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Project Description

U.S. House of Representatives Oral History Program
Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk

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.

Oral history interviews are recorded using audio and/or video equipment. OHP produces transcripts, interview summaries, and electronic copies of the recordings. Audio and video recordings will be archived and made available publicly through the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Library of Congress. Original recordings—as well as any supporting documentary materials such as letters or pictures—will be stored and protected according to archival standards.

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.