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Everything we did was designed to meet that goal. Over

sight and guidance for our programs and projects has been the re

sponsibility of the bipartisan Commission on the U.S. House of Rep

resentatives Bicentenary, which has benefited immensely from the su

perb leadership of our Chairman, Congresswoman Lindy Boggs. In addi

tion to planning for the bicentennial, we had another goal, which had the support of our Commission: to lay a foundation for a

permanent history office.

Our work on the Biographical Directory of

the United States Congress and our national survey to locate the re

search collections of former Members of the House, are examples of

bicentennial projects that have long-range value to a permanent his

tory office.

Now we are ready to move ahead.

I know how difficult long

range planning can be.

But if we expect to add to the historical

understanding of an institution as complex as the House of Represen

tatives, we must think of where we would like to be ten or fifteen

years down the road.

There is no project better able to give us new

levels of historical understanding than a systematic investigation

of the development of the House as revealed in the records them

selves. A documentary history of the House, by drawing together key records from the vast and scattered sources of congressional his

tory, would offer Members, staff, and researchers the essential

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record necessary for understanding the structure and operation of

the House during its two-hundred year history. The Senate Historical

Office is planning a similar project for the Senate, so if both

projects go forward we will have an opportunity to create the most

comprehensive history of Congress ever assembled in one source.

Let me conclude by saying we eagerly look forward to an even

closer institutional tie with the Office of the Clerk. The Clerk

and his staff have helped and supported us in so many ways that we

already feel like part of the family. The House is fortunate to

have a clerk who is himself a keen student of the history and tradi

tions of the House. We could not be more pleased to see our rela

tionship with the Office of the Clerk strengthened by the resolution

we are discussing today.

We will do all we can to be of assistance

to the Clerk, especially in the area where we think professional

historians can do the most good work, in those matters that bear on

the preservation and use of the historical records of the House.

Finally, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, the Members of

this subcommittee, and the subcommittee staff, for your fostering

interest in the Office of the Historian.

We appreciate your many

courtesies since the office was established, and, of course, we will

never forget that the Rules Committee was responsible for our crea

tion in the first place.

Report on the

Activities of the Office for the Bicentennial of the House

of Representatives, 1983-1989

Background

The Office for the Bicentennial of the U.S. House of Repre

sentatives was established in the 97th Congress, on December 17,

1982, when the House agreed to H. Res. 621, which amended Rule I

of the Rules of the House by providing for the establishment of an

office to coordinate the planning for the bicentennial of the

House in 1989.

The Office, under the direction of the Speaker,

was staffed by a professional historian selected without regard to

political affiliation and solely on the basis of fitness to per

form the duties of the position following a nationwide search con

ducted by a bipartisan panel of Members of the House under the ad

ministration of the Committee on Rules.

This action came after

the House had rejected H. Res. 581 on September 24, 1982, which

had called for the creation of a permanent Office of Historian of

the House.

The Office for the Bicentennial, according to the pro

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visions of H. Res. 621, was to cease to exist not later than Sep

tember 30, 1989, unless otherwise provided by law or resolution.

On January 3, 1989, at the beginning of the 101st Congress,

the House amended Rule I of the Rules of the House and established

a permanent Office of the Historian of the House of Representa

tives.

Earlier, during the 99th Congress, the House established a

Commission on the United States House of Representatives Bicenten

ary (H. Res. 249) to provide oversight and development of the

House bicentennial program.

The bipartisan Commission is composed

of six Members and two former Members appointed by the Speaker in

consultation with the Minority Leader.

The Majority and Minority

Leaders serve as ex officio Members of the Commission.

Con

gresswoman Lindy Boggs has served as Chairman since the inception

of the Commission.

The Office for the Bicentennial serves as

staff for the Commission.

From their inceptions, the Office for the Bicentennial and

the Commission on the U.S. House of Representatives Bicentenary

have been charged with the development of an appropriate program

of publications, exhibits, symposia, and related activities which

have the purpose of commemorating the history and development of

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the House over the past two centuries. The Office for the Bicentennial also planned from the very beginning to lay a solid

foundation for a permanent history office, if and when the House

decided to establish such an office.

The Historian began his

duties on October 1, 1983.

In the first annual report of the Of

fice, the Historian described the plan of work that has been followed for the past six years. The account of activities which

follows is listed in the same categories as those mentioned in H.

Res. 249, which established the bicentenary commission.

These

categories are: publications, , exhibits, symposia, and related ac

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serve in the House and Senate as well as in the Continental Con

gress before 1789, was the most ambitious and time-consuming pro

ject of the Office for the Bicentennial.

Work began as soon as

the Office was established in 1983, and the volume was completed

and published on schedule at the opening of the 101st Congress in

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