Wednesday, May 10, 2017

7 Questions With Erin Hromada, Office of the House Historian

Erin Hromada has worked in the United States House of Representatives for eighteen years.  Currently, she is director of the Office of the House Historian, U.S. House of Representatives.  She has an undergraduate degree in history from what is now Meryhurst University in Erie, PA.  She also earned an MA in history and a MLS from the University of Maryland.  The Office website is

1.  How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
I realized that history was my favorite subject in 3rd grade.  At that point it was more Social Studies oriented, but I loved learning about different cultures and the world.  After reading Johnny Tremain in 7th grade, I was hooked on the Revolutionary War and the Constitution.  I still have my high school copy of the Federalist Papers.

2. What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
Outside of work, I am always talking about history.  Whether it is talking to my three young sons or my neighbors, history is never really in the past. 

3.  How is/How was history a part of your professional life/career?
I have what I would call my dream job.  Every day I get to go to work to preserve the institutional history of U.S. House of Representatives.

4. Why is studying/knowing history important?
To be a good citizen, you need to know the history of your country.  This allows you to answer the questions about how we got there and we should be going.  Knowledge is power.

5. What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
I still enjoy the Colonial Era of U.S. History.  The founding fathers stood up for what they believed in and then created a government. 

6. What is the origin and mission of the Office of the House Historian?
Our office existed off and on since the bicentennial.  The Historian’s Office works with the Office of Art and Archives.  Together, the offices preserve, collect, and interpret the heritage of the U.S. House, serving as the institution’s memory and a resource for Members, staff, and the general public.  Our website is: and our Twitter is @USHouseHistory .

7. What are some of your favorite stories or little known facts about the House of Representatives?
I love the quirky stories about the House.  The section on Historical Highlights on our website has been baby for a number of years.  Some of my favorite stories are about Former Speaker Joe Cannon.  I have also authored a blog post titled, “We Can't Make This Stuff Upand “We Can't Make This Stuff Up Either".

I also love to talk about Jeannette Rankin of Montana. She is the first woman to serve in Congress.  This year is the Centennial of her service.  What makes Rankin even more interesting is the fact that she was elected before women had the right to vote nationally.