Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Last updated
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
Author United States Congress Joint Committee on Printing
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Subject Political Reference
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher United States Government Printing Office
Publication date
1903
Media typePrint (Paperback)

The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress is a biographical dictionary of all present and former members of the United States Congress and its predecessor, the Continental Congress. Also included are Delegates from territories and the District of Columbia and Resident Commissioners from the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Contents

The online edition also includes a guide to research collections (a list of institutions where member's papers, letters, correspondence, and other items are archived) as well as an extended bibliography of published works concerning the member (a shorter bibliography is included with the member's biography). [1] These additional resources when available can be accessed via links on the left side of the member's page on the website.

History

Charles Lanman, author, journalist, and former secretary to Daniel Webster, gathered the first collection of biographies of former and sitting members of Congress for his Dictionary of Congress, published by J. B. Lippincott & Co. in 1859. Lanman intended his Dictionary of the United States Congress to serve primarily as a guide for sitting Members of Congress, much as the Congressional Directory functions today.

In 1864, the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the publication of an updated version of Lanman's Dictionary of Congress by the recently established Government Printing Office. In the late 1860s Congress offered Benjamin Perley Poore, a journalist and clerk of the Senate Committee on Printing and Records, the job of preparing a Congressional Directory with biographical sketches and the kind of reference information found in the Dictionary of Congress. [2]

In anticipation of the centenary of American independence and in search of a market not served by Poore's Congressional Directory, Lanman prepared the Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States, published by James Anglim of Washington, D.C. in 1876. This volume combined the biographies of the Dictionary of Congress with entries for other governmental officials since 1776 and expanded reference tables. Poore offered a competing historical volume in 1878 with his Political Register and Congressional Directory, published by Houghton, Osgood and Company, Boston.

Joseph M. Morrison's revision of Lanman's Biographical Annals (New York, 1887) was the final directory of congressional biography to be prepared and published privately. In 1903 Congress authorized the publication of A Biographical Congressional Directory, 1774 to 1903. Compiled under the direction of O. M. Enyart, this was the first volume prepared by congressional staff who drew on the Lanman and Poore editions as well as biographical information printed in the Congressional Directory since the 40th United States Congress (1867). The most thorough and systematic revision of biographical entries attempted prior to the Bicentennial Edition was conducted in preparation for the Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1927. Ansel Wold, chief clerk of the Joint Committee on Printing, directed the compilation of this volume published in 1928. [3]

This survey of the 1920s yielded more detailed and consistent biographies than had been found in the nineteenth-century editions or in the earlier volumes compiled by congressional staff. The frequent reliance on family legends and personal recollections, however, introduced dubious information into the volume. Although Congress authorized updates that were published in 1950, 1961, and 1971, the entries from the 1928 edition remained virtually intact in the three subsequent editions. The creation of the Senate Historical Office in 1975 and the Office for the Bicentennial in the United States House of Representatives in 1983 provided the first opportunity for professional historians to revise and update the Biographical Directory. Earlier editions of the Biographical Directory and their nineteenth century predecessors offered little information on congressional careers other than terms of service. The bicentennial edition provided a more complete record of the individual Members' years in office. A 1996 edition was published by Congressional Quarterly, but did not achieve wide circulation due to the much higher cover price. [4]

The development and growing use of the Internet in the 1990s led to the creation of websites for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Ray Strong, Assistant to the Clerk of the House, advocated the idea of publishing the entries from the Biographical Directory on the Internet. Through the efforts of Joe Carmel, Cindy S. Leach, and Gary Hahn of Legislative Computer Systems under the Clerk of the House, and Cheri Allen of the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, the entries of the Biographical Directory became available online during the week of November 9, 1998, at http://bioguide.congress.gov/ under the auspices of the House Legislative Resource Center and the Historian of the Senate. Internet technology has allowed the editors to update entries of the Biographical Directory on a daily basis. Besides the biographies, the online database includes extensive bibliographies and a guide to all available research collections for Senate and House entries. The project was the first SGML/XML project for the House and Senate and paved the way for the drafting of legislation in XML in both chambers.

The online version, accessible to the public, also has benefited from updated information provided to the House Office of History and Preservation and the Senate Historical Office from scholars, librarians, genealogists, and family members. Senate entries are accompanied by an image of the Senator, when available. Online House entries include images for women Members and Speakers with official oil portraits and members since the 109th United States Congress (2005). The data is maintained by staff in the House Office of History and Preservation and the Senate Office of the Historian.

Technical detail

The index value in the URL is a unique value for each member of Congress. There are some duplicates for name changes: and refer to the same person. The ID is also re-used in XML versions of House legislation (see http://congress.gov and http://xml.house.gov).

Related Research Articles

United States congressional delegations from Vermont Wikipedia list article

These are tables of congressional delegations from Vermont to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

United States congressional delegations from Utah Wikipedia list article

Since Utah became a U.S. state in 1896, it has sent congressional delegations to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. Each state elects two senators to serve for six years. Before the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the Utah State Legislature. Members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms, one from each of Utah's four congressional districts. Before becoming a state, the Territory of Utah elected a non-voting delegate at-large to Congress from 1850 to 1896.

These are tables of congressional delegations from Maine to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. Maine became a state on March 15, 1820 and elects Senators to Classes 1 and 2. Maine's current U.S Senators are Republican Susan Collins and Independent Angus King. For organizational purposes King caucuses with the Democratic Party, making Maine one of the nine states to have a split United States Senate delegation. Maine has been allotted 2 seats in the U.S House of Representatives since the 1960 Census, both of which are held by Democrats as of 2019.

These are tables of congressional delegations from Virginia to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives. Virginia's current U.S Senators are Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. Virginia is allotted 11 seats in the U.S House Of Representatives, currently 7 seats are held by Democrats and 4 seats are held by Republicans.

United States congressional delegations from Rhode Island Wikipedia list article

These are tables of congressional delegations from Rhode Island to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

United States congressional delegations from Indiana Wikipedia list article

These are tables of congressional delegations from Indiana to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Lemuel H. Arnold American politician

Lemuel Hastings Arnold was an American politician from the U.S. state of Rhode Island. A Whig, he served as the 12th Governor of the State of Rhode Island and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

37th United States Congress 1861–1863 meeting of the legislative branch of the United States government

The Thirty-seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1861, to March 4, 1863, during the first two years of Abraham Lincoln's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventh Census of the United States in 1850. Both chambers had a Republican majority.

Massachusettss 4th congressional district U.S. House district in southern Massachusetts

Massachusetts's 4th congressional district is located mostly in southern Massachusetts. It is represented by Democrat Joe Kennedy III.

The Clerk of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the United States House of Representatives, whose primary duty is to act as the chief record-keeper for the House.

James Abercrombie was an American politician and a United States Representative from Alabama.

Dwight Foster (politician, born 1757) American politician (judge, US Representative, US Senator)

Dwight Foster was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

James Milnor was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania for two years (1811–1813), a lawyer for 16 years, and an Episcopal priest for 29-1/2 years.

James Farrington was an American physician, banker and politician from New Hampshire. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, the New Hampshire Senate and the New Hampshire House of Representatives in the early 1800s.

Joel Holleman American politician

Joel Holleman was an American politician and lawyer from Virginia. A Democrat, he served in the United States House of Representatives and as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

John Clement Fitzpatrick

John Clement Fitzpatrick was an archivist and an early American historian, widely regarded as an authority on George Washington. He was noted for his groundbreaking work editing Washington's diaries and many letters and documents. Appointed by the George Washington Bicentennial Commission he prevailed over the editorship in his acclaimed 39 volume work, The Writings of George Washington, published between 1931 and 1944. His involvement during this prolonged effort set many of the standards for the management of manuscripts in the Library of Congress. Fitzpatrick died before all the volumes had been published. He belonged to a number of historical societies while also earning honorary degrees from several prominent universities. Fitzpatrick's years of correspondence and other records have provided historians with valuable sources of information on the life of and events surrounding George Washington, and on the history of Washington D.C. for that era.

1940 United States Senate election in New York

The United States Senate election of 1940 in New York was held on November 5, 1940. Incumbent Democratic Senator James M. Mead, first elected in 1938 to fill vacancy caused by the death of Royal S. Copeland, was re-elected to a full term in office, defeating Republican Bruce Barton.

References

Citations

Sources

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from websites or documents ofthe United States Government.