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

The Speaker Inquisition of 1856

Shortly before seven o’clock in the evening, on Saturday, February 2, 1856, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts, strode to the well of the House, climbed the rostrum’s few steps to the Speaker’s chair, and sat down. He paused for a moment. With his thick dark hair swept to one side and a prominent mustache obscuring his upper lip, Banks then stood to address his colleagues.

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Categories: Speakers of the House

Photography’s Ghosts

1913 electoral vote count
What’s that in the back of the House Chamber? Is the camera out of focus, or could there be a ghost in the Capitol?

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Tabbing through Congress

If your signature look is a black bow tie, and if you are a candidate for Congress, do you want your campaign buttons to look like bow ties? Of course!

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Categories: Art & Artifacts, Elections

Edition for Educators—Statutory Representatives

This month’s Edition for Educators highlights statutory representatives in the House. Since its inception, Congress has contended with the Constitution’s silence on the issue of representation for U.S. territories. Over decades of improvisation, a system of “statutory representation” emerged that consisting of laws crafted by Congress and evolving procedural rules in the House to give territories a limited voice in the national legislature through the offices of the Territorial Delegate and the Resident Commissioner.

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What Did You #AskACurator?

What item in the House Collection looks like it came straight out of a horror film? Inquiring minds wanted to know and they got their answer on #AskACurator Day.

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(Stereo)View the House in 3-D

Anaglyph Version of House Chamber Stereoview
“A new optical instrument, called the Stereoscope, is attracting much attention,” wrote the Baltimore Sun in 1852. The apparatus worked with special images, called stereoviews. Seen through the stereoscope, these prints appeared shockingly three-dimensional. No need for 19th century technology. Now you can put on your 3-D glasses to explore the history of this format and take a new look at House Collection stereoviews.

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