Posted by & filed under Boredom Busters, Is That a Document?, Special Days, Uncategorized.

Carol L. Highsmith, photographer. [Second Floor, East Corridor. Mural depicting Lyric Poetry (Lyrica) in the Literature series by George R. Barse, Jr.. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

April is National Poetry Month, and the perfect time to shine a spotlight on a hidden treasure in the Government Documents collection at Sycamore Library. You might be surprised to learn how much poetry, writings about poetry, and even performances of poetry are available in the often seemingly dry-as-a-desert world of government information, and what a significant role our government plays in preserving and promoting the rich tapestry of our poetic heritage. From studies of classic authors to lessons in how to write poetry, government documents contain a plethora of poetic resources.


Poetry as Literature

Perhaps the richest source of poetic resources in government is the Library of Congress. Their website hosts a treasure trove of poetry-related materials, including finding aids to help you.

Finding Poems: Is there a poem you half-remember—maybe you can quote a line or phrase, or you think you know the author, but can’t remember the title? This is a list of tools and resources from the Library of Congress that can help you identify that elusive poem using whatever information you might have. And remember, if none of these suggestions proves helpful, you can always Ask Us.

Sixty American Poets, 1896-1944: In 1945, while he was a poet in residence at the Library of Congress, Allen Tate compiled this bibliography of sixty of the most important American poets of the previous 50 years (not leaving himself out), listing the chief works, recordings of works, and major criticism or biographies of each poet, and providing his own highly opinionated commentary on each. A decade later, Kenton Kilmer of the Legislative Reference Service revised and expanded the content with more recently published material while adhering to Tate’s original list of sixty poets.


Poet Laureate

From 1937 to 1986, the Library of Congress had a position called Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (sometimes abbreviated as Consultant). Their job was similar to that of a reference librarian, and the consultant’s job duties consisted primarily of serving as a collection specialist and a resident scholar in poetry and literature.

On December 20, 1985, an Act of Congress (Public Law 99-194) established the position of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry (usually abbreviated as Poet Laureate). This position has focused more on more on organizing local poetry readings, lectures, conferences, and outreach programs. Nearly half of the laureates have taken on a signature Poet Laureate Project to improve the national appreciation of poetry. 

The Library of Congress webpage has a list of all Consultants and Poets Laureate with a short biography of each.

Ada Limón is the current Poet Laureate. She was appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden on July 12, 2022 and reappointed for a historic two-year second term on April 24, 2023.


Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund

This fund was established by philanthropist Gertrude Clarke Whittall in 1950 to promote the appreciation of poetry, drama, and other literature. On April 23, 1951—the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth—a Poetry Room was dedicated where the library hosts lectures, poetry readings, and other literary events supported by this fund. These are some of the many chapbooks that were published by the Library of Congress as a permanent record of the lectures given by illustrious poets and scholars with the support of the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund. 


Anniversary Lectures, 1959: These lectures include “Robert Burns, 1759,” by Robert Hillyer; “Edgar Allan Poe, 1809,” by Richard Wilbur; and Alfred Edward Housman, 1859 ,” by Cleanth Brooks.


Carl Sandburg: With a Bibliography of Sandburg Materials in the Collections of the Library of Congress is a lecture on the life and works of Sandburg presented in the Library of Congress on January 8, 1968 by Mark Van Doren. It includes a poem about Sandburg—”Where a Poet’s From,” by Archibald MacLeish—and a bibliography of works by Sandburg in the Library of Congress.


Wallace Stevens: The Poetry of Earth is a  lecture by A. Walton Litz that locates the essence of the poetry of Wallace Stevens in a constant struggle to depict the inner, personal world of pure imagination while remaining faithful to the external world of objective facts.


Walt Whitman: Man, Poet, Philosopher: These three lectures were delivered at the Library of Congress by Gay Wilson Allen, Mark Van Doren, and David Daiches on January 10, 17, and 25, 1955, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first edition of Whitman’s poetry collection Leaves of Grass


State University Publications

State universities are government institutions and frequently publish poetry either in the form of books issued by their university presses, or through a literary journal that publishes poems by students or by professional poets.


100 Love Sonnets / Cien sonetos de amor is a classic collection of poems by Pablo Neruda translated by Stephen Tapscott and published in a beautifully designed volume by University of North Texas Press with the original Spanish poems and the English translations appearing side by side on facing pages.


The Green Fuse, named after a Dylan Thomas poem, was a literary journal published by North Texas State University from 1971 to 1990 (in 1988 the NTSU was renamed the University of North Texas). This annual print publication showcased art, poetry, and prose created by NTSU/UNT students. In 1977, according to a letter by alumnus Douglas Ray published in The North Texan, the journal was almost not published because of a lack of funds, but enough funds were raised privately to publish a limited edition entitled Shadow of the Green Fuse. The following year a major effort was made to secure funding from the Student Service Fund, and in the spring of 1978 publication of The Green Fuse was renewed. In 1990 the journal was continued under the new title North Texas Review.


The Texas Review is a literary review showcasing fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, short plays, and comics/art. The Texas Review partners with Texas Review Press (the University Press of Sam Houston State University) and Sam Houston State University’s MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing to publish two issues per year. 


Poetry as History

Ever since ancient times, poetry has been used as a popular medium for vividly conveying personal experiences of wars, social upheavals, and other major historical events.


The Battle Line of Democracy: Prose and Poetry of the World War is an anthology of patriotic poetry and prose compiled during World War I for the edification and inspiration of American children and published by the U.S. Committee on Public Information. The Committee on Public Information was the first large-scale propaganda agency of the U.S. federal government, established in 1917 to raise public support for the war effort.


Poetry in Response to 9/11: A Resource Guide: The terrorist attack on the United States that took place on September 11, 2001 was an overwhelming experience that elicited a number of varied responses. Many of these responses were took the form of poetry, which can express the deepest, most intense emotions. The Library of Congress has compiled a guide to these poems that includes an anthology of selected poems written or published within a year of the attacks; links to online collections of poems archived by various institutions;  a bibliography of print publications about the September 11 attacks; and some suggestions for where to find additional poems.


Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience is an anthology resulting from a series of writing workshops sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts for returning troops and their families at military installations in the United States and overseas. Taught by professional novelists, poets, historians, and journalists, some of whom were veterans themselves, these workshops provided service men and women with the opportunity to write about their wartime experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq using a variety of literary forms, including fiction, poetry, letters, essays, memoirs, and personal journals. Other formats in which these works are available include Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience [E-Book] and Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience [Audio CD], which includes performances of creative works that memorialize experiences of Americans in the Civil War, the two world wars, and the Vietnam conflict.


A Critique of Coronavirus” is a poem by Elana R. Osen, a specialty registrar at St. George’s University Hospital in London, that was published the July 2020 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It describes the peculiar experience of “looking around and not seeing or sensing anything observably different from normal, whilst at the same time being in the midst of a pandemic.” You can listen to a podcast of Dr. Osen discussing with Sarah Gregory her experience of writing the poem, or read a transcript of the podcast


Of Those We Have Lost and Those Who Have Saved So Many Others” by Terence Chorba is an article published later during the pandemic, in the July 2022 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases. It looks at the modernist calligrams of Guillaume Apollinaire, a Belarus-born French poet who was one of the many casualties of the great influenza A (H1N1) pandemic of 1918, and also comments briefly on two other poets who lost their lives during the First World War, not from battle wounds, but from infectious diseases: John McRae, author of “In Flander’s Fields,” who died of meningitis, and Rupert Brooke, author of many well-known war poems, who died from an infected mosquito bite. Comparisons and contrasts are drawn between the 1918 flu pandemic and the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Poetry and Special Populations

These documents are just a few samples of the ways government agencies have helped marginalized populations—often populations marginalized by the government—use poetry as a tool for self-expression, self-awareness, and a way to explore and embrace their own unique life experiences.


First Peoples

When it was established in 1962, the Institute of American Indian Arts was a high school funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Today they are a world-class institution that offers certificate, undergraduate, and low-residency graduate programs as well as lifelong learning classes, all taught from indigenous perspectives. Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, attended IAIA in the 1960s when it was still a high school. From the beginning they have encouraged students to experiment, and over the years the IAIA has curated a large collection of student works. Poems written by students who attended IAIA from 1962 to 1965 are collected in a 27-page chapbook with the lengthy title Anthology of Poetry and Verse: Written by Students in Creative Writing Classes and Clubs during the First Three Years of Operation (1962-1965) of the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  


Incarcerated Persons

The Echo is a monthly newspaper produced by and for inmates in the Texas criminal justice system. In addition to news stories, policy updates, opinion pieces, recipes, and other information, each issue features original works such as poetry and fiction that serve as an outlet for the inmates’ creative expression. Like most publishers of poetry, The Echo always has far more submissions than space to print them all (the editors claim to have over 100 submissions approved for publication at any given time), but inmates are always encouraged to send in their work.

For a study of the purpose and effectiveness of this publication, see A Critical Examination of “The Echo”: Prison Publication of the Texas Department of Corrections, a 1977 thesis by NTSU Journalism student David A. Hadeler.

Sample banner from Texas prison newspaper The ECHO


The Elderly

Care and Independent Living Services for Aging: Competency Based Teaching Module is the rather prosaic title of a textbook published in 1977 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) to train future workers in the field of occupational home economics. This particular module includes an anthology of poems and prose excerpts about love and old age, general attitudes toward aging, religious perspectives on aging, and death and dying that can be used to stimulate discussions among students about how different people experience the aging process.


Poetry in the Classroom and the Community

Educational institutions and libraries across the country receive funding and support from government grants to promote literacy and poetry appreciation. These initiatives often include poetry workshops, readings, and community outreach programs aimed at fostering a love of language and literature among people of all ages and backgrounds.

Found Poetry is created by selecting words, phrases, lines, and sentences from one or more written documents and combining them into a poem. Raw material for found poems can be selected from newspaper articles, speeches, diaries, advertisements, letters, food menus, brochures, short stories, manuscripts of plays, shopping lists, and even other poems. A collection of text resources written by well-known authors is provided in this online set of primary sources from the Library of Congress.

Vacation Water-Fun is an anthology of poems written by schoolchildren to remind themselves of important concepts regarding water safety. The poems were written as part of an education initiative by the Bureau of Reclamation and the anthology provides an enduring record of their experience. The children’s poems are illustrated with whimsical cartoons by Bureau of Reclamation employee David Cunningham.

Joan, Joan,sinking like a stone/She should have known/Not to swim alone/Poor poor Joan.


ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) is a comprehensive, easy-to-use, searchable, Internet-based bibliographic and full-text database of education research and information. ERIC indexes education research found in journal articles, books, and gray literature. (Gray literature includes materials produced by nonprofits, advocacy organizations, government agencies, and other sources not typically made available by commercial publishers.) Depending on the copyright status, materials indexed in the ERIC database may be available as full text or as a citation to an external source.

The ERIC database contains many useful articles and books on using poetry in the classroom, either teaching about poetry itself, or using poetry to enhance the teaching of other subjects. These are just a few examples of the intriguing and innovative content you can find here:

#Poetryisnotdead: Understanding Instagram Poetry within a Transliteracies Framework” is an article by Kate Kovalak and Jen Scott Curwood published in Literacy, the official journal of the United Kingdom Literary Association. It is not a government publication, but the full text of this article is available for free through ERIC. This fascinating case study examines the very recent phenomenon of adolescents creating multimodal creative works such as digital poetry enhanced by photo-editing apps, then sharing their creations with an online audience. The authors conclude that the interaction of creators of instapoetry and their audience has led to an increased exposure and relevance of poetry writing and appreciation; a space for student-centered writing, reading, and analysis of poems; and a relevant method of peer review and collaboration.

Green Writing: The Influence of Natural Spaces on Primary Students’ Poetic Writing in the UK and Australia” is an article published by Paul Gardner and Sonia Kuzich in the Cambridge Journal of Education. This study contrasts the experiences of students writing about nature from within the classroom, using a vicarious experience of nature as a stimulus, versus students who write their poems based on a direct experience of nature. The results suggest that standards of writing improve when students are given direct contact with natural spaces.

Teaching Poetry Writing to Adolescents, a book by Joseph Tsujimato published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills, contains many exercises that teachers can use in their classrooms to teach students how to write poetry. These exercises can also be used to teach yourself how to write poems!

Some of the most interesting teaching materials in ERIC are those that describe how to use poetry to enhance the teaching of decidedly non-poetic subjects.

Poetic License: Using Documentary Poetry to Teach International Law Students Paraphrase Skills” is an article by Robin Nilon published in InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching that demonstrates how studying the poems of poet-lawyer Charles Reznikoff can help law students learn the art of paraphrasing legal cases. Student first summarize Reznikoff’s own poems inspired by reported legal cases into prose form, then they try their hand at summarizing other reported cases as poetry. Students improved their paraphrase skills as well as their understanding of policy analysis. This teaching technique can also be applied to improve students’ critical thinking and writing skills in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. (The device of transforming prose into poetry and poetry into prose is not new—Benjamin Franklin describes in his autobiography how he expanded his vocabulary and improved his writing skills by translating articles from the Spectator into verse, then back to prose.)

Writing and Reading Multiplicity in the Uni-Verse: Engagements with Mathematics through Poetry” is an article by Nenad Radakovic, Nenad, Susan Jagger, and Limin Jao published in For the Learning of Mathematics: An International Journal of Mathematics Education. Their article describes the types of mathematical poetry, provides examples of several poems by mathematician-poets, relates their variable results at conducting an in-service teacher education workshop in mathematical poetry, and suggests how the concrete imagery and emotional content of poems can provide students with a non-threatening and holistic way to engage with “a field of study that is often seen as disembodied and abstract.”     


Poetry as Therapy

The National Association for Poetry Therapy provides this useful definition of poetry therapy:

Poetry therapy is the use of language, symbol, and story in therapeutic, educational, growth, and community-building capacities. It relies upon the use of poems, stories, song lyrics, imagery, and metaphor to facilitate personal growth, healing, and greater self-awareness. Bibliotherapy, narrative, journal writing, metaphor, storytelling, and ritual are all within the realm of poetry therapy.

Government agencies focused on health and wellness have found reading or writing poetry to be an effective way to help patients heal from traumatic experiences as well as an effective everyday practice that anyone can use to improve their own self-awareness and general well-being.

In the 1990s the Texas Department of Health, in cooperation with several other agencies, encouraged therapists to use poetry writing as well as the creation of visual art to help victims of sexual abuse share their often long-suppressed stories and give voice to their overwhelming and often difficult to express feelings. A selection of poems and artworks were published in two anthologies named after each year’s theme for Sexual Assault Awareness Month—Sharing the Secret, Surviving the Silence from 1993 and Listen to the Children from 1995.   


Poetry in Performance

Long before it was a written art form, poetry was primarily oral. Sung, chanted, or recited, oral poetry has been sometimes improvised on the spot, sometimes passed down from generation to generation and developed communally. (See D.M. Kgobe’s essay “ORAL POETRY: The Poet’s Performance and His Audience in an African Context with Special Reference to the Northern Sotho Society” for a discussion of how these techniques and traditions have continued into current times.)

Several government publications and websites contain recorded performances of poetry, often by the poets themselves. Other documents provide advice on creating oral poetry and sharing it with the local community.


Inaugural Poems

Inaugural Poems in History: Only four United States presidents so far have invited poets to read a new poem, specially composed for the occasion, at their inaugurations. This page at the website includes the text of each poem and a link to a video of the poet reading at the inauguration. (Robert Frost was having trouble seeing his manuscript because of the sun’s glare bouncing off the snow, so he ended up reciting his poem “The Gift Outright” from memory instead of reading the newly composed poem, but you can read both poems here.)

You can also watch several of the poets reading their inaugural poems on YouTube:

These are several posts from the Library of Congress From the Catbird Seat blog that discuss inaugural poets and their poems:


Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II) CC BY 2.0


Library of Congress

The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature is an extensive archive of live recordings of poets and other writers participating in public literary events at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, plus studio recordings made in the Library’s Recording Library. Hear renowned poets such as Robert Frost, Audre Lorde, Derek Walcott, Denise Levertov, Robert Penn Warren, Maya Angelou, and many others reading and discussing poetry by themselves and their colleagues.  

From the Catbird Seat is the official poetry and literature podcast of the Library of Congress. Their archive features recordings of poets reading and discussing their work at the Library of Congress, and offers behind-the-scenes interviews with special guests. In 2023, From the Catbird Seat was replaced by the Bookmarked blog, which combines From the Catbird Seat with the National Book Festival blog.


White House

James Earl Jones Performs Shakespeare at the White House Poetry Jam: On May 12, 2009, in the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama initiated the White House Poetry Jam, more formally known as the White House Evening of Music, Poetry, and the Spoken Word. 

In his opening remarks, President Obama summed up the purpose of this event:

Now, we’re here tonight not just to enjoy the works of these artists, but also to highlight the importance of the arts in our life and in our Nation, in our Nation’s history. We’re here to celebrate the power of words and music to help us appreciate beauty, but also to understand pain, to inspire us to action and to spur us on when we start to lose hope, to lift us up out of our daily existence, even if it’s just for a few moments, and return us with hearts that are a little bit bigger and fuller than they were before.


The highlight of the evening was this intensely moving performance of a monologue from Shakespeare’s Othello by Academy Award winning actor James Earl Jones.

Also on the program was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s preview of a little project he was working on at the time—a hip-hop musical called Hamilton.




ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center)



A Reason to Celebrate

As we celebrate National Poetry Month, let us not overlook the invaluable contributions of federal, state, and local government agencies in preserving, promoting, and honoring the art of poetry. Through its publications, websites, and initiatives, the government provides a platform for poets to share their voices, preserves the poetic heritage of the nation, and cultivates a deeper appreciation for the power of language and expression.

So, whether you’re delving into the archives of the Library of Congress, exploring the publications of the Government Publishing Office, or participating in poetry events sponsored by federal agencies, take a moment to appreciate the rich poetic resources to be found in government documents. Happy National Poetry Month!


Do You Want to Know More?

The UNT Libraries Subject Guide Poetry in Government Publications lists more government resources related to poetry.

Visit Sycamore Library on the University of North Texas Campus to explore the many poetic resources in our Government Documents Collection. Sycamore Library is also host to the UNT Libraries Juvenile and Curriculum Materials Collections, which contain many children’s and young adult books related to poetry.

If you need assistance with finding or using government information, please visit the Service Desk in the Sycamore Library during regular hours, contact us by phone (940) 565-4745), or send a request online to

If you need extensive, in-depth assistance, we recommend that you e-mail us or call the Sycamore Service Desk at (940) 565-2870 to make an appointment with a member of our staff.


Article by Bobby Griffith

Posted by & filed under Hot Docs, Keeping Tabs.

Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2025 (cover)

Every year since 1921, when the Budget and Accounting Act gave the President of the United States the overall responsibility for planning the annual Budget of the United States Government, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) has worked with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to produce and distribute the President’s budget proposals for the coming fiscal year. 

The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2025, which runs from October 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025, is now available for anyone with access to a computer to read online for free. GPO has signed and certified the PDF files to assure users that these online documents are official and authentic. They should be viewed using Adobe Acrobat or Reader version 7.0 or higher.

Sycamore Library will not be receiving a paper copy of this document this year, but a paper copy of the U.S. Government for Fiscal Year 2025 can be pre-ordered from the U.S. Government Bookstore if you would like to purchase your own personal copy.

FACT SHEET: The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2025 is a press release from the White House Briefing Room that highlights economic achievements of the past year of the Biden administration and details the President’s vision to reduce taxes for lower- and middle-income Americans; lower costs for prescription drugs, child care, education, and housing; protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare; invest in America and the American people to make sure the middle class has a fair shot and no one is left behind; and reduce the deficit by “cracking down on fraud, cutting wasteful spending, and making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.” Among the proposed spending increases are mental healthcare programs for veterans; infrastructure improvements; worker protection and empowerment programs; clean energy projects; increased border security; and provision of international humanitarian assistance as well as support against aggression and terrorism.


The Budget Process

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the “power of the purse,” but does not prescribe how that power is to be exercised, nor does it provide a specific role for the President with regard to budgetary matters. Instead, various statutes, congressional rules, practices, and precedents have been established over the years to create a complex system in which multiple decisions and actions occur with varying degrees of “coordination” (to put the matter politely). As a consequence, there is no single definitive “budget process” through which all budgetary decisions are made.

This oversimplified list of steps, therefore, can provide a general idea of how the federal budget is created and implemented, but keep in mind that the reality is never so orderly or linear:

Formulation of the President’s Budget

  1. Executive agencies submit their requests for funds to the Office of Management and Budget.
  2. The President reviews these requests and makes the final decisions on what will go into the proposed budget.
  3. The budget documents are prepared and sent to Congress. (These are the documents described in this post.)

Action by Congress

  1. Congress reviews the President’s budget and passes a budget resolution, setting total spending levels for the year. (They may follow, modify, or reject the President’s recommendations.)
  2. Within the framework of the budget resolution, individual committees prepare detailed appropriations bills to provide funding for specific purposes. Other legislation affecting spending and revenue is also developed. 
  3. The House and Senate work out their differences and enact the appropriations bills.
  4. The President signs the bills and the budget is now law.
  5. The fiscal year begins.

Execution of the Enacted Budget Laws

  1. Agency program managers execute the budget they have been provided.
  2. Data are collected on how much the government actually spends and receives.

For a more detailed description of the budgetary process that occurs today and how it developed over the years, see the Congressional Research Service report Introduction to the Federal Budget Process. The appendices in this CRS report include a glossary of budget-process-related terms and a flowchart of congressional budget process actions. 

If you would like to track how government agencies and programs make use of this budgeted money once they have received it, visit, “the official source of government spending data.”


Organization of the Budget

The Budget of the United States Government is divided into three main volumes and is accompanied by several supporting documents and supplemental materials provided to enhance one’s understanding of the Budget.


Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2025 (cover)


Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2025

The title volume—a scant 181 pages long this year—is by far the most succinct volume. It contains the Budget Message of the President, information on the President’s priorities and vision for the future, and summary tables of the President’s proposed plans for the budget and any recommended taxes.


Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2025 (cover)


Analytical Perspectives

This volume provides analyses that highlight specific subject areas or provide other significant presentations of budget data to place the budget in perspective.

Here you will find

  • Economic and accounting studies
  • Information on federal receipts and collections
  • Analyses of federal spending
  • Information on federal borrowing and debt
  • Baseline or current services estimates
  • Other technical presentations


Appendix, Budget of the United States, Fiscal Year 2025 (cover)



An Appendix to the Budget of the U.S. Government might sound like an afterthought, but it is the bulkiest volume and presents the most detailed information about the individual programs and appropriation accounts that constitute the budget. It is intended primarily for use by the congressional appropriations committees, since they are the ones who will make the final decisions about how much money will be spent and on what.

The Appendix includes

  • The text of proposed appropriations language for each government department and agency
  • Budget schedules for each account
  • New legislative proposals
  • Narrative explanations of what work is to be performed and what funds are needed
  • Proposed general provisions applicable to the appropriations of entire agencies or groups of agencies

The Appendix also provides information on certain activities whose transactions are not part of the budget totals. 


Supplemental Materials

Several additional supporting documents provide data useful for understanding the budget, and more of these documents will be added as the information becomes available. The specific documents provided will vary from year to year. Among these many supplemental documents are the following:


Budgets for Previous Years

Explore the Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Years 1996 to the present at the website.

Historical editions of the Budget of the United States Government from 1921 to 2023 are available on the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER) website. Be aware that this is not an official version of the Budget of the United States Government, and neither the authenticity nor the completeness of the data can be guaranteed. FRASER is provided through a partnership between GPO and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. (Note also that the dates of the Appendix and Special Analysis volumes may differ.)

Paper copies of the Budget of the United States Government are available at Sycamore Library. Ask at the Sycamore Service Desk for assistance with finding and using these.


Would You Like to Know More?

Visit us in the Sycamore Library at UNT, or send us a message at if you have any questions or would like more information about the U.S. Budget or any other federal, state, or local government information.


Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Hot Docs, Special Days.

Become a Nurse—Your Country Needs You. (Model Weslee Wootten D'Audney posing in  a World War II recruiting poster produced by the American Nurses Association.


We are saddened to learn that Weslee Price D’Audney (née Wooten), the model for one of the most well-known and successful propaganda posters of World War II, has died. 

Student and Model

During World War II, while still a teenager, Weslee Price Wootten was enrolled as a pre-med student at Columbia University’s Barnard College in New York City, paying for her education by modelling in back-to-school fashion shows for Fifth Avenue stores, by posing for magazine advertisements for products such as Jergen’s face cream and Lux soap, and by posing for story illustrations published in the Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies Home Journal. Good Housekeeping described her as the “clean face of young America.”

Ad for Lux soap flakes featuring Weslee Wootten

Weslee Wootten in an advertisement for Lux soap.

Meanwhile, in response to the urgent need for recruitment and training of nurses in both the military and the private sectors during the participation of the United States in World War II, the Bolton Act was passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress on on June 15, 1943 and signed by President Roosevelt on July 1. This act established the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and provided grants to nursing schools to pay for students’ tuition, fees, and other expenses, and provided a uniform. In return, students pledged to finish their education within 30 months and to engage in “military or essential civilian nursing throughout the war.” A massive advertising campaign was implemented to attract young women to the program. Because a non-discrimination clause was included in the statute, the program provided African-American, Japanese-American, and Native American women an unprecedented opportunity not only to serve their country in wartime, but also to acquire valuable skills, experience, and respect that would benefit them after the war.  

While the details of this program were still being worked out, Weslee received a call from WIlliam Ritter, a prominent advertising photographer with whom she had worked before. When she arrived at his office, he provided her with a student nurse’s uniform. An older man was also present, and he was provided with a pair of detached navy-blue sleeves decorated with white stars and red, white, and blue stripes.

In contrast to his usual practice of trying out multiple compositions and poses, this time Ritter instructed everyone to follow a single layout that had been drawn up prior to the photography session. It depicted a pair of arms reaching out to place a nurse’s cap on the head of the young nurse, whose face was blank in the pencil-drawn design.

“This one is important—it is big,” the photographer intoned portentously. The government-approved layout had been provided by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency and was to be followed precisely. In a letter Weslee wrote to the UNT Libraries decades later, she explained the symbolism, which was perhaps not as clear to 21st century audiences as it was to wartime viewers:

At the time the man was called Uncle Sam and I am sure that in 1942 everyone understood that it was Uncle Sam (the US Government) funding the new Cadet Nurse program.

The photo was printed on a poster with the caption “Become a Nurse—Your Country Needs You,” followed by instructions to write to the Nursing Information Bureau for more information about the Cadet Nurse Corps. At least a million copies of the poster were printed and distributed throughout the United States in doctors’ offices, post offices, libraries, schools, and other public buildings. Every day Weslee would pass by her image hanging in the hallways, cafeterias, and dormitories of Barnard. At the end of the semester she asked the dean if she might take one home, and she was given two. One she gave to her mother, and the other she kept for herself until the end of her life. 

Wife and Mother

Before the war ended, Weslee Wootten’s own nursing career was unexpectedly sidelined when she was volunteering as a hostess at a servicemen’s canteen in New York and met Flight Lieutenant Wallace Noel D’Audney of the Royal New Zealand Air Force on his third day of leave. After only seven days of courtship, he said he wanted to marry her. For the next two and a half years, they wrote letters to each other while he fought in the African and Italian campaigns and she volunteered at the Anzac Club in New York, where she led groups of Anzacs on sightseeing tours of New York City. 

At the end of the war Noel would have been sent back to New Zealand if he remained unmarried, so Weslee sent a telegram to the War Ministry in London saying she planned to marry him when he arrived back in New York. According to Weslee he was given what was called “compassionate leave,” but his buddies referred to it as “passionate leave.”  They were married on July 1, 1945; then, two weeks after their honeymoon in the Poconos, Noel had to return to New Zealand. In November Weslee joined her husband via the first ship available carrying civilians to New Zealand.

In 1947, after their first child was born, the couple moved to Palo Alto, California in search of a better job market than what was available in New Zealand. Soon after they moved to San Francisco, then New Jersey, and eventually to Portland, Oregon. At every new location they added a new child to their family until they had a total of five. Everywhere they lived, they found room for Weslee’s poster. 

Educator and Writer

Starting and raising a family may have ended one career, but it also started another.

Weslee’s youngest child, Bruce, was born with multiple disabilities. His eighth cranial nerve, which controls hearing and balance, was not functioning. He was profoundly deaf and intellectually disabled, although he was able to engage with the world and the people in it, and he also had mild cerebral palsy and vision problems. In 1968, when she couldn’t find adequate care for him, she went back to university at the age of 44 to learn how to teach profoundly deaf and multi-handicapped children. There was no mainstream education available for children with multiple disabilities, but she was able to teach her son at home. Eventually she earned a Master of Science in Special Education and a Specialist in Education degree in Educational Administration and had a successful career as a teacher of the deaf, a university professor, and an administrator.  

The D’Audneys had moved to Nebraska, and Weslee served as associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and as project director for two federally-funded programs for the early identification and education of handicapped children.

In addition to her teaching and administrative work, Weslee published books and articles on the care of disabled children. In the 1970s she edited and co-wrote Giving a Head Start to Parents of the Handicapped, a manual containing information for personnel of the Head Start program on how to provide encouragement and support to parents of handicapped children.

Return to Celebrity

In the mid-1970s Weslee and Noel retired and moved back to New Zealand, where they purchased a clifftop home overlooking Red Beach, north of Auckland. Here Weslee wrote her memoirs, and after Noel passed away in 2001, she lived another three decades and eventually moved to Hibiscus Coast Retirement Village in Red Beach. 

Weslee D’Audney’s image has remained well-known from its first printing to the present, but the model herself was anonymous for most of the time the poster existed, and when we first added the poster to our Digital Library‘s World War Poster collection, we too considered the model to be unknown until Weslee D’Audney herself wrote us a letter to enlighten us on the matter and alerted us to some accounts of her life that have been appearing in print and online since around 2008. Since then, she has been interviewed and profiled in several print and online publications. 

Weslee had a wry appreciation for the irony of her situation: 

I HAVE NEVER BEEN FAMOUS, though my face adorns a famous poster that blanketed America during World War II – and even now pops up almost weekly in a new form. I’m probably the only person alive who remembers its creation.

Although her appearance on this famous poster afforded Weslee a certain degree of celebrity, especially after her identity was revealed, and although she kept her copy of the poster to the end of her life and ultimately collected several more related items—the image has been reprinted on postcards, T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, even on an Israeli postage stamp—she always considered this experience to be relatively unimportant compared to her later achievements of raising a family, teaching, writing, and working with special needs children. Still, she was grateful that after over sixty years of anonymity the photographer and model could finally be credited. (The model who played Uncle Sam remains anonymous.)

On October 31, 2023, Weslee Wootten D’Audney passed away at the age of 98 years. 



D’Audney, Weslee. “Patriotic Inspiration: The Tale behind a Wartime Image.” Signals, no. 106  (Jun 3, 2014): 18–21.

D’Audney, Weslee, editor. Giving a Head Start to Parents of the Handicapped. Omaha: Resource Center for Handicapped Children, Meyer Children’s Rehabilitation Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1976.

Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. “The Bolton Act: Making the Nursing Profession More Accessible to Everyone.” Case Western Reserve University. 

Guthrie, Fleur. “War Time Model.” Australian Women’s Weekly, New Zealand edition. June 2013.

Knight, Kim. “The Face behind a Famous Poster.” Sunday Star Times [New Zealand]. May 4, 2008.

National Museum of American History. “Memories of a War Time Poster Model.” Smithsonian Institution. October 12, 2010.  

U.S. Public Health Service. The United States Cadet Nurse Corps and Other Federal Training Programs. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1950. PHS Publication No. 38. 

“Wesley D’Audney Obituary.” New Zealand Herald. November 11, 2023. 

“Weslee Wootten Wed: Becomes Bride of Flight Lieut. W.N. D’Audney of New Zealand.” New York Times. July 2, 1945.


Article by Bobby Griffith.



Posted by & filed under Inside the ECL, Local Doings, Special Days.

The Library Building, now the Information Sciences Building, of the North Texas State Teachers College. The building was built in the 1930s, with funds received from the Public Works Administration.

[Library Building of the North Texas State Teachers College, photograph, date unknown; University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting Denton Public Library.

The Government Documents Collection at the University of North Texas Libraries is 75 years old this year.

In the words of James Madison, “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 will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” (Letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822).

Here is a brief history of how we became a federal depository library and how we have developed our collection and services over the years in an ongoing effort to provide our ever-burgeoning clientele with free public access to government information.

First Request Is Rejected

Our quest to become a depository library got off to a rocky start when our first request was rejected in 1937.

Photo of North Texas State Teachers College President W.J. McConnell at his desk, signing a document.

W. J. McConnell, photograph, c. 1935; University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting Denton Public Library.

On April 15, 1937, President W.J. McConnell sent a letter to Senator Tom Connally, requesting that North Texas State Teachers College be designated a depository for receiving selected federal government documents. In his letter he stated that “[NTSTC] is a coeducational institution with a long session enrollment of 2,250 and a summer session enrollment of 3,500. The registration is approximately half men and half women.” A copy of the letter was sent to W.D. McFarlane, U.S. House of Representatives, 13th District; and on April 27 President McConnell sent a letter to Senator Morris Sheppard.

McConnell was well aware that another college in Denton, Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman’s University), had already been designated the 13th District’s federal depository many years previously, but found that situation problematic because the facilities at a college for women were not accessible to the large male population enrolled at NTSTC. Not only would a collection at the co-educational NTSTC be available to both male and female students, it would be housed in a brand new library building that was “said by competent critics to be the second largest and most useful among the institutions of Texas.”

President W. J. McConnell had concluded his fervent plea to Senator Sheppard with an earnest warning: “To look down the line of the future for this large school of men and women with no hope of getting a depository would be discouraging.”

On April 29, Senator Sheppard replied to President McConnell that the Senator’s allotted designation had already been used some years ago to designate Southwestern University (in Georgetown) as a depository, but he promised to make further inquiries about the matter.

On May 6, Superintendent of Documents Alton P. Tisdel wrote back to Senator Sheppard, who then enclosed the Superintendent’s letter in a message to President McConnell. As Sheppard and McConnell must have anticipated, Tisdel reminded everyone that federal law allowed only one designation by each senator, and only one depository library in each congressional district. Because Senator Sheppard had already designated Southwestern University, another request could not be considered. Furthermore, as Tisdel also rather unnecessarily pointed out, there was no vacancy in the 13th District anyway, because another college in Denton, Texas State College for Women, had already been assigned this designation in 1932.

The President’s hopes were dashed, and a decade would pass before North Texas State Teachers College would make another request.

Second Request Is Successful

The 1940s were a crucial time for depository libraries. The distribution of government documents, especially pamphlets, was critical to the war effort, and documents collections in Texas and the rest of the United States were the principal means of bringing this vital information to the public (Texas Library Association, History – the 1940s). As a result, federal depository collections throughout the country were growing.

On December 11, 1947, Texas State College for Women, which had been the 13th District’s depository library since 1932, requested permission to relinquish their depository status after concluding that they did not have sufficient staff to maintain the burgeoning depository collection.

Seizing upon the opportunity provided by this sudden vacancy, on December 18, 1947, NTSTC librarian (and future Poet Laureate of Texas) Arthur Sampley wrote to the Honorable Ed Gossett, the current Representative of the 13th Congressional District, requesting that the NTSTC Library be designated a federal depository library for his District.

Photo from the 1948 edition of The Yucca, Yearbook of North Texas State College. Library Director Arthur M. Sampley is looking down at a book in his hands while standing in front of a shelf full of books behind him.

Library Director Arthur M. Sampley in the 1948 edition of The Yucca, Yearbook of North Texas State College. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.

Dr. Sampley persuasively argued that NTSTC easily met the requirements for depository designation, highlighting the following characteristics:

  • 4,668 students
  • 265 faculty members
  • 14 trained librarians
  • 178,000 volumes in the library collection (making it the fourth largest among college and university libraries in Texas)
  • A modern, fireproof library

He also emphasized the “large enrollments in the departments of government, economics, science, home economics, and business administration, all of which make much use of government documents,” and pointed out that the NTSTC Library was available to both Denton colleges (which at the time had a combined enrollment of 7,000). In addition, the documents would be available to any citizen of the district who wished to examine them within the library.

The College administration anxiously awaited the Representative’s response.

Representative Gossett wrote to Superintendent of Documents Fred W. Cromwell on January 20, 1948, formally requesting the designation of North Texas State Teachers College as a depository library, and on the same day sent a copy of the letter to Dr. Sampley.

Three days later, on January 23, 1948, the Superintendent of Documents notified Dr. Sampley that NTSTC’s designation as a depository would be approved as long as they accepted the responsibilities and met the requirements of a selective depository library, which were as follows:

  • The library must have 1000 books other than those issued by the government.
  • The government publications shall be available for the free use of the general public.
  • The government publications shall remain the property of the United States government.
  • No money appropriated for supplying depositories with publications shall be used for sending copies that have not been requested by such libraries.
  • Libraries must satisfy the Office of the Superintendent of Documents that they are equipped to handle and make available all the publications that they may choose under the “selective plan.”
  • The Superintendent of Documents has the right to investigate thoroughly the condition of all libraries designated as depositories.
Letter from the Superintendent of Documents designating NTSTC as a federal depository library

Letter of January 23, 1948 from Superintendent of Documents Fred W. Cromwell designating North Texas State Teachers College as a federal depository library. Crediting Robbie Sittel (@bertiegirl), Instagram, April 13, 2016.

A form was enclosed for Dr. Sampley to complete and return if the North Texas library wished to become a depository under these conditions. Because this form was brief—only four pages—and many depository libraries found themselves in need of further clarification of their responsibilities, the Government Printing Office would periodically supplement this initial list with another list of general instructions.

A Need for Space

In his original 1937 request for depository status, President McConnell had assured Senator Connally that the new Library Building would afford “adequate facilities for all selected documents which would come to us for many years.” Ten years later, he was not so sure that the space would be adequate for the new documents collection.

On January 26, 1948, after conferring with Dr. Sampley, President W.J. McConnell sent a memo to Messrs. Skiles and Dominy (as well as a carbon copy to Dr. Sampley) concerning the library’s need for additional space. He expressed immediate concern about room for the Music Library, and then added that the need for expansion had been made even more urgent by the college’s expectation that any day an announcement from Congressman Gossett would confirm NTSTC’s official designation as a federal government documents depository library.

I’ve Got a Little List

Dr. Sampley’s form was received and accepted, and Superintendent Cromwell notified him on March 4, 1948 that the next step would be to consult the Classified List of U.S. Government Publications—which lists items available for selection by depository libraries—and decide which items NTSTC would receive. Dr. Sampley was to retain one copy of the list and send a duplicate copy to the Government Printing Office within 30 days. He was also warned not to “fold or roll the book.”

The following limits were placed on item selections:

  • Although the library’s official date of entry into the depository system was January 20, the library would only begin receiving books published after the list was received in Washington.
  • Congressional appropriations for the depository program are limited, so depositories are encouraged to select only items that patrons are likely to use.
  • A library may amend its selection by adding or dropping selections at any time.
  • Only entire series can be selected; a request for part of a series will not be accepted.
  • Only one copy of each publication would be furnished to a library.

On March 30, 1948, Dr. Sampley returned the Classified List to GPO with the items selected that NTSTC wished to receive.

Mission Accomplished

On March 6, 1948, Representative Gossett forwarded to President McConnell the Superintendent’s letter advising of the designation of NTSC as a U.S. government depository, and also congratulated the President on the college’s selection. In a postscript he agreed with the President’s suggestion that an announcement of this wonderful news should appear in the library newsletter.

On March 22, 1948, Dr. Sampley thanked Representative Gossett for his efforts in securing NTSC’s designation as a depository, and also included a copy of the library’s newsletter containing an announcement of the news:

North Texas State College Library Made Depository

“North Texas State College Library Made Depository for U.S. Government Documents,” NTSTC Books 9, no. 11 (1947-1948): 1

In the fall of 1948, Miss Pauline Ward was hired as the first Documents Librarian at North Texas. She would be succeeded by a long-run of talented and innovative librarians and coordinators who have assisted in establishing UNT’s reputation in the government documents community.

1951 yearbook photo of Pauline Ward, who was appointed the first government documents librarian at North Texas State Teachers College in 1948

Government Documents Librarian Pauline Ward in the 1951 edition of The Yucca, Yearbook of North Texas State College. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.

Additional Instructions from GPO

On October 25, 1948, the NTSTC Library received their first list of general instructions from GPO (not counting the four-page form the library had already filled out). These instructions included the following stipulations:

  • Discards: No publication supplied to a depository is to be discarded without following certain strict guidelines, therefore depositories are advised to use great care in making their selections.
  • Public Access: Depository materials are to be made freely available to the public, either as circulating items or as non-circulating reference materials.
  • Location: Depository materials should be treated with the same care as other library materials, but do not need to be kept in a separate collection.
  • SuDoc Numbers: Use of the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification System is not mandatory for depository materials, and libraries should weigh it carefully against other schemes before adopting it.
  • Reference Materials: Many federal government publications would make a valuable addition to the library’s reference room collection.
  • Periodicals: Many government periodicals are quite important and can form a valuable addition to the library’s periodical collection rather than being shelved in a separate location.
  • Pamphlets: If the library keeps pamphlets and similar ephemera in a vertical file, government document pamphlets may also be kept there as long as they are kept permanently.
  • Binding: Many documents arrive unbound or in paper covers. These should be processed as needed by the library’s own binding program.
  • Multiple copies: Libraries are not required to purchase second copies of government documents just to keep them in a separate collection, but are encouraged to buy multiple copies of heavily used items.
  • Lost or Damaged Items: Government documents that are lost or damaged should be subject to the same replacement policy as other library materials.

These instructions reflect the general principle that government documents should be used, not merely stored.

Our First Recall

Shortly after these instructions were received, NTSTC received their first recall notice. They were asked to return a publication that had been distributed the previous month, entitled Logistics in World War II: Final Report of the Army Service Forces.

There was no explanation offered for why this particular item had been recalled, but there are several reasons why a document might be recalled, including the following:

  • The item contains information that is perceived as a threat to national security
  • The item contains incorrect or misleading information
  • The item contains personal or sensitive information
  • The item is defective in some way

Depending on the reason for the withdrawal, the instructions may ask the depository library to return the item to GPO, destroy it, or hold it until further instructions have been received. NTSTC was asked to return this item to GPO.

One Year Later

Newspaper article on the state of the NTSTC depository collection a year after the school became a federal depository library.

“4.000 Government Documents Received by NTSTC,” Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.), March 6, 1949.

A year after NTSTC attained depository status, the Denton Record-Chronicle published an update on NTSTC’s depository holdings, reporting that the library had received 4,000 federal depository publications. Many of these provided information related to government, economics, and business.

Miss Pauline Ward, Documents Librarian, stated that the burgeoning collection would be temporarily located in the Reference Room until additional shelf space could be secured. That “temporary” location was to last 23 years.

A New Documents Librarian

Velma Lee Cathey, the second government documents librarian at North Texas State Teachers College (now  the University of North Texas

Velma Lee Cathey, as portrayed in North Texas State College, The Yucca, (Denton, Texas: 1951), p. 244, UNT Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.  (Accessed on April 25, 2023).

In 1953, Pauline Ward decided to marry and move out of Denton. Velma Lee Cathey, who had moved from the History Department to the Library in 1950, became Documents Librarian on a part-time basis while continuing her other Library cataloging duties. Dr. Sampley stipulated that Ms. Cathey was to take a crash course in documents librarianship on her own time, and she agreed. In six weeks, under the tutelage of Pauline Ward, Velma Cathey worked through every problem in the University of Illinois course in U.S. government publications and read the complete United States Government Publications by Boyd and Ripps, the standard textbook on the subject.

By 1955, the Library was allowed to add more staff, and Ms. Cathey became a full-time Documents Librarian. She made the most of her training in government publications, gathering the government documents into the basement of the old Library Building (what is now Sycamore Hall) and beginning a government publications card catalog with four trays, eventually expanding it to well over 300 trays. (This card catalog is still partially in use, and can be seen in the Collaboration and Learning Commons (CLC) in Sycamore Library.

Griffith, Bobby G. (@bg577), 2018, “Day 2: Local bookstore or library.” Instagram, Oct. 2, 2018.

Ms. Cathey was responsible for establishing many of the systems, including cataloging of documents, which allow the department to function efficiently and to provide ready access to the government materials. During her tenure as Documents Librarian, she continued to grow the documents program and played an active role in library associations, librarian training, and in academic discourse. At the time of her retirement in 1974, Mrs. Cathey was Assistant Director for Collections.

We Move to the Third Floor of Willis Library

Regent A.M. Willis, Jr. seated in front of Willis Library, the building named after him.

Portrait of A.M. Willis, Jr. sitting in front of Willis Library, from Amanda Montgomery, “A.M. Willis, Jr.,” 125 Year Archival Retrospective (blog), August 14, 2016, (Accessed April 26, 2023).

A new library building was constructed in 1969 and officially opened in the summer of 1971. Originally known simply as “the Library,” the building was eventually renamed the Willis Library in 1978 in honor of regent A.M. Willis, Jr. The Government Documents Department was finally able to be moved to more spacious quarters on the 3rd floor of the new building, remaining there until the summer of 2014. At the time of the move, the Library became a subject division library with five divisions: Humanities, Social Sciences, Music, Science, and Library Science. The Government Documents collection was included within the Social Sciences Division.

Damron Dennis Becomes Documents Librarian

Portrait of librarian Damron S. Dennis holding up an award

Photo of Damron S. Dennis, collection of Sycamore Library.

On September 1, 1970, Ms. Damron S. Dennis joined the Documents staff as Assistant Documents Librarian. At the time the library materials were moved from the old to the new (future Willis) library, Mrs. Dennis and the Documents Cataloger, Mary Lou McGalliard, became Assistant Social Science Librarians, and Velma Lee Cathey was promoted to Assistant Director for Collection Services. When the materials were moved to the new library, Mrs. Dennis supervised the moving of the Documents Collection, while Ms. Cathey supervised the entire library move.

In 1972, Ms. McGalliard left to become head of Technical Services at Yakima Valley Regional Library, and Mrs. Dennis became Documents Librarian. Shortly after this Melody S. Kelly, who had been employed as a Purchasing Clerk from 1971 to 1972 while she was a student at North Texas State University (NTSU, as the school was called from 1961 to 1988), was appointed as Assistant Social Sciences Librarian. One of her duties was the cataloging of government publications.

In May 1974, Velma Lee Cathey retired.

UNT Begins Receiving Microfiche

As a cost-cutting and space-saving measure, in March 1977 the Joint Committee on Printing authorized GPO to proceed with a micropublishing program by converting certain titles to microform. During the first year, GPO had converted 4,045 titles to microfiche and had distributed 2,254,377 microfiche to depository libraries, one of which was the NTSU Library. There were many questions raised by the implementation of this program, including questions on availability, coverage, variety of format, and bibliographic control, not to mention possible library support for microfiche reading and printing equipment, which was lacking in many depositories, especially in public libraries. Eventually the initial problems of publishing a large segment of depository materials in a microfiche format and the concerns of depository librarians in housing and using microfiche materials were resolved, and library patrons for the most part came to accept the materials in this format.

Documents Department Gains Its Independence

On May 1, 1981, the Documents Department was removed from the Social Sciences Division and established as a separate administrative unit. In 1984 the maps and posters were returned to the Documents Department from the Maps/Microforms Department (previously the Special Materials Department), where they had been housed since the move ten years earlier.

Melody S. Kelly Becomes Documents Librarian

Melody Kelly in her days as a student assistant at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas)

Melody Kelly in the early 1970s, working in Willis Library. Photo from University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections. (Accessed April 26, 2023).

In 1983 Damron S. Dennis retired, and Melody S. Kelly became the new Documents Librarian. She continued in this role until August 2001, when she was appointed Assistant Dean of the Libraries. While she was the Documents Librarian she also taught the Government Documents class as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Library and Information Science.

Federal Documents Added to the Online Catalog

In the early 1990s, the Documents Department contracted with Marcive, Inc. for cataloging services. This allowed government documents to be included in the Library’s online public catalog. Prior to this, government documents were only discoverable via the documents card catalog.

We Enter Cyberspace

Logo from the UNT Libraries' first government information web portal

Our primary mission as a Federal Depository Library remains the same today as it was fifty years ago: Free Public Access. Our clientele, however, has changed dramatically since the advent and popularization of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.

Through the Internet, we can now provide the whole world with directed access to full-text federal, state, local, foreign, and international government information. Our unique subject guides support the special needs of scholars, teachers, the business community, and the general public. Documents reference specialists can also respond to information requests via an electronic reference form linked to our website.

Now that we are on the Internet, our services are no longer limited geographically to our immediate Congressional District.

Cathy Hartman is Appointed to Depository Library Council

Portrait of Cathy Hartman by Junebug Clark, October 2, 2015; courtesy of University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections. (Accessed April 19, 2023).

In 2000, Cathy Hartman, UNT’s Documents Librarian and Electronic Resources Coordinator, was appointed to the Depository Library Council, an advisory committee to GPO’s Director and the Superintendent of Documents, and later served as chair.

Cathy had joined the UNT Documents Department in the mid-1990s, where she launched several digital preservation initiatives that led to partnerships with the GPO and ultimately the development of UNT’s Digital Libraries Division. Cathy also served as the Associate Dean and Interim Dean for the UNT Libraries before retiring in 2018.

UNT Is Designated a GPO Access Gateway Library

On June 8, 1993, Congress passed the GPO Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act (Public Law 103-40), which expanded GPO’s mission to provide electronic access to Federal Government information. A year later, GPO launched GPO Access, a website that was America’s main source for online government information online for more than 15 years. One of the few information systems established by law, it provided reliable, timely access to official information from all three branches of the Federal Government

In 1994, our Depository was designated a GPO Access electronic Gateway by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Originally GPO Access was only available to the public by subscription, but was free to depository libraries. In order to maximize free public availability of the resources on GPO Access, federal depository portals, called “electronic Gateways,” provided customized search interfaces adapted to meet the needs of their clients. These electronic Gateways quickly became an effective medium for developing new and innovative ways to make use of the important public resources available through GPO Access.

As a GPO Access Gateway Library, UNT was one of the first depositories to provide access to electronic government information, and as the only GPO Access Gateway Library in Texas, we began to serve a clientele that is truly global.

Eventually technological evolution of both the public’s Internet capabilities and the capacity of the GPO Access system eliminated many of these original needs, so GPO ended its formal support for the Gateway Project on September 30, 2000. By March 2012, GPO Access itself was sunsetted and replaced by FDSys, which was in turn replaced by GovInfo.

We Join the FDLP Content Partnerships Program

In the late 1990’s, online U.S. government information was appearing and disappearing at a rapid pace. Foreseeing the potential preservation problems created by federal agencies’ ventures into electronic publishing, we became the second depository library in the nation to join the Federal Depository Library Program Content Partnerships Program. This program attempts to ensure permanent public access to electronic federal information.


In August 1997 we signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GPO designating the UNT Depository Library  to preserve the website of the newly defunct Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR).

In 2001, as designated host of the permanent online collection of the ACIR, we received a grant to finance the creation of electronic copies of well-known ACIR print publications such as Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism. Electronic copies of older ACIR reports are now available to scholars throughout the world via our website.


We’ve since expanded our Content Partnership with the federal government to include dozens of other defunct federal agency Web sites. This electronic repository, designated the CyberCemetery, and provides permanent public access to the websites and publications of defunct U.S. government agencies and commissions.

Affiliated Archive of NARA

This partnership between UNT and GPO later expanded to include the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In recognition of our work in this area, the UNT Libraries were designated an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives and Records Administration in 2006. Under this agreement, the UNT Libraries will continue to preserve and provide access to the records of defunct government Web sites, while NARA will legally accession the records as part of the Archives of the United States and will join the UNT Libraries and the GPO in ensuring the preservation of these valuable records. We are currently the only non-military educational institution to be designated an Affiliated Archive.

We Create More Digital Collections

Over the years we have created many more digital collections that have benefited the public.

Congressional Research Service Reports

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) serves as nonpartisan shared staff to congressional committees and members of Congress, providing them reports on various topics. The CRS Reports archive provides integrated, searchable access to hundreds of full-text Congressional Research Service reports that were previously only available to members of Congress or posted on a variety of sites scattered across the Web.

Federal Newsmaps

Our Federal Newsmaps collection provides digital access to Newsmaps produced by the U.S. War Department during World War II. They usually feature maps displaying the theaters of conflict and often include narrative descriptions of war-related events. Some feature photographic essays or poster-like designs on themes such as enemy insignias, demobilization, and farm loans.

World War Poster Collection

Our collection of over 600 World War Posters was digitized shortly before being transferred to the Rare Book and Texana Collections, where it resided briefly before being returned to the Documents Department. This collection is particularly strong in World War I French and American and World War II American “home front” posters, covering topics such as war bonds, rationing, enlistment, security, and morale, and featuring the work of popular artists such as Norman Rockwell, Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), and Boris Artzybasheff.

World War II Soldier Shows

These are scripts and scores of shows that were performed by soldiers for their fellow soldiers during World War II, developed by the Special Services Division of the American Services Forces as a morale-building tool. The Soldier Shows “Blueprint Specials” provided soldiers with all the resources they needed to stage an original, Broadway-style musical. They were made available online in December 2022.

Government Comics

These are a selection of comic books from the UNT Libraries government comics collection. The collection includes comic books produced or commissioned by the U.S. government, government publications with cartoon-style illustrations, and government publications about comics, such as drawing manuals and congressional hearings. This collection was made available online in December 2022.

We Initiate the Texas Agency Partnership Program

Our experience with Federal Partnerships and digitization projects has served us so well that we have applied the concept to the state level.

Texas Register

In 2000, we initiated the first Texas Agency Content Partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU is modeled on the GPO Content Partnership agreement, and our new agreement with the Texas Secretary of State established this collection to ensure permanent storage and public access to the non-current electronic files of the Texas state government publication, the Texas Register.

The most current issue of the Texas Register is first posted on the Texas Register website, where they maintain access to the most current six (6) months’ issues. The University of North Texas Libraries provides free access to all issues of the Texas Register beginning with Volume 1, No. 1 (January 6, 1976) up to within a week of the most currently released issue.

Gammel’s The Laws of Texas

In 2003, we received a grant to digitize the first ten volumes of Gammel’s The Laws of Texas and also debuted as a Texas Electronic Depository Library.

Although H.P.N. Gammel’s editions of The Laws of Texas (1822-1897) were published over one hundred years ago, they are still one of the most important primary resources for the study of Texas’ complex history during the 19th century. At the time this project was begun, The Laws had never been reprinted, and the set in its entirety had become quite rare and virtually impossible to obtain. Furthermore, the existing sets are fragile and often in poor condition.

Historians, legal professionals, students, and other researchers in the state and elsewhere benefit from the electronic access offered by this project. The complete set of 33 volumes is available, with funding for the first 10 volumes provided by the TexTreasures program, which provides grants designed to help libraries make their special collections more accessible for the people of Texas and beyond.

Texas Laws and Resolutions Archive

Our Texas Laws and Resolutions Archive makes available online all bills, joint resolutions, and concurrent resolutions that have been passed by the Texas Legislature from the 78th Legislative Session to the present, including those that were vetoed by the Governor.

The University of North Texas Libraries and the Office of the Texas Secretary of State, in a partnership arrangement, established this site to ensure permanent storage and public access to the non-current electronic files of the Texas Laws and Resolutions, beginning with the 78th Legislative Session.

Texas Soil Surveys

Our historical collection of Texas Soil Surveys puts online all Texas county and reconnaissance soil surveys completed prior to 1950. These surveys demonstrate early scientific thought regarding soil identification and use, and the maps contained in them show many cultural features in the landscape, including businesses, churches, schools, gins, mills, and ferries.

We Are One of the Last Three Active Texas Depository Collections

In 2011, the Texas Depository Library Program was severely curtailed and most Texas depository libraries stopped receiving new Texas state publications. Although several libraries in Texas have retained their collections, and staff continue to share their in-depth knowledge of government information, the only currently active Texas state depository collections are the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and the University of North Texas in Denton.

UNT Wins Depository Library of the Year Award

UNT staff receiving Depository Library of the Year award pictured (left to right): Jen Rowe, Jenne Turner (holding image of Melody Kelly), Bobby Griffith, Robbie Sittel, Betty Monterroso, Davita Vance-Cooks, Suzanne Sears, Martin Halbert, Mary Alice Baish. Photo from collection of Sycamore Library.

In October 2015, the University of Texas Libraries received the Depository Library of the Year Award from the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). The following services and accomplishments were mentioned as factors in winning the award:

“The University of North Texas Libraries offers access to more than six million print and digital materials and innovative programs to its patrons. UNT has worked with GPO for more than two decades in leading the way of digitizing Government documents and preserving online Government information before other libraries began those efforts. GPO is a partner of the UNT Digital Library, which allows the public to find Government information in a digital format. GPO and UNT first partnered in 1997 for “The CyberCemetery,” which preserves and provides access to publications and websites of defunct Government agencies and commissions.”

We Partner with GPO as a Preservation Steward

In February 2020 the UNT Libraries signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with GPO to become a Preservation Steward.

Preservation Stewards make a commitment to retain specified tangible depository resources for the length of the partnership agreement. They also take on the additional responsibilities for preserving that material. This includes both preventive maintenance and conservation treatments.

As a Preservation Steward, UNT has committed to preserving a number of unique collections, including government comics, cookbooks, and the Statistical Abstract of the United States, among other materials.

Our Future

With the continued support of UNT and the UNT Libraries, our Federal Depository Library—and our collection of Texas state publications—will remain not only a valuable local resource, but also will, through the Internet, serve an expanding global community of scholars.

Do You Want to Know More?

  • Join us on Thursday, April 27, 2023 as we celebrate 75 years as a federal depository library. This event will feature an address by Scott Matheson, Superintendent of Documents as well as refreshments, games, giveaways, and highlights from our collections.

When: Thursday, April 27, 2023 at 2 p.m. WhereSycamore Library, Sycamore Hall

  • Watch an address by Superintendent of Documents Scott Mattheson reviewing our accomplishments over the last 75 years, and peruse an interactive timeline reviewing our history: 75 Years as a Federal Depository Library
  • Visit Sycamore Library on the University of North Texas Campus to browse our collections and perhaps check out a few documents!
  • If you need assistance with finding or using government information, please visit the Service Desk in the Sycamore Library during regular hours, contact us by phone (940) 565-4745), or send a request online to
  • If you need extensive, in-depth assistance, we recommend that you E-mail us or call the Sycamore Service Desk at (940) 565-2870 to make an appointment with a member of our staff.

Article by Bobby Griffith, expanded from an article by Melody Kelly.

Posted by & filed under Is That a Document?, Local Doings, Special Days.

"84th Inf. Div. Special Service presents The Railsplitters Revue, "On the Beam", All Soldier Stage Show featuring "The Ballet Moose", fun - music - gags."


Eighty years ago today, on March 27, 1943, the citizens of Denton, Texas were treated to a musical extravaganza performed at the Main Auditorium of what is today known as Texas Woman’s University, but was then called Texas State College for Women. The all-soldier cast was composed of about 75 members of the 84th Infantry Division (nickname “The Railsplitters”), one of several units stationed at Camp Howze, an infantry replacement training center located just west of Gainesville. 


Camp Howze and the 84th Infantry Division

Camp Howze was established by the U.S. War Department on a 59,000-acre tract purchased from local farmers (in some cases an “offer they couldn’t refuse”). The camp served as a training ground for several hundred thousand U.S. soldiers between 1942 and 1946, and toward the end of the  war also housed many German POWs. Among the units prepared for action at Camp Howze were the 84th, 86th, and 103d divisions. 

US Army 84th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve patch with an axe splitting a rail

US Army 84th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve patch with an axe splitting a rail.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection

The 84th Division earned its nickname “The Railsplitters” based on the fact that when it was first formed during World War I, it was primarily composed of National Guard (i.e., National Army) units from Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana—states historically associated with President Lincoln. It was then nicknamed the “Lincoln” division and its original insignia was a red axe on a white background within a red circle, with the name “Lincoln” above the axe and the number “84” below it. During World War II the insignia was changed to a white axe splitting a white rail on a red circular background. Both insignias recall the image of President Lincoln splitting logs as a youth. After adding the split rail to the axe, the 84th Division adopted the new nickname of “Railsplitters.”


Production of On the Beam

The entire show was under the supervision of 1st Lt. Don McCallister, the Recreation Director  for the 84th Division. 

Pvt. Paul Sutton served as the production manager of the show, making use of his extensive experience as a writer and actor in radio and as performer in a number of B-movies—primarily westerns, including six Hopalong Cassidy pictures. In 1931 Sutton had been mustered out of the 251st Coast Artillery, California National Guard, after four years’ service as a staff sergeant.

Pvt. Manny Groobin, newspaperman and short story writer, Pvt. Michael Molony, who had worked for a Hollywood publicity agency before the war, and Master of Ceremonies Staff Sgt. Warren Doering were producers of the show.

Like other soldier shows performed during the war, this G.I. issued musical revue served multiple purposes:

  • For the soldiers, it provided a boost to  company morale and a welcome relief from the tedium, drudgery, and discomforts of camp life.
  • For the local community, it provided an opportunity to enjoy a rare array of talent. The 84th infantry division featured an unusually large number of then-popular stars of stage, screen, and radio.
  • For the women of TSCW, events before and after the show provided an opportunity to meet the soldiers and potentially form more intimate relationships with them. On the afternoon before the show, members of the all-soldier cast were treated to a buffet supper by the Art Club, and were invited to arrange dates through the TSCW Date Bureau and to attend the TSCW College Club after the performance. 
  • Perhaps the most important cause was to raise funds for the war effort. Audiences gained admission to the show by purchasing war bonds or stamps in lieu of tickets. 


Hostesses at the TSCW Date Bureau headquarters help soldiers select dates.

“The Date Bureau in Action,” The Daedalian, 1943.


Curtain Up! Light the Lights!

Journalist Dorothy Trant provided a vivid account of the show’s prologue:

“A splash of khaki, a bit of army jive, a signal for a spot on the M.C. and On the Beam opened to a full house of WAACs, college personnel, TSCW gals and friends Saturday night.”

During the show’s prologue, Staff Sgt. Warren Doering performed a “rousing opening soliloquy” as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.

The 2-hour show was organized into sixteen musical numbers and comedy sketches. This is how the program appeared in a full-page ad published in the Gainesville Daily Register (March 25, 1943)

The Program: "On the Beam"


Musical Ensembles

Three ensembles performed during the revue:

The Railsplitters

“The Railsplitters” of the 84th Division Artillery, a big band style ensemble conducted by Tech. Sgt. George Hildebrand, served as the house orchestra and provided the bulk of the musical accompaniment throughout the evening. Although there were 16 members of the band, apparently only 14 played at any one performance.

The Barrel-Howze Five

A six-piece pick-up jazz combo called the Barrel-Howze Five was featured in an act called “Jam and Jive.” (The name was a joke: there were six members of the group, “but six won’t rhyme with jive!!!”) Their opening number was “Put Out Your Can; Here Comes the Garbage Man.” The clarinetist was singled out for special praise.

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

James Robert Wills—better known as Bob Wills—was a Texas songwriter, bandleader, fiddler, and guitarist who had brought together frontier fiddle music with jazz and blues to create western swing. In 1940 he and his band (“Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys”) became nationally famous after recording their song “San Antonio Rose.” He had joined the Army in 1942 and put together an all-soldier version of the Texas Playboys to perform in On the Beam.


Musical Numbers

A number of well-known musicians with professional experience were featured in musical acts:

Presented as “The Singing M.P.,” Pvt. Lloyd Nelson wowed the audience with his professional tenor voice, performing the 1921 song “Moonlight and Roses” and the 1910 song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” He and Sgt. George Stirton also joined the Railsplitters to perform the medley “25 Years on the GI Hit Parade” as “Private 1918” and “Sergeant 1943,” but what songs they performed were not specified in the program.  In 1940, during San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition, Nelson had performed as a member of Fred Waring’s Glee Club at Billy Rose’s Aquacade.

Advertisement for Lloyd Nelson's performance with Fred Waring's Glee Club at the Aquacade during the San Francisco's Golden Gate International Exposition


Henry Castleton, a concert violinist who was an member of arranger and conductor John Scott Trotter’s orchestra (which played on recordings for Bing Crosby and others), played “Castles in the Air” according to both the program printed in the Gainesville Daily Register and according to the slightly different program distributed at the TSCW performance, but he is said to have played “Dark Eyes” according an article in the Denton Record Chronicle. Perhaps he played both. He also played in “Jam and Jive” with the Barrel-Howze Five.

The final number on  the program, “25 Years on the GI Hit Parade,” features vocalists Pvt. Lloyd Nelson and Sgt. George Stirton with the “Railsplitters” singing hit songs of World War I and of the present war.


Dance Numbers


The “Ballet Moose”

The Ballet Moose was probably the most heavily-promoted act in the show (“a gargantuan thing”) and served as a sort of climax to the proceedings. A slapstick burlesque of the currently popular Ballet Russe, this act featured a “Premier Ballerina” tripping the light fantastic with eight muscular M.P.s, all cavorting in green (blue according to some accounts) tights and pink tutus. Their respective weights were listed in the program and added up to a total of exactly one ton.

According to Publicity Director Pvt. Harry Johnston, “the stars of the ‘Ballet Moose,’ competing for applause with the professionals, will in all likelihood apply more than ordinary energy to their terpsichorean effort.” He suggested as a precaution reinforcing the auditorium stage to withstand the “crushing blows” of a ton of soldier. 

Newspaper photo of the all-male burlesque ballet troupe "The Ballet Moose"

A clipping from the Gainsville Daily Register shows the 84th infantry division.
The 84th presents an all soldier stage show featuring the “Ballet Moose.”
Gainesville Daily Register, Mar 29, 1943. Cooke County Library, TX.


Although the Ballet Moose act was promoted as “strictly a Sutton creation,” the concept was not new—there had already been several college entertainments featuring fraternity brothers or football players dressed in tutus and calling themselves “The Ballet Moose”; for example, at the University of Washington or Bismarck Junior College.

The role of “Premier Ballerina” was taken by Pvt. Deward “Duke” Tornell, who was a multitalented sports star at Ripon High School in the rural community of Ripon, California. Later he attended Modesto Junior College, where according to the Modesto Junior College website he had been “one of the school’s best linemen” and was a star in both football and basketball. Tornell also attended San Jose State College (now San José State University), where he played football, basketball, and baseball. After college he was drafted by the Washington Redskins.  A serious back injury he sustained during military training prevented him from participating in the D-Day invasion and also put an end to his professional football career, but he returned to his high school to serve as a volunteer football coach for 25 years.

Duke Tornell in his Modesto Junior College football uniform

Deward “Duke” Tornell in his Modesto Junior College football uniform.


Costumes and dances are attributed to Muriel Hensler and the Elm Street U.S.O. Ladies. Muriel Hensler was serving at the time as U.S.O. club director in Gainesville, working with soldiers’ wives and local volunteers to support the troops at Camp Howze. There may have been a costume malfunction (inadvertent or deliberate). Pvt. Sutton made the remark after the show, “I didn’t intend for it to turn into a strip tease. That phase was completely unrehearsed!” Perhaps the troupe took a cue from the men of the University of Washington mentioned above and presented a “Sally Randish balloon dance” as an encore.


“Terpsicorpse Terrifique”

Pvt. Clarence Herrick did what was acknowledged as a “neat bit of tap dancing” in the number entitled “Terpsicorpse Terrifique,” but what could compete with the Ballet Moose? Not to mention, his act was sandwiched in between the hugely popular acts “Señor Lee and Friends” and “Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.” The tap dancing routine must have served as little more than a palate cleanser.


Comedy Sketches

Several comic sketches broke up the sequence of musical numbers and featured some of the popular actors and sketch writers of the day.

“Shadowlawn, Please” was a satirical skit on the glitchy telephone service in which a private from Camp Howze attempts to notify his WAAC wife by telephone that he cannot come home. Pfc. Jack McClasky, an experienced vaudeville comedian, served as both actor and writer for the vaudeville-style sketch. This skit appears in the program printed in the Gainesville Daily Register as “Gainesville 900.” 

Pvt. Manny Groobin’s comedy skit “Ball Four—Take Your Base” was performed as a dialogue, with Pvt. Jack McClasky playing a new baseball player and Groobin playing the coach. Groobin’s acting was praised, but his writing was dismissed as “trite.”

Pvt. Michael J. Aloysius Molony, described as an “Alexander Woolcottish looking man,” wrote the skit “GI Soap Presents,” and also performed the testimonial for GI Soap. Pvt. Sutton played the announcer during the commercials, and Pvt. Walter McDonald played H.V. Cattlehorn. Originality and good timing resulted in plenty of laughs, making this one of the more successful skits.

Pfc. Irving Levy was a bilingual U.S. film, radio, and stage actor who performed in the United States and in Mexico, usually under his stage name of Irving Lee. When he performed in Mexican films, he usually was cast as a non-Mexican because of his thick American accent. When he performed in the U.S., he usually spoke with a Mexican accent. On the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show he frequently played a character named Señor Lee, who spoke in a mixture of Spanish and heavily-accented English. Here is an example of his Señor Lee character on the Burns and Allen Show: “Kiddie Party” (June 29, 1940). Pfc. Levy’s On the Beam sketch “Señor Lee and Company” was very similar to his Burns and Allen performances, featuring several songs and a rapidly spoken monologue that brought a cascade of laughter with every increasingly absurd punch line.


A Successful Effort

After the performance at TSCW, the show was performed one last time at the junior high school auditorium in Gainesville on March 31, under sponsorship of the local Kiwanis club. Including the first two performances at Camp Howze on the weekend of March 13 and 14, On the Beam received a total of four performances. The sale of war bonds and stamps at the last two performances raised a total of $67,450 for the war effort.


Do You Want to Know More?

Visit Sycamore Library on the University of North Texas Campus to see the physical copy of the poster shown at the top of this article. We also have other posters related to World War I and World War II, as well as scripts, scores, and performance materials related to other soldier shows.

If you need assistance with finding or using government information, please visit the Service Desk in the Sycamore Library during regular hours, contact us by phone (940) 565-4745), or send a request online to

If you need extensive, in-depth assistance, we recommend that you E-mail us or call the Sycamore Service Desk at (940) 565-2870 to make an appointment with a member of our staff.


Reference List

“84th Infantry Division.” Order of Battle of the United States Army: World War II, European Theatre of Operations. U.S. Army Center of Military History. (accessed March 27, 2023).

Hart, Brian. “Camp Howze.” Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. (accessed March 27, 2023).

Camp Howze Museum. This online museum documents the history of Camp Howze in a digital archive containing dozens of historical artifacts.

“Deward ‘Duke’ Tornell.” Modesto Junior College Pirates. [website] (accessed March 21, 2023).

“Deward Tornell.” [obituary] The Modesto Bee. (September 7, 2007). (accessed March 21, 2023).

“Irving Lee.” Doblaje Wiki, Fandom, Inc. (accessed March 23, 2023).

“Muriel Hensler Hokanson Lawrence.” [obituary] Legacy. February 23, 2007. (accessed March 24, 2023).

“’On the Beam’ Is Successful Here.” Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). March 29, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Denton Public Library. (accessed January 26, 2023).

“Railsplitters Revue in Gainesville!” [full-page advertisement] Gainesville Daily Register and Messenger (Gainesville, TX). March 25, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library. (accessed January 26, 2023). 

“Railsplitters’ Revue Pleases Capacity Crowd.” Gainesville Weekly Register (Gainesville, TX).  April 8, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library. (accessed January 16, 2023). 

“’Railsplitters’ Revue to Be Given in City.” Gainesville Daily Register and Messenger (Gainesville, TX). March 22, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library. (accessed January 16, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library

“T-7 Sutton, Ex-Movie Man, Plans ‘Railsplitters’ Revue’ at Howze.” Gainesville Daily Register and Messenger (Gainesville, TX), February 17, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library. (accessed January 16, 2023). University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Cooke County Library.

Texas State College for Women. The Daedalian. Denton, TX: 1943. Texas Woman’s University, The Repository@TWU,; crediting Texas Woman’s University. (accessed on March 23, 2023).

Townsend, Charles R. “Wills, James Robert.” Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. (accessed on March 26, 2023). 

Trant, Dorothy. “Olive Drab and Jive Mark ‘On Beam’ Show.” Lass-O, Texas State College for Women (Denton, TX).  April 2, 1943. 

“TSCW Gets ‘On the Beam’ Tomorrow.” Lass-O, Texas State College for Women (Denton, TX). March 26, 1943.

“Uncle Sam’s Paul Sutton to Present ‘On the Beam,’ Army Variety Show.” Lass-O, Texas State College for Women (Denton, TX). March 5, 1943. 

U.S. Department of War, Orientation Section, Information and Education Division, ETOUSA. Railsplitters: The Story of the 84th Infantry Division. G.I. Stories of the Ground, Air, and Service Forces in the European Theater of Operations. Paris: Printed by Curial-Archereau, 1945.

“What’s Going on at Camp Howze.” Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). March 15, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Denton Public Library. (accessed January 16, 2023).

“What’s Going on at Camp Howze.” Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX). April 5, 1943. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Denton Public Library. (accessed January 16, 2023).

Article by Bobby Griffith.





Posted by & filed under Hot Docs, Keeping Tabs, Special Days.

This Sunday, March 8, 2020, most of the population of the United States will perform the annual chore of setting their time-keeping devices forward by one hour, as we enter the seemingly ever-lengthening portion of the year referred to as Daylight Saving Time—surely an ironic term for the many students who will lose one precious hour of their Spring Break this year! (Usage note: don’t ever call it Daylight Savings Time, even if you’re a congressman. It’s not a bank account.)

Historical Background

World War I poster advertising the first daylight-saving lawBenjamin Franklin is credited with first conceiving the idea for a daylight-saving law, which he proposed (perhaps as a joke) in an anonymous and humorously-worded letter to the editor published in the Journal de Paris in 1784.

The first serious proposals for such a law came from the entomologist/astronomer George V. Hudson in New Zealand in 1895 and 1898, and from the builder William Willett in England in 1907. (Willett, incidentally, was the great-great-grandfather of Chris Martin of Coldplay, the band responsible for the songs “Clocks” and “Daylight.”)

Franklin’s whimsical idea was not taken seriously in the United States until Congress passed the Standard Time Act of 1918 to economize on fuel during the First World War. By then, several European countries had already adopted some version of a daylight-saving law.

The law turned out to be quite unpopular in the U.S., especially among farmers, who found it unnatural and disruptive, and it was abolished immediately after the war. It was reinstated during the Second World War, then abolished again after that war, then reinstated inconsistently by various state and localities. It has been a continual source of controversy up to the present day.

A 2020 Congressional Research Service Report for Congress summarizes the contentious history of this law over the decades.


The most recent change to the dates of observance of Daylight Saving Time was implemented as Section 110 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Under current law, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is observed in the United States from 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March until 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November, theoretically saving energy during the longer days and keeping children safe (and candy companies in business!) during the prime trick-or-treating hours of Halloween.

A few U.S. states and territories do not observe DST:


Among the advantages that have been imputed to DST are that it saves electricity and the money spent on lighting during the evening hours; it offers more daylight hours for recreation after our jobs, studies, or chores and encourages people to spend more time exercising and socializing; it stimulates tourism and business; and it reduces crime and traffic accidents during the evening hours.

Opponents to DST have objected that changing the clocks twice a year is inconvenient, unnatural, and confusing; the extra cost of air-conditioning at night negates any savings in reduced lighting; the extra driving drives fuel-spending up and generates pollution; the extra hour of darkness in the morning leads to more traffic accidents and endangers children on their way to school; and the jolt to our inner circadian clocks is unhealthy.

Many of these assertions for and against have been based more on hunches than on proven facts, but there have been several studies of the effects of daylight-saving laws in various places around the world.

A 1975 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that extending DST from a six-month period to an eight-month period might have modest benefits in the areas of energy conservation, traffic safety, and reduced violent crime, although their conclusions were not asserted with much confidence.

A 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Energy indicated a small savings in electricity during the daylight saving period, while a study of daylight saving time in Indiana suggested that a reduced demand for lighting is negated by an increased demand in electricity for heating and cooling, especially in the southern states.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the one-hour time shift results in sleep loss and a resultant sleep debt, as well as a misalignment of our circadian rhythms. Road accidents increase, especially on the first two days after the time change, and the rate of fatal accidents is about 6.5% higher during the first week of daylight saving time as compared to the previous or following week.

Perhaps most disconcertingly, several studies have indicated that there is a spike in the rate of heart attacks, an increased risk of stroke, and even a rise in the rate of suicides, following the spring time shift. (A later study challenged the conclusion that there is an increase in heart attacks following DST.)

According to a recent Monmouth University poll, most Americans do not like changing their clocks twice a year, but rather than doing away with daylight saving time, the majority of them would like to make it permanent. In the last five years, 19 states have enacted legislation or passed resolutions to provide for year-round daylight saving time, but these state actions cannot cannot take effect until the federal law changes. Last year the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would have made daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time, but the bill stalled in the House and expired without leaving the committee to which it had been referred. The bill has been reintroduced during this congressional session, and a companion bill has been introduced in the House, so the fight is not over yet. For now, however, it seems the law—and the controversy—will continue.

Would You Like to Know More?

Clock being set forward during World War IThe National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has answers to several frequently asked questions about Daylight Saving Time, as well as information about the current DST rules.

For a list of government documents and other publications at the UNT Libraries related to daylight saving time, search the subject heading “daylight saving” in the Library Catalog. More titles can be found in the Library of Congress catalog.

Visit the Daylight Saving Time WebExhibit to learn more about the history of daylight saving time, about the reasons for it and the controversies surrounding it, and about how other countries around the world observe—or don’t observe—Daylight Saving Time, often referred to as Summer Time outside the United States. also has a helpful compilation of articles about Daylight Saving Time, including tips on how to minimize the health risks encountered when we shift the clocks forward, and a chart summarizing how DST is observed around the world.

Share Your Thoughts

What is your opinion of Daylight Saving Time? Has it affected you in a positive or a negative way? Would you like to leave our government policy as it is, change the days we observe DST, see DST go away completely, or perhaps extend DST hours through the entire year?

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Photos from Library of Congress: and

Posted by & filed under Keeping Tabs, Special Days.

The Best Things In Life Are Free, sheet music to the song from the Broadway musical Good News

Would you like to host a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s first thriller, The Lodger? Maybe you’re interested in adapting Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey into a musical or a graphic novel, or you’d like to make a new recording of “My Blue Heaven” or “The Best Things in Life are Free.” Perhaps you have ambitions of publishing your own edition of the first Hardy Boys mysteries. In each of these cases, you would probably rather not go through the expense and inconvenience of paying for the rights or requesting permission from the copyright holders. Well, you’re in luck, because all these works are in the public domain as of today!


Public Domain Day

Every year on January 1, another batch of creative works loses their copyright status and enters the public domain, becoming freely available for anyone to copy, publish, adapt, and otherwise use however they wish with no need to ask permission. In addition to works published in 1927, works of many authors who died in 1953 will enter the public domain this year.

Here are just a few of the more prominent works that enter the public domain today:


To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf


  • The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, the final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (rights to the character of Sherlock Holmes have been in dispute by the Doyle estate)
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop, novel by Willa Cather
  • Elmer Gantry, novel by Sinclair Lewis
  • The first three volumes of the Hardy Boys mystery novels: The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff, and The Secret of the Old Mill (note that all three of these early titles were issued later in extensively revised or completely rewritten versions, which have not entered the public domain) 
  • Men without Women, short story collection by Ernest Hemingway (includes such classics as “The Killers” and “Hills like White Elephants”)
  • Steppenwolf, novel by Hermann Hesse (original German-language edition; the earliest English translation, by Basil Creighton, was not issued until 1929)
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey, novel by Thornton Wilder
  • To the Lighthouse, novel by Virginia Woolf


I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

Music and Theatre

  • Good News, Broadway musical by Laurence Schwab, B.G. DeSylva, Lew Brown, and Ray Henderson, featuring the songs “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and “The Varsity Drag” (libretto registered under the title Hold ‘Em Helen)
  • “(I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for) Ice Cream,” song by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert A. King
  • “Me and My Shadow,” song by Billy Rose and Dave Dreyer 
  • “My Blue Heaven,” song by Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting (featured in Ziegfeld Follies of 1927)
  • Show Boat, Broadway musical by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern (The Edna Ferber novel on  which this musical was based entered the public domain last year; any subsequent additions or revisions to the 1927 Broadway musical, including new arrangements, will have their own copyrights and most likely will not be in the public domain yet.)
  • “’S Wonderful,” song by George and Ira Gershwin (featured in the Broadway musical Funny Face)




  • The Jazz Singer, directed by Alan Crosland and starring Al Jolson
  • King of Kings, directed by Cecil B. DeMille (not to be confused with the 1967 version directed by Nicholas Ray)
  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang
  • Napoleon, directed by Abel Gance
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, directed by F.W. Murnau
  • Wings, directed by William A. Wellman


See Duke University’s Center for the Study of Public Domain website for more works entering the public domain and for discussions of various issues related to copyright and the public domain.


Understanding Copyright Law

Copyright law is complex and nuanced. For example:

  • Not all works published in the same year enter the public domain at the same time in every country.
  • Some works that had lost their copyright status in the United States later had their copyright status restored as a result of the Uruguay Rounds Agreement Act.
  • Revised or adapted works will have their own copyright terms different from the original works.
  • Sound recordings of a musical work may be copyrighted even if the score is in the public domain.

Here are some online sources that can help you stay safe while navigating the potentially treacherous territory of copyright laws:

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States

The chart “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States,” first compiled by Peter B. Hirtle in 1999 and now kept up to date on the Cornell University Library’s Copyright Services page, shows when works enter the public domain in the United States. Copyright terms in other countries may differ depending on local laws.

Copyright Law of the United States: Duration of Copyright

Chapter 3: Duration of Copyright, from the U.S. Copyright Office’s publication, Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17), contains the federal statutes that govern duration of copyright in the United States.

Copyright Public Records Portal

Search the Copyright Public Records Portal at the U.S. Copyright Office website to find copyright records held by the U.S. Copyright Office. This website also has educational videos and other materials to help you learn how to search and retrieve copyright records.

Copyright Quick Reference Guide

The UNT Libraries Copyright Quick Reference Guide provides basic information on copyright law to help you make sense of your copyright questions.


Would You Like to Know More?

Contact the Copyright Advisory Services at the UNT Libraries to learn more about public domain status, fair use, and other aspects of copyright law of interest to teaching, research, and scholarship. Services include individual consultations, small-group workshops, and presentations on a variety of subjects.

Visit the Sycamore Library to explore government documents, forms, instructions, and other publications related to copyright.

If you need assistance with finding or using government information, please visit the Service Desk in the Sycamore Library during regular hours, contact us by phone (940) 565-4745), or send a request online to

If you need extensive, in-depth assistance, we recommend that you E-mail us or call the Sycamore Service Desk at (940) 565-2870 to make an appointment with a member of our staff.


Article by Bobby Griffith.

Posted by & filed under Make a Difference, Special Days.


Surgeon General C. Everett Koop


World AIDS Day has been celebrated on the first day of December every year since its founding at the height of the AIDS epidemic in 1988. It provides an annual opportunity to show support for those living with AIDS and to remember those we have lost; to look back at how it started and see how far we have come; and to realize that the fight against AIDS is not yet over. 

In the earliest days of AIDS, when the disease was less understood and the government was dragging its heels in formulating any kind of effective response to the growing epidemic, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop proved an unlikely but effective ally in changing public policy. In 1981, the very conservative Dr. Koop was nominated by President Reagan to be Surgeon General and was sworn into office in January 1982 after a contentious confirmation process. Opponents on the left feared that his appointment was giving political ideology priority over public health, but as Michael Specter put it in his 2013 Postscript for The New Yorker, “Koop turned out to be a scientist who believed in data at least as deeply as he believed in God. And he proceeded to alienate nearly every supporter he had on the religious and political right.”

As AIDS first began to spread, there was a great deal of uncertainty over just how contagious the disease was and how it was being transmitted. AIDS seemed to resemble earlier catastrophes such as bubonic plague and yellow fever. Some proposed drastic measures, such as mass quarantines and mandatory screening of at-risk populations. Many people treated AIDS patients with disdain. The disease had become associated with populations outside the mainstream: gay men, drug addicts, and the sexually promiscuous. At times, this social attitude even took on a religious tone; victims were accused of being under a curse for their immoral behavior.

Dr. Koop recognized early on that the disease that came to be known as AIDS had the making of an epidemic, but differentiated this disease from easily transmitted contagions such as bubonic plague, yellow fever, Spanish flu, and the more recent COVID-19. Those diseases required extraordinary public health measures such as mandatory testing and quarantine of infected patients. AIDS, in contrast, was a chronic disease that could be managed with drugs and behavioral changes and could be prevented by educating the public in how to protect themselves without discriminating against AIDS sufferers in schools, the workplace, and housing. 

The conservative Reagan administration, squeamish about starting a public debate over homosexuality, sex education, and drug abuse, contributed a small amount of funding for medical research, but largely ignored the disease and its victims. For two years Assistant Secretary of Health Edward Brandt—Koop’s immediate superior—excluded Koop from the Executive Task Force on AIDS and forbade reporters to ask the Surgeon General questions about AIDS. Koop raised the objection that “you can’t talk of snake poisoning without mentioning snakes.”

In 1985 the death from AIDS of actor and celebrity Rock Hudson, a personal friend of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, served to focus attention of the public and the White House on the seriousness of the disease. During the same year, a test was developed to identify AIDS antibodies in the blood supply used for transfusions. 


Covers of Surgeon General's Reports: "Understanding AIDS" and "The Surgeon General's Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome"


In February 1986, President Reagan finally authorized Koop to produce a Surgeon General’s Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There was never any direct, formal request. During a speech given to employees of the Department of Health and Human services on February 5, 1986, Reagan mentioned casually that “I’m asking the Surgeon General to prepare a major report to the American people on AIDS.” Fortunately, Surgeon General Koop happened to be at the meeting and took the hint! With the assistance of a few trusted advisors, Koop wrote the report himself, at a stand-up desk in the basement of his home, rather than delegating the writing as government officials so often do. The finished report was presented before the President and the cabinet before going public. To avoid excessive, nitpicky meddling, he had the pamphlet printed on very expensive paper. On October 22, 1986, he released the finished report at a press conference.

The Surgeon General’s Report discussed symptoms of AIDS and explained frankly how it was spread—through sexual intercourse, sharing of contaminated needles among drug users, from infected mother to child during pregnancy or birth, and through transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products. Readers were assured that AIDS could not be transmitted through casual contact. The report advised prevention through a program of compulsory sex education in schools, increased use of condoms, and voluntary, confidential testing. AIDS was a chronic, incurable disease, but it could be managed with drugs.

Though the Surgeon General’s Report was not received without controversy (objections were raised to the mention of sex education and condoms; Koop was burned in effigy), it was notable for treating AIDS as a health issue rather than a moral issue and for giving the victims of the disease hope that they could extend their lives, participate fully in society, and be treated with respect and compassion.

In 1988, misinformation was still being spread about how AIDS is transmitted. Millions of Americans still believed they could get AIDS from cats, from mosquito bites, from toilet seats, from donating blood, even from sitting next to a child in school. Another misunderstanding being spread was that only people from certain “high risk groups” were infected with AIDS. In order to counter this constant stream of misinformation, the Surgeon General sent out a mailer entitled Understanding AIDS to everyone on the IRS mailing list. It was the largest mailing in American history: 107,000,000 copies. The brochure explained in plain language exactly how one can and can’t get AIDS. 

At the time of Surgeon General Koop’s report, a person diagnosed with AIDS had little chance of surviving the next two or three years, and next to no chance of surviving longer than that. Today there is still no cure, but with modern treatments AIDS patients are living long and fulfilling lives. Still, it is important to remember on World AIDS Day and after that there is a constant need for us all to unite in the fight to to eliminate the disparities and inequities that create barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and access to HIV care.

For more information about what you can do to make a difference, see

Article by Bobby Griffith.



“AIDS, the Surgeon General, and the Politics of Public Health.” The C. Everett Koop Papers. National Library of Medicine: Profiles in Science.

“The AIDS Epidemic.” Reports of the Surgeon General. National Library of Medicine: Profiles in Science.

Koop, C. Everett. “The Early Days of AIDS, as I Remember Them.” Annals of the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research 13, no. 2 (2011).

Koop, C. Everett Understanding Aids. Rockville MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1988.

Specter, Michael. “Postscript: C. Everett Koop, 1916–2013.” The New Yorker. February 26, 2013.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Surgeon General’s Report on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1986.



Posted by & filed under Is That a Document?, Recipes, Special Days.

A Farm Family Listening to Their Radio

Farm family listening to their radio
By George W. Ackerman, probably Ingham County, Michigan, August 15, 1930

National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Extension Service
(33-SC-14524c) [VENDOR # 172]

The Birth of Aunt Sammy

On Monday, October 4, 1926, the USDA-sponsored radio show Housekeepers’ Chat premiered, and their first order of business was to introduce Aunt Sammy, who would serve as the official radio representative of the U.S. Bureau of Home Economics for the greater part of a decade. The show was a revamping of an older show called Housekeepers’ Half Hour, updated to reflect the latest trends and technological developments. 

Radios were relatively inexpensive and were battery-powered, so they could be relied upon even when power lines were down. A radio show that provided a familiar voice over the airwaves was a source of comfort and stability to those living in rural areas, especially farmers’ wives, who could feel isolated and unsupported in their remote locations.

Commercial companies had been finding great success using the medium of radio to promote their products with “live trademarks” such as Aunt Jemima, Ann Pillsbury, and the most successful of all, Betty Crocker. Like these spokeswomen before her, Aunt Sammy was a fictional character, not a real person.

Representing the domestic side of Uncle Sam, she was sometimes referred to as his sister, sometimes as his wife—the exact nature of their relationship was never made very clear. No visual images exist of Aunt Sammy, and because of the difficulty of transmitting radio signals over long distances, the USDA would send scripts to each individual radio station, where a local actress would enact the part of Aunt Sammy in the local accent. Even these performances have been lost to history, since the shows were performed live, and none of them seems to have been recorded. 

The Women Behind Aunt Sammy

Three women at the Bureau of Home Economics contributed to creating the character of Aunt Sammy:

Ruth Van Deman, Associate Specialist in Charge of Information at the USDA’s Bureau of Home Economics, was responsible for preparing the menus and recipes that were broadcast. For the most part these were unpretentious and easy to prepare, though there were occasional forays into more exotic fare. (One of the menus intriguingly mentions “fried brains and eggs,” but alas, there is no corresponding recipe.)

This is how Van Deman expressed her philosophy:

“This is no caviar and truffle service for jazz-jaded appetites. We are striving to serve that great substantial class of women who are home-makers. We aim to make the menus simple, well balanced, delicious and also adaptable to the food supplies in all parts of the country.”

Josephine Hemphill, who taught journalism and was a graduate of Kansas State Agricultural College, wrote the chatty, conversational part of the scripts. She was convinced that most people are “just folks,” and preferred a friendly, informal approach to broadcasting. Later she worked for the Food and Drug Administration, and in the 1960s she authored a history of the FDA for teenage readers entitled Fruitcake and Arsenic.

Fanny Walker Yeatman, sometimes referred to in Housekeepers’ Chat as “The Recipe Lady,” was responsible for testing and tasting recipes that were developed in the kitchen of the Bureau of Home Economics.


Aunt Sammy Helps Housewives Over Radio

From the left: Josephine Hemphill, Fanny Walker Yeatman, and Ruth Van Deman.
Photo collage from Moline Daily Dispatch (Moline, IL), December 29, 1927.

What Aunt Sammy Talked About

Today Aunt Sammy is mainly remembered for her recipes and cookbooks, but she also chatted about clothing, laundry, furniture, appliances, floor care, and other family and household matters scientifically researched by the Bureau of Home Economics. She would frequently promote the latest kitchen gadgets, but because it was a government agency, the Bureau of Home Economics was forbidden from recommending specific brands.

At times Aunt Sammy would even give advice on raising children; and like most homemakers, Aunt Sammy’s interests extended beyond the daily domestic tasks of cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. She was also a bit of a raconteur who told jokes, commented on world affairs, and kept her audience up to date on the latest fads and trends, all in a folksy, friendly style that made her seem like a member of the family to many listeners.

Audience members were encouraged to write Aunt Sammy for copies of recipes as well as for advice on everything from what a vitamin is to how to exterminate rats, mice, and cockroaches. 

Aunt Sammy’s recipes came from several sources. Some were developed from scratch in the USDA’s experimental kitchens; others originated outside of the USDA—many were already well-known, traditional American dishes—but all were tested, evaluated, and frequently improved in various ways, usually to make them more nutritious (for example, by reducing the amount of sugar) or simpler to prepare. Many of the recipes resort to canned or premixed ingredients for the sake of convenience.


Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes 

Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes


Radio is not a particularly suitable medium for presenting recipes, so almost from the day the show aired, there was an enormous demand for printed copies of the menus and recipes.

At first listeners were sent mimeographed copies of a few week’s worth of recipes at a time, with holes punched in the margin so that the pages could be added to a notebook and collected.

In 1927 a printed compilation of recipes broadcast from October 1926 to June 1927 was published, entitled Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. In the introduction it was emphasized that this was not a “complete cookbook,” but rather a selection of the most popular recipes from Aunt Sammy’s show. Many more recipes and guides to food selection and storage were available in the hundreds of bulletins and leaflets distributed across the country by the USDA.  

The public’s demand for these recipes was insatiable, and within a month the sold-out pamphlet was reprinted. Here are a few samples of what readers could find in this pamphlet:

Recipe for baked tomatoes


Candle Salad (recipe)


Sweet Potatoes with Apples


Recipe for Best Evers Cookies



Aunt Sammy’s Radio Record

Aunt Sammy's Radio Record


After the first edition of Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes was published, new menus and recipes continued to be broadcast, and new requests for the recipes continued to pour in. As a way for the regular listeners to Housekeepers’ Chat to keep up with this new information, a mostly blank notebook was published, with pages to write down the menus and recipes as they were broadcast on the radio. 

Sample menu template from Aunt Sammy's Radio Record Sample recipe template from Aunt Sammy's Radio Record


The introduction to this book resembles an episode of Housekeepers’ Chat. There is a short, humorous dialogue between Aunt Sammy and her relative Uncle Ebeneezer; an explanation of how to plan meals according to the five main food groups; and some saucy answers to frequently asked questions about table manners and how to set the table for a formal dinner.


Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes Revised

Cover art for Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes Revised


In 1931 a revised and enlarged edition of Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes was published, extending the alliteration in the title to read Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes Revised. This new edition was expanded from 86 to 142 pages and contained about 100 more recipes than the 1927 edition, although it still was not considered a “complete cookbook.”

This publication also includes a four-page index, which makes the recipes much easier to  search. It also includes a chart defining what oven temperatures are meant when the recipe says, for example, “moderate oven,” and another chart defines equivalent measures, such as how many tablespoons go into 1/4 cup, or how many cups go into a gill.

In 1932, Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes Revised was published in a braille edition. Contrary to popular rumors, however, this was not the first cookbook to be printed in braille. According to Laurie Block’s blog post “Cooking with Braille,” this book was preceded by at least three other cookbooks published in braille by the American Printing House for the Blind.

Here are a few recipes from Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes Revised that did not appear in the earlier collection:


Recipe for Cheese Dreams


Recipe for Ripe-Olive Club Sandwiches


Recipe for a basic layer cake that can serve as the foundation for other recipes. Recipe for Washington Pie



Aunt Sammy’s Last Years

Aunt Sammy’s popularity faded during the Great Depression, and the questions listeners sent in were less likely to be requests for recipes and more likely to be requests for personal advice. After 1934 the radio show was renamed Homemaker Chats, and Aunt Sammy, her recipes, and her folksy anecdotes no longer appeared on the show. Instead, an anonymous narrator presented factual information in a dry, no-nonsense manner. By 1946 the show was no longer on the air.


Selections From Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes and USDA Favorites

Selections from Aunt Sammy's Radio Recipes and USDA Favorites


The year 1976 marked both the 50th anniversary of Housekeepers’ Chat and the United States Bicentennial. In commemoration of Aunt Sammy’s 50th birthday, the Consumer and Food Economics Institute of the Agricultural Research Service prepared a selection of recipes from the first edition of Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, supplemented by a selection of popular recipes that had appeared in 1976 USDA publications. All the recipes were retested and tasted in the laboratory for the new publication.

Here are a couple of recipes from each of the time periods represented in this publication:


Recipe for Scalloped Onions and Peanuts


Recipe for Eggplant-Tomato Casserole



Would You Like to Know More?

Visit the Government Information Connection in Sycamore Library to explore these and hundreds of other recipes published by U.S. and Texas government agencies. 

If you need assistance with finding or using government information, please visit the Service Desk in the Sycamore Library during regular hours, contact us by phone (940) 565-4745), or send a request online to

If you need extensive, in-depth assistance, we recommend that you E-mail us or call the Sycamore Service Desk at (940) 565-2870 to make an appointment with a member of our staff.

Article by Bobby Griffith.


Reference List



Dreilinger, Danielle. The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live. (New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2021).

Nordstrom, Justin, ed. Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes: The Original 1927 Cookbook and Housekeeper’s Chat. (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2018).


Aunt Sammy Now Popular on Radio.” New Britain Herald. (New Britain, Conn.), 28 Oct. 1927. 

“Aunt Sammy Takes the Air.” Nogales International. (Nogales, AZ), February 11, 1930. 


Smulyan, Susan. “Radio Advertising to Women in Twenties America: ‘A Latchkey to Every Home.'” Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 13, no. 3 (1993): 299–314. 

Radio Transcripts

Boyd, Andrew. “Aunt Sammy.” Episode 2762 of The Engines of Our Ingenuity. Houston Public Media. University of Houston College of Engineering, December 22, 2011.

The Household Calendar. “A radio interview between Mrs. Rowena Schmidt Carpenter and Mrs. Fanny Walker Yeatman, Bureau of Home Economics, delivered through WRC and 42 other radio stations associated with the National Broadcasting Company, Thursday, June 25, 1931.” 

U.S. Government Publications

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Selections from Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes and USDA Favorites. Prepared by Consumer and Food Economics Institute, Agricultural Research Service. Home and Garden Bulletin No. 215. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976).

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Home Economics. Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1927). 

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Home Economics. Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes Revised. By Ruth Van Deman and Fanny Walker Yeatman. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1931).

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Information, Radio Service. Aunt Sammy’s Radio Record. (Washington, DC: The Service, 1928). 

Posted by & filed under Boredom Busters, Is That a Document?, Special Days, Toys R U.S., Uncategorized.

Color Your Universe

A collage of completed NASA coloring pages.

It’s National Coloring Book Day, and you might be surprised to know that the Sycamore Library has over 175 coloring books and coloring sheets produced by U.S. federal and Texas state government agencies for educational and promotional purposes and covering virtually every topic under the sun. Some are available online for you to download and print out, and others are available in paper format at Sycamore Library. (But please don’t color in our paper documents—photocopy the pages you need so that everyone will have a chance to color!)


How to Find Government Coloring Books

To search for our coloring books, go to the library catalog on the UNT Libraries homepage, select “Books & More” to search the catalog, then select “Advanced Search.”

Once on the Advanced Search screen, enter “coloring books” in the Genre field and select “Government Documents” from the drop-down menu under “Collection.” 

You can also search “activity books” in the genre field to find books that usually contain coloring pages, but also include games, puzzles, and other pastimes such as word searches, crossword puzzles, connect-the-dots, quizzes, and other interactive activities that require writing or drawing directly in the book.

Not all government coloring books are available in a physical format. To find hundreds of digital format coloring books go to a government agency website and search for the phrase “coloring book” or “coloring pages.” Many agencies have a “kid’s page” that includes links to coloring books, games, and other educational activities. You can google the name of the agency to find their website. Most—but  not all—federal agency websites can be guessed at by entering the agency’s acronym followed by .gov (e.g.,

You can also go to the website and search several federal and state government websites simultaneously, using the same phrases listed above. 


A Few Samples of Government Coloring Books

These samples can only give a taste of the infinite variety of government coloring books available. Explore the UNT Libraries catalog and individual government websites for more examples. 


Friends Don’t Use Friends as Bear Bait

Friends Don't Use Friends as Bear BaitFriends Don't Use Friends as Bear Bait

The Friends Don’t Use Friends as Bear Bait coloring activity from the National Park Service takes a humorous approach to a deadly serious situation. You can use the full-color NPS poster as a model, or be creative and use whatever colors you want.


Little Leon the Lizard (Toy Safety Curriculum)

Little Leon the LizardLittle Leon playing with a bow and broken arrow

Little Leon the Lizard is a coloring book from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A little wordy for a coloring book, this is more of a short chapter book with full page illustrations suitable for coloring. It tells the story of an anthropomorphic lizard who is constantly giving or receiving injuries because of his carelessness while playing with his toys.


What’s My Job in Court?

What's My Job in  Court?There are a lot of things wrong in this courtroom. How many of them can you find?

What’s My Job In Court
is a coloring and activity book produced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DC Children’s Advocacy Center to help prepare children who will be serving as witnesses in court cases. It explains how the courtroom is set up, the roles various persons play in the trial, and what is expected of a child witness. 


Discover Aeronautics and Space: A Coloring Book for Elementary Students 

Discover Aeronautics and SpaceDepiction of a launching pad and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft

Discover Aeronautics and Space
is a coloring book produced by NASA to introduce elementary school children to the various spacecraft used since the Mercury program until 1990, when the book was published, and to depict how astronauts go through everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, and grooming while in space. Children are fascinated by outer space and space travel, so it should be no surprise that NASA has perhaps the largest collection of online coloring books and coloring pages of any government agency. Many of these are also available in print. 


The Indian Years Coloring Book

The Indian Years Coloring BookCave Painting

The Indian Years Coloring Book
, produced by the Cultural Resources Program of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, was adapted from The Indian Years (Living with the Texas Past series, no. 1), published by the Office of the State Archeologist, Texas Historical Commission. It is one of many educational coloring books produced by Texas state agencies. 



Smithsonian Libraries Coloring BookColoring page from Smithsonian Libraries

#ColorOurCollections is an annual social media event launched in 2016 by the New York Academy of Medicine Library in order to encourage libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural institutions throughout the world to create free coloring books and coloring pages based on the unique content in their local collections. The event usually takes place during the first full week of February each year, and the coloring books are archived on the New York Academy of Medicine Library’s website, which also links to the websites of the participating institutions.

Pictured above is the second coloring book contributed by the Smithsonian Libraries, featuring images based on items in their collection. 

You can even find a couple of University of North Texas Libraries Coloring Books in the #ColorOurCollections archive.


Show Us Your Colors

We hope this article has inspired you to create some of your own art out of some of the many government agency coloring books and coloring pages they have made available. Please share any coloring projects you have done, and we will put them on display!


Would You Like to Know More?

We invite you to explore the many coloring books and other government publications at the Sycamore Library, or you may give us a call at (940) 565-2194 or send us a message at to ask us any questions. 

Article by Bobby Griffith.