Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1940

By Carl F. Kaestle; Janice A. Radway | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
The Government as Publisher

Charles A. Seavey with Caroline F. Sloat

.  .  .

The federal government is one of the hidden phenomena of the book world. The publishing industry does not track sales or distribution of government items, but when we turn to the government’s own figures on its publishing activities, we discover a world of print vigorously in motion, increasing in scope, volume, and speed. Beginning as a modest effort to record the proceedings of the U.S. Congress, government publishing grew to a prodigious volume by the end of the nineteenth century. In fiscal year 1895–96, for example, the United States Government Printing Office (USGPO) produced, bound, and delivered 1,255,454 volumes, requiring 5,457 tons of paper, 490 tons of binder boards, and 51,600 sheepskins.1

Print runs of single publications were sizable, sometimes exceeding 100,000.2 The purposes of government documents by this time had extended far beyond the actions of the Congress. Descriptions of government-sponsored explorations facilitated westward expansion during the nineteenth century. Many a wagon train went West with a copy of John C. Frémont’s 1845 Report of the Exploring Expedition to Rocky Mountains in 1842, and to Oregon and North California in 1843–44 (and map) within reach of the wagon master.3 Government publications either stimulated or settled many scientific controversies of the late nineteenth century. Farmers used government information to improve crop production. Social scientists made extensive use of data collected and published by the government. The U.S. government had become (and still is) the largest publisher in the world. This chapter briefly reviews some of the highlights prior to 1880 and then focuses on some important changes in the organization and practices of the government’s printing activities from 1880 to 1940.


Government Publishing: Informing the Populace

America’s founders frequently argued that participants in a democracy must be both educated and informed. In 1822 James Madison wrote to his friend W. T. Barry: “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge

-260-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1940
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 669

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.