House Speaker Hastert Opens New National Archives Legislative Treasures Vault
Press Release · Thursday, September 21, 2006

Washington, DC

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) joined Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein today to open the new National Archives "Legislative Treasures Vault." The Legislative Treasures Vault holds records identified by the National Archives, with the input of the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate, as the most significant historical documents of Congress.

Following the tour of the new, secure, state-of-the-art facility, Speaker Hastert urged Americans to visit the National Archives: "As a former history teacher, it is unbelievable to see these documents firsthand. I hope my visit to the National Archives will encourage others to come here… to see these treasures of a great nation." Archivist Weinstein thanked Speaker Hastert: "We are delighted that the Speaker of the House made the time to visit the National Archives to see these documents. These historic records of Congress highlight the legislative process that remains an essential cornerstone of our democracy."

The Speaker viewed the following:

  • Journal of the House of Representatives from the First Congress showing the duties of the Speaker of the House, April 7, 1789
  • Report of House Committee on Foreign Relations "War Manifesto," June 3, 1812 ("we the free-born sons of America")
  • Electoral vote tally from the historic 1824 election
  • 1835 map of Illinois
  • Post road petition, signed by Lincoln and other citizens of Illinois, 1834
  • Former House Speaker Joe Cannon's trunk
  • President Abraham Lincoln's "Fiery Trial" message to Congress, 1862 and nomination of Ulysses S. Grant as Lieutenant General of the United States Army, 1864
  • House roll-call vote on declaration of war, 1941

The National Archives Center for Legislative Archives preserves and makes available to researchers the historical records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Official House records remain the property of the House and are the responsibility of the Clerk of the House. Permanent, non-current House records are archived at the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives where they are preserved for the use of the House, congressional scholars, students, and all those interested in the history of representative government. Many of these historic documents will be on display for all Americans to see in the exhibition area within the Capitol Visitor Center, which is currently under construction.


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