There is a great deal of informaiton to be found in early U.S. government publications. Many of these older U.S. documents are NOT in VIRGO. The researcher wishing information from U.S. government agencies prior to 1976 must consult sources other than VIRGO. Remember to consult the Government Information staff for help in finding older documents. Though what follows in not a complete list of pre-1900 U.S. sources it is intended to give an idea of the wealth of sources available.
A good overview of the importance of government documents for historical research and tips for finding them is available in "Learning to Do Historical Research: Sources - Govenrment Documents."
Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789-1909 -- GP 3.2:C 41/2 - on the Wall in the 3rd floor Reading Room
The 1909 Checklist lists, by SuDoc number, many documents published from 1789 to 1909. The Checklist lists Serial Set volume numbers in brackets - . An online version is available here.
CIS Index to U.S. Executive Branch Documents, 1789-1909 : Guide to Documents listed in Checklist of U.S. Public Documents, 1789-1909, not printed in the U.S. Serial Set - on the Wall in the 3rd floor Reading Room - Z7164 .A2 C53 1990 - is a subject index to the 1909 Checklist.
Cumulative Title Index to United States Public Documents -- GIR Reading Room, Behind 3rd Floor Service Desk
Covers 1789 to 1976. Lists documents by title and gives SuDoc number.
Monthly Catalog - GP - Behind the 3rd floor Service Desk
indexes U.S. Governmenht publications. Annual. SuDocs Call number given in lower right corner of entry.
NOTE: A "black dot" in the MoCat entry indicates that the title was sent to depository libraries, like UVA. UVA owns "non-depository" materials from about 1956-1977. These are on microcard and house in the Ivy Stacks. Search VIRGO for "readex non-depository" as the title to find what we own.
Subject Index to Monthly Catalog - Shelved behind the 3rd floor Service Desk.
Gives year and either page or entry number of Monthly Catalog entry for a title: (34) 1133 = 1934 Montly Catalog on page 1133. The Monthly Catalog entry will then give the SuDocs call number.
Proquest (LexisNexis) Congressional
This is one of the best resources for finding older materials. It indexes congressional hearings, prints, and the Serial Set from 1789 to 1969. The 19th century and early 20th century volumes of the Serial Set contain many executive agency publications, such as annual reports. UVA owns many of these materials in paper and in the LexisNexis microfiche collection. See the guide on congressional materials owned by Alderman and the Law Library for more information.