History, Art, and Archives U.S. House of Representatives

Since the First Federal Congress convened in New York City in April 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives has grown from 65 Representatives to 435. The House’s evolving rules and procedures have filled many volumes, and, over time, the institution has developed unique traditions and practices. During the past two centuries, Americans have elected more than 11,000 people to the House, reaffirming the founders’ intent that it be open and responsive to the people. The Office of the House Historian provides information to the widest possible audience on the House’s rich history: important events, people, precedents, and statistics. The office maintains the House’s major historical publications including The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and a series on women and minorities who have served in Congress. The office also conducts and publishes oral history interviews with former staff and Members of Congress.

The Office of the House Historian works closely with the Office of Art and Archives (OAA) under the Office of the Clerk. OAA curators collect, maintain, and interpret the House Collection. The archivists process and describe the official records of the House and oversee their transfer to the National Archives. OAA also provides advice to Members for the preservation of their personal congressional papers.