Washington DC – Basement Of The Capitol

There are many committee-rooms, the House post-office, the restaurants, and the document and folding rooms. About thirty rooms are used for the enormous business connected with public documents. The government issues yearly nearly three hundred different books— reports of departments and special re-ports on home and foreign matters, mostly bulky volumes, and many of them illustrated in the finest and costliest manner — besides a large number of pamphlets. The Government Printing-Office is constantly engaged in many of its departments in printing and binding these publications. A large force is employed in the document and folding rooms in wrapping and addressing the books and pamphlets, and nearly every day in the year one hundred large mail-sacks of public documents are sent out over the country. It is estimated that the printed matter annually distributed will fill two hundred and fifty mail-cars, and will weigh six millions of pounds. More than a million bound volumes are distributed, and an immense number of pamphlets. Each congressman is entitled to a certain number of copies of all the works, and he furnishes the list of people to whom they shall be sent.

Thousands of copies of The Congressional Record are distributed over the country every day, and during the progress of an exciting and important debate the number will swell into tens of thousands. Some congressmen expend a large amount of money in the purchase and mailing of their speeches, and in one case it is known that a very ambitious speechmaker expended five thousand dollars, his entire compensation for the congressional year, in sending his ” great speech ” to his constituents and to others far and wide throughout the United States. In another case a speech on the tariff had a circulation of one hundred thousand copies.

The report of the Department of Agriculture has the largest circulation of any of the public documents, and it is greatly appreciated by enterprising and progressive farmers, as its fund of information concerning the agricultural interests is accurate and complete, great pains being taken by the department with all the subjects treated of. Within a few years the farmers of the great southwestern region of the country have taken many thousands of the reports, and the demand from that section yearly increases. The circulation of the re-port in the northwest is also very large. Reports on mines and minerals are circulated throughout the mining regions in great numbers, and are also sent to the financial centres. The reports of some of the departments are distributed among the state and public libraries, and are found to be very useful for reference. Many of the public documents are of much value to specialists, and the demand for them generally exceeds the supply.