Beginning around 1839, Members of Congress distributed seeds to their rural constituents by mail. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Department of Agriculture and its Office of Congressional Seed Distribution administered the deliveries. This image shows hundreds of mail bags stacked in the basement of the House Office Building. The sacks contained seed packets of corn, lettuce, radish, and other plants. After a controversy about appropriating funds for the program, Congressional seed distribution ended in 1923.