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

An Ode to Poetry at the Capitol

Consultant in Poetry Elizabeth Bishop Writing with a View of the Capitol
During a Joint Meeting honoring the bicentennial of Congress in 1989, Minority Leader Robert Michel suggested that what Congress needed during the celebration was “not more congressional prose, but the fiery, living truth of great poetry.”

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Becoming the Board of Education

Nicholas Longworth and John Garner
Board of Education. Doghouse. Cabinet Room. Sanctum sanctorum. Or, as Speaker Sam Rayburn modestly called his tiny hideaway where informal legislating happened, “the little room.”

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Arcaded Street

Hannah, Apple Seller in the Capitol
You could buy a coffin, a deer skin, or a slice of pie as you strolled the Capitol 150 years ago. “It is a grand, vaulted, arcaded street,” one visitor enthused, “and during the session filled with a jostling, hurrying throng.”

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Categories: Art, Artifacts, Capitol Campus

Old D.C. from Above

Aerial View of Capitol Hill, Facing North
Taken from hot-air balloons, airplanes, kites, blimps, and tall buildings, early aerial views brought a futuristic new perspective of Washington, D.C., to the public.

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Trading on the Capitol

The first trademark granted in the United States used an American eagle, and into the 21st century, marketing textbooks recommended using the Capitol to give products “borrowed interest” from patriotic consumers. Ambitious soap makers in the late 1800s used the iconic U.S. Capitol to give their wares a patriotic shine.

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Categories: Artifacts, Capitol Campus

Ups and Downs in the Capitol

New Elevator in the Capitol
“The best ride in town may be on the Capitol Hill elevators,” the Washington Post reported in 1971. The story of elevators on the House side of the Capitol—involving money, death, and machinery—is a tale about the ups and downs of power.

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