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Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions

The most current and extensive listing of publications (and often, the full text reports) created by U.S. presidential commissions and other advisory bodies.

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Understanding Presidential Commissions

For more than a century, presidents have created advisory groups (also called committees, commissions, boards, blue ribbon panels, or task forces) to advise them on particular problems or issues. Typically the group’s task is to analyze a situation, give an explanation for the cause of the problem, and make recommendations for change. 

Presidential commissions have been used to explain catastrophes such as the Gulf oil spill, the Challenger Space Shuttle incident, Pearl Harbor, and the AIDS tragedy. There have been many famous advisory groups, such as the Warren Commission (the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy), the Kerner Commission on the riots of 1967, and the Tower Commission on Iran Contra. 

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions and Other Advisory Bodies: A Bibliographic Listing is a unique resource containing the most current and extensive listing of publications created by these types of presidential advisory bodies. The resource is essential in discovering and analyzing policies of U.S. presidents, as presidential commission reports help determine administrative and political priorities of various administrations. 

About the Reports of Presidential Commissions Database

In addition to publishing the print version of Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions, HeinOnline has transformed the resource into a crucial online archive for researchers interested in United States history, political science, and law. In both print and online, browse the comprehensive index of more than 7,400 entries by the commission name, report title, report subject, and more. Also find citations to published government documents and OCLC numbers when applicable. Whenever possible, links to the full text of reports are provided (currently clocking in at more than 2,400). In addition, find a number of related hearings, scholarly articles, and other supplemental material.

To maintain currency, the online resource is updated at least twice annually as new material is discovered, indexed, and integrated into the database. 

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Selected Commission Subjects

The report entries in this bibliography have been categorized within a list of hundreds of subjects. See just a few of them below: 

Database Tools and Features

Index Tool for Easy Browsing

Seamlessly browse the 7,400+ report entries in this database by president, commission name, commission subject, or report title.

Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions index tool
Full text reports in Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions

Full-Text Reports

More than 2,400 of the entries in this database link to full-text reproductions of the report, including those from the most well-known commissions.

Related Government and Scholarly Documents

Find a listing of related congressional hearings, links to hundreds of scholarly articles, and a bibliography of works outside of HeinOnline.

Scholarly articles in Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions database

About the Author

Louis W. (Bill) Bookheim managed reference and public services for 28 years at California Western School of Law Library. He holds a J.D. from Hofstra and an MLS from St. Johns University. Originally from New York, he has been a resident of California for more than 30 years. 

The pioneering works of Thomas R. Wolanin in his Presidential Advisory Commissions Truman to Nixon (1975) and by Steven D. Zink in his Guide to the Presidential Advisory Commissions (1973-84) (1987) were the basis of this resource. The author also cites Gale’s Encyclopedia of Governmental Advisory Organizations as an additional influence. 

Using Reports of U.S. Presidential Commissions

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