May 21, 2022

New Reference Resource: Free Online For First Time, Historical Versions of the United States Code Now Online

From the Library of Congress:

More than 60 years of U.S. laws are now published online and accessible for free for the first time after being acquired by the Library of Congress. The Library has made available the main editions and supplements of the United States Code from 1925 through the 1988 edition.

The U.S. Code is a compilation of federal laws arranged by subject by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. The Library’s U.S. Code Collection is fully searchable. Filters allow users to narrow their searches by date, title and/or subject. PDF versions of each chapter can be viewed and downloaded.

The collection is online at This provides access to editions of the U.S. Code that previously were not available to the public online for free.

“For the first time these historical materials will be available online for free in a searchable format,” Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sanchez said. “The U.S. Code provides a convenient tool for locating the law in force at a particular point in time. These historical editions will help students, historians and other researchers delving into the primary sources of our government and democracy.”

The first edition of the U.S. Code was published in 1926, and the second was published in 1934. Thereafter, main editions have been published every six years with annual cumulative supplements published yearly in between. Of the 53 U.S Code titles, 27 have been enacted by Congress into positive statutory law, becoming legal evidence of the law that can be presented in federal and state courts. For titles that have not been enacted into positive law, the Statutes at Large still govern.

The digital versions of the U.S. Code in the new collection were acquired by the Law Library of Congress through a purchase agreement with William S. Hein & Co, Inc. The acquisition is part of the Law Library’s transition to a digital future and in support of its efforts to make historical U.S. public domain legal materials freely and easily available to Congress and the world. Users will access this collection from a link on and

More recent editions of the U.S. Code from 1988 to the present are available online from the U.S. Government Publishing Office and the House of Representatives.

Direct to LC Collection of Historical Versions of the United States Code Online


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.