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86th Congress (1959–1961)1

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 436 Representatives
  • 1 Resident Commissioner

Party Divisions:*

  • 282 Democrats
  • 153 Republicans
  • 1 Independent Democrat

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

  • Election Statistics, 1958 [PDF]
Gavel of Speaker Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn/tiles/non-collection/R/RayburnGavel_2004_045_001.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gift of Elizabeth C. Udell in memory of her husband Gilman Grant Udell, Sr.
About this object
Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas used many gavels during his historic tenure as Speaker.

Congress Overview

Democrats, benefitting from the continuing recession, picked up numerous seats in Congress after the 1958 elections. The 86th Congress (1959–1961) admitted Hawaii into the Union, and allowed television to cover the congressional hearings on racketeering in trade unions. These hearings led to the Landrum-Griffin Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act that sought to eliminate organized crime from trade unions. Federal employees were provided health insurance, and voters in the District of Columbia gained the right to vote in national elections with three electoral votes following the ratification of the 23rd Amendment.

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 86th 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:
Charles A. Halleck (R–Indiana )
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. 2
Chaplain of the House:
Bernard Braskamp – Presbyterian
William M. Miller 3
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


1Alaska entered Congress at the beginning of the 86th Congress, while Hawaii's Representative did not join Congress until August 21, 1959.

2Reelected January 7, 1959

3Reelected January 7, 1959