As you head home for some well deserved rest over break, have you wondered how and when Christmas and New Year's Days became federal holidays?  The answer can be found in a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report!

Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Independence Day, and Thanksgiving Day became the first federal holidays on June 28, 1870 in the District of Columbia.  The creation and notable history of these and other federal holidays can be found in R41990, Federal Holidays: Evolution and Current Practices (2014) authored by Jacob R. Strauss.  In this report, you can find the interesting history of Thanksgiving, not always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month, or learn more about proposed federal holidays, such as Cesar E. Chavez Day.

Perhaps now you are wondering what CRS reports are and where can you find them?  The answers are simple!

Esablished in 1914, the CRS "serves the Congress throughout the legislative process by providing comprehensive and reliable legislative research and analysis that are timely, objective, authoritative and confidential, thereby contributing to an informed national legislature."  The reports are widely considered to be reliable and nonpartisan, and are a great source of information on a wide array of topics.  They are an excellent source of primary and secondary sources and a great starting place when conducting research for a note or brief.

CRS reports are available online through both free websites and subscription databases provided by the Law Library. Free sources include and Neither database is comprehensive, but both contain thousands of CRS reports available to the general public.

You can also access CRS reports through both Hein Online and ProQuest Congressional.

Please feel free to visit the reference desk to learn more about using CRS reports and how to incorporate them into your research plan.  

Submitted by Elizabeth Manriquez on December 18, 2019

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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