History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives

#ThenAndNow: Photographs from the House Collection

Then and Now photo of horseshoes game practice at the Capitol
May is National Photo Month. We celebrated by spotlighting four photographs from the House Collection, creating and tweeting #ThenAndNow images around the Capitol.

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Hawaii Comes to the Capitol

A Hawaiian hoolaulea in the Capitol
Aloha! Speakers of the House Nicholas Longworth and William Bankhead agreed with the Los Angeles Times: “We don’t need an excuse to enjoy the relaxed, romantic pleasure of a Hawaiian party.” In the 1920s and 1930s, Hawaiian-style parties flourished across the states, and even made it to the Capitol.

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Behind the Photos

Dapper Representative John Sosnowski
This portrait of Representative John Sosnowski seems pretty standard—until you turn it over and read the back.

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Topping Uncle Joe

Joseph Cannon in his topper
Just an accessory? Maybe not. At a time when men’s hats spoke volumes about their personalities and status, Speaker Joseph Cannon’s headwear, including slouch hats, straw hats, and an “ancient woolly topper,” proved a potent symbol of his iron power, strong personality, and folksy manner.

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Plating Possum

Neal Burnham with the Cannon Building possum
When this possum snuck into the Old House Office Building in 1946, it had little idea that it would end up as a Capitol dinner.

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Breaking the Code: Duncan Lee, HUAC, and the Venona Files

Duncan Lee
Here’s the thing about being a spy: You can’t tell anybody. Especially if you’re a descendant of the Lee family of Virginia, educated at an elite prep school and university, a Rhodes Scholar, a lawyer at a prominent Manhattan law firm, and working in counterintelligence for the United States. Duncan Chaplin Lee was and did all of those things. He was a spy, and he got away with it.

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