A single piece of paper may not seem significant at first glance, but many of these featured records of the House of Representatives are examples of how one document can illustrate a much larger story. Without records like these, the context for historical events is lost. This is a sampling of some of the documents found in the Records of the House of Representatives (RG 233) housed in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives and Records Administration.
As soon as the Senate passed the Susan B. Anthony Amendment to the Constitution on June 5, 1919, which extended the right of suffrage to women, proponents quickly organized the process of urging states to ratify the amendment. The copies of the ratification documents signed by each state’s Secretary of State, including those of Missouri and Tennessee, were laid before the House of Representatives by the Speaker and became official records of the House of Representatives.
On December 5, 1848, President Polk delivered his annual message to Congress, and used this map to illustrate his desired plan for the land acquired through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War.
Petitions are a popular way for citizens to communicate their sentiments with Congress. Henry Stoner, who sent this petition requesting that the House sponsor a resolution congratulating NASA on its successful Ranger VII mission to photograph the surface of the moon, exercised his right to petition his government more frequently than most.
The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was created in 1945 as a permanent standing committee to replace the temporary Select Committee on Un-American Activities (the Dies Committee) that had existed since 1938. This subpoena issued by HUAC required Alger Hiss to testify at a hearing before a HUAC subcommittee.
Petitions and memorials are requests directed to Congress by individuals, groups, or state and local institutions to entreat Congress to take a certain action. This memorial was sent to the 21st Congress by the Cherokee Nation, protesting the state of Georgia’s attempt to extend its authority over lands occupied by the Cherokee.
The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This petition written by “a committee appointed at a mass meeting of colored citizens of the city of Atlanta, Ga.” urges the House and Senate to pass the civil rights bill being considered by Congress in 1874.
In 1974, the House Committee on the Judiciary, led by Chairman Peter Rodino, held an inquiry on whether President Richard Nixon should be impeached. In preparation for these proceedings, the Judiciary Committee served President Nixon with subpoenas for tapes and diaries relating to the Watergate break-in. President Nixon responded with two letters to Chairman Rodino outlining the reasons why he would not comply with the subpoenas.
The Tally Clerk oversees the recording of votes and ensures the accuracy of the vote count on the House Floor. This tally sheet shows the votes for the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941, taken after President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his “date that will live in infamy” speech.
David “Davy” Crockett is an American frontiersman whose folksy “backwoods” persona captured the American popular imagination. This certificate of election was issued in 1827 by the state of Tennessee to Congressman Crockett after his election as a Jacksonian to the U.S. House of Representatives.
An engrossed bill is the certified copy of the text of the bill as it passed one chamber of Congress, and it represents the necessary step in the legislative process of transferring a bill from one chamber to another for review. This featured document is the House’s engrossed copy of the bill for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.