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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 33 results

The Commencement Stand-In

Page School Graduation Ceremony Record (Parts 1 and 2)
The Capitol Page School’s 1954 commencement ceremonies included an unexpected speaker. Listen to newly digitized audio recordings of this unusual graduation.
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Edition for Educators—Behind the Scenes: Pathbreaking Women Staff

This Edition for Educators explores the experiences of women who—through their challenges and triumphs—have transformed Congress and opened new opportunities for others to work in government.
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“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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Edition for Educators—Through the Glass Ceiling

For Women’s History Month, this Edition for Educators highlights some of the women who have broken glass ceilings in the House of Representatives.
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The Parliamentarian’s Scrapbook

Detail View of the Parliamentarian's Scrapbook
The Parliamentarian's index finger rests on one precise spot in his scrapbook of precedents—the important reference file of a man known for his influence.
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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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“Every Right and Every Privilege”: Oscar De Priest and Segregation in the House Restaurant

Oscar De Priest Discharge Petition
Oscar De Priest entered the 71st Congress as the only African American in the House of Representatives. Throughout his political career, De Priest confronted racial discrimination, including in the Capitol itself as a Member of Congress.
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Mildred Reeves and the Quiet Revolution

Sometime around 1916 or 1917, the exact date isn’t clear, a woman in her early 20s from Washington, DC, named Mildred Reeves took a job in the office of Congressman Nicholas Longworth, an up-and-coming Republican legislator from Ohio. Within just two years or so, Reeves had gone from a minor role handling the mail to becoming one of Longworth’s chief aides, responsible for running his office—a position equivalent to today’s chief of staff.
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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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