Date: November 9, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492, firstname.lastname@example.org
The NMSU Library’s Government Documents & Maps Unit Display for November features documents that tell the interesting history of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The display is on the second floor of NMSU’s Branson Library.
Government Documents librarian Dotty Ormes said that the first U.S. Census Day was August 2, 1790. This day was more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended.
Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts under an act which, with minor modifications, governed census taking through 1840.
The law required that every household be visited, that descriptions of persons for every district be transmitted to the president and that completed census schedules be posted in each jurisdiction in two public places, “There to remain for the inspection of all concerned.”
The six questions in the 1790 Census called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions:
Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential)
Free White males under 16 years
Free White females
All other free persons
Under the general direction of Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, marshals conducted the census in the original thirteen States, plus the districts of Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont, and the Southwest Territory of Tennessee.
The number of population inquiries grew in the 1850 census. Every free person’s name was to be listed, not just the head of the household. The marshals also collected additional social statistics, including information on taxes, schools, crime, wages, value of the estate and data on mortality.
Each marshal was also responsible for subdividing his district into known civil divisions, such as counties, townships, or wards and ensuring that his assistants’ returns were completed properly.
New Mexico first appeared in the 1850 Census as a Territory. Ormes noted that deaths for females in the 1870 Census of Mortality for the New Mexico Territory were mostly babies that died from cholera. The highest number of deaths among males aged 15 to 34 were due to homicide.
For more information, visit http://www.census.gov or contact Government Documents & Maps Librarian Dotty Ormes at (575) 646-4385 or email@example.com.