Speaker of the House Fast Facts
When Congress first convened in 1789, the House chose Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg as the first of 53 individuals who have served as Speaker.More >
First Speaker of the House:
Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected presiding officer on April 1, 1789, the day the House organized itself during the First Federal Congress (1789–1791).
Total number of Speakers:
To date, 54 individuals have served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Longest-serving Speaker of the House:
Samuel Rayburn of Texas served as Speaker for a total of 17 years, two months, and two days.
Shortest term of Speaker:
Elected Speaker of the House as a sign of respect from his colleagues on March 3, 1869, Theodore M. Pomeroy of New York served for the closing day of the 40th Congress (1867–1869).
State with the most Speakers:
Eight Massachusetts Representatives have served as Speakers.
First (and only) Speaker to serve as President:
James K. Polk of Tennessee.
First Speaker to make a televised address in the House Chamber:
On Opening Day of the 80th Congress (1947–1949), Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts addressed the House during the first live television broadcast in the House Chamber.
First woman Speaker:
On January 4, 2007, Nancy Pelosi of California became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.
Youngest Speaker elected:
Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia was elected Speaker on December 16, 1839, at the age of 30.
Oldest Speaker elected:
Henry T. Rainey of Illinois was elected Speaker for the first time on March 9, 1933, at the age of 72. The oldest Member to hold the office of Speaker of the House was Sam Rayburn of Texas, who was elected Speaker for the 10th and final time at age 78, in 1961. Speaker Rayburn passed away later that Congress, two months short of his 80th birthday.
First Speaker to approve regular TV feeds from the House Chamber:
Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill of Massachusetts.
Most party affiliations for a Speaker:
During his entire House career, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts had four different party affiliations (Democrat, American Party, Republican, and Independent).
Number of Speakers to regain the gavel:
Seven individuals have served non-consecutively: Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, Henry Clay of Kentucky, John W. Taylor of New York, Thomas Brackett Reed of Maine, Sam Rayburn of Texas, Joseph Martin of Massachusetts, and Nancy Pelosi of California.