Senate Historian

  • Donald Ritchie: The Senate's Expert on the Senate

    by Mariana Villa

    Part Two of a profile of the official historians of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. To read Part One, a profile of House Historian Matthew Wasniewski, click here.Shortly after the Watergate scandal that shook the nation between 1972 and 1974, a letter was written that reminded majority and minority leaders in Congress of the importance of preserving the records of the legislative branch. The power behind Arthur M. Schlesinger’s words inspired the creation of a new office. Working together, Democratic and Republican leaders established the Senate Historical Office in 1975.  The Historical Office is currently headed by Dr. Donald Ritchie.Ritchie, a native of Queens, N.Y., was educated at the City College of New York and the University of Maryland. While working towards his graduate degree at Maryland, the U.S. government dropped graduate education as a deferment to serve in Vietnam.  As a result, he was drafted and inducted into the Marine Corps in June 1969 and was stationed at Pearl Harbor.