On October 20, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the appointment of Dr. Matthew Wasniewski as the new Historian of the House of Representatives. Dr. Wasniewski, who currently serves as the historian in the House Clerk’s Office of History and Preservation, received the unanimous recommendation of the House Historian Search Committee appointed by Speaker Pelosi with the input of House Republican Leader John Boehner who concurred on the appointment.
The appointment of Dr. Wasniewski follows the retirement of Dr. Robert Remini as Historian earlier this year after serving for five years. Speaker Pelosi decided at that time to have a panel of distinguished historians conduct an impartial and professional search for the replacement, rather than rely simply on a Speaker appointment, as House rules permit.
“Dr. Wasniewski brings enormous experience and energy to the job of House Historian, Pelosi said. “His knowledge of congressional history, and his familiarity with cutting edge research and archival techniques make him the perfect candidate for this position. I want to thank Leader Boehner for working cooperatively throughout the appointment process, and supporting the work of the non-partisan, independent Search Committee.”
House Republican Leader Boehner said: “I’d like to thank the Speaker for working in a collaborative way throughout this process. Dr. Wasniewski’s interest in the history of the federal government, and his long-time association with the House, make him an excellent choice who will continue to find innovative ways to not only help the public be better engaged with their House, but to help Members better perform their duties through an understanding of the history of the institution”.
The members of the search committee included:
- Dr. Richard D. Brown, chair: Board of Trustees Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Connecticut
- Dr. Allen Guelzo, Professor of History, Gettysburg College
- Dr. Trudy Huskamp Peterson, former Acting Archivist of the United States
- Dr. Donald Spivey, Professor of History, University of Miami
- Dr. Julian Zelizer, Professor of History, Princeton University
The Search Committee also recommended the consolidation of the existing Office of the Historian with the Office of History and Preservation, which is located in the office of the House Clerk, Lorraine Miller. Speaker Pelosi had asked the Committee to consider the consolidation of the two offices in order to reduce duplication, improve efficiency, and cut costs.