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Speaker Sam Rayburn’s Portrait Leaves the “Board of Education”

January 19, 1962
Speaker Sam Rayburn’s Portrait Leaves the “Board of Education” Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A powerful legislator, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas wielded the gavel longer than other Speaker, 17 years, two months, and two days.
On this date, the House moved the portrait of Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas from its longtime home, in an office on the first floor of the Capitol, to the Speaker’s Lobby, just off the House Chamber. After spending 20 years in the fabled “Board of Education” room, the painting joined the collection of former Speakers of the House following Rayburn’s death. Tucked away below the Speaker's Lobby, Rayburn’s private office had long been a legendary gathering place where Democratic leaders met to plot strategy. A small circle of regulars included longtime House Parliamentarian Lewis Deschler and Representative and later Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, as well as powerful committee chairmen and select reporters. After the 1857 Capitol expansion, the Committee on Territories first occupied the room. Constantino Brumidi’s assistant, James Leslie painted the ceilings and lunettes in the new office. Speaker Joe Cannon of Illinois laid claim to the space in the early 1900s and it has ever since remained under the Office of the Speaker. During Prohibition, Speaker Nicholas Longworth of Ohio used what was then known as the “Bureau of Education” to unwind with a drink, accompanied by his friend, future Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas. During Speaker Rayburn’s tenure, a lone star, representing his home state of Texas, was added to one of the lunettes.

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