The United States Government Publishing Office (USGPO or GPO; formerly the United States Government Printing Office) is an agency of the legislative branch of the United States federal government. The office produces and distributes information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of the
Supreme Court
Supreme Court
, the Congress, the Executive Office of the President, executive departments, and independent agencies. An
act of Congress An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by United States Congress, Congress. Acts can affect only individual entities (called private laws), or the general public (public laws). For a Bill (law), bill to become an act, the text must pass through b ...
changed the office's name to its current form in 2014.


The Government Printing Office was created by congressional joint resolution () on June 23, 1860. It began operations March 4, 1861, with 350 employees and reached a peak employment of 8,500 in 1972. The agency began transformation to computer technology in the 1980s; along with the gradual replacement of paper with electronic document distribution, this has led to a steady decline in the number of staff at the agency. For its entire history, the GPO has occupied the corner of North Capitol Street NW and H Street NW in the District of Columbia. The large red brick building that houses the GPO was erected in 1903 and is unusual in being one of the few large, red brick government structures in a city where most government buildings are mostly marble and granite. (The Smithsonian Castle and the Pension Building, now the National Building Museum, are other exceptions.) An additional structure was attached to its north in later years. The activities of the GPO are defined in the public printing and documents chapters of Title 44 of the United States Code. The Director (formerly the Public Printer), who serves as the head of the GPO, is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. The Director selects a Superintendent of Documents. The Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) is in charge of the dissemination of information at the GPO. This is accomplished through the
Federal Depository Library Program The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is a government program created to make U.S. federal government publications available to the public at no cost. As of April 2021, there are 1,114 depository libraries in the United States and its te ...
(FDLP), the Cataloging and Indexing Program and the Publication Sales Program, as well as operation of the Federal Citizen Information Center in
Pueblo, Colorado The City of Pueblo () is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Pueblo County, Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West region o ...
. Adelaide Hasse was the founder of the Superintendent of Documents classification system. The GPO first used 100 percent recycled paper for the '' Congressional Record'' and ''Federal Register'' from 1991 to 1997, under Public Printers Robert Houk and Michael DiMario. The GPO resumed using recycled paper in 2009. In March 2011, the GPO issued a new illustrated official history covering the agency's 150 years of "Keeping America Informed". With demand for print publications falling and a move underway to digital document production and preservation, the name of the GPO was officially changed to "Government Publishing Office" in a provision of an omnibus government funding bill passed by Congress in December 2014. Following signature of this legislation by President Barack Obama, the name change took place on December 17, 2014.

Public Printers of the United States

By law, the Public Printer heads the GPO. The position of Public Printer traces its roots back to Benjamin Franklin and the period before the American Revolution, when he served as "publick printer", whose job was to produce official government documents for Pennsylvania and other colonies. When the agency was renamed in December 2014 the title "Public Printer" was also changed to "Director". Davita Vance-Cooks was therefore the first "Director" of the GPO. ''Public Printers'': # Almon M. Clapp (1876–1877) # John D. Defrees (1877–1882) # Sterling P. Rounds (1882–1886) # Thomas E. Benedict (1886–1889) # Frank W. Palmer (1889–1894) # Thomas E. Benedict (1894–1897) # Frank W. Palmer (1897–1905), O.J. Ricketts (Acting, 1905–1905) # Charles A. Stillings (1905–1908), William S. Rossiter (Acting, 1908–1908), Capt. Henry T. Brian (Acting, 1908–1908) # John S. Leech (1908–1908) # Samuel B. Donnelly (1908–1913) # Cornelius Ford (1913–1921) # George H. Carter (1921–1934) # Augustus E. Giegengack (1934–1948), John J. Deviny (Acting, 1948–1948) # John J. Deviny (1948–1953), Phillip L. Cole (Acting, 1953–1953) # Raymond Blattenberger (1953–1961), John M. Wilson (Acting, 1961–1961), Felix E. Cristofane (Acting, 1961–1961) # James L. Harrison (1961–1970) # Adolphus N. Spence (1970–1972), Harry J. Humphrey (Acting, 1972–1973), L.T. Golden (Acting Deputy, 1973–1973) # Thomas F. McCormick (1973–1977) # John J. Boyle (1977–1980), Samuel Saylor (Acting, 1980–1981) # Danford L. Sawyer, Jr. (1981–1984), William J. Barrett (Acting, 1984–1984) # Ralph E. Kennickell, Jr. (1984–1988), Joseph E. Jenifer (Acting, 1988–1990) # Robert Houk (1990–1993), Michael F. DiMario (Acting, 1993–1993) # Michael F. DiMario (1993–2002) # Bruce James (2002–2007), William H. Turri (Acting, 2007–2007) # Robert C. Tapella (2007–2010) # William J. Boarman (2010–2012) # Davita Vance-Cooks (2013–2017) # Hugh N. Halpern (2019-present)

Published government documents

Official journals of government

The GPO contracts out much of the federal government's printing but prints the official journals of government in-house, including: * ''Code of Federal Regulations'' * Public and Private Laws * The '' Congressional Record'' * The ''Federal Register'', which is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations. * United States House Journal, United States ''House Journal'' * ''United States Senate Journal'' * United States Code * United States Statutes at Large


Image:us-passport.jpg, The new e-passport produced by GPO GPO has been producing U.S. passports since the 1920s. The United States Department of State began issuing e-passports in 2006. The e-Passport includes an electronic chip embedded in the cover that contains the same information that is printed in the passport: name, date and place of birth, sex, dates of passport issuance and expiration, passport number, and photo of the bearer. GPO produces the blank e-Passport, while the Department of State receives and processes applications and issues individual passports. GPO ceased production of legacy passports in May 2007, shifting production entirely to e-passports. In March 2008, the ''Washington Times'' published a three-part story about the outsourcing of electronic passports to overseas companies, including one in Thailand that was subject to Chinese espionage.Bill Gertz
Outsourced passports netting govt. profits, risking national security
, ''Washington Times'', March 26, 2008

Trusted Traveler Program card

GPO designs, prints, encodes and personalizes Trusted Traveler Program cards (NEXUS, Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, SENTRI and FAST) for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

GPO publications

* ''Copyright Catalog, Cumulative Copyright Catalogs'' * ''Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion'' (1870–88) * ''Official Records of the American Civil War'' * ''US Congressional Serial Set'' * (Document (United States. War Dept.))(Original from Harvard University) * * (Issue 33 of Publication (United States. Adjutant-General's Office. Military Information Division) Issue 143 of Document, United States War Dept Issue 33 of Publication, United States Adjutant-General's Office) * (Issue 143 of Document (United States. War Dept.))(Original from the New York Public Library) *(Original from Harvard University) * (Original from the University of California) * * * * GPO publishes the ''U.S. Government Publishing Office Style guide, Style Manual''. Among the venerable series are ''Foreign Relations Series, Foreign Relations of the United States'' for the United States Department of State, Department of State (since 1861), and ''Public Papers of the Presidents'', covering the administrations of Presidents Herbert Hoover onward (except Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose papers were privately printed). GPO published the ''Statistical Abstract of the United States'' for the United States Census Bureau, Census Bureau from 1878 to 2012.

GPO Police

Security for GPO facilities is provided by the Government Publishing Office Police. The force is part of the GPO's Physical Security Group and in 2003 had 53 officers. Officers are appointed under Title 44 United States Code, USC § 317 by the Public Printer (or their delegate). Their duty is to "protect persons and property in premises and adjacent areas occupied by or under the control of the Government Printing Office". Officers are authorized to bear and use arms in the performance of their duties, make arrests for violations of federal and state law (and that of Washington, D.C.), and enforce the regulations of the Public Printer, including requiring the removal from GPO premises of individuals who violate such regulations. Officers have concurrent jurisdiction with the law enforcement agencies where the premises are located.

See also

* Bureau of Engraving and Printing is responsible for the printing of United States currency. * Federal Digital System (FDsys) *Office of Public Sector Information, Her Majesty's Stationery Office * National Technical Information Service * Queen's Printer * United States Congress Joint Committee on Printing


Further reading

* *

External links

GPO website

United States House and Senate Committee Hearings and Publications in the LOUISiana Digital Library

National Federation of Advanced Information Services
{{Authority control 1861 establishments in Washington, D.C. Agencies of the United States Congress, Government Printing Office Government agencies established in 1861 Printing in the United States State publishers United States government information