Historic rooms and spaces fill all corners of the U.S. Capitol. Over time the uses of many Capitol spaces have changed and evolved to accommodate the growing size and the increasing diversity of the House. Two such rooms, the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room and the Speaker’s Lobby and Members’ Retiring Room, have long histories closely tied to the institution’s development.
A witness to more than two centuries of history, the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room, a historic space northeast of Statuary Hall, once served as an office for Speakers, Clerks of the House, and committees. Since 1962, the suite has belonged to the Congresswomen of the House. In 1991, the room was named for Representative Lindy Boggs of Louisiana following her retirement.
In 1857, the House moved to the new south wing of the Capitol. Just a few decades later, walls were torn down (sending the Speaker to office space down the hall) to create a new, airy lounging space near the Chamber: the combined Speaker’s Lobby and Members’ Retiring Room.
A Space for Congresswomen
Within the U.S. Capitol—just off National Statuary Hall—resides the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women's Reading Room. The room has two centuries of history and was named in honor of a Representative with a 50-year association with Congress. Today, it serves as a place for gathering, rest, and refreshment for female Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In this video, House Curator Farar Elliott recounts the history of the space.
The Speaker’s Lobby
The Speaker's Lobby—situated directly outside the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol—is a long corridor featuring portraits of past Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives. In this video, House Curator Farar Elliott describes and recounts the history of the space.
- The Lindy Claiborne Boggs Room
Read how and why this room off of Statuary Hall became a space reserved for women Members.
- Speaker’s Rooms in the Capitol
Discover the many rooms and spaces used by the Speaker of the House over time.
- Members’ Dining Room
Take a look at the room set aside for Members to dine at the House.
- The Death of John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts
On February 21, 1848, Representative and former President John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts suffered a fatal stroke on the House Floor. Members moved the 80-year-old former President to the Rotunda for fresher air and then relocated him to the Speaker's Room (the present day Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room). He then lapsed into a coma and died two days later.
- John Quincy Adams Box Sofa
Also referred to as the Adams sofa, this sturdy piece has been in the Capitol since the 1840s. The colloquial name derives from its role in John Quincy Adams’s death in 1848.
- Weathering Washington By Watching the Weather
For a century, the weather map in the Members’ Retiring Room—just outside the House Chamber—became a social nexus for Members and House staff alike, many of whom wanted to know the conditions back home.