The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library was established to preserve and make available for research the papers and memorabilia of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In addition, the Library actively collects the papers of Johnson’s contemporaries and conducts an oral history program designed to supplement the written record. The Johnson Library is part of a system of presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
If you are planning on visiting the Library for research, please read this page and the Plan Your Visit page for information on closures and policies.
The Library holds more than 45 million documents, an extensive audiovisual collection, and 1,500 oral history interviews. The papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, which form the core of the Library’s holdings, include the White House files of his presidency (1963-1969), and papers from his service as a U.S. Congressman (1937-1949), U.S. Senator (1949-1961), and Vice President (1961-1963). Download a guide to citing historical materials from our collections here.
In addition, the Library holds the papers of several hundred other individuals, including family, friends, and associates of Lyndon B. Johnson and members of his presidential administration. These collections are described in the Library’s Historical Materials in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (1988). An updated version is currently in progress and will be available on our web site. The size of manuscript holdings is listed in linear feet. As a rule of thumb, one linear foot includes roughly 2,000 pages, and a roll of microfilm holds approximately 1,000 pages.
Materials in the Library are available on an equal basis to all researchers. However, some collections have not yet been processed and therefore are not yet open for research. The Library is also required to withdraw certain documents from processed manuscript collections in accordance with Federal government regulations or with restrictions imposed by donors in their deeds of gift. Donor restrictions result in the withdrawal of a small number of documents, usually to protect individual privacy. Federal government regulations require the withdrawal of a larger number of documents, usually for reasons of national security.
Documents which have been withdrawn from collections are listed on withdrawal sheets, which are placed in the file folders made available to researchers. Researchers may request the review of donor restricted documents by writing to the Director of the Library. Under the provisions of Executive Order 12958, as amended, any researcher may request declassification review of individual documents withdrawn for reasons of national security. Additional information on both review procedures may be obtained from the Library.
Secondary Source Material
The Library maintains a specialized book collection with an emphasis on the U.S. Presidency and the time period of Lyndon Johnson’s public service. The Library’s secondary source material is supplemented by the vast resources of the Universtiy of Texas at Austin library system. UT libraries are open to the public for general use. For rules governing borrowing policies, please call the Courtesy Borrowers Desk and Circulation Services at 512.495.4300 or visit their web site.
Off-Site Access: Reference Requests and Loans
The Library will provide answers to specific questions received by telephone or mail if the information can reasonably be provided from the Library's archival holdings. Photocopies of specific documents or entire folders may also be ordered by mail or telephone. However, the Library cannot undertake substantial research or select documents for copying.
The Library loans oral history transcripts, finding aids for manuscript collections, duplicates of task force reports, and additional items as possible. Original documents and files are not available for loan. Loan requests may be made directly to the Interlibrary Loan Archivist at the Library. As many as four items may be borrowed at one time. Items will be sent directly to the researcher’s home or office or to another interlibrary loan institution. Loans are made for a period of two weeks.
Transcripts of oral histories include a copy of the deed of gift that specifies any restrictions, including literary property rights, copyright, and photocopying restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to abide by these restrictions. Access to certain oral history transcripts requires written permission of the interviewee. Researchers may contact the Library for addresses of these individuals as well as suggested draft letters and permission forms.
The Reading Room, where requested documents will be served to visiting researchers, is located on the 10th floor of the LBJ Library and Museum. The Reading Room is open for research Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except on Federal holidays. Please see the Plan Your Visit page for a list of closure dates. The phone number to the Reading Room is 512.721.0212.
Items Permitted in the Reading Room
Researchers are welcome to use their own computers and typewriters in the Reading Room. Transcribing devices are permissible as long as other researchers are not disturbed. Personal copiers and scanners are NOT permitted.
Duplication of Textual and Audiovisual Material
Photocopies of documents may be ordered in the Reading Room. In addition, a self-service copier is available in the Reading Room for copying from a limited number of collections. Researchers may use their own digital cameras (without flash) or one of the Library’s cameras to create digital images of documents. The Reading Room also has a microfilm reader-printer. Instructions and information about restrictions and fees are available upon request. CDs of available recordings of President Johnson's telephone conversations may also be ordered in the Reading Room.
Copies of other audiovisual materials can normally be purchased unless copyright restrictions prevent it. The Library will reproduce audio tapes on either CD or cassette; videotapes and motion pictures on videocassette; and still images as digital prints or digital files on CD. Consult the Audiovisual Archivist for ordering reproductions of all audiovisual materials.
Observance of copyright and literary property rights retained by the donor is the responsibility of the researcher. The Library staff will provide information on the ownership of materials in our collections.
Limited numbers of grants-in-aid of research are awarded twice a year by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. Deadlines for applications are March 15 and September 15 of each year. Grants are awarded for the sole purpose of helping to defray living, travel, and related expenses incurred while conducting research at the Library. Grants normally range in size from $500 to $2,500. Application forms are available on our web site or by request to the Supervisory Archivist. Prior to submitting a grant-in-aid proposal, it is strongly recommended that applicants contact the Library for information concerning materials available on the proposed research topic.