Myles Garrigan

/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_homepage.xml Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
“I was 17. I was a senior in high school. I was president of my class . . . And I had some trepidations about going . . . It would be my first time away from home for any length of time. So I gave some serious thought, but I thought, at the end, it was the thing to do, to go to Washington, and be part of the political scene. [Mayor John Fitzpatrick] came up to me, and two weeks had gone by and he said, 'Do you want to go to Washington?'  And I said, 'Yes, I’d love to go.' And I guess about here, people would usually say, 'Boy Garrigan goes to Washington, and the rest is history.'”
Myles Garrigan, May 25, 2012

Abstract & Transcript

In his oral history interview, Myles Garrigan takes us through the halls of the House, the Capitol Page School, and Washington, D.C., as he recollects his time working at the House of Representatives. His description of the ordinary tasks of Pages (running errands) combined with more unusual assignments (buying boxing tickets for a Member) provides an intimate look at the role of Pages in the institution. An eyewitness to a series of historic events, like President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s historic “Day of Infamy” speech and Jeannette Rankin’s lone vote against World War II, Garrigan also describes a memorable visit to the White House to meet President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Garrigan’s interview demonstrates the importance of the Page program on a personal level and offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the U.S. House of Representatives during the WWII era.

Biography

Myles (Scotty) Garrigan was born on September 9, 1923, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Mildred and Miles Garrigan. While a senior and president of his class at South River High School in New Jersey, Garrigan received a recommendation from local mayor and high school coach, John Fitzpatrick, to serve as a House Page. Appointed to his new position by New Jersey Representative William Halstead Sutphin, 17-year-old Garrigan reported to Washington for the start of the 77th Congress in January 1941. During his time as a House Page, Garrigan delivered messages to and from the House Floor and ran errands for Representatives. After graduating from the Capitol Page School in June of 1941, Garrigan remained in Washington, D.C., serving as the Republican Page overseer.

Garrigan balanced his new position with academic responsibilities, attending night school at George Washington University. As Page overseer, he witnessed “electrifying” moments of House history, such as the passage of a declaration of war against Japan after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor. His undergraduate studies were interrupted in 1943 when the draft age was lowered to 18 and he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces—the forerunner of the modern U.S. Air Force.

After serving as an aviation cadet until 1945, Garrigan returned to Washington, D.C., where he resumed his studies, graduating from George Washington University in 1948. While pursuing a master’s degree at the Elliott School of International Affairs, at George Washington, he came back to the Hill in hopes of getting a job. With the help of Congressman James Auchincloss of New Jersey, he served as an elevator operator for six months before leaving school and becoming an officer for the Central Intelligence Agency. Garrigan later made animated, political TV commercials and worked as an account executive for an industrial film production company. Now retired, Garrigan currently resides in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Video

Invitation to Become a House Page

Memories of an invitation to serve as a House Page.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Duties of a House Page

Description of the responsibilities of House Pages during the 1940s.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Life in a Boarding House

Description of rooming in a D.C. boarding house during the 1940s.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

The Changing Republican Cloakroom

Discussion of the changing role of the House cloakrooms.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

The House Floor on December 8, 1941

Recollections of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s "Day of Infamy" speech.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Patronage in the House

Memories of New Jersey Representatives William Sutphin and James C. Auchincloss, and of the role patronage played in the Page program.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

A Trip to the White House

Memories of a Page trip to visit President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House.

Myles Garrigan, Page, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded May 25, 2012 Deed of Gift
Transcript (PDF)

Images & Artifacts

Banquet of the Pages, 1941
<em>Banquet of the Pages, 1941</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_banquet_1941.xml
On May 5, 1941, House Pages, including Garrigan, joined Members of Congress at the Hotel Lee Sheraton for a banquet.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Trivia Contest at Page Banquet, 1941
<em>Trivia Contest at Page Banquet, 1941</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_banquet_members.xml
During the Page Banquet on May 5, 1941, a team of Congressmen squared off against a group of Pages in a trivia contest.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Class of 1941
<em>Class of 1941</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_class.xml
Myles Garrigan (front row, first from left) and the Capitol Page School Class of 1941 pose on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
1941 House Page Graduation Ceremony
<em>1941 House Page Graduation Ceremony</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_graduation.xml
In 1941, Myles Garrigan (second from left) graduated from the Capitol Page School. Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas addressed the class in the Cannon Caucus Room.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Myles Garrigan
<em>Myles Garrigan</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_homepage.xml
Myles Garrigan was the overseer of the House Republican Pages while attending George Washington University.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Myles Garrigan at the Capitol, 1986
<em>Myles Garrigan at the Capitol, 1986</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_capitol.xml
Myles Garrigan stands on the East Front plaza of the U.S. Capitol during a trip to Washington in April, 1986.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Myles Garrigan at House Page Reunion, 2012
<em>Myles Garrigan at House Page Reunion, 2012</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_reunion.xml
A 1941 graduate of the Capitol Page School, Myles Garrigan remains standing at the 2012 Page reunion in Washington, D.C. as attendants sit down when their class year is called, making him the earliest-serving Page present.
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives
Myles Garrigan
<em>Myles Garrigan</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_garrigan_longmeadow.xml
When asked what impact being a Page had on his life, Myles Garrigan, shown here at his home in Massachusetts in 2014, noted, "It was positive, certainly positive. Knowing that I was exposed to people that made major decisions, and so forth, and part of that scene, more or less . . . When I came out of the service, by the way, I decided I was going to save the world, solve all the word problems. So, it had a real positive, even to this day, it has a positive effect."
Image courtesy of Myles Garrigan, provided by the Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives