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Facts & Milestones

First Meetings

Session: New York City, March 4, 1789

Quorum for business: April 6, 1789

Meeting in Philadelphia: December 6, 1790

Meeting in Washington, DC: November 17, 1800

Meeting in current chamber: January 4, 1859

Session open to the public: February 20, 1794


Firsts Among Members:

First senators elected: Robert Morris (PA) and William Maclay (PA), September 30, 1788.

First former senator to be elected president: James Monroe (VA), November 1816.

First incumbent senator to be elected president: Warren Harding (OH), November 2, 1920.

First former president to be elected senator: Andrew Johnson (TN), March 4, 1875.

First woman senator: Rebecca Felton (D-GA) was appointed to the Senate, and took the oath of office on November 21, 1922.

First woman elected: Hattie Caraway (D-AR), January 12, 1932.

First "First Lady" to be elected senator:  Hillary Clinton, still serving as First Lady of the United States, took the oath of office on January 3, 2001.

First African American: Hiram R. Revels (R-MS), took the oath of office on February 25, 1870. On January 5, 1993, Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) became the first African-American woman to take the oath as U.S. senator.

First (and only) father and son to serve in the Senate simultaneously:  Henry Dodge of Wisconsin served in the Senate from 1848 to 1857, and his son, Augustus Dodge of Iowa, served from 1855 to 1858.

First (and only) senator to represent three states in the U.S. Senate: James Shields represented Illinois from 1849 to 1855, Minnesota from 1858 to 1859, and Missouri in 1879.  

First senator to serve 30 years: Thomas Hart Benton (D-MO), 1821-1851.

First senator to chair a standing committee for 24 years: William Allison (R-IA), 1881-1893; 1896-1908 (Appropriations Committee).

First officially designated Democratic floor leader: Oscar Underwood (AL), 1920.

First officially designated Republican floor leader: Charles Curtis (KS), 1925.

First woman to chair a standing Senate committee: Hattie Caraway chaired the Committee on Enrolled Bills, 1933-1945.


First Events

First radio broadcast from chamber: March 4, 1929.

First television broadcast from chamber: December 19, 1974 (Vice President Nelson Rockefeller takes oath of office).

First regular television broadcast from chamber: C-Span began Senate coverage on June 2, 1986.

First cabinet nominee rejected by the Senate: Roger Taney (Secretary of the Treasury), June 24, 1834.

First Supreme Court nominee rejected by the Senate: John Rutledge, December 15, 1795.

First treaty rejected by full Senate: with Colombia regarding suppression of African slave trade, March 9, 1825.

First permanent Senate office building opened: March 5, 1909 (Russell Senate Office Building).


Record Holders

Longest-serving: Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), 47 years, 5.3 months (as of June 12, 2006).

Oldest: Strom Thurmond (R-SC) turned 100 years old on December 5, 2002, just a month before his retirement from the Senate.  

Youngest: John H. Eaton (TN), 28 years, 5 months (contrary to the Constitution's minimum age requirement of 30 years, he was sworn in on November 16, 1818).

Consecutive roll call votes cast: William Proxmire (D- WI), 10,252 between April 20, 1966 and October 18, 1988.

Longest chairship of a standing committee: William B. Allison chaired the Appropriations Committee for nearly 25 years.

Longest speech since 1900: Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC), filibustering the 1957 Civil Rights Act, spoke for 24 hours, 18 minutes.

Longest time a state represented by the same two senators: Strom Thurmond and Ernest Hollings represented the state of South Carolina for more than 36 years.

Most number of days in session per congress, since 1947: During the 81st Congress (1949-1951), the Senate was in session 389 days. In recent years, the record goes to the Senate of the 104th Congress (1995-1997), which stayed in session 343 days.



Historical information provided by the Senate Historical Office.

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Information about any senator, representative, vice president, or member of the Continental Congress.