People, stories, objects, and documents bring to life the history of the U.S. House of Representatives. Exhibitions and publications provide insight into the evolution and culture of “the People’s House” as well as place the information in historical context. Learn more about minority representation in the House, the Congressional Baseball Game, and the famous paintings of Albert Bierstadt, as well as many other interesting stories of the House of Representatives.
In December 1870 Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African-American Representative, the first Black man to preside over the House, and the longest–serving African American during the tumultuous Reconstruction period. To celebrate Rainey’s milestone, this page provides ready access to materials that tell the 150-year history of African Americans in Congress.
The House of Representatives can feel like a small bustling city. The work of many people—not just elected Representatives, but also police officers, policy experts, carpenters, and more—has kept this small city in business over the centuries. Here, learn more about the surprising history of who and what keeps the House running.
This PDF booklet, which was debuted during orientation for the 116th Congress, provides some fundamentals about the House’s history, its people, geography, artwork, and proceedings.
Since 1900, when Delegate Robert M. Wilcox of Hawaii became the first Asian Pacific American (APA) to serve in Congress, 67 APAs have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, Resident Commissioners, or Senators. This Web site, based on the book Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Congress, 1900–2017.
When Jeannette Rankin took the oath as a U.S. Representative on April 2, 1917, she became the first woman in Congress. To celebrate this milestone, this page provides ready access to materials that tell the 100-year history of women in Congress.
Through art, historic artifacts, and archival documents, learn more about the early generation of women Representatives’ impact on the significant legislative issues of the period—women’s suffrage, veterans and the military, and the government’s response to the needs of citizens.
The Capitol is a symbol of democracy, the meeting place of Congress, and a historic building more than two hundred years old. Here, learn more about how the House of Representative’s most significant spaces, art and historic artifacts have grown, moved and evolved with the Congress’ many changes.
Since 1870, when Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African Americans to serve in Congress, 173 African Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Senators, or Delegates. This web publication is based on the e-book, Black Americans in Congress, 1871–2019.
Since 1822, when Delegate Joseph Marion Hernández of Florida became the first Hispanic American to serve in Congress, 135 Hispanic Americans have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, Resident Commissioners, or Senators. This Web site is based on the book Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822–2012.
Since 1917, when Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in Congress, 394 women have served as U.S. Representatives, Senators, or Delegates. This up-to-date web publication is based on the book, Women in Congress, 1917–2006.
As the role of the House of Representatives grew over time, the Capitol campus expanded along with it. The three House Office Buildings constructed over the course of the 20th century each uniquely reflect the challenges and changes faced in their eras.
Spurred by a grassroots movement during the mid-20th century, Congress passed landmark legislation to protect Americans’ civil rights. The 1964 Civil Rights Act focused on access to public accommodations and equal employment. Despite its far-reaching provisions, the bill did not fully address barriers to voting, leading to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
From the earliest Congresses, Pages were employed by the House of Representatives to assist Members in their duties. Over time, their principal tasks—carrying documents, messages, and letters between various congressional offices—passed from older messengers to teenage boys and (much later) girls. Learn more about these House messengers.
What began as a casual game among colleagues in 1909 has evolved into one of Congress’s most anticipated annual pastimes. Each summer, Representatives and Senators don baseball uniforms, organize teams along party lines, and play ball for charity.
On February 21, 1868, when the United States House of Representatives met as it usually did at noon, there was no sense that the long-simmering struggle between Congress and President Andrew Johnson was about to tip into a full-blown constitutional crisis. But a moment of immense constitutional import—the first impeachment of a President in American history—had arrived.