Whereas: Stories from the People’s House

Edition for Educators—Celebrating Women’s History Month 2019

1929 Luncheon of the League for Political Education/tiles/non-collection/3/3-26-Luncheon-PA2019_01_0041.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Women Members attend the 1929 Luncheon of the League for Political Education at the Hotel Astor. Mary Teresa Norton of New Jersey, Florence P. Kahn, former U.S. Attorney George W. Wickersham, Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, Katherine Langley of Kentucky sit in the front row. Behind them stand—left to right—Ruth Baker Pratt of New York, diplomat Henry Morganthau, and Ruth Bryan Owen of Florida.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, this Edition for Educators blog focuses on content and images we’ve added to the History, Art & Archives website within the last year, including new oral histories, recent blogs, historical artifacts, and updated statistics for the 116th Congress (2019–2021). We’ve also added a new House Record to commemorate the House passage of H.J. Res. 1 in May 1919, which, a year later, was ratified by the states as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote.

Featured Record

House Joint Resolution 1 for Women’s Suffrage
Passed by the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, this bill enshrined women’s suffrage in the U.S. Constitution following its ratification by the states. The U.S. Secretary of State certified it as the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920.

Featured Oral Histories

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida: “First Latina Elected to Congress”
Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen recalls how she learned she made history as the first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, and discusses what that distinction meant to her.

The Honorable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. Representative of Florida Interview recorded April 16, 2018 Transcript (PDF)

For more on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s experiences in Congress, check out her Oral History page.

Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania: “A Different Style”
Pennsylvania Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz explains how women often brought a different legislative style and a different perspective to Congress.

The Honorable Allyson Y. Schwartz, U.S. Representative of Pennsylvania Interview recorded April 12, 2017 Transcript (PDF)

For more on Allyson Schwartz’s experiences in Congress, check out her Oral History page.

Featured Collection Objects

Allyson Y. Schwartz Lapel Pin
In 2004, Allyson Schwartz used this button in her successful campaign for Congress. “We used a lot of this bright blue that’s good campaign blue, actually,” she remembered later. “Someone once referred to it as a Schwartz blue because I used it so much.”

“Miss Persistence”
In this photograph, Evelyn Carollo, secretary for Representative John Bennett of Michigan, hit the ground running for the party transition in the 83rd Congress (1953–1955), taking care of business even as their brand new office, Longworth House Office Building Room 1210, got a fresh coat of paint.

Bella Abzug and Barbra Streisand/tiles/non-collection/3/3-26-AbzugStreisand-PA2011_02_0006d.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Bella Abzug of New York gets her hat adjusted by actress and singer Barbra Streisand.

Featured Blogs

Jeannette Rankin for Senate
Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana earned a permanent place in U.S. history by becoming the first woman elected to Congress. She served two non-consecutive terms and became the only person to vote against America’s entry into both World War I in 1917 and World War II in 1941. Rankin’s “no” vote in 1941 cost the Congresswoman her seat in Congress; Rankin’s “no” vote in 1917 did not. Despite what some modern reference works might suggest, Rankin’s opposition to World War I had modest, if any, influence on the length of her tenure in the House. In fact, by the time Rankin cast her vote against entering World War I in April 1917, she was already considering not running for re-election to the House in order to become a candidate for the Senate. And by 1918 she was a significant challenge to an incumbent U.S. Senator.

Caroline O'Day and Clara G. McMillan/tiles/non-collection/3/3-26-McMillanODay-PA2018_12_0007.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Caroline O’Day of New York welcomes new South Carolina Representative Clara G. McMillan on the first day of the third session of the 76th Congress (1939–1941).

Suffragette City
One brisk January morning in 1871, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony stepped off the train in Washington. She was in town for a huge suffrage convention, arriving early to buttonhole Congressmen beforehand. A scan of the newspapers confirmed what Anthony’s fellow lobbyist, Isabella Hooker, rushed up to tell her: scandalous Victoria Woodhull, spiritualist, stockbroker, and presidential candidate, would testify on women’s suffrage before the House Judiciary Committee, the very next day.

Congressional Eagles
In the early 1920s, one Member of Congress flipped and looped over the Capitol in a biplane. But after famous pilot Charles Lindbergh took Representatives up for a ride in 1928, aviation soared in the imaginations of people all over Capitol Hill. For Massachusetts Representative Edith Nourse Rogers, however, flying was familiar; she had already flown aboard land and sea planes before she took up Lindbergh’s offer.

Featured Exhibition

Women in Congress, 1917-2017: Historical Data
As part of the Women in Congress exhibit, the office maintains historical data on women Members of Congress. To date, 365 women have served in Congress. One hundred and thirty-one are current Members—106 serve in the House and 25 serve in the Senate. Beyond total numbers, the Office of the Historian also tracks committee assignments, committee and party leadership positions, and co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

This is part of a series of blog posts for educators highlighting the resources available on History, Art & Archives of the U.S. House of Representatives. For lesson plans, fact sheets, glossaries, and other materials for the classroom, see the website's Education section.