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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 18 results

Edition for Educators—Transportation and Infrastructure

Since the First Continental Congress, America’s national legislature has taken responsibility in different ways for the transportation, communication, and trade networks necessary to a functioning society. To bolster the nation’s defenses and develop the country’s commerce, lawmakers used public resources to fund the construction of military installations, postal routes, lighthouses, and ports and harbors. This Edition for Educators highlights the House’s role in transportation and infrastructure.
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Best of the Blog in 2021

In 2021, the Office of the Historian and the Office of Art and Archives published 37 blog posts on a range of topics, including the last Doorkeeper, the fight for fair housing, a state lottery under congressional investigation, and the trailblazing women who worked and served in the 93rd Congress (1973–1975). While we plan new stories for 2022, we’ve looked back and selected six of our favorite and most-discussed posts for readers to revisit.
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Categories: Announcements

Maps in the Archives: Dark Graphics

“Single Bullet Theory” Trajectory Diagram
The following maps capture three of the nation’s darkest moments with striking and sometimes shocking images.
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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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Thanking the Troops

When the first cannon shots of the Civil War landed on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, the Abraham Lincoln administration confronted a rebellion against the United States and an urgent security problem in the nation’s capital. When Virginia seceded from the Union on April 17, only the Potomac River separated Washington from the hostile ambitions of the Confederacy. In those anxious April days the city was—in President Lincoln’s own words—“put into a condition of siege.”
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We’ve Redesigned Our Oral History Section

In August 2020, we launched the redesigned Oral History section of the website. The new design makes it easier to browse all interviewees, filter by their positions and service dates, and access all available full transcripts in PDF format. The highlight of the redesign is a searchable database of oral history audio and video clips. Users can use a free text search and filter clips by events, themes, or interview subjects.
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Categories: Announcements

Edition for Educators — House History for Remote Learning

With schools closed amid the pandemic, the Offices of History, Art & Archives have put together lesson plans and resources to help everyone continue to learn about history of the House of Representatives and what role it plays in America’s unique system of government.
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Categories: Edition for Educators

We’ve Re-launched Our Blog

When we launched our blog in late 2012, a new world of storytelling opened. For the last six years, the historians, curators, and archivists at the U.S. House of Representatives have discovered and documented an eclectic mix of people, events, records, and artifacts that have helped reveal how the House has evolved over the last 229 years. This summer, after having published nearly 300 entries to our blog since 2012, we’ve given it an overhaul.
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Categories: Announcements

Edition for Educators—Committees

Since the 1st Congress (1789–1791) the House has organized into committees in order to more thoroughly consider pending legislation and to allow Members to specialize in certain legislative areas.
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Unique Circumstances: A Look at the House Journal on September 11, 2001

Eve Butler-Gee pulled up to the United States Capitol under a cobalt-blue sky early on the morning of September 11, 2001. It was well before the workday began, but she hoped to complete a stack of paperwork before the legislative session started at 9 a.m. As a House journal clerk, she had to proofread the prior day’s House Journal and then report to the floor to record a new day’s proceedings.
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Everyone Loves a Good Story!

People tell stories for many reasons: to entertain, to make connections, to explain a point of view. Oral histories rely on stories of all kinds to complement other sources about past events and historic figures. Individual oral histories featuring descriptive anecdotes and personal reflections can stand on their own, but when several oral histories are woven together around a common theme or event, they work to tell a more complex and complete account.
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Taking the Steps: Unity and Recovery After 9/11

On the evening of September 11, 2001, congressional leadership prepared to make their first collective response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon hours earlier. Members of Congress assembled on the Capitol steps to join leaders in a public demonstration of unity. Broadcast across the country, it became a powerful image of bipartisan cooperation and resolve, ending with an impromptu rendition of “God Bless America.” This gathering became a symbol of national unity in the ensuing weeks and months.
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