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Historical Highlights

The First Live Televised House Proceedings

January 03, 1947
The First Live Televised House Proceedings Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
The 46th Speaker of the House, Joseph Martin of Massachusetts served more than 41 years in the House.
On this date, the first live television broadcast from the House Chamber occurred during the opening session of the 80th Congress (1947–1949). The two-hour broadcast appeared on a local television station and was transmitted to Philadelphia and New York. The broadcast captured the ritual of opening day ceremonies and concluded after Speaker Joseph Martin’s opening address. The House had adopted a rule that television broadcasts could not be made when Members discussed legislative business in the chamber. President Harry Truman watched the proceedings on a special 10-inch television set installed in the Oval Office, in preparation for his own scheduled televised State of the Union Message (the first) in the House Chamber three days later.

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