“…on slack days and non-event days I used to spend a lot of time in the attic of the Capitol building. Not many people know there was an attic. And I would rummage through old ledgers and I’m surprised I have any respiratory system left. … A lot of the old payroll handwritten records were bound and some were not. Some were just stacked. Some would be in an old paper bag that disintegrated when you lifted it. And so I spent a lot of time rummaging through those things.…And the result of all that kind of rummaging about is that it manifested itself into an intense interest in the House of Representatives as an institution. And also as kind of a press gallery historian. And I don’t dub myself that, but I do know that a number of times I was informally referred to as the ‘Third Floor Parliamentarian’ and also the ‘Walking Historian.’ And what compensation it had beyond personal pride was a lot of telephone calls at night at home. Can you think of anything comparing to this, you know?”
Benjamin West, August 24, 2005

Image courtesy of Benjamin C. West, provided by Office of History and Preservation, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives