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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 313–324 of 390 results

Tax Reform with a Side of Margarine

Representative William S. Cowherd

Nineteenth-century tax policy was hardly as dry as plain toast. Congress returned to the margarine debate again and again for nearly 65 years.

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Categories: Legislation

Being Seen and Heard—A Tantalizing Prospect

Clifford Berryman's Political Cartoon
A parliamentary insult hurled at a Republican freshman had the effect of briefly banding his colleagues into a memorable (and merry) bloc.
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Edition for Educators – Technology in the House

Congresswomen in Radio Debate
The July Edition for Educators is dedicated to advances in technology and communication in the House of Representatives. Learn more about the how advances in technology have transformed the U.S. House of Representatives.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

Vent Elation

Cooler Summers
“No good legislation comes out of Washington after June.” Speaker of the House John Nance Garner spent 30 years in Congress, and he knew to get out of town ahead of the wilting summer weather. Washington in July and August is a desperately swampy place. Then one day in 1928, “manufactured weather” arrived in the House of Representatives’ Chamber.
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Psychological Gastronomy

“Gastro psychologist, doctor of roasts” was the honorary title bestowed on House Restaurant proprietor Tom Murrey by the Washington Post in an 1894 article. The reason for this accolade was Murrey’s theory on the relationship between what a Member would eat at lunch and what legislative work he accomplished—or rather, didn’t accomplish—afterward.
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Categories: Art

Please Pass the Gavel

Bob Michel
During his nearly four decade career in Congress, Republican Leader Bob Michel of Illinois had only one chance to preside over the House. Ironically, his short-lived time in the Speaker’s chair came when the Democrats held the majority and because his colleague Speaker Tom Foley of Washington decided that Michel had waited long enough to wield the gavel.
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Edition for Educators – Summer Reading

Among the Lawmakers
The History, Art & Archives website has all you need to keep your mind sharp (and entertained) this summer. Learn more about some “summer reading” options about the House of Representatives.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

The British Are Coming!

More than 150 years after the American Revolution, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England made history when they set foot on American soil. As the first reigning English monarchs to visit the United States, they received a much warmer reception than the British forces of Paul Revere’s time. Amid much fanfare and eager anticipation on both sides of the Atlantic on the eve of World War II, the royal couple embarked on a brief but meaningful tour of the U.S. and Canada, which included a formal reception at the U.S. Capitol on June 9, 1939.
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“Some of Our Boys Died Last Night”

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces commenced the invasion of Western Europe known today as D-Day. Chaplain Reverend James Shera Montgomery opened the June 7 meeting of the House with a prayer that reflected both the nation’s concerns and hopes.
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Categories: Practice & Customs, War

Doing the Dishes

Sifted peas, Vanderbilt dressing, kraut juice, steak Stanley, and kaffee hag  –  now that sounds like a hearty meal. Historic menus from the House Restaurant, dating back more than 80 years, include some incomprehensible dishes.
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Categories: Capitol Campus, Artifacts

Shall We Play a Game?

Puck Magazine
The game of chess requires skill, intellect, a bit of luck and in this case . . . military strategy and a telegraph? In 1897, Members from the House of Representatives and the British House of Commons set up the first intercontinental game of chess among elected government leaders.
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Categories: Practice & Customs

"Best Speller in the United States"

Representative Frank Willis of Ohio/tiles/non-collection/5/5-26-sum-willis-3c12181u.xml
Do you know how to spell “hydrocephalus”? If so, you might have had the orthographical muscle necessary to compete against some of the top spellers of the early 20th century. Long before the era of computers and spell check, many Americans participated in a growing national phenomenon: spelling bees. As the popularity of spelling contests blossomed in the United States, the House of Representatives joined in on the fun.
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Categories: Practice & Customs