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Presidents & The Presidency

  Presidents, Vice Presidents, & First Ladies

The Presidents: A Reference History. 2002.

Biographical information on each of the presidents through George W. Bush. Includes election information, appointments, and key events for each presidency. Bibliographies with each article note authoratative resources for further reading. Special articles on the history of both the Presidency and White House and the role of First Lady.


Facts About the Presidents. 2001.

Compilation of biograhical and historical information including genealogical, on the President and First Lady. Presents chronologies of important dates, election data, chief advisors and appointments, notable events of the presidents' terms, and further reading.

POTUS:Presidents of the United States

Links to "background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents. Links to biographies, historical documents, audio and video files, and other presidential sites are also included to enrich this site." - from the Web site


American Presidency . 2004.

Covers Presidents George Washington through George W. Bush. "Interpretive" articles written by presidential scholars, ranging in length from 5 - 20 pages each. Includes a selective bibliography and a limited index. Although biographical information is included, the main intent is to focus on "how these individuals have perceived and used the office." - From the book introduction, p.ix.


The Presidents, First Ladies, and Vice Presidents: White House Biographies, 1789 - 2001. 2001.

Brief biographies with no bibliographes included. Includes an article on the daily life of the president.


The Vice Presidents: A Biographical Dictionary. 1998.

Vice Presidents through Al Gore. Includes references and a chronology of events.


American First Ladies: Their Lives and Their Legacy. 1996.

First Ladies through Hillary Rodham Clinton. Each article is accompanied by a bibliographical essay.

  Presidency, Presidential Appointments & Transitions

Guide to the Presidency and Executive Branch . [CQ] 2v. 2013.

  • Includes sections on origins, development, and powers of the presidency, selection and removal of the president, the president, the public, and the parties. Covers the White House and Executive Branch and biographies of presidents and vice presidents. Reference materials include some important primary sources as well as data on elections, approval ratings and presidential appointments.
  • Brief section on the transition period


Encyclopedia of the American Presidency. 4v. 1994.

Covers the powers and prerogatives of the office and the executive branch and its relationship to the judicial and legislative branches. Includes articles on the presidency, policy and issues, laws and legal cases, historical events and politics. Biographical information on presidents, vice presidents, selected first ladies, and other notable figures directly related to past presidencies.


Vital Statistics on the Presidency.1998.

Data on presidents and their selection, election, and appearances. Statistics on presidents' relations to the public, Congress, and the judiciary. Covers presidential policy making, organization and the executive branch.


How to Research the Presidency. 1996.

Introduction to basic research resources on the presidency. Includes secondary and primary sources and their finding tools.

Project Vote Smart: President & Executive Branch

Brief descriptions of and links to the Executive Offices and Departments of the President, Independent Federal Agencies Other Federal Government Resources.


United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions [The Plum Book]. 2012.

A listing of the leadership and support positions in the executive branch that can be filled by non-competitive appointment. Lists the political appointments in each department and program by name and title, the name of the incumbant, and where each job stands on the executive pay scales. Published by a Congressional Committee every four years immediately after the presidential election.


The White House Transition Project [Martha Joynt Kumar, Executive Director]

  • Extensive information on transitioning from one presidency to the next, including original essays on transitions, White House operations, institutional memory, and inquiry of presidential nominees.

Political Appointees Project

  • Website which includes political appointee profiles and advice for political appointees including the Survivor's Guide for Presidential Nominees [Prune Book]
    • Top "Prune" Jobs - Describes the recommended skills, experience and insight required for sixty jobs filled by presidential appointments. Includes background profiles of the current holders of these offices. Useful for its background information on agencies, their organizational structure and the issues they face.
  • Reforming the Appointments Process provides links to organizations that analyze the appointment process

Issue Guide: U. S. Presidential Transition [January 21, 2013]

  • Analysis brief from the Council on Foreign Relations focused on President Obama's second term

The Presidential Transition [Brookings Institute]

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Policy Agendas Project

  • Use datasets to "trace changes in the national policy agenda and public policy outcomes" since WWII - from the website
  • Datasets used include: Congressional and Presidential publications; Supreme Court cases; interest groups; New York Times; and the Federal budget
  • Search topics such as civil rights, health, immigration, environment, crime & family issues, banking, defense, foreign aid and space, using Trend Analysis to look at topics

U.S. Presidents and Foreign Policy From 1789 to the Present . 2007.

Overview articles tracing each president's role in foreign policy from their early life and political (or military) career and concluding with their legacy. Each article is accompanied by a chronology, which will assist in identifying primary sources, as well as a brief list of secondary sources.

Accompanied by a small collection of primary sources, a Chronology of the Foreign Relations of the United States, and an index.


Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations . 1997.

Includes articles on presidents and their involvement in significant foreign-policy issues.


Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Presidential Use of Force, 1789-2000. 2001.

Describes incidences and concepts related to the use of force by the president. Includes further reading for each entry.


Ethics in U.S. Government: An Encyclopedia of Investigations, Scandals, Reforms, and Legislation. 2001.

Describes incidences and individuals involved in serious ethics controversies. Includes suggested readings for each entry and an index of subjects and names.


U.S. Electoral College [NARA]

Background information and statistics on the Electoral College. Links to additional resources.


Guide to U.S. Elections. [Congressional Quarterly] 2010.

  • Articles and comprehensive data on elections for presidents, governors, senators, and representatives

Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections. 2001.

  • Arranged chronologically by election. Narrative describes each election. Maps and graphs depict election results by candidate and percentage and number of electoral votes.

American Presidential Campaigns and Elections. 3v. 2002.

Covers the election campaigns from 1788/89 to 2000. Introductory section on the American electoral process includes issues of suffrage, influence of major and third parties, nominating conventions, role of the press and media, campaign finance, and the "character issue". Essays on each campaign explain the historical context, political climate, and campaign themes. The discourse is enhanced by accompanying primary sources such as copies of letters, circulars, speeches, newspaper articles and political cartoons.


Presidential Elections, 1789 - 2008.

Provides an overview of the presidential election process including the presidential primaries, nomination convention and political party nominees, electoral votes. Includes popular vote returns for minor candidates and parties.


America at the Polls: A Handbook of American Presidential Election Statistics. 1994.

Election statistics from 1920 - 1992.


Source Book of American Presidential Campaign and Election Statistics:1948 - 1968. 1971.

Goes beyond the standard presidential statistical source by including data on presidential campaigns including preference primaries, campaign staff, campaign itineraries, cost of campaigns, media exposure, and public opinion polls.


The Presidential Vote:1896 - 1932. 1970.

Statistics on presidential elections with the focus on counties within each state.

For additiional information on ELECTIONS and ELECTORAL REFORM
Congress Resources http://pages.towson.edu/sara/congress.html#elections

For information on CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Congress Resources http://pages.towson.edu/sara/congress.html#campaign

  Presidential Candidates

Presidential Election

  • An information source providing government, state, local, and presidential election information on all the political candidates for the upcoming election.
  • Includes links to news sources on the candidates positions and information on campaign finance.

The Living Room Candidate: A History of Presidential Campaign Commercials, 1952-2008
[American Museum of the Moving Image]

  • Television commercials, some in their entirety, for major presidential candidates from the years 1952 to 2008.
  • Provides a brief introduction to major political party advertising strategies and a map that shows election results for each campaign.
  • Highlighted themes include Commander in Chief, Looking Presidential, Attack Ads, Biography, Family Man, and Real People.
  • Ads may be accessed by year or candidate.

The Great Debate & Beyond: The History of Televised Presidential Debates [History Channel]

  • See index for access to videos, photos, headlines, memos & spin for 1960 - 2008 presidential races.


Primary Resources


American Presidency Project
[University of California, Santa Barbara]

  • Archive of over 78,000 primary sources including public papers of the President, inaugural addresses, news conferences, Presidential candidates debates, documents related to 2001 Presidential transition, and party platforms

American President: A Reference Resource - from the Miller Center at UVA


NARA Presidential Libraries and Museum Page

  • Provides links to U.S. Presidential libraries, which provide selected primary sources. Also explains various types of presidential documents and how they can be useful in your research.
  • See Whitehouse Transition Interviews at the National Archives site

Presidential Daily Diaries/Schedules:



Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

Cumulation of Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Covers Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

Bush, Clinton, and Bush are also available online through NARA.

On Microfilm
2nd floor

Presidential Papers on Microfilm [Series]

This microfilm series is located on the 2nd floor of Cook Library in filing cabinets near the Periodicals Desk. The call numbers range from E300 - E750. Included are the following presidents:

  • Arthur, Chester Alan Papers 1843-1938
  • Cleveland, Grover Papers 1828-1945
  • Coolidge, Calvin Papers 1921-1929
  • Grant, Ulysses S. Papers 1844-1922
  • Harrison, William Henry Papers 1734-1939
  • Jackson, Andrew Papers 1775-1856
  • Johnson, Andrew Papers 1814-1900
  • Lincoln, Abraham Papers 1833-1916
  • Madison, James Papers 1674-1859
  • McKinley, William Papers 1847-1902
  • Monroe, James Papers 1758-1839
  • Pierce, Franklin Papers 1820-1869
  • Taylor, Zachary Papers 1814-1931
  • Tyler, John Papers 1710-1918
  • Washington, George Papers 1741-1799

To check the catalog record for manuscript collections in each set held by Cook Library, search the Library Catalog > Advanced Search > Search for words in.... series > enter word/s to search search as... presidential papers

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  Catalog & Online Databases available through Cook Library home page

Try some of the following Subject beginning with.... searches in the USMAI Catalog:

  • Presidents – united states – transition periods
  • Presidents – united states - staff
  • Reagan, Ronald -- Relations with journalists (substitute president of interest for Ronald Reagan)
  • Presidential press secretaries 
  • Presidents -  Press coverage 
  • Government and the press – United States 
  • Press and politics – United States 
  • Communication – Political aspects – United States
  • Communication in politics
  • Mass media - Political aspects – United States 
  Presidential Studies Quarterly is the major journal that deals with the presidency. The search box is on the upper right corner of the screen. We have it online from 1999 -
NOTE: It is indexed in several EBSCO databases, so you will find articles from it when you search these databases..

Academic Search [Ebsco]
Search for citations, abstracts and some full text articles from magazines and journals in various disciplines including Political Science, Law and History.

Note: The truncation symbol in this database is *. For example, president * = president, presidents, presidential

To search for articles on presidents:

  • You'll get the most comprehensive results by searching Academic Search [Ebsco], America: History & Life, Military & Government Collection [Ebsco], and Social Sciences Abstracts [Ebsco] together by clicking on Choose Databases link, selecting the appropriate databases and clicking on [OK].
  • Then click on the Advanced Search tab and search lastname firstname (e.g. bush george w, kennedy john).
  • Academic Search indexes scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, news magazines, and the New York Times
  • Social Sciences Abstracts indexes a broad selection of journals in the Social Sciences
  • Military & Government Collection indexes publications like FDCH Political Transcripts, Press Releases, & Congressional Testimony and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
  • Include Communication and Mass Media Complete if your topic includes a president or the presidency and the media or public opinion


America: History and Life

Search for abstracts of articles from scholarly journals in history and social sciences. Most comprehensive source for articles in American history. Includes book reviews. Journal covereage varies. Some journals are indexed beginning in the early 1970s to date. Indexes and links to journals that are available in full text from JSTOR.


LexisNexis Academic: Newspapers & News Transcripts

Search Major U.S. and world newspapers. Provides full text of major national newspapers including New York Times (1980 - ) and Washington Post (1977 - ) .
Note: The truncation symbol in this database is !. For example, president! = president's, presidential

Note: Try the Power Search to limit your search to words in the Headline and Lead Paragraph. Click on News > All News on the left menu bar and once on the new search screen, change Everywhere to Headline & Lead . Specify date to a particular date range, if desired . Once you have a list of results, you may want to click on Sort by Relevance to change the arrangement of results so that the "best" articles are listed first, instead of the "most current".

LexisNexis also provides the full text of political transcripts. To search this collection, click on Sources tab > News > News Transcripts > Transcripts and select FDCH News Service and Federal News Service . On resulting screen, select section Headline or HLEAD. Try searching a political figure or by name, combined with words like speech, interview, briefing, press conference, etc. Search for a press member's interviews/comments by searching their firstname lastname (e.g. april ryan; alexis simendinger)


National Newspapers

  • Provides full text of the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Christian Science Monitor.
  • Most papers are included from the mid-1980s to date; click on Publications to search for an individual paper
  • Use Advanced Search screen to limit to date/s or to search for your words in the title or lead paragraph (abstract) of an article
  • ProQuest also provides full text access to Historical Black Newspapers from Atlanta, NY, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles ranging in date from the early 20th c. to 2005

New York Times Historical [1851-2008]

  • Provides full text of all articles and page locators, which indicate exactly where the article appeared on the page.
  Print Indexes
  The following print resources index magazine, journal, and newspaper articles that were published earlier than the online databases cover. They index material published in English from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century. They are shelved on the back wall of the main (3rd) floor of Cook Library. Those articles that were published during the time of an event would be considered primary sources.

International Index to Periodicals, Devoted Chiefly to Humanities and Science. 1907- 1964.

  • Indexes scholarly/professional journals
  • Continued by Social Sciences & Humanities Index 1966 - 1974 [Ref A13 S6]
  • Continued by Social Sciences Index 1974 -1997. [Ref A13 S611]

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature . 1900 - 1997.

  • Indexes general interest and news magazines, as well as Department of State Bulletin, Congressional Digest, and Vital Speeches of the Day
  • Continues Poole's Index to Periodical Literature 1890 - 1899 [Ref A13 P7]

The URL for this Web page is http://pages.towson.edu/sara/presidency.html

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