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United States Senate
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United States Senate
Origins & Development
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Oral History

The Senate Historical Office

Serving as the Senate's institutional memory, the Historical Office collects and provides information on important events, precedents, dates, statistics, and historical comparisons of current and past Senate activities for use by members and staff, the media, scholars, and the general public. The office advises senators and committees on cost-effective disposition of their non-current office files, assists researchers seeking access to Senate records, and maintains automated information data bases detailing locations of former members' papers.

It conducts oral history interviews with retired senior Senate staff and keeps extensive biographical and bibliographical information on former senators. A collection of more than thirty thousand Senate-related photographs and other illustrations is available for research and publication use.   The Historical Office and its staff has also produced numerous publications through the years, covering all aspects of Senate history.

Historical Information Available on this Web site

Art & History News!  Historical background to help you understand current events.

Origins & Development:  This collection of historical essays describes the constitutional origins and institutional development of the Senate, including information about the Senate's unique powers and procedures.

Historical Minutes: This collection of brief essays by Senate historians is organized chronologically and presented to enlighten, inspire, amuse, and inform. The essays provide clear impressions about the forces, events, and personalities that have shaped the Senate of the 21st century.

Oral History Project: Both biographical and institutional in scope, these interviews include personal recollections of careers within the Senate the discussions of how Congress has changed over the years.

People:  Information on former members of the Senate, as well as Senate officers and staff, including lists of women and minorities who have served in the Senate. Connection to the on-line Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

Historical Statistics:  Statistical tables and charts covering many aspects of Senate history.

Historical Photographs:  Information about the Historical Office's collection of approximately 35,000 still pictures, slides, and negatives that include photographs and illustrations of nearly all current and former senators, news photographs, editorial cartoons, photographs of committees in session, and other images documenting Senate history.

This Week in Senate History: A collection of anecdotes tracing the history of the Senate through specific weeks and years.

The United States Senate, An Institutional Bibliography:  More than 600 citations to books, articles, and government documents printed since 1789.  

About the United States Senate Archives.  Information about official Senate records as well as private paper collections of former senators.  Includes Reports of the Advisory Committee on the Records of Congress.  

Publications of the Senate Historical Office

Senate Historical Office Staff:

Donald A. Ritchie, Historian

Betty K. Koed, Associate Historian

Katherine A. Scott, Assistant Historian

Richard A. Baker, Historian Emeritus

Heather Moore, Photo Historian

Beth Hahn, Historical Editor

Karen D. Paul, Archivist

M. Alison White, Deputy Archivist

Mary Baumann, Historical Writer

Stephen Tull, Office Manager


For more information, contact the Senate Historical Office at 202-224-6900, or by mail at 201 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510-7108.


Senate Historical Office

Historical information provided by the Senate Historical Office.

E-mail a Senate historian

Have a historical question?  E-mail a Senate historian.