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“The House of Representatives, in some respects, I think, is the most peculiar assemblage in the world,” Speaker Joe Cannon of Illinois once observed. Behind the legislation and procedure, House Members and staff have produced their own institutional history and heritage. Our blog, Whereas: Stories from the People’s House, tells their stories.

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Displaying 1–12 of 184 results

Edition for Educators—Madam Chairman

This month’s Edition for Educators celebrates Women’s History Month by turning the focus to the many women who have chaired committees in the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, a record seven women chair House committees in the 116th Congress (2019–2021), and many more chair subcommittees responsible for significant sections of legislation and oversight.
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How the House Almost Added a 13th Month

On February 9, 1922, the House Judiciary Committee held a brief hearing on a long subject: the passage of time, and how America kept track of it. Specifically, the committee met to hear from a handful of witnesses about a bill that would have created the “Liberty Calendar,” a uniform new annual calendar—13 months of 28 days divided evenly into four weeks—that supporters argued would make timekeeping more efficient and help meet the demands of the twentieth century.
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Categories: Legislation, Committees

A Member by Any Other Name

“Old Man Eloquent,” “Sunset Cox,” “Czar Reed,” “Uncle Joe,” “Vinegar Bend,” “Mr. Sam,” the “Little Giant.” Since the earliest Congresses, Members of the House have earned—or received—nicknames based on their careers and interests, monikers that have long outlived them.
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Categories: Members of Congress

Edition for Educators — New Year, New Material

With the second session of the 116th Congress (2019–2021) now underway, we thought it might be a good time to highlight the considerable work the offices of History, Art and Archives have put online in the past year. This Edition for Educators focuses on the wealth of new material made available in 2019.
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Best of the Blog in 2019

2019 was a very busy year for everyone in the Offices of History, Art and Archives. On top of dozens of additions to our website’s resources, the office again published 43 blogs covering all manner of subjects. As we reflect on the past year, we’ve selected eight favorites for our readers to revisit heading into 2020.
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Categories: Announcements

Edition for Educators — House Members With Military Service

This Edition for Educators focuses on some of the House Members who served in the United States military before turning their careers to serving in Congress.
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Time Travel: Daylight Saving Time and the House

When first-term Representative Leon Sacks of Pennsylvania introduced H.R. 6546 on April 21, 1937, the Earth did not stop spinning. Time did not stand still.

But it almost did.

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Categories: Legislation, War

The Haunting of Capitol Hill's House, Debunked

“Sometimes you sit here and think you hear the funniest things a’ going on,” the infamous House Doorkeeper William “Fishbait” Miller once told an interviewer, Miller’s broad smile casting doubt on whether he actually believed what he said. “Wonder, if those sounds I keep a‘hearin’ are chicken ghosts?”
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Categories: Capitol Campus, Holidays

Edition for Educators—Statehood

This month’s Edition for Educators focuses on the often-complex process of attaining statehood through the lens of the House of Representatives.
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Edition for Educators—Football

It’s September, and football is back. On Capitol Hill that means Representatives make friendly wagers over big games, and recognizable all-stars occasionally find their way into campaign ads. This month’s Edition for Educators features football and the House.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

Mildred Reeves and the Quiet Revolution

Sometime around 1916 or 1917, the exact date isn’t clear, a woman in her early 20s from Washington, DC, named Mildred Reeves took a job in the office of Congressman Nicholas Longworth, an up-and-coming Republican legislator from Ohio. Within just two years or so, Reeves had gone from a minor role handling the mail to becoming one of Longworth’s chief aides, responsible for running his office—a position equivalent to today’s chief of staff.
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Legislating the Liquor Law—Prohibition and the House

Summers in Washington, DC, are always hot, but the dog days of 1919 were particularly heated as Congress held ongoing debates over how best to enforce a ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol in a sweeping new policy known as prohibition.
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