Declaration of War Gavel

Irving Swanson's Rayburn Gavel, 1941/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_obj_swanson_gavel_hc.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gift of Irving Swanson
About this object
On December 11, 1941, the House approved a declaration of war against Axis Powers Germany and Italy—the same day that both nations declared war on the United States. Reading Clerk Irving Swanson read President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s swift rejoinder requesting a declaration of war against both Axis nations. Swanson recalls how Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas signed and presented him the gavel he used during the historic proceedings. One of the treasures of the House, the gavel is a significant artifact from the World War II era.

Featured Video

The Speaker's Gavel

Background on the gavel used during the House proceedings that led to the declaration of war against Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941.
Irving Swanson, Reading Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded July 13, 2005 Deed of Gift

Video

The Speaker's Gavel

Background on the gavel used during the House proceedings that led to the declaration of war against Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941.
Irving Swanson, Reading Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives
Interview recorded July 13, 2005 Deed of Gift

Images & Artifacts

Declaration of War Gavel
<em>Declaration of War Gavel</em>/tiles/non-collection/o/oh_obj_swanson_gavel_hc.xml
Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn used this gavel during proceedings that led the House to declare war against Germany and Italy on December 11, 1941.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Gift of Irving Swanson
About this object

Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn
<em>Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn</em>
Sam Rayburn had his portrait painted by British artist Douglas Chandor shortly after his election as Speaker. Chandor, who also painted Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II, held sittings with Rayburn early in the morning and late in the evenings, after the House adjourned.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Jeannette Rankin
<em>Jeannette Rankin</em>
The first woman elected to Congress, Jeannette Rankin's portrait communicates the cultural importance and loneliness of her position.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Declaration of War Against Germany and Italy
<em>Declaration of War Against Germany and Italy</em>
Just three days after declaring war against Japan, the House approved a declaration of war against German and Italy.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object