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

Isidor and Ida: The True Love Story of the Titanic

The Titanic
Those who think that James Cameron told the great love story of the Titanic missed the boat. The plight of the Titanic, sinking in the icy waters of the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage from England to the United States in April 1912, is well known. But few may know that among those who perished in the wreck were a former Member of Congress and his wife.

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Categories: People

A Mob in Search of a Speaker

Robert M. T. Hunter
During the chaotic first two weeks of the 26th Congress (1839–1841) in December 1839, three separate men presided over the House of Representatives: Clerk Hugh Garland of the previous Congress, Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts in an entirely invented position, and finally Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, the youngest Speaker of the House ever to hold the office.

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Sentenced to Death

Robert W. Wilcox
Successful candidates to the House of Representatives usually differentiate themselves from other office seekers. Few, however, prove their commitment to the people by being sentenced to death like Robert W. Wilcox, the first Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii.

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Categories: People

George H. Tinkham—The Subtitles Write Themselves

George H. Tinkham
Once storied but now largely forgotten, the life and times of Representative George Holden Tinkham of Massachusetts beckon an enterprising biographer. Were someone to take up the call, the list of amusing subtitles might include: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World, Gone on Safari or The Congressman Who Rarely Campaigned.

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Categories: People

Edition for Educators – Celebrating Women’s History Month

Jeannette Rankin
Jeannette Rankin’s life was filled with extraordinary achievements: she was the first woman elected to Congress, one of the few suffragists elected to Congress, and the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II. Learn more about the efforts and accomplishments of Rankin and other Women in Congress for Women's History Month.

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Categories: Education, People

“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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