Congress of the United States


Date of this Version


Document Type



109th Congress, 1st Session, Senate Document 109-2


US govt work


This volume is the first comprehensive publication of the almost one thousand prints in the holdings of the United States Senate. The collection represents a 30-year effort to document graphically the 19th and early 20th century history of the Senate, the Capitol, and American political history. The diverse illustrations range from inauguration ceremonies and impeachment trials to senatorial portraits and political cartoons. Represented in the Senate's graphic art collection are some of the most notable artists who worked in the printmaking medium: Augustus Kallner, Rembrandt Peale, Alexander Hay Ritchie, Thomas Nast, and Joseph Keppler. While visually engaging, these prints also are important primary historical records. By carefully scrutinizing a print, in the same way a historian might analyze a journal or diary, one can extract the meaning of the artist and decode the historical subtext. Often, the elements omitted by the artist in an image are just as important as those that are included. As a research tool, the graphic art collection has been invaluable to historians and scholars for many years. This publication seeks to broaden the appeal of the collection by making the information available to a wider audience. Essays by Senate Curator Diane K. Skvarla and Associate Senate Historian Donald A. Ritchie provide an overview of the collection, with selected prints highlighted throughout the book. This is the second volume dedicated to the Senate's art and historic collections. In 2002 the Senate published the United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art, presenting the 160 paintings and sculptures in the Senate's fine art collection.