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

When Ice Cream Got Hot in Congress

Bossie the Cow in the House Office Building Courtyard
In October 1921, a cow mysteriously appeared in the grassy House Office Building courtyard. Bossie arrived amid milkshake profiteering, sundae protests, and illegal ice cream on the Capitol grounds. Cold and creamy on a summer evening, ice cream seems like the most innocent of sweets. But it once got pretty sticky around the House.

More >

“An Attractive and Luscious Plum”: Capitol Guides in the 1920s

Capitol Guides Elizabeth and Anna Eliza Smith
No, you’re not seeing double: these happy Capitol guides are twins.

More >

#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.

More >

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.

More >

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.

More >

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.

More >