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Photo Exhibit

Arthur Scott

Arthur E. Scott Collection

The Senate's first photo-historian, Arthur E. "Scotty" Scott, was a professional photographer in Washington, D.C. from 1934 to 1976. During those forty-two years, as both a wire-service and a Senate staff cameraman, Scotty witnessed and captured on film some of the most prominent people and events in American politics.

Harry Truman Celebrates a Birthday

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Harry Truman accepts a birthday cake from the  “One More” club -- named for the frequent White House press photographer request: “One more, Mr. President, one more!”   As the first president to allow press photographers access to the White House press room (previously reserved for reporters), Truman was highly popular with the “One More” club.  Before becoming vice president on January 20, 1945, and president on April 12, 1945, following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, Truman served twelve years in the Senate. As senator, he chaired the Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, better known as The Truman Committee.  In 1948, President Truman called Congress back to Washington for a special Turnip Day Session.  In 1951, when Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur, Senate action helped avert a constitutional crisis.  In 1964, the retired president celebrated his 80th birthday with a visit to the Senate.  Harry Truman died in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 26, 1972.

Vice President Richard Nixon Visits the Circus

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Politicians are required to perform many unusual tasks, such as petting a circus lion, as Vice President Richard Nixon did during a 1950s “photo op.”   Nixon served as a U.S. senator from 1950 to 1953. As vice president from 1953 to 1961, he served as the constitutional President of the Senate.  While presiding over the Senate in 1954, Nixon witnessed the crumbling of the Senate's historic ivory gavel.

George Murphy and Thruston Morton

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On the steps of the United States Capitol, California Senator George Murphy and Kentucky Senator Thruston Morton celebrate the Mark Twain story about a jumping frog.  Former film actor George Murphy was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1964. Although he served just one term, Murphy left his mark on the Senate Chamber as the originator of the Candy Desk.  Thruston Morton served in the Senate from 1957 to 1968, following a six-year service in the House of Representatives.

John Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall

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Amateur photographer and future member of the House of Representatives, Barry Goldwater, Jr. (son of the Arizona senator and presidential candidate Barry M. Goldwater), snaps Massachusetts Senators John F. Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall in the Senate Recording Studio, where they were taping a television program.  While serving in the U.S. Senate, Kennedy chaired the 1957 special committee to select the five most illustrious senators, who became known as The Famous Five.

Margaret Chase Smith Campaigns for President, 1964

Margaret Chase Smith Campaigns for President, 1964

In 1964, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith declared her candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, becoming the first woman to actively seek the presidential nomination of a major political party.  Smith served in the Senate from 1949 to 1971, following a decade of service in the House of Representatives.  The first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, Margaret Chase Smith emerged as one of the earliest critics of Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy and the tactics that became known as "McCarthyism."  On June 1, 1950, just three months after McCarthy rose to national prominence, Smith denounced his tactics with her Declaration of Conscience.

The Other Washington Senators

photo of senators playing baseball

Washington D.C.'s professional baseball team was called the "Senators," but many real senators also played the game.  Three freshman Democrats were playing in this 1953 photo: Massachusetts Senator John  F. Kennedy catching, Washington Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson at bat; and Montana Senator Mike Mansfield as the umpire, calling the strike.  In the 1950s, Senator Kennedy chaired a special Senate committee to chose the Famous Five, the five most noteworthy senators.  Mike Mansfield went on to become the longest-serving Senate majority leader to date. Upon his retirement, the Senate named a room in his honor.  Henry "Scoop" Jackson also enjoyed a long Senate career, during which he chaired the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, as recalled by Ruth Young Watt in her oral history.

Playing Football on the Capitol Lawn

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Republican senators and staff engage in a friendly game of touch football on the Capitol lawn around 1970.  At the left is Pennsylvania Senator Richard Schweicker, and carrying the ball is Illinois Senator Charles Percy.   During his long career on Capitol Hill, Arthur Scott captured many informal, behind-the-scenes events, showing the less public side of congressional life.  

Senatorial Karate Class

photo of senators practicing karate

Among the senators and staff who took instruction in the martial arts was North Dakota Republican Milton R. Young at the right.  When Young's opponent tried to use his advanced age against him in his last campaign, the Senator had himself filmed breaking a thick board with his hand, and won reelection.  Young served as secretary of the Senate Republican Conference Committee from 1946 to 1971, was the senior Republican on the Appropriations and Agriculture Committees, and served an honorary one-day term as president pro tempore in 1980.  

 
  

Historical Photographs

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.

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Oral History Project

Oral history Interviews with senators, officers, staff, and others provide insight into the history and evolution of the Senate.