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Speaker of the House Fast Facts

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First Speaker of the House
Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected presiding officer on April 1, 1789, the day the House organized itself during the First Federal Congress (1789–1791).
Total number of Speakers
To date, 53 individuals have served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Longest-serving Speaker of the House
Samuel Rayburn of Texas served as Speaker for a total of 17 years, two months, and two days.
Shortest term of Speaker
Elected Speaker of the House as a sign of respect from his colleagues on March 3, 1869, Theodore M. Pomeroy of New York served for the closing day of the 40th Congress (1867–1869).
First woman Speaker
On January 4, 2007, Nancy Pelosi of California became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House.
State with the most Speakers
Eight Massachusetts Representatives have served as Speakers.
First (and only) Speaker to serve as President
James K. Polk of Tennessee.
Longest election for Speaker
After more than two months and 133 ballots, Nathaniel T. Banks of Massachusetts was elected Speaker on February 2, 1856.
Youngest Speaker elected
Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia was elected Speaker on December 16, 1839, at the age of 30.
Oldest Speaker elected
Henry T. Rainey of Illinois was elected Speaker on March 9, 1933, at the age of 72.
First Speaker to make a televised address in the House Chamber
On Opening Day of the 80th Congress (1947–1949), Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts addressed the House during the first live television broadcast in the House Chamber.
First Speaker to approve regular TV feeds from the House Chamber
Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill of Massachusetts.
Most party affiliations for a Speaker
During his entire House career, Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts had four different party affiliations (Democrat, American Party, Republican, and Independent).
First Sitting Speaker to lose re-election to his House seat
William Pennington of New Jersey.
Number of Speakers to die in office
Five (Michael C. Kerr of Indiana, Henry T. Rainey of Illinois, Joseph W. Byrns of Tennessee, William B. Bankhead of Alabama, Samuel Rayburn of Texas).
Speaker Pelosi

Speakers of the House have long served as the face of the institution, as exemplified by this trade card for Wampole Pharmaceuticals. Images of every Speaker who served from 1849 to 1916 create keepsake value for the advertisement, testifying to the importance of the Speakership in popular perception.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jim Oliver Collection

110th Congress Opening Gavel

Speaker Pelosi used this gavel to open the 110th Congress, the first to have a woman serve as the House’s presiding officer.
Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Speaker of the House Historical Highlights

Office of the Clerk - U.S. Capitol, Room H154, Washington, DC 20515-6601 | (202) 225-7000

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