Argus Company, 1871. (Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 A2)
 A subject and name index for Assembly and Senate documents issued from 1777 to 1871.
 
Annotated Lists and Indexes of the New York State Assembly and Senate Document Series 1831-1918.
(Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 .C319 1992 + and other locations)
Three volumes. Volumes 1 (Assembly) and 2 (Senate) list individual documents first by year and then by report number. Volume 3 is the index volume: subject index; index of special legislative and executive committees, commissions, etc. by keyword; index to special committees and commissions ... by names of chairmen; miscellaneous reports on individual
persons; index to geographical names; more.
 
The New York State Legislative Document Series, 1919-1976.
(Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 .C32 1986+ and other locations)
Seven volumes. Volumes 1 - 3 are numerical document lists by year. Volumes 5 - 7 are index volumes. Use these to access the documents published in Legislative Documents. (Senate and Assembly), listed above.

 

Legislative Journals

"Journals of the New York State Assembly and Senate have been published since 1777. The text of a journal consists of summaries of floor proceedings, some resolutions, and some bill amendments introduced by the opposite house. The text of the bills themselves is never included." [Butch, 32] These journals are listed in the Cornell Library Catalog; keyword search "new york state legislature assembly" AND journal. For the Senate version, substitute senate for assembly. The Journals are an important resource for establishing legislative intent.

 

Journal of the Assembly
Format Years Call number
microfilm 1692-1738, 1777-1821 Olin Film 5030
print 1780-1822 incomplete, 1824-1870 RMC Rare Books ++ J 87 .N7c
print 1871-1909, 1911-1999 [ongoing] Olin J 87 .N7c [shelved in B52 Olin]
microfiche 1989-1994 Olin Microfiche 932
Journal of the Senate
Format Years Call number
microfilm 1777-1822 Olin Film 5030
print 1777-1801 incomplete, 1803-1870 RMC Rare Books ++ J 87 .N7b
print 1871-1883, 1885-1984, 1986-2001 [ongoing] Olin J 87 .N7b [shelved in B52 Olin]
microfiche 1988-1994 Olin Microfiche 932

Legislation: Assembly and Senate Bills

 State Capital Universe. Bethesda, MD: CIS Publications, 1991- .
online

Locate the text of bills and resolutions in the New York State Assembly or Senate from 1991 to date. Searchable by keyword or bill number.

New York (State). Legislature. Assembly. [Bills]. Albany: New York State Assembly.
(Law Library KFN 5006 .N53: 1942-1945, 1948, 1950, 1952-1994; unbound after 1994)

Slip bills received and bound by the Law Library; these volumes fill the gap between what is available in State Capital Universe (begins in 1991) and the Calendar of the Senate (ends in 1976).

New York (State). Legislature. Senate. [Bills]. Albany: New York State Senate.
(Law Library KFN 5006 .N535: 1844, 1939-1950, 1952-1994; unbound after 1994)

Slip bills received and bound by the Law Library; these volumes fill the gap between what is available in State Capital Universe (begins in 1991) and the Calendar of the Senate (ends in 1976).

New York (State). Legislature. Assembly. Calendar of the Assembly of the State of New York. Albany: Williams Press, 1890-1976.
(Olin Library J 87 .N7e: 1891,1895-1902,1904; Law Library KFN 5008 .A84: 1942-1945, 1952-1976)

Also called the Calendar of Bills. Descriptions but not the bill text. For details on finding earlier bills, see Butch, pp. 34-35.

New York (State). Legislature. Senate. Calendar of the Senate of the State of New York. Albany: Williams Press.
(Olin Library J 87 .N7e: 1890, 1893-1902, 1904; Law Library KFN 5008 .S7: 1942-1950, 1952-1976)

Also called the Calendar of Bills. Descriptions but not the bill text. For details on finding earlier bills, see Butch, pp. 34-35.

RECORDS OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE IN THE STATE RECORDS AND ARCHIVES ADMINISTRATION

The Guide to Records of the New York State Legislature in the State Archives and Records Administration "describes selected records, dating from the colonial period to the 1980s, which are preserved and made available for research by the New York State Archives and Records Administration (SARA)." [Introduction] This guide lists the kinds of legislative records held by SARA. (Library Annex Z 1223.5 .N56 G94 +)

Executive Documents: The Governor

Messages from the Governors comprising executive communications to the Legislature and other papers relating to legislation from the organization of the first colonial Assembly in 1683 to and including the year 1906, with notes. Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1909.
(Olin J 87 .N716 Also Law, RMC and Google Books)
 
Check the shelf; the catalog records for Olin are incomplete. We have all 11 volumes of this set plus additional, later volumes under a different title.
 
Public Papers of [governor's name, i.e., Alfred E. Smith] (or) Governor [governor's name]. Albany: State of New York.
(Olin J 87 .N7 or Olin J 87 .N717)
 
Papers of Dewitt Clinton and other governors since the colonial era. Twentieth century governors completely represented.
 
Annotated List and Indexes of Reports of New York State Governors' Committees and Task Forces, 1925-1985.
Albany: University of the State of New York, New York State Library..., 1986.
(Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N56 C321 1986 +)

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New York State Historical Literature Collection

The New York State Historical Literature collection contains electronic versions of scattered 19th century NYS documents among its 655 browseable and searchable online titles scanned and indexed by CUL. Browsing the titles beginning with "New York State" is one way to see what's available here.

Subject Indexes to Legislative Journals

There are no subject indexes to the Journal, per se. However, the New York Times Index (1851 to date: Olin Ref AI 21 .N56) and Historical Index to the New York Times [online] (1863-1905, 1913-September 1922) can serve as a surrogate subject indexes. Legislative proceedings are often discussed in the newspaper.

For More Information

For detailed information on historic New York state documents, consult
Butch, Dorothy. New York State Documents: An Introductory Manual.Albany: University of the State of New York, State Education Dept..., 1987.
(New York State Library Bibliography Bulletin 89). (Olin Ref Z 1223.5 .N7 .B97 + Also ILR, Law Reference, Annex, Mann, Uris).