February 2014 Lectures Announced: Richard Chenoweth & Matthew Wasniewski

British troops set fire to the House Chamber in 1814. Library of Congress

British troops set fire to the House Chamber in 1814. Library of Congress

Two public lectures are planned for February 19 and 26, 2014. At noon on Wednesday, February 19, in Ketchum Hall in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Building at 200 Maryland Avenue, N.E., architect and designer Richard Chenoweth will present his forensic reconstruction of the Old Hall of the House of Representatives before the burning of the Capitol in 1814. Chenoweth observes that “No topographical image exists; and no single document can synthesize the known facts about the room. I was immediately drawn to this enigma of history. The fact that the Capitol’s early masterpieces were lost to the fog of time was too much of a mystery to be left unexamined. I’ve recreated the chamber as a digital model based on the handful of design drawings at the Library of Congress, existing building fabric in the Capitol’s vestibules and hundreds of letters between the principals.” Chenoweth’s lecture will be the first in a series of lectures in 2014 on topics relating to the Capitol, Congress, and the War of 1812.
Portrait of Congressman William L. Dawson of Illinois by Robert Bruce Williams. Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

Portrait of Congressman William L. Dawson of Illinois by Robert Bruce Williams. Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives

The second lecture in February is scheduled for noon, Wednesday, February 26 and will observe African American History Month. The Illinois State Society of Washington, DC, and the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives will join the Society as hosts for the event. The Historian of the House of Representatives, Matthew Wasniewski, will present a lecture on the congressional career of Congressman William Dawson, who represented Illinois First Congressional District in Chicago for more than 27 years between 1943 and 1970. In 1949 Dawson became chairman of the Expenditures in the Executive Departments Committee (renamed Government Operations in 1952), the first African American to chair a standing committee. He remained chair of the committee until 1970 with the single exception of the 83rd Congress (1953-55) when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives. The lecture will be held at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Jefferson Room of the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC.

 

Both events are free and open to the public. Preregistration is recommended.