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50th Anniversary Celebration Set for December 9, 2005 at the Sam Rayburn Museum

Sam Rayburn exterior with flagpole

Contact: Alison Beck, Associate Director
Center for American History
Phone: (512) 495-4515
Fax: (512) 495-4542

Date: November 18, 2005

(Bonham, Tx) -- The Sam Rayburn Museum will host a gala celebration in recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the groundbreaking of the historic site on Friday, December 9 at 11 a.m.

Featured speakers for the event will be: the Honorable Ralph Hall, Congressman 4th District, Dr. Robert Remini, Historian, House of Representatives; Dr. Bill Cunningham, former Chancellor, University of Texas; Dr. Larry Faulkner, President, University of Texas; and Dr. Don Carleton, Director, Center for American History, University of Texas.

Preceding the program, music will be provided by the Arlington Community Orchestra. In addition, a solo performance will be provided by the Reverend Cecil Jones. Following the program, a reception will be held on the grounds and the museum will be open to the public.

The Sam Rayburn Museum, located in Bonham, Texas, is one of the four divisions of the Center for American History. The museum is the creation of the man who served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives longer than any other person: Sam Taliaferro Rayburn (1882-1961). Known affectionately as "Mr. Sam" by his friends and colleagues, Rayburn established the library and museum and broke ground at a ceremony on December 10, 1955.

Sam Rayburn served as congressman during the administrations of eight presidents and participated in the passage of most of the significant legislation of the first half of the twentieth century. He became chairman of the powerful Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce in 1931 and House majority leader in 1937. Rayburn, played a critical role in passing much of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

In 1941 Rayburn became Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position he held for sixteen years, longer than any other individual in U.S. history. Except for two brief periods when the Republican Party controlled the House (1947-1948 and 1953-1955), Rayburn continued to serve as Speaker until his death in 1961.

The Sam Rayburn Museum became a division of the Center for American History in 1991. The Museum is open to the public for visitation and tours. The new exhibit contains information on Sam Rayburn's life and career. One of the most outstanding features is an exact replica of the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives during Rayburn's tenure in that position. The Sam Rayburn Museum also houses Rayburn's personal library and an extensive collection of books that relate to his career or to the people, issues, and events with which he dealt during his years of public service.

The Sam Rayburn Papers are available for research in the Center’s Research and Collection’s Division located in Austin.  An online guide to the papers can be viewed at