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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 37–48 of 386 results

Becoming the Board of Education

Nicholas Longworth and John Garner
Board of Education. Doghouse. Cabinet Room. Sanctum sanctorum. Or, as Speaker Sam Rayburn modestly called his tiny hideaway where informal legislating happened, “the little room.”
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Before Bloody Sunday

Congressional Delegation to Visit Alabama
A month before Selma became synonymous with the struggle for voting rights, a group of Congressmen traveled to the city and returned to Washington to sound the alarm. “We—as Members of Congress—must face the fact that existing legislation just is not working,” Joseph Resnick of New York said upon his return. “The situation in Selma must jar us from our complacency concerning voting rights.”
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Before the Flag

Workers affix the flag in the House Chamber
In 1929, the Capitol celebrated Flag Day with the United States Flag Association rolling out the (allegedly) largest flag in the world on the West Front, accompanied by an amplified, patriotic program. But what about the normal-sized, everyday flags in the Chamber? One might assume that its current spot— front and center, behind the Speaker on the rostrum—was always the case. However, there is no official protocol on flag display, so we turn to images from the House Collection to piece together the history of the flag in the House Chamber.
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Categories: House Chamber, Photographs, Art

Behind the Photos

Dapper Representative John Sosnowski
This portrait of Representative John Sosnowski seems pretty standard—until you turn it over and read the back.
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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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Best of the Blog in 2015

As December draws to a close, there’s a tendency to review the efforts of the year. Here’s just a few of our favorites from 2015.
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Categories: Announcements

Best of the Blog in 2016

The Offices of House History and Art and Archives have been busy this year working on new projects, including a whopping 53 blogs this year! As we get ready to start a new year, here are just a few of our favorites from 2016.
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Categories: Announcements

Best of the Blog in 2017

The Offices of House History and Art and Archives have been busy this year working on new projects, including 54 blogs this year! We look back on a few of our favorites from 2017.
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Categories: Announcements

Best of the Blog in 2018

The year 2018 wasn’t just about a midterm election for the Offices of History, Art & Archives. We introduced a lot of content throughout the year, including 43 blogs! Here’s a few of our favorites from the past year.
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Categories: Announcements

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

"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

Breaking the Code: Duncan Lee, HUAC, and the Venona Files

Duncan Lee
Here’s the thing about being a spy: You can’t tell anybody. Especially if you’re a descendant of the Lee family of Virginia, educated at an elite prep school and university, a Rhodes Scholar, a lawyer at a prominent Manhattan law firm, and working in counterintelligence for the United States. Duncan Chaplin Lee was and did all of those things. He was a spy, and he got away with it.
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