John Breaux Papers Database Help File

About the database

The John Breaux Papers include records from former Senator John Breaux's tenure representing Louisiana in the U.S. House of Representatives (1972-1986) and Senate (1987-2005). The collection comprises over 700 boxes. This database allows researchers to identify specific boxes and/or folders for their research.

Except for the files from Breaux's tenure in the House of Representatives, information about each folder in the collection is searchable in this database. For his House of Representatives papers, information about each box is provided; this means there is somewhat less detail included about his House papers.

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Understanding the Papers and How They are Organized

The papers of members of Congress reflect the multiple functions senators and representatives serve: creating, introducing, steering, evaluating, and voting on legislation, providing oversight, serving on committees, advocating for the interests of their states and their constituents both in Congress and to government agencies, and participating in the politics of their parties. The records also include files produced by their congressional office staff in support of their work. The order of the materials themselves usually reflects the hierarchical division of these areas of activity and labor in the office. Those divisions then become the organizing units or groups within the archival collection, and these are called "subgroups," "series," "subseries," etc. Click here for a list of these groups.

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This is what appears on the search screen. This form is not functional, it is for illustrative purposes only. The drop down menu on the right, gives you the fields you can search.

Searches are keyword. If the search term appears anywhere in the specified field, the record will be retrieved and displayed. Forms of the word will also be found. For example coast will retrieve records containing coastal and coastline. In a sub-series title search, legislative will retrieve records from the following sub-series: legislative assistants, legislative directors, and legislative files.
Note: if your term is part of a word, the search will yield a false hit. For example, rice finds records with price.

Phrases can also be searched. Examples: Breaux Act, England Air Force Base, or Press Files (the latter as a sub-series title search). Do not put quotes. Searching is not case sensitive.

Searches can be combined by choosing And, Or, or Not from the drop down boxes to the left of the search boxes.

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Fields and Sorting Options

The following fields and sort options are available:

Keyword in any Field: looks for the word you specify across the description field and the title of collection units. See below for definitions of each of these. Searching by keyword in any field gives you the broadest search.

Description: searches folder title or label, which for the most part were assigned by Breaux's office; indicates folder contents.

Titles of Collection Unit: the organizing units or groups within the archival collection, each of which has a specific name or title. Examples include: U.S. Senate or House of Representatives (both subgroups), Administrative Assistants Files or Press Files (both sub-series), Photographs, Negatives, and Slides (a single sub-sub series). Click here for a list of these groups or refer to Understanding the Papers and How They are Organized.

Date: Allows you to specify date of the materials you want. Note you can also sort results by date.

Sorting: Use the drop down menu to sort results by ascending date (old to new), descending date (new to old), group (which subgroup, series, subseries, etc. the records belong to), or box and folder number.

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Narrowing your results

Because the collection is so large and a search may generate a large number of hits, you may find it useful to narrow your results by choosing to see those hits from a specific part of the collection. The gray box at the left will show you where in the Breaux Papers the folders in the hits are found. Clicking on one of the groups in the list will narrow your results to only those folders in that part of the collection. You can also sort the records without resubmitting the search by using the sort option in the grey box. Options include reordering results by date (ascending or descending), box and folder numbers, and collection unit.

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