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

(Congress)Men without Hats

British traveler Henry B. Fearon cast a critical gaze from the House Gallery across the frothy sea of nearly 200 Representatives of the 15th Congress (1817-1819). "Spitting boxes are placed at the feet of each member, and, contrary to the practices of the [Senate], members and visitors wear their hats."

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Edition for Educators—Bon Appétit

This month’s Edition for Educators features epicurean culture in the House of Representatives, both the mouth-watering and the gut-wrenching.

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Categories: Education

A “Troublesome and Greatly Derided Custom” — Answering the Annual Message

During the presidencies of George Washington and John Adams, the process of the State of the Union and its responses was more genteel and singular, but no less contentious than it is today. In the 1790s, both houses of Congress drafted, debated, and marched en masse to the President’s mansion to deliver a formal, unified response, addressing the important issues raised by the executive. That is, until one volatile Member of the House dared to wonder aloud what the fuss was all about.

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Best of the Blog in 2015

As December draws to a close, there’s a tendency to review the efforts of the year. Here’s just a few of our favorites from 2015.

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Categories: Announcements

We Can’t Make This Stuff Up . . .

Research on the most benign topics can uncover a gem or two when least expected. Sometimes it’s just a random piece of trivia that adds a little bit of detail to the rich history of the institution. And then there are the other times . . . the times when you question the validity of the material and think to yourself, “This is so good it’s better than fiction.” Here are a few examples that fall into the “believe it or not” category.

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Categories: People

I Can Vote for War

Declaration of War Against Germany
Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the first woman elected to Congress, gained notoriety through the accidents of history. A confirmed pacifist, her two widely separated terms in the House put her in the position of voting against U.S. participation in both World War I (April 6, 1917) and World War II (December 8, 1941). But there was another vote...

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