The House of Representatives community is mourning one of its own today. Dr. Robert V. Remini, who served as House historian and wrote the definitive history of the institution, passed away late last week at the age of 91.
The Associated Press reported earlier today on Dr. Remini’s passing, noting that he was the first chairman of the history department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and “was appointed as official historian for the House by then-Rep. Dennis Hastert, serving in the post from 2005 to 2010.” “By the time he retired in 2010,” Roll Call added, “Remini had brought on a staff of five and built an operation that would provide lasting resources to the congressional community.”
Prior to that appointment, the Librarian of Congress commissioned Dr. Remini to write what would be the first comprehensive history of the U.S. House of Representatives. Published in 2006, The House set out to portray – in Dr. Remini’s words – how the institution “evolved from a fragile union of a handful of states in 1789 into the towering edifice for democracy and liberty that it is today.” Dr. Remini’s work, which earned him a number of awards, has essentially become required reading for current and aspiring lawmakers.
Speaker Boehner offered the following brief tribute to Dr. Remini:
“Robert Remini literally wrote the book on the House, bringing to life its stories and personalities in a way that no one had before. More than that, he brought the people closer to their House, and left proof that our founders succeeded in making a legislative body that would reflect the will and the spirit of the people. He was a fine scholar and a good man. We are forever in Dr. Remini’s debt, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers.”