Originally published 07/31/2013
Ray Smock was Historian of the U. S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1995. Lindy Boggs died this past week at the age of 97. She was my mentor and my dear friend during the years I served as historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and since that time. No one influenced me more and taught me more about the ways of the House and national politics than did Lindy. She literally took me under her wing and welcomed me into her large extended family on the Hill and throughout Washington and even in New Orleans, where I visited her in her Bourbon Street home on several occasions.I had no political connections nor was I the slightest part of Washington society when I got the job as House Historian. I knew nothing of how the institution of the House worked from the inside. I knew about Congress from the news and from textbooks. Lindy opened up that world to me from the inside. She knew I needed this to complete my education if I was to be able to do my job to its fullest extent.She was chairwoman of the House Bicentenary Commission, a special committee appointed by Speaker Tip O’Neill to oversee the 200th anniversary of Congress. My job was to plan for that bicentennial and report to the committee, one of the few in Congress to have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans.