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Lewes Historical Society to Host Three Historians Emeriti of Congress at October 20 Program: Discussion to Look at Role of Congress

Friday, October 20

3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Location Description
Margaret H. Rollins Community Center Lewes History Museum

The Lewes Historical Society will host Dick Baker, Don Ritchie, and Ray Smock Friday October 20 at 7:00 PM at the Lewes History Museum at the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center. The three historians - Baker and Ritchie each served as historian of the U.S. Senate and Smock as historian of the U.S. House of Representatives - will be led in a moderated discussion by former Secretary of the U.S. Senate, W. Joseph Stewart, chairman of the Greater Lewes Foundation. The panel will examine the critical role Congress has played and continues to have in our Constitutional government as well as the context in which it functions.

Dick Baker, Historian Emeritus of the U.SSenate, served as director of the Senate Historical Office from 1975 to 2009.  A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he served in the U.SArmy, earned masters’ degrees from Michigan State University and Columbia University, and a PhD in history from the University of Maryland.  In 1975, he was responsible for staffing and setting priorities for the newly created historical office.  To accomplish this, he consulted with Senate party leaders, current and former senators and Senate staff, academic and government historians, and countless librarians and archivists.  He served as president of the Society for History in the Federal Government and was an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Scholar.  His most recent book, co-authored with former Time magazine chief congressional correspondent Neil MacNeil, is The American Senate: An Insider’s History

Don Ritchie, Historian Emeritus of the U. S. Senate, served in the Senate Historical Office from 1976 to 2015.  A graduate of the City College of New York, he earned a PhD in history from the University of Maryland, and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.  At the Senate he did research and reference for senators, staff, and the media, conducted an oral history program, and prepared for publication such previously closed documents as the closed-door hearings conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy.  He served as president of the Oral History Association and on the council of the American Historical Association.  His books include The U.S. Congress: A Very Short IntroductionPress Gallery: Congress and the Washington CorrespondentsElecting FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932; and Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide.

 Ray Smock has been the Director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV since 2002.  He was the first official Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives serving from 1983 to 1995A graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, he received his PhD in American history from the University of Maryland. He was the chief planner for the House of Representatives for the 200th anniversaries of Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. He was a leading historical consultant to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia andsenior historical adviser to Boston Public Television’s 26 part series A Biography of America. His books, as editor and/or author, include The Booker T. Washington Papers (14 vols.); Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim CrowLandmark Documents on the U. S. Congress; Congress Investigates: A Critical and Documentary History; and Masters of the House: Congressional Leadership over Two Centuries. He is past president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, the Society for History in the Federal Government, and the Association for Documentary Editing.

The program is free and open to the public. The Margaret H. Rollins Community Center is located at 101 Adams Avenue, the corner of Adams Avenue and Kings Highway, in Lewes. For more information about the program or to find out more about The Lewes Historical Society, please call 302-645-7670 or visit

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