Oral History, Research Interviews, and Political Cartoons
To supplement the official records of Congress housed at the Center, the Center for Legislative Archives maintains other materials to its holdings.
A collection of 2,600 original pen-and-ink drawings by Clifford K. Berryman from the U.S. Senate Collection is housed at the Center for Legislative Archives. The cartoons comment on Washington politics, congressional issues, presidential elections, and both World Wars. The U.S. Senate Collection also includes approximately 230 cartoons by Jim Berryman, Clifford's son.
Berryman was Washington's best known and most-admired graphic commentator on politics in the first half of the 20th century. Berryman's career as a political cartoonist began in the late 1880s with the Washington Post and continued in 1907 with the Evening Star. Berryman's career for the Evening Star extended over forty years, until his death in 1949.
Reproductions of the Berryman cartoons are available for research. One hundred cartoons are available online in the Online Catalog.
Oral History and Research Interviews
Oral history and research interviews add richness in detail and information to the textual records of Congress. Oral histories add to our understanding of Congress's patterns and traditions and our familiarity with Congressional heroes, triumphs, and failures. Interviews also provide entree to the many important but never documented decisions and actions taken throughout the legislative process. Through this combination of records and interviews, the Center's researchers can obtain the fullest and most detailed documentation of how the legislative process actually works.
Histories and Research
Interviews of the Center
for Legislative Archives
(Interviewees are listed
Histories of Senate Staff
Members (Compiled by
the Senate Historical Office)
Since 1976, the Senate Historical Office has collected a series of oral history interviews with former Senators and retired members of the Senate staff. The Historical Office uses information gained through these oral histories for its own reference work, but also makes them available to researchers by
depositing copies in the Center for Legislative Archives, as well as the Senate Library, the Library of Congress, and a microfiche edition distributed by Scholarly Resources, Inc.
Oral History Transcripts available at the Center for Legislative Archives
Interview Notes of Richard
F. Fenno, Jr.
Issac Bassett Manuscript Collection
On December 5, 1831 12-year-old Isaac Bassett was selected by Senator Daniel Webster as the second person ever to serve as a page in the United States Senate. In 1838 Bassett was promoted to messenger, and in 1861 he was administered the oath as assistant doorkeeper to the Senate, a post he held until his death in 1895. Having a position on the floor of the Senate allowed Bassett to witness the great debates leading up to the U.S. Civil War, Reconstruction and the Gilded Age.
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 Senate has transferred them to the Center for Legislative Archives, where they will be maintained and preserved as part of the U.S. Senate Collection.
The records have been microfilmed and are available in the microfilm reading room in Washington DC.
There are two finding aids for this collection and they are available on-line. One is a description of the collection with a suject index and the other is a name index:
If you have problems accessing these finding aids, please contact us.
Find out more:
The Senate's website has a new multimedia exhibit displaying Bassett's autobiographical manuscript.
Read the Senate's Biography of Isaac Bassett.
For further information, please contact the Center for Legislative Archives at (202) 357-5350.