We are excited to announce that a new photograph collection has been opened on the Byrd CLS website! TheHarley O. Staggers, Sr. Congressional Papers Photograph Collection features a sampling of the over 1,000 historical photographs contained in the archival collection held at the Byrd CLS. These photographs document meetings and exchanges between Congressman Staggers, Sr. and various notable figures, including presidents and congressional colleagues, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities, throughout his thirty-two year career in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since May 2014, the staff and interns at the Byrd CLS have been working on digitizing and processing the over 1,000 photographs contained in Congressman Staggers, Sr.’s collection, which spans over 7 decades from 1916-1987. You can view a selection of unique images from this collection featured in our blog series “Posts from the Archives.” In addition to 13 document cases of photographs, the collection also contains 9 large albums which are currently undergoing digitization. Together, this large collection offers researchers a comprehensive view of the extensive career of Congressman Staggers, Sr.
by Ray Smock
April is National Poetry Month and the Byrd Center’s contribution to this worthy endeavor is to share a reflection on two poets, more than 100 years apart, who wrote about the Congress of the United States. What follows is taken from the private journal I kept when I served as the Historian of the U. S. House of Representatives.
The first poet, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote about the Congress that first convened in December 1865. The Civil War was over, Reconstruction was beginning. Congress had a big job on its hands in the midst of tumultuous times. The second poet, Howard Nemerov (1920-1991), the Poet Laureate of the United States in 1989, wrote a poem to commemorate Congress completing two centuries. It was my great pleasure to ask Mr. Nemerov to write this poem and then to ask him to deliver it before a joint meeting of Congress held Mar. 2, 1989. Nemerov became the first poet to ever deliver a poem in person before a joint meeting of Congress. He was the second poet to appear before Congress, the first being Carl Sandburg in 1959, on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Sandburg spoke to Congress on Lincoln’s life but did not read poetry that day.
The Byrd Center is pleased to pass along the announcement that one of our board members and longtime friend and colleague Dr. Richard A. Baker, the Senate Historian Emeritus has won the prestigious D. B. Hardeman Award for the best book on Congress. Our entire board and the staff of the Byrd Center express our heartiest congratulations.
Here is the official announcement from the LBJ Foundation in Austin, TX.
The LBJ Foundation will award the 27th D.B. Hardeman Prize to the authors of The American Senate: An Insider’s History at a dinner at the LBJ Presidential Library on Thursday, May 7, 2015. Author Richard A. Baker and Deirdre MacNeil, who will accept the award on behalf of her father Neil MacNeil, will split the $10,000 prize that accompanies the recognition of being the best book written on the U.S. Congress in 2013.
In The American Senate, Richard A. Baker, historian emeritus of the Senate, and Neil MacNeil, former chief congressional correspondent for Time magazine, integrate nearly a century of combined experience on Capitol Hill with deep research and state-of-the-art scholarship. They explore the Senate’s historical evolution with one eye on persistent structural pressures and the other on recent transformations.
Mr. Baker will also be speaking to students at The LBJ School of Public Affairs on May 7 to discuss the book and the current state of Congress. Books will also be available for purchase.
The Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies has joined the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress(ACSC) to announce the opening of “The Great Society Congress,” an online permanent exhibition that draws on primary resources to highlight legislation passed during the 89th United States Congress (1965-66).
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