Speaker of the House Fast Facts

Fast Facts

When Congress first convened in 1789, the House chose Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg as the first of 53 individuals who have served as Speaker.

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Speakers of the House have long served as the face of the institution, as exemplified by this trade card for Wampole Pharmaceuticals. Images of every Speaker who served from 1849 to 1916 create keepsake value for the advertisement, testifying to the importance of the Speakership in popular perception./tiles/non-collection/i/i_firsts_speakers_hc.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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Speakers of the House have long served as the face of the institution, as exemplified by this trade card for Wampole Pharmaceuticals. Images of every Speaker who served from 1849 to 1916 create keepsake value for the advertisement, testifying to the importance of the Speakership in popular perception.
First Speaker of the House:
Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected presiding officer on April 1, 1789, the day the House organized itself during the First Federal Congress (1789–1791). 

Total number of Speakers:
To date, 53 individuals have served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Longest-serving Speaker of the House:
Samuel Rayburn of Texas served as Speaker for a total of 17 years, two months, and two days.

Shortest term of Speaker:
Elected Speaker of the House as a sign of respect from his colleagues on March 3, 1869, Theodore M. Pomeroy of New York served for the closing day of the 40th Congress (1867–1869).

State with the most Speakers:
Eight Massachusetts Representatives have served as Speakers.

First (and only) Speaker to serve as President:
James K. Polk of Tennessee.

Longest election for Speaker:
After more than two months and 133 ballots, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts was elected Speaker on February 2, 1856.

First Speaker to make a televised address in the House Chamber:
On Opening Day of the 80th Congress (1947–1949), Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts addressed the House during the first live television broadcast in the House Chamber.

First woman Speaker:
On January 4, 2007, Nancy Pelosi of California became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.

Youngest Speaker elected:
Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia was elected Speaker on December 16, 1839, at the age of 30.

Oldest Speaker elected:
Henry T. Rainey of Illinois was elected Speaker on March 9, 1933, at the age of 72.

First Speaker to approve regular TV feeds from the House Chamber:
Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill of Massachusetts.

Most party affiliations for a Speaker:
During his entire House career, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts had four different party affiliations (Democrat, American Party, Republican, and Independent).

First Sitting Speaker to lose re-election to his House seat:
William Pennington of New Jersey.

Number of Speakers to die in office:
Five (Michael C. Kerr of Indiana, Henry T. Rainey of Illinois, Joseph W. Byrns of Tennessee, William B. Bankhead of Alabama, Samuel Rayburn of Texas).