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Arthur E. Scott

Arthur Scott

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. They are contained in his photo archives, now housed in the Senate Historical Office. His images hold both historic importance and artistic significance.

Born March 14, 1917, in Montpelier, Vermont, Scotty spent most of his life in Washington, D.C. In 1925 his family moved to the capital, where they owned and operated the Loch Raven Hotel, a rooming house at 3rd and Constitution, NW, on the current site of the Department of Labor. Scotty began his press career in 1930, at the age of thirteen, as a copyboy for a Hearst newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald. By 1934, he had signed on as a full-time photographer for Hearst's International News Photos (INP), covering Capitol Hill and the White House. He remained a press photographer for the next twenty-one years, working for both INP and Wide World Photos.  Scotty served as the president of the White House News Photographers Association in 1945. He was also a charter member and regional director of the National Press Photographers Association, as well as a founding member of the "One More Club" during the Truman administration.

Although the Capitol has been a subject of photography since 1846, Congress' first forays into institutional photography did not take place for another century, when the political parties began hiring and paying their own photographers.  In 1955, Arizona Republican Senator Barry Goldwater, himself an amateur photographer, hired Arthur Scott to work for the Republican Senatorial Committee. Thereafter, Scotty worked in a variety of Republican offices, including the Republican Senatorial Committee (June 1955 to October 1962) and the Republican Policy Committee (October 1962 to November 1974). He snapped formal and informal poses of senators in committee, with constituents, with celebrities, and performing other senatorial duties. He also took many shots of the Capitol in every season and under various stages of reconstruction.

In 1975, when the Senate created the Historical Office, it commissioned the office to collect, maintain and make available items relating to the Senate's history. A key part of the office was to be a photo historian, who would build a collection of graphic representations of the Senate. In August of 1975, Scotty assumed the post of photo historian.

Arthur Scott died on December 2, 1976. Prior to his death, he had arranged for his personal photographic collection -- some 30,000 negatives and prints -- to be transferred to the Historical Office. Scotty lived nearly his entire life in the Washington area and spent his last decades in the employ of the United States Senate. His photographic collection stands as a lasting testimony to his love of the Senate and his pursuit of its history