April 5, 2006 History of the House of Representatives is Subject of New Book

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Contact: (to request review copies or to schedule an interview with Robert Remini)
Contact: Gretchen Crary (212) 207-7582

“The House: The History of the U.S. House of Representatives” by historian Robert V. Remini will be published on April 25 by the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Books (an imprint of Harper Collins).

“I am pleased to announce the publication of the first comprehensive narrative history of the House of Representatives,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “Dr. Remini has drawn upon the Library’s incomparable collection of manuscripts, congressional records, newspaper accounts, letters, diaries, memoirs and biographies as well as his own interviews with many current and former members to document the rich history of the ‘people’s House.’”

This single-volume history traces the development of this quintessential American institution from a struggling, nascent body to the venerable powerhouse it has become over the past two centuries. The history of the House is told through the lens of America’s first through 108th federal Congresses—from its origins in 1789 in a chamber in New York reserved for 65 male members drawn from the elite of the founding 13 states, to today’s heterogeneous body of 435 located in Washington. The struggle between principle and pragmatism is showcased through the many colorful personalities who have made the institution what it is today.

The House Awareness and Preservation Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-99) directed the Library of Congress to commission and oversee the first comprehensive narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives for the general reader, under the oversight of the Committee on House Administration. Congress intended the book to foster an appreciation for the institution of the House, not only for the general public, but also for current and future members of the House. In response to the bipartisan passage of this legislation, Billington appointed Robert V. Remini as Distinguished Visiting Scholar of American History in the Library’s John W. Kluge Center in order to research and write this book.

Professor of history and the humanities emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Remini received his bachelor’s degree at Fordham University and master’s and doctorate degrees at Columbia University. 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. On April 28, 2005, Remini was appointed historian of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 625-page hardcover book will be available for $34.95 in bookstores nationwide and through the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders will be taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop.


PR 06-077
ISSN 0731-3527