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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 471 results

And Then Things Got Weird

House Conferees Appointed on Neutrality Bill
Step through the looking glass into the House Collection’s surreal photos of people and spaces.
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Best of the Blog in 2022

In 2022, the Office of the Historian and the Office of Art and Archives published 35 blog posts exploring the stories of the House of Representatives. As we launch into a new Congress in a new year, we’re featuring six of our favorite blog posts for readers to revisit or to enjoy for the first time.
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Categories: Announcements

A Majority or a Coalition? The Speaker Election of 1917

On April 2, 1917, 428 Members-elect of the 65th Congress (1917–1919) gathered under unusual circumstances in the House Chamber to open the new legislative term. Because neither Republicans nor Democrats seemed set to capture an outright majority in the House, attention came to center on the handful of third-party lawmakers whose votes were pivotal to determining the Speaker election.

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New House Speaker Portrait: Nancy Pelosi

Portrait of Nancy Pelosi
Today, the House of Representatives unveiled a new portrait of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On January 4, 2007, Pelosi became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House. The painting joins a collection of historical portraits of former House Speakers.
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The Return of the House’s Puzzling Pastime

Ahead of Crossword Puzzle Day on December 21, the Office of the House Historian invites you to grab a cup of coffee and take a break with our newest crossword puzzle.
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Categories: Holidays, Announcements

Recent Artifacts Online, Winter 2022

Detail of the Elijah Eugene Cummings portrait
Curl up with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and the latest treasures added to our online collections.
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New on Records Search: The Emergence of Modern America to the Contemporary United States (1890–Present)

Detail of the Conference Managers for National School Lunch Act record
New primary sources added to Records Search are ready to use in the classroom. Explore records from the emergence of modern America to the contemporary United States (1890–present). Each document includes a downloadable PDF of the record, primary source analysis worksheet, and transcription if the document is handwritten.
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New on Records Search: The American Revolution to the Development of the Industrial United States (1754–1900)

Detail of Transcontinental Railroad Junction Point Bill
New primary sources added to Records Search are ready to use in the classroom. Each document includes a downloadable PDF of the record, primary source analysis worksheet, and transcription if the document is handwritten. Below is a selection of the most recently added records, conveniently organized by historical era and including a related discussion question and options for learning more.
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Ticking Off History

Detail of a Mantel Clock
Most clocks in the House of Representatives are functional objects designed to ensure the smooth running of the legislature. There are about 3,000 of them, wired to a system that synchronizes timekeeping, lights, and buzzers across the campus. Other timepieces in the House are statelier than utilitarian. They provide reminders that even while it deals with urgent matters, the House also takes the long view of history. From fancy to plain, peruse some of the historic clocks in the House.
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Categories: House Chamber, Art, Artifacts

Southwest from the Capitol

Looking Southwest from the Capitol Stereoview
In 1877, when this photograph was taken, most sightseers never visited this part of the city. But behind the scenes, Washington’s smallest quadrant kept the metropolis humming, and its residents fought for recognition. Take a closer look to see what the tourists missed.
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Categories: Capitol Campus, Artifacts

Edition for Educators—New Mexico

Since the 1850s, New Mexico has accounted for an outsized number of the Hispanic-American Members who have served in Congress. Acquired by the United States at the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexico War, Congress admitted New Mexico as a territory via the Compromise of 1850, a political settlement that formally admitted much of what is now the southwestern portion of the United States. Since Jose Manuel Gallegos won election to the House as its second Territorial Delegate in 1853, a total of 21 Hispanic Americans have represented New Mexico in Congress.
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Recovering Representation in California: Roybal’s Historic House Election

In 1962, Edward Roybal became the first Hispanic American in almost a century to be elected to the U.S. Congress from the state of California. His victory was a milestone for the Mexican-American community of Los Angeles, which had long struggled for a meaningful voice in the city. But the implications of his win would be felt far beyond southern California. Roybal’s first election to the House of Representatives, 60 years ago this November, provided a foundation for the massive expansion of Latino political influence in districts across the country over the ensuing decades.
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