Skip to Content
Indiana University

The Brevier Legislative Reports, published biennially from 1858 to 1887, are verbatim reports of the legislative history of the Indiana General Assembly during those years. The volumes also include veto statements and other messages from the Governor.

This is a unique set of documents — there exists no other such detailed and comprehensive record of the debate and speeches delivered from the floor of the Indiana Senate chamber and the Hall of the House of Representatives for this time period. Indiana legislative history research is difficult to accomplish because so few documents exist. Researchers look for documents created along the legislative path in order to determine the reasoning and need behind the enactment of a law. The Brevier Legislative Reports record the statements of the General Assembly members as they expressed both their intent when creating certain laws and their opposition to the need for varying legislation.

Another important function of the Brevier Legislative Reports is that the volumes contain a record of each bill introduced in the House and the Senate. At times, the full text of the bill was recorded if it was read on the floor, and was accompanied by the sponsor's statement. Also compelling, are the members' discussion of such matters as the legislative process, the condition of the judicial system, and the state of the State of Indiana for those years.

On a broader scale, the Brevier Legislative Reports are rich with detailed firsthand accounts that reflect the conditions of the times and aid in the understanding of the issues present in Indiana in the mid to late 19th century — issues such as "education of colored children," child labor, prison reform, the state debt, horse thieves, voting and election law, temperance, railroads and canals, and "negro suffrage."

This project was made possible by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) administered by the Indiana State Library and by a Grant–in–Aid of Research & Creative Activity by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University.