UCB Libraries

HIST 3020: Thinking and Writing in History

Constructing the Panama Canal

Government Primary Resources Used in Class

Annual reports, Isthmian Canal Commission

1907-1908, 1910-1914  

Print version: Government Information W 73.1    



Digital version only: Congressional Serial Set   

Sanitation Reports

Annual: 1907-1908, 1910-1913    

Print version: Government Information W 73.6/1:           


Monthly: 1905-1912, 1914

Print version: Government Information W 73.6/5:


Digital version of monthly reports:

Reports of the Department of Sanitation of the Isthmian Canal Commission


Public Health Reports 1904: T 27.6:  PASCAL offsite storage
Digital version: Full-text online through JSTOR

Panama Canal Record    

Weekly v. 1-34 1907-1941 
Print version: Government Information W 79.5          
Digital version: University of Florida Panama Canal digital collection

Significant Panama Canal Surveys

Report on interoceanic canals and railroads between Atlantic and Pacific oceans   1867   

Print version: N 14.2:In 8  McGov 

Senate Exec. Doc. 62, 39th Cong., 1st sess.   


Shufeldt, Captain Robert W.  Reports of explorations and surveys to ascertain the practicability of a ship-canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by was of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  1872.

Senate. Exec. Doc. 6,  42d Cong., 2d sess.    


Selfridge, Commander Thomas Oliver.  Reports of explorations and surveys to ascertain the practicability of a ship-canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by the way of the Isthmus of Darien.  1874    

Print version: N 1.8:Se 4 McGov  

House misc. doc. no. 113, 42d Cong., 3d sess.  


Lull. Edward.  Reports of explorations and surveys for the location of interoceanic ship-canals through the Isthmus of Panama and by the Valley of the River Napipi, by U.S. Naval Expeditions,  1875. 

Sen. Exec. Doc. 71, 45th Cong., 3d session.  1879. 


Lull, Edward. Reports of Explorations and surveys for the location of a ship-canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Nicaragua, 1872-1873. 

Sen. Exec. Doc. 57, 43d Cong., 1st sess

Digital version: U.S. Congressional Serial Set CU

Congressional documents and reports (U.S. Congressional Serial Set)

Remember: Annual reports and surveys are published in the Serial Set as Congressional documents from the mid 19th through early 20th centuries.

Print versions of specific volumes can be requested from PASCAL (off-site storage)
Digital version: U.S. Congressional Serial Set CU 

United States Statutes at Large   All laws passed by Congress and treaties (through 1949) 

Print version: GS 4.111  Government Reference                            
Digital version: U.S Statutes at Large CU

Congressional Record: Senate and House floor debates on legislation and proceedings.

Print version: Can be found here
Specific volumes can be requested from PASCAL (off-site storage)
Digital version: Congressional Publications CU 

Congressional Hearings 

Print version: Search Chinook by title or keyword for hearings. 

These can be requested from PASCAL (off-site storage) 
Digital version: Congressional Publications CU      


Hearings looked at in class:

    Hearings before the Senate Committee on Interoceanic Canals on HR 3110.  1902.  Senate Doc. 253, 57th Cong, 1st sess.


    Investigation of Panama Canal Matters. Hearings before the Committee on Interoceanic Canals of the U.S. Senate in the matter of the Senate Resolution adopted January 9, 1906, providing for an investigation of matters relating to the Panama Canal.  GPO, 1906.   4 volumes.  Sen Doc. 401, 59th Cong. 2d sess 


    Story of Panama:  Hearings on the Rainey resolution before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.  Government Printing Office, 1913.

Foreign Relations of the United States   

1861- S 1.1: 
Print version can be found here
Digital version: Foreign Relations of the United States 

Diplomatic history of the Panama Canal 1914

            Sen. Doc. 474, 63d Cong, 2d sess.  1914.


Theodore Roosevelt papers

Print sources:

Presidential Address and State Papers of Theodore Roosevelt. New York, F.F. Collier. E660 R77  Norlin stacks


Theodore Roosevelt: letters and speeches. The Library of America, 2004.  E 757 .A4 2004.  Norlin stacks 

Digital source:

American Presidency Project

Census of the Canal Zone, February 1, 1912   

Print version:  Government Information  W 73.2:C 33
Digital version: Can be found here

Government Primary Sources: Digital Collections for Panama Canal research

Congressional Publications CU   

Full-text Congressional materials, including Congressional hearings, Congressional Record (floor debates), Congressional reports and documents from 1980 to present, committee prints, CRS reports, member biographies, committee assignments, voting records, financial data, and regulatory and statutory resources.

U.S. Congressional Serial Set CU  

Digital version of the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the Reports, Documents, and Journals (journals end in 1952) of the Senate and House of Representatives.  From the mid-19th through the beginning of the 20th century government agency and department reports were published as Congressional documents and can be found in the Serial Set.  About 300 selected hearings from this time period were published in the Serial Set as well.

U.S Statutes at Large CU 

The Statutes at Large is the official source for the laws and resolutions passed by Congress. Until 1950, all treaties and international agreements ratified by the Senate were also published in the set.  The Statutes at Large are also available at the Library of Congress’ American Memory web site.

Treaties and Acts of Congress Relating to the Panama Canal, 1917

Washington, GPO, 1917.

American Presidency Project   

The American Presidency Project has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database these materials:  The Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Washington - Taft (1789-1913),  The Public Papers of the Presidents: Hoover to G.W. Bush (1929-2007)& Obama (2009),  The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents: Carter - G.W. Bush (1977-2009) and The Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents: Obama (2009-2012). 

Foreign Relations of the United States 

FRUS documents the major foreign policy decisions and diplomatic activity of the U.S. Government and contains declassified records from the White House, the Department of State, and other foreign affairs agencies It began in 1861.

Reports of the Department of Sanitation of the Isthmian Canal Commission  

Full-text reports from June 1907- March 1914. 

Tropical Diseases and the Construction of the Panama Canal, 1904–1914
Full-text collection from Harvard University.

Public Health Reports Public Health Reports (PHR) have been published since 1878 and is the official journal of the U.S. Public Health Service.

They are available full-text through JSTOR CU 

University of Florida’s Panama Canal digital collection 

Panama and the Canal is a joint project from the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and the Panama Canal Museum.  It includes the full text of the Panama Canal Record and primary sources such as photographs, correspondence and oral histories.

Large collections of digital materials that include government sources:

Internet Archive    

Hathi Trust Digital Library  


To find articles in newspapers, use the News and Newspapers link from the FIND menu on the Libraries’ homepage. FIND is in the blue bar near the top.  Start with the Historic tab and try Proquest Historical Newspapers. 


The Outlook    A weekly magazine published in New York City from 1870-1935.  TR was an associate editor.  Available full-text through Google Books.


Contact information:


Leanne Walther                                           


Request a research consultation or email the Government Information Library at govpubs@colorado.edu