“The people that you meet, and the experience that you have, in either or both chambers, is such that there wouldn’t be any job in the world that would be comparable to it, and I think anybody that is assigned to a Page job in the House or the Senate has to be so fortunate that it’s hardly…hardly any way to describe it.”
— Glenn Rupp, May 3, 2005
Glenn Rupp’s remarkable memory of his life as a House Page from 1932–1936, provides important insights about a variety of topics. His recollections of the daily activities of Pages and of special events, such as the annual dinners hosted by Representative Joseph Shannon of Missouri, are a personal record of the work and pastimes of the House Pages. In addition, his detailed descriptions of the Speaker’s Lobby and the Democratic Cloakroom—in terms of both architecture and atmosphere—allow comparisons of the House in the 1930s with the institution today. Rupp’s recollections of the mundane (paging a Member), unusual (helping to apprehend an intruder on the House Floor), special (FDR’s first inauguration and State of the Union address), and unfamiliar (the “Little Congress”), provide a vivid and dynamic picture of the Members, congressional employees, and the institution of the era, enhancing the history of the U.S. House.
Born in Archbold, Ohio, on October 30, 1912, Glenn Rupp received an invitation from Representative Frank Kniffin of Ohio, a family friend, to serve as a Page for the U.S. House of Representatives. Eager to find employment during the Great Depression, Rupp accepted the patronage position and began working at the Capitol in January 1932. During his first year on the Hill, he worked on the House Floor as a Democratic Page, primarily running errands for Representatives, filing copies of the Congressional Record, and obtaining bills from the document room.
Beginning in January 1933, Rupp served as a doorkeeper for the east lobby of the House Chamber. As one of the Pages responsible for guarding entry to the House Floor, he had to memorize the names and faces of all the Members of Congress. He also paged Representatives off the floor to meet Senators, Cabinet members, congressional secretaries, and reporters. Another one of Rupp’s responsibilities as a Page was to train the future Representative, Senator, and President Lyndon B. Johnson as a House doorkeeper.
During his four and one-half years as a House Page, Rupp attended presidential inaugurations, Joint Sessions, and national conventions. Due to his lengthy tenure on the Hill, he became acquainted with many Members, including the four Speakers of the House who served between 1932 and 1936: John Garner, Henry Rainey, Joseph Byrns, and William Bankhead. He also witnessed a variety of historic events, such as the World War I Veterans’ Bonus March and the end of Prohibition. Upon ending his career as a Page in July 1936, Rupp worked at the Federal Housing Administration, served in the U.S. Coast Guard in World War II, and became a salesman and manager in the paper industry. After retirement, Rupp resided in Green Valley, Arizona, until his passing on September 3, 2010.
Joint Session of Congress
Account of a Joint Session of Congress in which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the House and the Senate.
The Bonus March
Eyewitness account of the World War I Veterans' Bonus March in 1932.
The Little Congress
Description of the staff organization, the Little Congress.
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