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

Wheelchairs, Ramps, and a Scooter Named “Lulu”

In the House of Representatives, accessibility was a subject of consideration on the House Floor in the first half of the 20th century, many decades before Rep. Tony Coelho introduced the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1989. Wheelchairs, scooters, and ramps were known to be used in the Chamber and around the Capitol as early as 1881. Photographs from the House Collection document the history of accessibility in the House Chamber.

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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.

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“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.

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#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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