Public Printer of the United States

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The Public Printer of the United States was the head of the United States Government Publishing Office (GPO). Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. § 301, this officer was nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the United States Senate. In December 2014, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law H.R. 83, which consolidated and continued appropriations for FY 2015.[1] Section 1301 of that act changed the name of the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office and the title of Public Printer to Director.[2] Thus, Davita Vance-Cooks was the last Public Printer of the United States and the first Director of the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

William J. Boarman
Davita E. Vance-Cooks
Hugh N. Halpern (2nd Director)

The Public Printer is responsible for the administration of the GPO. The GPO, a legislative agency of the government, provides electronic access to and produces most printed matter for government, including the Congressional Record, Supreme Court decisions, passports, tax forms, internal government documents, and agency publications. The GPO does not print money, as that is a duty of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


Benjamin Franklin served as Public Printer for several of the American colonies prior to the establishment of the United States. The House and Senate had separate printers until 1861, when the GPO was established; its first superintendent was John D. Defrees. The first man with the title Public Printer of the United States was Almon M. Clapp.[3]

List of Public Printers

  1. Almon M. Clapp (1876–1877)
  2. John D. Defrees (1877–1882)
  3. Sterling P. Rounds (1882–1886)
  4. Thomas E. Benedict (1886–1889)
  5. Francis W. Palmer (1889–1894)
  6. Thomas E. Benedict (1894–1897)
  7. Francis W. Palmer (1897–1905)
  8. Charles A. Stillings (1905–1908)
  9. John S. Leech (1908)
  10. Samuel B. Donnelly (1908–1913)
  11. Cornelius Ford (1913–1921)
  12. George H. Carter (1921–1934)
  13. Augustus E. Giegengack (1934–1948)
  14. John J. Deviny (1948–1953)
  15. Raymond Blattenberger (1953–1961)
  16. James L. Harrison (1961–1970)[4]
  17. Adolphus N. Spence (1970–1972)
  18. Thomas F. McCormick (1973–1977)
  19. John J. Boyle (1977–1980)
  20. Danford L. Sawyer, Jr. (1981–1984)
  21. Ralph E. Kennickell, Jr. (1984–1988)
  22. Robert Houk (1990–1993)[5]
  23. Michael F. DiMario (1993-2002)[6]
  24. Bruce James (2002–2006)[7][8]
  25. Robert C. Tapella (2007–2010)[9]-2010[10]
  26. William J. Boarman (2011–2012)
  27. Davita E. Vance-Cooks (2012–2014)[11]

List of Directors of the U.S. Government Publishing Office

  1. Davita E. Vance-Cooks (2014–2017)
  2. Hugh N. Halpern (2019–present)


  1. ^ "H.R. 83 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2015" (PDF).
  2. ^ "U.S. GPO press release". December 17, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "James L. Harrison, 94, Dies; Public Printer of the U.S." The Washington Post. October 10, 2000. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  5. ^ Cross, Lisa (June 1, 2001). "PIA Backs a Nominee For Public Printer Post.(Printing Industries of America, Robert Houk)". Graphic Arts Monthly. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  6. ^ ALAWON, Volume 2, Number 51, November 13, 1993.
  7. ^ "BRUCE R. JAMES". United States Public Printer. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  8. ^ Morrison, Jane Ann (March 29, 2002). "Nomination Planned: Bush to tap Nevadan for top printing post". Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV). Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate, 4/19/10". April 19, 2010. Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  11. ^ Hicks, Josh (August 2, 2013). "Davita Vance-Cooks confirmed as first female and African American public printer". Retrieved October 6, 2013.

External links

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