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85th Congress (1957–1959)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 435 Representatives
  • 2 Delegates
  • 1 Resident Commissioner

Party Divisions:*

  • 232 Democrats
  • 203 Republicans

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

  • Election Statistics, 1956 [PDF]
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_rayburn_seated_2005_016_043.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
The longest serving Speaker in House History, Sam Rayburn of Texas presided over 10 Congresses as Speaker.

Congress Overview

The Cold War dominated the 85th Congress (1957–1959). Congress authorized military and economic aid to Middle Eastern countries fighting communist expansion and took a first step toward cracking racial segregation. The Soviet Union’s 1957 success in launching the first man-made satellite into Earth orbit inaugurated the “space race” between the superpowers. Congress established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); created congressional science panels; and passed the National Defense Education Act which funded enhanced science, mathematics, and foreign languages programs. In 1958, Congress passed a statehood act for Alaska which joined the Union in early 1959.

Member Information

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, (1774–2005), Official Annotated Membership Roster by State with Vacancy and Special Election Information for the 85th Congress [PDF]
  • Learn more about the House of Representatives with an interactive map

Learn more about the People of the People's House

Leadership & Officers

Speaker of the House:
Sam Rayburn (D–Texas)
Majority Leader:
John W. McCormack (D–Massachusetts)
Minority Leader:
Joseph W. Martin, Jr. (R–Massachusetts)
Democratic Whip:
Carl Albert (D–Oklahoma)
Republican Whip:
Leslie C. Arends (R–Illinois)
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
Melvin Price (D–Illinois)
Republican Conference Chairman:
Charles Hoeven (R–Iowa)
Clerk of the House:
Ralph R. Roberts
Sergeant at Arms:
Zeake W. Johnson, Jr. 1
Chaplain of the House:
Bernard Braskamp – Presbyterian
William M. Miller 2
H. H. Morris
Lewis Deschler

To view complete lists of individuals who have served in these leadership and official positions since the 1st Congress, visit the People section


1Elected January 3, 1957

2Elected January 3, 1957