Researchers interested in women who have served in the U.S. Congress will find material scattered throughout many collections.
Two collections in particular, however, though rather limited in scope, feature the activities, history, and thoughts of some
of these women.
U. S. House of Representatives Floor Debates
Unedited audio and video of the U.S. House of Representatives floor debates from February 1979 through December 1985 offer a glimpse into congressional activity (after January 1986 the
proceedings are on video). Congresswomen who served during this time, such as Geraldine Ferraro (b. 1935), Barbara Mikulski
(b. 1936), and Mary Rose Oakar (b. 1940) are heard in action in these debates. Issues relating to women during this time include
legislation on the use of funds for abortions, the Domestic Violence Prevention Program, and a bill to ensure that infant
formulas contain proper nutrients. This collection is searchable in SONIC by date only, so it is necessary to consult the
Congressional Record indexes (see General Collections section Congressional Documents) to locate subjects, names, and dates of interest.
Association of Former Members of Congress Oral History Collection
Representative Martha Griffiths. Warren K. Leffler, photographer. 1970. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-U9-23069-20 (b&w film neg.).
In the 1970s an organization called the Association of Former Members of Congress, Inc., began to record oral histories of
individuals who served in Congress. The Association of Former Members of Congress Oral History Collection counts ten women among its subjects and includes not only the taped interviews but transcripts of the interviews, which reside
in the Manuscript Division and on
microform (Microfiche 82/100 MicRR). Martha Griffiths (b. 1912) (RYA 1064-1073), who was instrumental in getting the Equal
Rights Amendment through Congress in 1972, and Edith Green (1910-1987) [picture] (RYA 1244-1251), who wrote the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and was called by Senator Mark Hatfield “the most powerful woman ever
to serve in Congress,” were both interviewed for this project. This collection is accessible by name and date through SONIC.