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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 26 results

“Somebody Was Going to Be the First”

During the 1970s, amid the women’s liberation movement, women across the country fought for equal rights and for a louder voice in the decision-making process on a wide range of domestic and international issues. Capitol Hill also became more diverse, as women of color—Members and staff alike—won election to and took jobs in the House, changing a powerful workplace which had been dominated by White men since its inception.
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The Man Who Kept Opening Doors Until He Became the Doorkeeper

A self-proclaimed “political creature,” James T. “Jim” Molloy left an enduring mark on the Capitol during his decades in Washington. Using a unique blend of scrappiness, charm, and his deep roots in New York state politics, Molloy created a network of allies who vaulted him to one of the most influential staff positions on the Hill. After little more than five years working for the House, he won a prized appointment as the House Doorkeeper by ousting a longtime incumbent. Molloy assumed office, he recalled, feeling “like a kid in a candy store,” perfectly at home in a position that seemed made for the affable South Buffalo native.
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Edition for Educators—September 11, 2001

As the worst terrorist attack in United States history unfolded on the morning of September 11, 2001, federal officials, lawmakers, and congressional staff took unprecedented steps to maintain government operations and protect the House of Representatives and the people on the Capitol campus. In this Edition for Educators, we look back on the day and its aftermath 20 years later.
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“I’m Not Going to Waste It”

From February 1959 to June 1961, James Johnson attended the Capitol Page School, a one-of-a-kind learning environment for high schoolers working for the House, Senate, and Supreme Court. Johnson was one of the first African-American students admitted to the school, but because of a mix-up—the details of which remain unclear even today—he never received an official appointment as a Page like the rest of his classmates. But Johnson credits his experience at the Page School and working for the House for setting him on the path to a distinguished medical career with the U.S. Navy.
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“How Does She Do This?”: Mothers in Congress

To commemorate the centennial of the election of the first woman to Congress, Jeannette Rankin of Montana, the Office of the Historian conducted interviews with former women Members and staff. The interviews covered a range of topics, including a growing phenomenon—the election of women with young children. By 1998, more than 20 percent of women Members came to Congress with children under the age of 18.
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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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“Who Do You Represent?”

In 1971 the 13 African-American Members of the U.S. House of Representatives founded the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), declaring their intention to reshape policy, legislation, and the nature of representation on Capitol Hill. For the first time, black Members worked together to draft an agenda for African-American communities across the nation.
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Hanging on Every Word

La Salle Stenotype Machine
When the House is in session, official reporters record every word.
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Dreams Can Come True

Clerk Donnald K. Anderson’s 35-year career in the U.S. House began somewhat improbably before he was even old enough to vote.
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Obstacles and Opportunities: The Experiences of Two Women Members on the Campaign Trail

Since the 1970s, women candidates running for Congress have increasingly carved out more opportunities and built new coalitions. The Office of the Historian conducted interviews with several former women Members who traveled distinct routes to Capitol Hill. Two seemingly disparate stories from the early 1990s highlight how far women candidates have come since Rankin first won election more than 100 years ago.
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Unique Circumstances: A Look at the House Journal on September 11, 2001

Eve Butler-Gee pulled up to the United States Capitol under a cobalt-blue sky early on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was well before the workday began, but she hoped to complete a stack of paperwork before the legislative session started at 9 a.m. As a House journal clerk, she had to proofread the prior day’s House Journal and then report to the floor to record a new day’s proceedings.
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Everyone Loves a Good Story!

People tell stories for many reasons: to entertain, to make connections, to explain a point of view. Oral histories rely on stories of all kinds to complement other sources about past events and historic figures. Individual oral histories featuring descriptive anecdotes and personal reflections can stand on their own, but when several oral histories are woven together around a common theme or event, they work to tell a more complex and complete account.
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