Historian Robert V. Remini will research and write a narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives. The project was authorized by Congress in 1999 under the House Awareness and Preservation Act (P.L. 106-99).
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Robert Remini as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar of American History in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress to undertake this ambitious project," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "In addition to being a first-rate writer and historian, he understands the history of the workings of Congress, which is invaluable for this effort," said Billington.
Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), who successfully sponsored the authorizing legislation in his first term in Congress said, "I am pleased that a scholar of Professor Remini's caliber has been chosen to work on this important project. The reason why I worked so hard to initiate this effort was because I believe that the resulting publication will be a significant tool for the public and Members themselves to understand how and why Congress works the way it does—as well as its unique and compelling history. Professor Remini has shown, through his impressive body of work, that he will be able to convey the richness of the history of this institution."
Remini, professor emeritus of history and the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was educated at Fordham University (B.S., 1943) and Columbia University (M.A., 1947, Ph.D., 1951). He has been teaching history for more than 50 years and writing books about American history for nearly as long. In addition to his three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson, he is the author of biographies of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, as well as a dozen other books on Jacksonian America. Among his many honors are the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation Award, the Carl Sandburg Award for Nonfiction, the University Scholar Award of the University of Illinois, the American Historical Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction, and the National Book Award. Active in the national history community, Remini has served as a review board member for the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1974. In 1991, he delivered a Presidential Lecture at the White House.
Remini is also the author of two recent books: "John Quincy Adams" (Times Books), a biography of the sixth president that was published in August; and "Joseph Smith: A Penguin Lives Biography" (Viking), which will be released in October. In a previous collaboration with the Library of Congress, Remini contributed "A Historical Overview" to the 1999 publication "Gathering History: The Marian S. Carson Collection of Americana."
"The House of Representatives is generally regarded as the People's House in which many distinguished, diligent, colorful, and larger-than-life personalities met together and during the past 200 and more years discussed, debated, quarreled and helped hammer out the nation's laws," Remini said. "I fully intend to write a narrative history of this extraordinary institution—with its vivid and sometime outrageous personalities—that will capture all the excitement and drama that took place during the past 200 years, so that the record of its triumphs, achievements, mistakes and failures can be better known and appreciated by the American people," said Remini.
The John W. Kluge Center in the Library of Congress was established in 2000 with an unprecedented gift of $60 million from John W. Kluge, Metromedia president and chair of the Madison Council, the Library's private sector advisory group. The center is bringing some of the world's leading senior and competitively selected junior scholars to the Library of Congress to pursue their own research, using the Library's comprehensive collections, and for informal occasional dialogue with the Library's curators, Members of Congress and others on Capitol Hill.