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Life and times of John H. Hickcox: Government publications history revisited


Until the late nineteenth century, the printing and distribution of federal government documents was not well regulated. In 1885, John H. Hickcox, Sr. began privately publishing United States Government Publications; a Monthly Catalogue, also known as Hickcox’s Monthly Catalogue, which alerted the public to the availability of recent publications, a function that the government was not then performing. Hickcox’s catalog immediately preceded establishment of the government-published Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications, of which he subsequently was appointed the first compiler. This paper presents information on Hickcox from primary materials and other secondary sources in order to create an awareness of Hickcox and his Catalogue, which have previously been ignored by historians of government information. In addition, some earlier accounts of Hickcox’s activities are clarified and corrected.

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