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State Government Primary Sources Collection

I have an extensive collection of primary documents with information about state government and politics and it is ready to be made public immediately.

“State blue books” are compendiums of state government information that often come out every two years. Many states have these in online archives, but many don’t, and I’ve filled in a large portion of the gaps.


The collection includes numerous other sources, such as scanned election documents


This project provides the primary sources that facilitate data collection in other projects. However, these primary sources contain a wealth of additional information on state governments—such as on the judiciary, executive departments, party organizations, etc.—that can be used by citizens, scholars and political activists.


My blue book collection includes:

  • 727 titles that aren’t online, coming to 183,091 pages.

  • 438 titles are complete, while 289 only have certain types of information (mostly legislator biographies).

  • Of complete sources, 158 were judged to be of high preservation quality—high enough for a library to post. Unfortunately, scan quality was judged to be low for 103 of 438 documents, usually the earlier ones we scanned.

  • Purchasing/debinding/scanning well over 200 used blue books

  • Many were scanned commercially

  • Trips to libraries to scan

  • Contacting state libraries offices & election offices

  • Hiring people to scan at state libraries

The Excel file linked here gives a detailed Blue Book inventory, such as covered states and years, page numbers for each source, whether sources are complete or not, and scan quality.


Titles and variables tracking whether particular information appears in a source (whether pictures of legislators are included, for example) have been redacted, but will be provided to potential funders on request.


Related to the above are other collections:

  • Scans of all the Supplement #1’s (later titled “Directory I”) to the Book of the States, that have lists of state legislators from all 50 states. These cover 1945 to 2016 (earlier lists were in the Book of the States itself). (Several thousand pages.)

  • Scans of all the Supplement #2’s (later titled “Directory II”) to the Book of the States, that have lists of state legislative leadership and committee chairs from all 50 states. These cover 1977 to 2016. (Several thousand pages.)

  • Scans of most of the Roster of Black Elected Officials (1967-1993). (Around 2,000 pages.)

  • State legislative map collection (covers 1966 to present, but is missing some states). Also includes descriptions of state legislative districts for many redistricting plans.


I’ve also obtained many election sources:

  • That are not online via the methods mentioned above.

  • That are online but are of poor image quality or missing pages. The biggest example of this are SC election reports that span 1976 to 1998 comprising 5,164 pages (hard copies provided by David Lublin).

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