The Dirksen Congressional Center
The Dirksen Congressional Center promotes research and scholarship to advance the public understanding of the U.S. Congress. Named for Everett McKinley Dirksen (1896-1969) and located in his hometown of Pekin, Illinois, The Center is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Dirksen served in the U.S. House from 1933-1949, the U.S. Senate from 1951-1969, and as Minority Leader of the Senate from 1959 until his death in September 1969.
The Center houses more than 200 historical collections
Everett McKinley Dirksen (1896-1969)
Dirksen served in the U.S. House, 1933-1949, and in the Senate, 1951-1969. His collection consists of 2,000 feet of reference volumes, still photographs, audiovisual items, memorabilia, and papers.
Harold H. Velde (1910-1985)
Velde served in the U.S. House, 1949-1957, and chaired the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1953-1955. His collection consists of 12 feet of papers, scrapbooks, and ephemera.
Robert H. Michel (1923-2017)
Michel served in the U.S. House, 1957-1995. His collection consists of 970 feet of artifacts, photographs, and papers.
Ray LaHood (1945- )
LaHood served in the U.S. House, 1995-2009 and as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 2009-2013. His collection consists of 500 feet of artifacts, photographs and papers.
Neil MacNeil (1923-2008)
MacNeil reported on the U.S. Congress for Time Magazine, 1958-1987. His collection consists of 36 feet of papers.
More than 200 smaller collections complement The Center’s primary congressional holdings.
Guidelines for Use
Information about access and use of The Center’s historical collections.
Grants, Scholarships, and Publications
The Center has awarded more than $2,000,000 in grants and scholarships
Congressional Research Grants
Apply for a grant to fund research on the U.S. Congress. Since 1978, The Center has supported over 500 projects. Applications are accepted at any time.
The Ray and Kathy LaHood Scholarships for the Study of American Government are awarded to Bradley University juniors.
The Center has authored or provided financial support for several book-length publications.
The Dirksen Congressional Center
Founded in 1963, The Center is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization
Through its mission, The Center promotes research and scholarship about the U.S. Congress.
Meet the Board of Directors, the National Advisory Council, and the staff.
The Center invests in the programs of like-minded organizations to support research and scholarship about the U.S. Congress.
A timeline of nearly 75 selected milestones in The Center’s history, 1963 to present.
Special features are based on The Center’s historical collections
Everett McKinley Dirksen
As world traveler, candidate, Senate minority leader, and celebrity; editorial cartoons; the marigold; his memoir; and more.
Robert H. Michel
As the longest serving House Minority Leader in U.S. history; with his presidents.
As a staffer to Robert H. Michel, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from central Illinois, and Secretary of Transportation in President Barack Obama’s administration; his memoir.
As Capitol Hill correspondent for Time Magazine, 1958-1987; his reporting on Everett Dirksen and the issues of the period.
Everett Dirksen’s pivotal role in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A congressional timeline, 1789-present; Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership minutes and statements, 1961-1968; and more.