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* NEW *  U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ORAL HISTORIES

Beginning in 2004, the Office of the Clerk authorized the first oral history program for the U.S. House of Representatives. Created to make the rich heritage of the U.S. House of Representatives more accessible to Members, staff, scholars, and the general public, the program seeks to include interviews with a wide variety of House employees such as Member aides, committee staff, support staff, technical assistants, and family of Members. Select former Representatives also are interviewed. Interviews are conducted by the Office of History and Preservation (OHP).

The collection and preservation of the stories and experiences of people who have worked on Capitol Hill greatly contributes to the historical record of the U.S. House of Representatives. Detailed descriptions of legislative processes and procedures, personal and political anecdotes, and recollections about the evolving nature of the institution, represent a vital source of information about the inner workings of Congress. Recording the memories of people who have worked in various capacities at the Capitol allows current congressional staff the opportunity to familiarize themselves with past House practices, which in turn may inform those making decisions and planning policies in the present. By providing such a resource, the Clerk’s Office also seeks to promote further interest in and study of the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Interviewees include a wide variety of House employees: House Officers, Member aides, committee staff, support staff, family of Members, and select former Representatives.

As an example, listen to the audio and read the transcript of Glenn Rupp’s account of a joint session of Congress in which President Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed the House and the Senate.

Glenn Rupp’s remarkable memory of his life as a House Page from 1932-1936, provides important insights about a variety of topics. His recollections of the daily activities of Pages and of special events, such as the annual dinners hosted by Representative Joseph Shannon of Missouri, are a personal record of the work and pastimes of the House Pages. In addition, his detailed descriptions of the Speaker’s Lobby and the Democratic Cloakroom – in terms of both architecture and atmosphere – allow comparisons of the House in the 1930s with the institution today. Rupp’s recollections of the mundane (paging a Member), unusual (helping to apprehend an intruder on the House Floor), special (FDR’s first inauguration and State of the Union address), and unfamiliar (the “Little Congress”), provide a vivid and dynamic picture of the Members, congressional employees, and the institution of the era, enhancing the history of the U.S. House.

Find the audio and transcript – Joint Session of Congress -- at: http://oralhistory.clerk.house.gov/interviewee.html?name=rupp-glenn&view=media  

Interviews are conducted by the Office of History and Preservation (OHP). New interviews will be added regularly.
For more information about OHP’s oral history program contact the Office of History and Preservation at (202) 226-1300, or via email at: history@mail.house.gov.


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