The Lindy Claiborne Boggs Room
About this object
A Witness to History
This historic space northeast of Statuary Hall once served as an office for Speakers, Clerks of the House, and Committees. A witness to over two centuries of history, the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room has hosted numerous celebrated figures, including Speaker Henry Clay and President John Quincy Adams. Since 1962, the suite has belonged to the Congresswomen of the House.
A Room for Congresswomen
In the 1950s, the number of women in Congress more than doubled. Their growing numbers brought to light the lack of women’s restroom facilities anywhere near the House Chamber. In 1958, women in Congress began to press for a retiring room of their own. Edith Green of Oregon was the first to officially suggest a “ladies retiring room.”
In 1961, Speaker Sam Rayburn assigned a room to the women Members. But this was not a workable solution, as seventeen women shared a single lavatory, far from the Chamber. The following year, the Congresswomen’s petition for control of room H-235, later the Boggs room, was granted, giving them additional space and a new powder room. Representative Frances Bolton showed a particular interest in outfitting the space, taking the lead in acquiring furniture and choosing upholsteries.
While not as close to the Chamber as the Members’ Retiring Room, adjacent to the Speaker’s Lobby, the Congressional Ladies Retiring Room, as it was first officially called, was a great improvement in convenience for the women. In 1991, room H-235 was renamed the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room to honor Boggs’s fifty-year association with Congress. It was the first—and, so far, the only time—a room in the Capitol was named for a woman.
Today, the room serves as a gathering place for Congresswomen as well as a place for rest and refreshment. Its walls are now lined with photographs of all the Congresswomen who have served in the House.