House Launches History, Art & Archives Website

Joe Cannon

Joe Cannon of Illinois (1836–1926) served in Congress for 46 years, eight of those years as Speaker. His colorful persona made him a favorite with the media.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Collection

Gavels

Architect of the Capitol David Lynn (right) supervises E. S. Kenyon making gavels in the Capitol’s machine shop for the 76th Congress (1939–1941). Speakers tend to go through multiple gavels during a Congress.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Collection

declaring war after the attack on Pearl Harbor

On December 8, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked a Joint Session of Congress to declare war against Japan in response to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. As House Reading Clerk Irving Swanson recalls, the vote to go to war was nearly unanimous, with pacifist Jeannette Rankin’s as the lone dissenting voice.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Collection

couch

While at his desk on the House Floor in 1848, John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke and was laid on this sofa in the adjacent Speaker’s office (now the Lindy Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room), where he died soon thereafter.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Bierstadt painting

Acquired for display in the House Chamber in 1875  after a lengthy campaign by artist Albert Bierstadt, Discovery of the Hudson River shows Henry Hudson landing his vessel, Half-Moon, in the Hudson River Valley.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

archives

A workman tidies the House Chamber after a rowdy close to the first session of the 80th Congress (1947–1948). The House took its first step toward the long-term preservation of its records by providing funding for document storage in 1900.

Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Photography Collection

More than 200 years of history of the “People’s House”—captured in rare artwork, historical data, and a tapestry of rich stories and events—is available online with the launch of History, Art & Archives | United States House of Representatives.

This new comprehensive website integrates the institution’s history, the art and artifacts in the House Collection, and the records and research materials that date back to the beginnings of Congress.

Interactive searches allow users to browse artwork, statues, photos, and furniture in the House Collection and research the nearly 11,000 individuals who have served as Representatives since 1789. Oral histories as recounted by Members and staff paint a vivid picture of key events, people, and traditions that have shaped the House, while the website’s Blog highlights unique stories of the House and themes relevant to current events. An engaging Mapping Congress feature traces the evolution of House membership since 1789.

The website is a collaborative project between the Office of the Historian and the Office of the Clerk’s Office of Art and Archives.

“This site was designed to make the history and heritage of the House more accessible to Members, their staffs, the Hill Community, and the general public,” House Historian Matt Wasniewski said. “We hope it will be a ready resource for any individual interested in the people, historical precedents, art, and documents that help to bring that history to life.”