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

Psychological Gastronomy

“Gastro psychologist, doctor of roasts” was the honorary title bestowed on House Restaurant proprietor Tom Murrey by the Washington Post in an 1894 article. The reason for this accolade was Murrey’s theory on the relationship between what a Member would eat at lunch and what legislative work he accomplished—or rather, didn’t accomplish—afterward.

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Categories: Art & Artifacts

The White Squadron

Peace (The White Squadron in Boston Harbor), or more simply Peace, has been around the block — the Capitol block. It started out in Chicago, then came to the Capitol, and ultimately found a home in the Cannon House Office Building.

 

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Categories: Art & Artifacts

“No Other Word than Magic”

Mantle Clock
Clocks all over the House of Representatives—the plain ones, the fancy ones, even the ones that look like they belong in a high school classroom—have a little set of lights connected to them. Sometimes one is lit, sometimes all seven flash, and sometimes they are accompanied by loud buzzes (or rings, as they are officially termed) blasting a seemingly incomprehensible sequence. How did such a sound-and-light show end up in Congress?

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George Washington’s Bling

The oldest object in the House Collection is also one of the smallest. It’s less than an inch across, but the man who owned it was a giant figure in American history.

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Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Tony Orlando—the force behind a House tradition? The inspiration for the tradition was not his harmonious backup singers or his luxuriant mustache, but his 1973 hit recording, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.” From those pop music origins grew the tradition of wearing a colored ribbon to mark major events, a practice that was taken up by the House during joint sessions and meetings of Congress.

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Smoke If You’ve Got ‘Em

Hamilton Fish—that doesn’t sound like a great name for a cigar. But for the average smoker a century ago, the name was synonymous with power and position.

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Categories: Art & Artifacts