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The Material Culture of the Senate

Senate Pages J. Franklin Little: Senate Page (1910-1912)
"Never more than two hours at a time, and always backwards."

Little, interviewed by Senate Historian Donald Ritchie, recalls the Senate’s habit of turning back the clock to delay the midnight deadline at the end of a legislative session.


"I was chief filler-upper of snuff boxes."

Little recalls his page duty of filling the snuff boxes in the Senate Chamber, and reflects on other objects in the Chamber.

Donald J. Detwiler Donald J. Detwiler: Senate Page (1917-1918)
"They were beautiful tubs.

Interviewed by Senate Historian Richard Baker, Detwiler recalls pieces of Senate's material culture, including mahogany lockers in the cloakroom and marble bathtubs in the basement of the Capitol.


Each senator’s desk had holes in the bottom.

Detwiler reflects on a "typical" day as a Senate Page, and how the Senate Chamber was ventilated at the time.

Leonard H. Ballard Leonard H. Ballard: Inspector, United States Capitol Police
"...that light fixture up there is a pineapple. "

In his interview with Senate Historian Richard Baker, Ballard recounts a unique memory of Hawaii Senator Hiram Fong.

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Senate Historical Office

Historical information provided by the Senate Historical Office.

Missing Images

A list of Senators for whom we have no photo or other image in our collection. If you have an image, or information that may lead us to an image, please contact us.