Donnald K. Anderson
“And with barely the trace of a smile throughout the conversation, which lasted perhaps five or 10 minutes, he [Ralph Roberts] asked me about how I was enjoying my experience as a Page. And I asked if he would mind telling me about what he did as the Clerk of the House. And he was forthcoming about that. And I sort of made up my mind then and there being Clerk of the House has to be the best job in the world, and my fantasy as a 17-year-old high school senior was to be the Clerk of the House—little knowing that 27 years later I actually would become the Clerk of the House.”
— Donnald K. Anderson, January 25, 2006
Elected Clerk under Speakers Jim Wright of Texas and Thomas Foley of Washington, Donnald Anderson began his 35 years of House service as a Page. Even before he was Clerk, Anderson’s duties—running errands, operating elevators in the Capitol, enrolling bills, and serving Members in the Democratic Cloakroom—kept him close to the House Floor. In this series of interviews, Anderson shared illuminating anecdotes about personalities like Sam Rayburn of Texas, Hale Boggs of Louisana, and Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill of Massachusetts and described in detail the old Capitol Hill neighborhood, particularly the Page boarding houses. His recollections of the advent of electronic voting, the shift away from patronage employment, and the integration of women Members illustrate how technological, procedural, and social developments have transformed the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Donnald K. Anderson was born on October 17, 1942, in Sacramento, California, to Russell V. and Sally Anderson. Educated in the Sacramento public schools, Anderson first came to Capitol Hill on January 5, 1960, having been appointed a House Page during the 86th Congress (1959–1961) by Representative John E. Moss of California. After attending Sacramento State University and George Washington University, Anderson spent eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve. During the next several decades, Anderson held a variety of administrative and managerial positions in the House: He was an elevator operator, an assistant enrolling clerk, a clerk in the House Finance Office, and assistant manager of the Democratic Cloakroom. In 1972 Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma appointed Anderson Majority Floor Manager, a position he held until January 6, 1987, when he became Clerk of the House at the opening of the 100th Congress (1987–1989).
As Clerk, Anderson managed an office that controlled legislative, administrative, and financial operations for the House. His staff of more than 600 was responsible for House Floor operations, finance and procurement, information technology, and televised House proceedings, among other areas. One of Anderson’s main achievements in his eight years as Clerk was the creation of two House offices: Employee Assistance and Fair Employment Practices.
Anderson retired from the House in January 1995. A resident of Capitol Hill, he is a member emeritus of the House Page Board and an active board member of several charitable and educational organizations. He was invested by Pope John Paul II in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Catholic group for laypeople and clergy and the only order of knighthood of the Holy See.
Congresswoman Helen Meyner of New Jersey
Recollections of Congresswoman Helen Meyner of New Jersey and gender barriers in the Democratic Cloakroom.
Discussion of the consequences of electronic voting in the House.
Memories of Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas
Personal memories of Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas.
Technology in the House
Account of the changing technology in House during the 1970s.
The Democratic Cloakroom
Recollections of the Democratic Cloakroom.
Description of Whip calls during the 1950s and 1960s.
Role in History
Reflections on the significant role of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Era.
Upheaval of the Seniority System
Discussion of the Watergate Babies and committee assignments.