2022 Annual Report

Great news! Our 2022 Annual Report is now available on our website. We invite you to view our Annual Report to learn more about what we accomplished last year.

View our 2022 Annual Report

How America Tried to Save

the Jews From the Holocaust

(Webinar) Thursday, Jan. 26, from 12-1 pm ET

The Holocaust is the greatest crime in world history. But one U.S. agency fought tirelessly to save the Jews from Nazi terrorism. On January 26, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society will host a special webinar to recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day. During our event, we will share the remarkable—yet largely unknown—story of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s War Refugee Board. Our featured speaker to lead this important conversation is Holocaust historian, Dr. Rebecca Erbelding, who authored the subject’s authoritative history, Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe.

According to Dr. Erbelding, the War Refugee Board represents, “the only time in American history that the U.S. government founded a government agency to save the lives of non-Americans being murdered by a wartime enemy.” We will therefore discuss the extent to which U.S. leaders knew that the Holocaust was happening, the heroic response of the War Refugee Board, and yet, why its first director believed the Board’s efforts were “little and late” compared to the systematic murder of six million Jewish people and millions of others. 

Finally, with antisemitism again on the rise, we’ll discuss which lessons from America’s response to the Holocaust can still be learned from today.


Dr. Erbelding is an historian, educator, curator, and archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. She recently served as an historical advisor and on-camera expert in Ken Burns’ documentary, “The U.S. and the Holocaust.” As part of her work, she's given presentations on Anne Frank, Holocaust-era diaries, U.S. immigration policy during the 1930s, as well as the “Hoecker album,” which depicts Nazi life at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Her book on the War Refugee Board won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for Writing Based on Archival Material.

Register Here!

Original Sin: Slavery, Abolition,

and America's Moral Awakening

**New Date**

(Webinar) Thursday, Feb. 16,  from 12-1 pm ET

Slavery is America's original sin. And yet, as Frederick Douglass argued, “Abolish slavery tomorrow, and not a sentence or syllable of the Constitution need be altered.” On Feb. 16, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society continues our series on the Constitution with a study of the 13th Amendment: its battle for, impact of, and legacy today. Our featured guest to lead this still important conversation, is award-winning Professor of U.S. History and Law at Duke University, Dr. Thavolia Glymph, an elected Executive Board Member of the Society of American Historians.

During our event, we will explore the economic impact of slavery, both as a Southern institution, but also as a driver of Northern manufacturing; and discuss Lincoln's views on the constitutionality of slavery, the legal basis for the Emancipation Proclamation, and why the 13th Amendment was still necessary even after Lincoln “freed the slaves.” Finally, we will detail the immeasurable impact of the 13th Amendment on African Americans and our society, and why we still grapple with the history of slavery in a nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The Society's theme for 2023 is Crises & Heroes: How Our Nation Has Long Endured. On February 16, we will highlight the role that the 13th Amendment played in saving such a nation.

Dr. Glymph is Associate Chair of the Duke University Department of History and specializes in southern and nineteenth-century social history. Her recent book, The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation, won the 2021 Beveridge Award as the best English-language book on American history. Her first book, Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household won the 2009 Philip Taft Labor History Book Award. Dr. Glymph is a past President of the Southern Historical Association and a current elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Board of Directors of the Gettysburg Foundation.

Register Here!

Capitol Kids: "Constitution Translated for Kids"

(Webinar) Wednesday Jan. 25, from 12-1 pm ET

On Wednesday, January 25, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society continues our "Capitol Kids" series with Cathy Travis, the author of the award-winning educational book, Constitution Translated for Kids: a sentence-by-sentence, article-by-article explanation of the Constitution. The first half of the book features the original wording of our government's founding document in one column, with a simple language translation on the right. For example, part of Article I Section 9 includes the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which is explained, "People who are arrested and put in jail have the right to make the government tell them why they were put in jail."

Meanwhile, the second half of the book describes how the Constitution has evolved, defines the branches of government, gives details about each amendment, and even includes a glossary. Travis' latest edition also gives updates on proposed amendments and provides historical context & student exercises that approximate the decisions made by the Constitution's authors.

Constitution Translated for Kids was the winner of the 2011 Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award for Education (Government and Politics), the “Mom’s Choice Award,” and a “Best Books Award.” It is a simple, widely acclaimed, non-ideological translation of the entire U.S. Constitution, side-by-side with the original 1787 text. Teachers continue to hail the accompanying free Teacher’s Guide as an extraordinary resource to teach the Constitution to all ages.

Register Here!

Our Freedom Award Ceremony Honoring

Capitol & DC Metro Police on C-SPAN

Video Available!

The Society recently awarded our 2022 Freedom Award to the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police who work tirelessly each day, to protect Congress, the capital, and the democracy they represent. C-SPAN 2 aired the ceremony on Jan. 7, which featured remarks by Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger and D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III, who accepted the Freedom Award on behalf of Washington’s law enforcement.

They were presented the Award by 2021 Freedom Award recipients, U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), each of whom also spoke. Last year, the Society honored them as 2020 presidential election tellers who worked in a bipartisan manner to oversee the certification of a free and fair election. Finally, our event featured Society President, Jane L. Campbell, who shared a brief history of the Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police.

The Freedom Award is presented annually to individuals who exhibit extraordinary dedication to freedom, democracy, and representative government. 

Watch Video Here

U.S. Capitol Historical Society in the News!

BBC: "Why this congressman is using

Superman comic for swearing-in"

From the BBC:

Incoming US congressman Robert Garcia will be sworn in using the US Constitution - and a Superman comic.

In a tweet on Tuesday, he said it is one of three items he will use that "mean a lot to me personally".

The other two are a photo of his parents, who he said were lost to Covid-19, and his citizenship certificate.


Although using the Superman comic may be a bit unorthodox when taking the oath of office, technically it's not illegal, per Article VI of the US Constitution. The Article states, in part, that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States".

As a result, "there is no required text upon which an incoming officeholder must take their oath", said Jane Campbell, president of the United States Capitol Historical Society.

Throughout history, Ms. Campbell said, newly elected members of Congress have used different texts, including Hebrew Scripture, Jewish religious texts, copies of the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu sacred text).

In 2007, Democrat Keith Ellison from Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, took the oath using a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Read Full Article Here!

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