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.
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.
Peace (The White Squadron in Boston Harbor)
, or more simply Peace
been around the block—the Capitol block. It started out in Chicago, came to the Capitol, and then arrived at the Cannon House Office Building.
Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers.” And when Congress first convened in 1789, the House chose Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg as its Speaker. More than a century later, the House chose Joe Cannon of Illinois to serve as its leader. A self-described “hayseed” from Illinois, Cannon ruled the House with an iron fist. Learn more about colorful “Uncle Joe” Cannon and the Office of the Speaker.
The cover of an 1894 Frank
Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly
shows the dramatic end to Jacob Coxey’s journey
to Washington—his arrest amidst a crowd of supporters at the Capitol. So how
did this wealthy eccentric and his entourage become national news?
For more than two centuries, young people served as Pages in the U.S. House of Representatives and enjoyed an unparalleled opportunity to observe and participate in the legislative process in “the People’s House.” Learn more about the origins of the House Page Program and the traditions that made it unique.
Those who think that James Cameron told the great love story of the Titanic
missed the boat.
The plight of the Titanic
, sinking in the icy waters of the North Atlantic during its maiden voyage from England to the United States in April 1912, is well known. But few may know that among those who perished in the wreck were a former Member of Congress and his wife.
During the chaotic first two weeks of the 26th Congress (1839–1841) in December 1839, three separate men presided over the House of Representatives: Clerk Hugh Garland of the previous Congress, Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts in an entirely invented position, and finally Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, the youngest Speaker of the House ever to hold the office.
Successful candidates to the House of Representatives usually differentiate themselves from other office seekers. Few, however, prove their commitment to the people by being sentenced to death like Robert W. Wilcox, the first Delegate from the Territory of Hawaii.
Once storied but now largely forgotten, the life and times of Representative George Holden Tinkham of Massachusetts beckon an enterprising biographer. Were someone to take up the call, the list of amusing subtitles might include: The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
, Gone on Safari
or The Congressman Who Rarely Campaigned
Jeannette Rankin’s life was filled with extraordinary achievements: she was the first woman elected to Congress, one of the few suffragists elected to Congress, and the only Member of Congress to vote against U.S. participation in both World War I and World War II. Learn more about the efforts and accomplishments of Rankin and other Women in Congress for Women's History Month.
Clocks all over the House of Representatives—the plain ones, the fancy ones, even the ones that look like they belong in a high school classroom—have a little set of lights connected to them. Sometimes one is lit, sometimes all seven flash, and sometimes they are accompanied by loud buzzes (or rings, as they are officially termed) blasting a seemingly incomprehensible sequence. How did such a sound-and-light show end up in Congress?