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Publications


Art Catalogues
United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art
U.S. Senate Commission on Art. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002.

To the surprise of many visitors, the interior of the U.S. Capitol abounds in magnificent art that rivals even its exterior architectural splendor. The United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art, prepared by the Office of Senate Curator, marks the first time that the Senate has presented its entire collection of fine art in a publication, complete with color reproductions and informative text about the creation and background of each work.


United States Senate Catalogue of Graphic Art
U.S. Senate Commission on Art. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006.

The United States Catalogue of Graphic Art marks the first comprehensive publication of the approximately 1,000 prints that constitute the Senate’s collection. Offering a variety of perspectives on the Senate of the 19th and 20th centuries, the prints provide insight into a time quite different than the media-saturated world of today.


To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi.
Prepared under the direction of the U.S. Senate Commission on Art. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2014.

Over a span of 25 years, artist Constantino Brumidi (1805–1880) decorated the walls and ceilings of the U.S. Capitol. To Make Beautiful the Capitol is generously illustrated with full page views and never-before published details that showcase Brumidi’s art. The six in-depth chapters explore topics such as the recent conservation efforts to restore Brumidi’s murals to their original appearance, as well as the inspiration for his artwork, from classical themes to the westward expansion of the nation.



Senate Historical Office Publications
Scenes: People, Places, and Events that Shaped the United States Senate.
Betty K. Koed. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2022.

Senate history is full of dramatic moments, famous senators, and nation-changing events, but it is also peppered with colorful characters and humorous incidents that have become part of the lore of an institution now more than 230 years old. Senate Historian Betty Koed prepared and delivered hundreds of brief historical talks to senators at caucus luncheons, each describing a scene from the Senate’s rich and varied history. This illustrated volume includes 150 of these historical essays that explore the institutional development of the Senate, highlight important and consequential characters in the Senate community, and chronicle landmark moments in Senate history since 1789.


Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations (McCarthy Hearings, 1953-54).
U.S. Congress, edited by Donald A. Ritchie and Elizabeth Bolling. Washington, D.C.: Government Publishing Office, 2003.

In 1953 Wisconsin Republican senator Joseph R. McCarthy used his position as chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to substantiate his allegations that hundreds of Communists had infiltrated the State Department and other federal agencies. After recklessly accusing the U.S. Army of harboring communists, McCarthy’s Senate colleagues determined that he had gone too far and opened an investigation into his conduct. The publication, Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, is a transcript of the hearings that led to the censure of Senator McCarthy by his Senate colleagues.


Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference: Fifty-eighth through the Eighty-eighth Congresses, 1903-1964.
U.S. Congress, edited by Donald A. Ritchie. Washington, D.C.: Government Publishing Office, 1999.

In 1903, in an attempt to become a more organized group, the Democratic caucus elected its first chairman and secretary. Covering 60 years of caucus and later conference meetings, Minutes of the Senate Democratic Conference: Fifty-eighth through the Eighty-eighth Congresses provides insight into the inner workings of the Senate. The publication is organized by Congress with brief notes from the editor providing historical context. The minutes remain true to form with only minor typographical corrections.


Minutes of the Senate Republican Conference: Sixty-second Congress through Eighty-eighth Congress, 1911-1964.
U.S. Congress, edited by Wendy Wolff and Donald A. Ritchie. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1999.

In April 1911 Senator Charles Curtis was elected secretary of the Republican caucus and was tasked with recording the formal minutes of the caucus’ meetings. Two years later Republican senators officially designated their meetings as conferences. Minutes of the Senate Republican Conference: Sixty-second Congress through Eighty-eighth Congress, 1911-1964 covers 53 years of conference meetings beginning with the 62nd Congress.


A History of the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, 1947-1997.
U.S. Congress, edited by Donald A. Ritchie. Washington, D.C.: Government Publishing Office, 1997.

The Republican Policy Committee's origins go back to 1947 and its founding chairman, Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio. The Committee was created following a bipartisan proposal by the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress in 1946. With an increasingly vulnerable Democrat in the White House, Senate G.O.P. leaders saw their newly established policy committee as a useful vehicle for improving their party's 1948 presidential prospects and as a platform for a serious senatorial contender. A History of the United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, 1947-1997 follows the committee through the second half of the 20th century as Republicans moved from the minority to the majority and back again facing presidential administrations of both parties.


The Senate's Civil War.
Senate Historical Office. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2011.

The U.S. Senate played a crucial role in the Civil War. Although the history of the war is often told from the perspective of President Abraham Lincoln and his military commanders, the Senate faced war-related issues before Lincoln took office, and continued to influence national events throughout the war and its aftermath. The booklet The Senate's Civil War provides an overview of the history of the Senate during this remarkable time in American History.


Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Since 1789.
Senate Historical Office. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2020.

Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Since 1789Pro Tem: Presidents Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Since 1789, traces the development of the position in four brief essays which are accompanied by biographical profiles of all presidents pro tempore (1789-2010) including images for nearly all individuals who have served in this important position. The stories demonstrate the evolving nature of the Senate as well as its attempt to maintain many of its 18th-century ideals.



Primary Sources
A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774 to 1875
Library of Congress

Beginning with the Continental Congress in 1774, America's national legislative bodies have kept records of their proceedings. The records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress make up a rich documentary history of the construction of the nation and the development of the federal government and its role in the national life. This collection from the Library of Congress provides access to the House and Senate journals; bills, resolutions, and statutes; and recorded debates of the House and Senate up to 1873.


Capitol Builder: The Shorthand Journal of Montgomery C. Meigs, 1853-1859, 1861.
U.S. Congress, edited by Wendy Wolff. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2001.

Montgomery C. Meigs helped to shape the architectural and artistic designs of the House and Senate wings throughout the 1850s expansion of the Capitol. In the publication, Capitol Builder, Meigs’ daily journal entries detail the day-to-day building operations involved in the project, as well as his personal thoughts about his public and private life, discussions of family relationships, and his political views of the era and its personalities.


Journal of William Maclay
Library of Congress

William Maclay was one of the first two senators from Pennsylvania. He drew a two-year term in the allotment of term lengths for the 1st Congress and was not reelected. A man of strong, not to say acerbic, opinions, Maclay soon felt himself swimming against the stream. Within two months of the opening of the first session, he had begun to keep a diary, which he continued almost daily for the three sessions of the 1st Congress. Because Senate sessions were closed to the public until 1795, his is one of the few accounts of Senate floor activity in the early Congresses.


Isaac Bassett Manuscript Collection
U.S. Senate Collection

Isaac Bassett began his career in the Senate as a page in 1831 and served subsequently as a messenger and assistant doorkeeper until his death in 1895. In preparation for writing a memoir of his experience working for the Senate, Bassett saved notes, anecdotes, newspaper clippings, and personal observations. Although he never completed his memoir, his papers were preserved and eventually donated to the U.S. Senate. The manuscript collection is housed at the Center for Legislative Archives, a part of the National Archives and Records Administration, which maintains and preserves the Senate’s historical records. Digital copies of the collection, accompanied by subject and name indexes prepared by the U.S. Senate, are available on the Center’s website.


The Federalist Papers
Library of Congress

The Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788 supporting ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name "Publius," in various New York state newspapers of the time.

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