tv U.S. Capitol Page History and Research CSPAN August 22, 2016 9:03am-10:06am EDT
u.s. house of representative historians mathew and house curator eliot joining with senate on u.s. capitol page program. they discussed their related research and historic milestone, such as the first women page and the capitol page alumni association hosted this hour long event as part of the union. >> welcome back, our second panel to moderate and spruce this next panel of house and senate historians. we at the alumni association
developed a great relationship with the history offices, i am often reminded this of what you heard in the previous panel that sometimes historians are looking for eye witnesses to events that happened 50 or 60 years ago. we know that it happens at these halls here were the people that's still alive and the pages. we came in handy of a few times on a couple of these projects and we hope to do so in the future. this weekend's constantly amazed me running through reading judge here and had the pleasure driving over in his car. he was a capitol policeman for years and still had his badge
and get through all the security. with great pleasure, i could spru introduce matt, thank you very much. [ applause ] thank you all and good afternoon, as jerry said, i am the historians of the house, i am joined by my colleague, the curator of the house to my right and further down the line, kate scott, the senate association historian. we are pleased to be here with you as you kickoff the page to union weekend. we would like to talk to you about recent research and leave a little bit of time at the end for questions you may have. the history offices on both sides of the capitol have a strong interests in the history of congressional pages. on the house side as jerry eluded to, we documented the history development of the program in part by conducting
numerous or oral history of formal house pages for more than a decade now. these interviews extend all the way back to a pair from the 1930s. 1932 to 1936 told us many stories including one about training a young staffer, lyndon johnson about how to operate the doors at the house of chambers. john dingle jr. was in the chamber on that faithful day december 8th, 1941 and becoming the longest serving members of congress of more than 59 years. there is a nice energy that's developed between doing these oral histories and the work of the house curator. in capturing the material
culture of more than two centuries of pages in the house. many of us donated artifact in the house collection and you will hear more about that from my colleagues in a few minutes. the curators have assembled dozens of images and artifacts. everything from civil war error and letters and pages -- and everything in between. in 2013 my office produced a roughly 40 page history of the house page program, copies of which are available online. you can download the booklet. here it is in paper form or you can read it online. and, in addition to highlighting
the origins and developments of the program, we use those of what we have done, including general joe barlett, former collect of the house, don anderson, and bill goodwin who was a page 1954 where the puerto rican attacked the chambers. we were fortunate to draw from interviews we conducted. the first female page to serve in the house appointed by speaker carl albert in 1973 and frank mitchell of springfield illinois who from many years believed to be the first african-american page to serve in the house sponsored by paul finley and republican leader
gerald r. ford. it occurred on the 100 anniversary of lincoln's assassination on april 14, 1965, just weeks after the galvanizing march on selma. he watched the debate on the landmark voting rights act from the door way from the republican's cloak room. we came across clues in the few secondary sources on pages and their his is there any that perhaps there is been earlier such pioneers. these were obscure references and footnotes to some late 19th and early 20th century newspaper articles suggesting that african-americans may have serve their pages and perhaps during the reconstruction error. closer inspection, the ages of the individuals covered in the newspaper article did not add up and neither did their job
descriptions. still we knew it was possible that the page ranks may have been integrated after the civil war. historians often describe congressional reconstruction that was imposed on the south as the second american revolution and which political and citizenship rights were conferr conferr conferr conferred upon free slaves. african-american saves were elected to serve in congress. all 20 served in the house between 1870s and 1901. two others in the senate before jim crow laws.
until recently, we knew little about how reconstruction changed the house the staff level. that change is more powerful research tools came online ma mainmai mainly digitized newspapers. these tools evolving for reconstruction is impact to our institution and brought into focus of a whole new set of african pioneers. william h. smith who serves as the house's librarian. we discovered that the first african-american page was appointed on april 1st, 1871. he was a 14-year-old named
alfr alfred powell from manchester. representatives charles powell porter of virginia, sponsored powell. he served in the union army and settled in virginia after the war. when virginia was readmitted to the union in 1870s. he ran for a seat that represented dprarepresen represented greater richmond. >> powell's appointment seem to be a purposeful and symbolic act. powell's first day, quotes that were considered practical jokes. he got started credibly. powell made $77.50 in his first
month as a page. that was the going rate of his roughly 20 other page colleagues who worked at the house floor in congress. beyond that, we know only scanned details of his ski circumstances. his mother is listed as a homemaker but it appears that powell was not plucked out of security. he held from a prominent virginia free african-american family. powell's maternal, great uncle was one of the most influential black american politicians o f the 19 century. john mercer langston -- there is a nice symmetry that links those stories of frank mitchell and
alfred powell. just like mitchell who arrived in 1965 during debates of voting rights of the republican control of the past. radical republican controlled house. a contention debate on the eve of the passage of 1871 which was also known as the klu klux clan act and imposing hard penalties of those interfering with african-american rights. notable american members such as robert eliot and both of south carolina, rainy was the first african-american served in the house. they delivered speeches in the floor. and so in that since paging provided a common experience for two teenage african-american boys who though separated by
nearly a century witnessed the house gravelled with monumental. to conclude, i want to tell you one other research question that nagged us as we wrote the history of the house page program. it is one that we are trying to determine conclusively and that's pinpointing the exact start date of the practice of paging in the house. we know that the use of legislative messenger involves in the better part of the century where adults serve as messengers. it is clear that a page core employing young boys and teenagers took shape. when exactly? following the panic of 1837, one of the major economic recessions of the 19 century. the house committee which is
responsible for the expenditures and was looking for a cost. the committee soon discovered that the house never set a former number or budget or a guideline to administer the program. "old and experienced officers" of the house, the house employed pages sometimes after a convene in the district of lcolumbia in november of the 1800. a decade later, that number grown to 18. as members sought to provide income to local orphan boys or to their families. christi christian heinz suggesting some of the earlier pages dating back to the 1800 is the two young son
of the house door keeper of tom tomas plas man. by happy coincidence, history members wearing hats on the floor which is a subject for another day. just ask, i am happy to talk about that. we stumbled the first account. tomas page hum bard served in the house. hover, his career was not that long and distinguished. he wrote his wife, phoebe, many letters detailing the
administration of the washington and monroe's. on christmas day after the opening of the 15th congress. hover wrote phoebe a long letter describing the hall of the house. this was interest oing on a couple's level. congress is temporary on the ground of the modern day supreme court while the capitol is being repaired. we don't have many description of sessions in that space. as i am sure my colleagues will agree that research can be both, can be laborious. there is occasions where it is s sublime. members sit with their hats on in their office as they pleased. still referring to quote when
one rise to speak, he must take off his hat and address his speaker. in the next line, "we have a charming little boy about 12-year-old who waits on the house and when a member rises, the fellow sweeps around and stands by his side." the boy he identifies is only by the name oswald stood by in members who address the house. "if anything is submitted in write, he takes it and conveys it in the clerk who sits under the speaker's chair" than taking his lead. again, hover also recounted that oswald required among other things. this is the earlierest contemporary in the account that we have of the places of page
boys in the house of chambers. oswald was john oswald done who appeared in a few house sources related to end of session pay and bonuses and messengers and other employees. born in the early 1800s. dun was the son of sergeant tomas dun. like many house pages over the years, dun spent a long rear in the house succeeding his father in 1824 as a sergeant that arms and serving in that capacity until 1832. so we are getting closer to taking history of house pages back in the turn of the 19 century. preserving these stories remain an inviting interest.
with tharks i wi that, i will turn it over to ferra eliot. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> hello, i am the curator of the house. it is great to get to follow matt and get a real sense of what a 19 century page life is like and elements of being a page 150 years or 200 years are. what i want to do today is walk you through the experience of a single family's pair of pages that they have that they sent to the house in the 1860s. the details that really comport with matt of what he's been talking about today. i am going to tell you all about -- oh, i am going to not
tell you about that. i will tell you about little birdie. this is birdie and his page uniform. the reason we know about birdie and eliot is that this photo and a lot of stuff i am going to talk to you about today is part of a rich artifact that was given by decent dent of eliot and bernie. he was 16 when he left the house for the naval academy. as soon as he left, albert, bernie, took his brother's place in 1862 at the age of 11. so we are going to be talking about very young pages here. the pills bury boy story is pretty typical. you will see it follows the
course and families in need and families in orphans and for members in congress finding work for the young boys in the household that was in need. it was boys up in the district. eliot bernie's story is also based on letters for the most part. it is for those of you who are the pre-generation, the letter will seem a little familiar of the con at the present titent o. >> the stories were typical of their daily lives and a mix of complicated ties back home and communications that any kid may experience. ordinary work in the chamber and these extraordinary moments of witnessing history. now, the letters that we use to
find out more about eliot and birdie and what page was like then, they're really kind of a scattered shot approach to preserving on the part of eliot and birdie of their family members. some are from their mother and to mothers. some are from relatives and family friends. you know there is no letters from eliot back home. i feel leek he skated away kwuklkwu quickly. i think he did everything right. i know that can be kind of irritating. this is -- this envelope is typical of the one that we had. it is free signed by daniel banks. a massachusetts' member of congress and served as speaker of the house earlier in his career. >> dang, this thing is good.
okay, so the pillsbury family were not unfamiliar with washington or political life. this is from the earlier document of 1857 two years before eliot come to page. birdie's name sake who worked in washington. i have not figured out yet what uncle albert did. but i will. >> he wrote to the family and god -- uncle albert wrote with pompous advise and he manages to make a long description of how boys -- and let me tell you, the most common sports of the boys in washington of this season is
marvel play. >> without annoying the characters. many of them acquire great -- i do not wish you to understand me to mean that the boys in washington are any smarter than those in chelsea, massachusetts. they are acquired great perfection and continuous practice as everyone those in obtaining to a single project for a series of time. i don't like uncle albert. at the time he wrote that letter, eliot was 10 and bernie was 8. around that time, bernie sat for a photograph with his mother, elizabeth pillsbury at the time. he used this book and also is our collection now.
chelsea, massachusetts, building wooden ships for the most part. just outside of boston. the next year, his father john and the assurance agent died. the death of the breadwinner throws in a complete disera. elizabeth had to rely on the kindness of strangers and friends to help provide for her. one thing she did was contact old friends and those friends did assist them by finding them respectf respectable work. she was looking for work for eliot. this was an 1859 letter written soon after her husband dies. william shuler writes this letter in response to a visit from her or as he calls her
betty blue eyes. she informed him of her husband's death and asked for help. shuler was the general in massachusetts, he promised to do, do what lies in me to obtain in the position that you ask for him. that will means she was asking specifically for r a house page post. he says he hopes to be in washington as court of the next house. and, there are several places in the gift of the clerk, he should have one of them and the best one, too. he asked her if he can take her for a drive. however, that work out for betty blue eyes and eliot. this is showing a little later in his life when he's out of the naval academy, he's probably about 20 year. >> he was 30 when he traveled to washington. you can see what sort of looked like around 1863.
it was a tough journey, and he had to make it on his own. you had to go through cities and cross rivers. bernie describes the trip from dc. you have stage crowe across the city to catch the train to baltimore and when you got to baltimore, the train cars gotten drawn across the city by mules and then you are in a train again getting down to dc. once eliot and bernie got down there, they both -- the commondor. i think he wanted to move away from the on clifts of living in somebody's house and living on his own. he lives across ford's theater
in 1865. so even if eliot is trying to explore the city and learning his new jobs and this is what it looked like at the time. works happening in the capitol all the time and letters from home started to arrive. they're not unfamiliar to anyone of a page of alumnis. she says i am sorry you were not particular in your writing. the spelling was good but the letter was brief and written bad d ly. >> she writes him again expressing his anxiety of eating habits and did he eat enough or getting enough food. she dramatically says she wishes she could be with all her children while she still lives. so you can see what maybe eliot
go go goes through there. other letters showing how -- so these jobs were something that were the power of someone to grant them to help the family. there was definitely an expectation will be of service to those folks back at home. in 1861, henry -- there are multiple letters like that with eliot and birdie and using people to know and sometimes they'll ask to have the local member to support. the panl is kpengtge is expecte express that whether it is useful for or not. >> and sometimes it is much smaller like asking for copies of speeches or things like that. there were not many tourists coming to town.
>> so now we are back to birdie because eliot in 1962 is old enough to have a different job. he gets to go to the capitol of the navy. at the time, about a dozen pages in the house, they station themselves on the steps. when the member -- later on, later in life after a buzzer system is introduced in the house of chamber, birdie thinks that's just terrible and he does not get to know the members as well if they are buzzing instead of clapping. here is birdie's letter home. he writes home to mom a lot more. this was just after his 12th birthday and you can see some sort of context of what life was like there. the war had begun and the door keeper told him, he better not come up to the capitol to the
night sessions. soldiers are everywhere and they are in battle and nighttime in the city was no time for a kid to be out according to the door keeper aparticipaparently. birdie talks about the possibility of being a page again. he treats it as a job and two local members who were friends of his family. he turns to other more urgent matters, he says i stand a pretty good chance being paged next season, don't you think. then he tells his mother what he's having for lunch. he talks about food a lot. so i mean one of my favorite things of this endeavor trying to look at different writing. their penmanship is not that good. they really love -- some of
their experience is -- he's obsessed of what he had about dinner and breakfast and how much he likes his lunchbox. bernie is a page winner, too. keep in mind that at world cup point he confesses that he and his fellows don't like the congressman. because of his role of watchdog of the treasury. he does not think they should get any pay. bernie's adventures en though he's not allowed out of the dark. they continued during the daytime. this will letter is a little later and it is one of my favorites. it describes albert's experience of senator mcdoogle. he was so drunk and riding horse back and he tumbled off. albert helps get the senator in to a hat. the senator says to him, you are
a good boy. i'm remember you. >> the senator is not insulted to be riding in the hack. he did not know what he's saying. after all that, he turns as you might when you are -- bernie did a lot of other experiences as every page can. their interactions with members and what they meant to them and little things that stick in their heads like senator mcdugle. he's being brave to all the pages. sometimes on purpose, congressman banks would drive the pages nuts by constructing them to go to clark's desk instead of the clerk's desk. someone would have to explain to them that he prefers the british
p pronunciation. they were kind about it even though the rumor got around that the two men were accused of doing the deeds themselves during a heated argument. now, birdie experienced sometimes move from the ridiculous to the sublime. >> in this letter on the right to his mother, he describes the chamber of the passes of the 1300 amendment. the vote was taken on the amendment of constitution this after noon. he describes the reaction and the gallery of people throwing up their hats in the air. i never saw such thunder of applause since i have been here. i need a blue pair of blue pants. he got blue pants actually, you will find out later he got more
pants. he although he mentions that in his letter. it has not survive in the house collection to be donated in the house. he talks about board important moechlts during his experience. living across forbes theater and he collected a lot of keepsakes. he had an autograph books for those of you who collected it. some of them you can see he pasted in. he fills it in with signature. sometimes he will get their signatures and he will send it to his sister as well. >> he got this autograph of president johnson. johnson gave him his photo and signed it in the back for him. he took the chair.
it has a lit up which is very handy. >> we are not sure where it is in thousand. after he left, eliot, rose to the rank of the navy, he became an admiral. birdie did not stand in public service, he went back home to care for his mother. he's as good boy. he works for a local lum berg dealer and became their bookkeeper. it was 30 years before he ever darken the doors of the house again. in this cash of letters and autographed books and odd photos and school books and things like that. this popped out much later. we were able to identify it through letters and newspaper articles.
this was his first visit to dc since his page days three decades earlier. we know at the time, the person he was most anxious to see was a library messenger from the 1860s. a kid who have been working not as a page but as his library mes season j messenger, william smith. he's one of the highest ranking of african-american individual in government of the reconstruction period. they got together. it is koiind of doing it for us. i hope that none of you all waited 30 years to return to the capitol. i also hope that even more on behalf of the house collection that if you have artifacts, too. and amazing things like this from a different generation of
pages, you won't wait to approach it and if they too could be apart of the nation's collection. thanks so much. [ applause ] hello, i am kate scotty. i am delighted to be here with all of you. today's story is well, it is a story that we have been researching for a three or four years in the senate office. i started in the office in 2010. we recently sort of wrapped this story up in a bow and that's what i am going to present to you. it is a story of senate trailblazers. it starts with a question. should girls be allowed to serve as senate pages? that surprisingly simple question sparked a protracted
and contentious debate in 1971. today, i am going to tell the story of how three young women and their senate sponsors brought about the downfall of a lingering senate tradition. oh, it is sensitive. okay, beare with me. >> a century and a half earlier, we believe in the early 1830s. senator daniel weubbe sister appointed the first senate page. a boy by the name of graft hamilton, he was 9-year-old. he was the grandson of the senate sergeant at arms. soon after one year after, the senate appointed its second page. a 12-year-old boy and these two young boys began the tradition much like the house and matt.
in that pae page started as a f step. and bassett who was well known to students of 19 centuries, senate folklore ended up serving his whole life in the senate. he died and while still a member of the senate staff. >> in the 19 century, senate boise were often orphans or children or widows mother who live here on capitol hill. their jobs kept them auch toff streets and out of levels. the page grew older and later a dormitory was built and participants arrive from all over the country to participate in this. as late as 1971, every single
senate page appointment, every single page rather had been a boy. no senate rule explicitly forbid of the practice of pages. it persists well in the 20s. some senators began to question this boy's tradition. that force ben sergeant joseph duke to defend the practice of the letter. while i know of no specific policies or rules which says "there shall not be any girls' pages." i doubt such an innovation would be wise. the type of work performed by pages, duke explains much walking and even running in times. >> his opinion, such activity would proclude the employment,
those were his words. finally, in 1970, three senators took a bull step. illinois senator charles percy, raised to the question with his republican caucus. could he appoint a female page? the caucus responded there is no pr prohibiti prohibition. >> hundreds of young women applied including the 16-year-old who seated right up here in the front row. she got the job. [ applause ] when she reported for duty, the new senate, robert dunfe refused
to -- rules committee chairman of north carolina seemed disinclined to consider the issue. to text any significant enthusiasm in the senate for admitting girl pages. he explains to a washington post reporter. witho without being prude dish - dish -- dunfe's refusal putting ellen mcconnell in a bind. there would be only a short delay. her family helped move her out here in washington where she settled in a near by boarding house for professional woman.
h she could neither enroll in page school nor could show work as a page. so senator percy found a temporary solution. he placed ellen os his office payro payroll. new york senator, jacob chavez." her name was paulettedessell. here parents were native new yorkers. since joining the senate, senatsenat senator javits made two historic stories. javit appointed lawrence bradford jr. to serves as his
page. >> contemporary accounts in 1965 identify bradford as the first black congressional pablack member. >> other office identified one other black members. she was appointed by 1869 by the governor in massachusetts. javitz selecting john lopez of brooklyn to be the first puerto rican page. 1970s, javits decided the time has come to make a third development. >> desel was eager to sworn in and begin her service. >> she was able to continue and attend school.
senator fred harris of oklahoma had also selected a female page for poappointments. julie price of bartlesville. price has dreamed of serving as a conservative page since first reading her first page program in her eighth grade civic books. in middle school, she get began to mail letters to ask for them an appointment. we don't take girl pages. price thought girl could do anything boys could do. she was determined to challenge that voice. she drafted a petition calling for congress to appoint girl
pages and went around her neighborhood securing support. after collecting hundreds of signatures, she thought that was a lot. she brought that petition to a flight out with her. she and friends presented copies of that petition of hundreds of signatures of the congressional delegation. >> at first nothing happened, years later, while she was a junior in high school, price received a call. senator harris is thinking about appointing the girl page, would you be interested? >> she should. >> a swearing in ceremony that never took place. she returns to oklahoma and return returns in her studies and waiting for the senate rule committee to move forward or not. the committee kept the issue
bottled up in the last few months. so the rule committee opened hearings testifying on behalf of the young women they wished to sponsor. they reminded the panel of the passage of the 1964 civil rights act, which prohibited gender discrimination in the workplace. do we want to tell american people, the american people that equality is sacred everywhere but on the senate floor? they asked. allowing girls to serve as pages was a question of fundamental human fairness, argued senator javitz. senator harris submitted a letter of support. i feel that in accepting girl pages to serve in the u.s. senate, he explained, we would be taking an important symbolic step. the senate should end discriminatory hiring practices
based on sex alone, he urged, to serve as an example for employers at all levels of american industry. the committee explored other issues of concern, such as -- how would the senate assure the safety of the girls when they left the capitol grounds. where would the girls live? how would they get to and from the capitol safely and what kind of clothing would they wear? for the pages awaiting appointment, this debate seemed ridiculous. in an open letter to members of the senate and impatient and rather iran pertinent paulette wrote the most tragic note in all of this debate is the idea merely because i am a girl you would deny me the privilege to learn at close range about a most important branch of government. the bill's proponents noted that at a time when the nation's capital was experiencing a lot
of crime, page safety ought to be a consideration for girls as well as boys. senator howard cannon of nevada presided over the hearings. he opposed the appointment of female pages. cannon wondered, if this tradition was breached what next? would we have women in his words taking care of the capitol grounds and plumbing and things of that sort? tradition is something that means a great deal to those of us who are privileged to serve in the u.s. senate. percy replied. but there comes a time when it is apparent we should break with certain senate tradition. nearly two months later, the rules committee finally approved a resolution allowing for the appointment of female pages. on may 13, 1971, senator javitz introduced a resolution in the, on the floor of the senate chamber. our resolution, our original resolution, would simply have permed females to be pages, he explained.
the rules committee, however, had revised the original proposal. the new resolution required senators who wished to appoint girl pages to submit a letter to the sergeant-at-arms assuming full responsibility for the safety, well-being and strict supervision of the female page. a responsibility which had never been required for boy page appointments. javitz conceded that though the new proposal was not perfect, he would vote in favor of it. with the house and senate poised to reorganize the page system, which included the construction of a senate page dormitory, javitz explained, the interim character of this arrangement enables us in good conscience to let the revised resolution go through. senator harris echoed javitz statement putting his feelings for the objectionable features of the proposed resolution aside so that julie price, in his words, a truly outstanding
american girl, can be sworn in as a senate page. opponents to the measure voiced their concerns but the bill's promotes prevailed and on may 13, 1971, the senate agreed to end the boys'-only tradition, approving res 112 by voice vote. we have no record of how they voted that day. all right. so on to the swearing in. oh -- oh -- darn. well, it's -- let's see. can i go back? probably not. yes. thank you. the next day, may 14, 1971, ellen mcconnell and paulette desell followed by julie price on the 17th blazed the trail to be sworn in as the senate's first female pages. there will be shuttering in the cloakrooms, predicted hugh scott of pennsylvania. and he was half right.
the republican cloakroom welcomed the young women, but it would be another six months before the democrats allowed their female pages to enter their cloakroom and i can go into that at a later time, but i want to end really quick with a little personal story here. a story about why the senate historical office knows this story today, and it actually starts with a phone call. i started, i began in the historical office in 2010 and we had at that time a little story, a very short story, maybe 150 words on the website about the swearing in of the first female pages and it included a photo you see up here on the right. the swearing in of paulette and ellen. so i received a phone call in the fall of 2012. and it was julie price calling, senator harris' page. she said you know, i've read
that, that paragraph on the website, and, she said very politely, but firmly, it's wrong. or at least it's only partially right, because you left out my piece of the story. i was sworn in three days later because it was a weekend and i had to fly from oklahoma to washington, d.c. i just didn't happen to be in the city, but my piece of the story, well, it counts, and i think it should be included on the senate website, and i said, well, we think so, too, and we'd love to update the story, but to get the full story we would sure love to talk with you. would you consider doing an oral history with us? she said, graciously, she would. so she came down from pennsylvania, one interview led to another. i interviewed julie and then ellen and then i interviewed paulette, and those three accounts we have packaged together, and you can find those three oral histories on the senate website with dozens of other oral histories that we've taken with senators and longtime senate staff. the reason i bring this up is because those oral histories really helped us figure out what was going on here behind the scenes.
the story is cooler than they're being sworn in, even the rules committees hearings but about how these young women petitioned in some ways, the members to really start this process and then hung in through moments of frustration to finally be sworn in, really months after this whole thing started. and i encourage you to go read those stories, if you haven't already, because they -- those three interviews in particular talk about breaking the page program's gender barrier. they discuss the long waiting period following their appointment until their official swearing in. the media attention that they received. some of it unwanted. i noted in particular that the media attention, once they're sworn in and they start, they're visible on the senate floor. a lot of talk about what the page girls are wearing. there is a lot of talk about, you know, is this too much work for them, are they -- they ask them, are your feet tired?
do you need to sit down? i guess i shouldn't be surprised by the sexist language, but it is there. they talk about the way that the boy pages and the senators received them. a couple of them note there were a few members, some southern members who were not too pleased that the girl pages were there, but most of them were gracious and welcomed them despite the fact they didn't agree with the admission of female pages. they discussed the members and staff who they got to know, like many of you, as well as some of the political and policy debates of the era, including a great debate in the senate over the -- the equal rights amendment. senator sam irvin, one of the women remembers senator sam irvin, a story by paulette, senator sam irvin pointing to one of the girl pages on the steps and saying, do you want one of these frail things going to war? you shouldn't be considering the equal rights amendment.
it reflected on how their senate experiences -- their experiences as pages shaped their professional lives. and more importantly, their interviews as do all the interviews that we try and collect in the historical office, they try and tell us something about the institution in the particular era that we're gathering information about. in this case, it is the senate as an institution in the 1970s, and the way that some of its male members resisted change, even the change of bringing in some female pages. i encourage you, if you haven't already, to take a look at the senate website, look through our list of oral history interviews. you'll find we have got dozens of things there that might be of interest to you and probably many things there that mention the time period that you served in the u.s. senate or the u.s. house and might want to reflect again upon some of the things that were going on during that time. so i thank you for your time.
[ applause ] >> we're right up against time for the documentary. but i'm sure jerry will give us one or two minutes for questions if anyone has questions about the presentations or anything about the office's work. we answered everything. fantastic. great. thank you very much. >> well, thank you, all three of you. let's have a proper round of applause for matt and farar and kate. just a couple of comments. and kate, first, i want to thank you for that presentation. ellen is here. you called her out earlier. i will tell you a story, reason i'm a page is because that
picture of the three women sitting down there in 1971, my mother saw that in the los angeles times, and cut it out and put it on my desk and said this is something you may be interested in. and, of course, applied and lo and behold, couple of months later, i'm going to school with all three of them. i consider all three of them my best friends. ellen is -- all three were the first pages. ellen was the woman who fought the fight. so all you female pages there, this is the person you thank, right here, right now, thank you, ellen. [ applause ] i want to just re-emphasize what farar said. if you have that memorabilia, please, when it is time, when the right time is there, please call us, call her, we'll review it -- refer you to her. it belongs here first. if you haven't had a chance, please, in the visitor center,
the history displays, the house and the senate, absolutely incredible. these things are -- you can spend -- those of you who worked here like -- you could spend days here going through those exhibits. and i'm going to put in a little push for a little bigger page presence soon. but that's another story. and, matt, thank you. the presentation of the history of the first african-american page, you're all going to see -- a lot of the panelists, these three and earlier panel, you're going to see in this documentary that we're going to show you in a few minutes, a lot of -- some of the same stories, some brought in. i will say that just a little bit of credit, the reason what julie called you, julie price called you, she interviewed for the documentary and she kept saying, what they have is wrong. i said, call them. and she did. so very good. a round of applause for these three here. [ applause ] we do have -- thank you, all.
american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in primetime to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country, to hear lectures by top history professors, american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives, reel america, revealing the 20th century through archival films and newsreels. the civil war, where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies, to learn about their politics, policies and legacies. all this month in primetime and every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. in a moment, we'll have more from our american history tv
programs that anormally seen weekends on c-span3. coming up, historian and author david mccullough receives the u.s. capital historical society's freedom award. that's followed by a look at the congressional papers collection. and then the history of organized crime in the south during the 1950s. ♪ 100 years ago, president woodrow wilson signed the bill creating the national parks service, and thursday we look back on the past century of these caretakers of america's natural and historic treasures beginning at 10:00 eastern and throughout the day, we take you to national park service sites across the country as recorded by c-span. at 7:00 p.m. eastern, we're live from the national parks services most visited historic home, arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial at arlington
national cemetery. join us with your phone calls as we talk with robert stanton, former national park service director, and brandon buys, the former arlington house site manager who will oversee the upcoming year long restoration of the mansion, slave quarters and grounds. thursday, live from arlington house at 7:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. coming up next, author and historian david mccullough receives the u.s. capitol historical society freedom award and delivers remarks. congressional leaders pay tribute to mr. mccullough's achievements including two pulitzer prizes and two national book awards. this event took place in stat airy hall of the u.s. capitol and runs about an hour. >> good