Donald A. Ritchie


Donald A. Ritchie (born December 23, 1945) is Historian Emeritus of the United States Senate.

Donald A. Ritchie
Donald A Ritchie.jpg
Donald A. Ritchie in 2011.
2nd Historian of the United States Senate
In office
Preceded byRichard A. Baker
Succeeded byBetty Koed
Personal details
Born (1945-12-23) December 23, 1945 (age 76)
Alma materCity College of New York (B.A., 1967)
University of Maryland, College Park (M.S., 1969; Ph.D., 1975)
Known forHistorian of the United States Senate


He graduated from the City College of New York in 1967; and received a master's degree, in 1969, and a Ph.D., in 1975, from the University of Maryland, College Park.[1]


Ritchie served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1969 to 1971.[2]

As associate historian in the Senate Historical Office, beginning in 1976, Ritchie conducted oral history interviews with former senators and retired members of Senate staff as part of the Senate oral history project.[3] In 2009 he became the Senate historian, succeeding Richard Baker, and held that post until his retirement in 2015.[4]

Ritchie was responsible for editing the closed hearing transcripts of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's investigations,[5] and has authored a number of books including Electing FDR. His book Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents won him the Richard W. Leopold Prize of the Organization of American Historians.[6] He has served as president of the Oral History Association and on the councils of the American Historical Association and the International Oral History Association,[6] as well as on the board of the Society for History in the Federal Government.[7]



  • Washington's Iron Butterfly: Bess Clements Abell, an Oral History, with Terry L. Birdwhistell. University Press of Kentucky. 2022.
  • The Columnist: Leaks, Lies, and Libel in Drew Pearson's Washington. Oxford University Press. 2021.
  • The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2016.
  • Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932. University Press of Kansas. 2007. ISBN 978-0-7006-1687-9
  • Our Constitution. Oxford University Press. 2006. ISBN 978-0-19-522385-9
  • Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps. Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-517861-6. donald a. ritchie.
  • Doing Oral History. Oxford University Press. 2014. ISBN 978-0-19-932933-5.
  • American Journalists: Getting the Story. Oxford University Press. 1997. ISBN 978-0-19-509907-2. donald a. ritchie.
  • The Congress of the United States: A Student Companion. Oxford University Press. 1993. ISBN 978-0-19-530924-9.
External video
  Booknotes interview with Ritchie on Press Gallery, July 7, 1991, C-SPAN
  • Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents. Harvard University Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-674-70375-9
  • James M. Landis: Dean of the Regulators. Harvard University Press. 1980.


  • United States History and Geography, The American Vision, The American Republic, and The American Journey, with Joyce Appleby, Alan Brinkley, Albert Broussard, and James McPherson (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill)
  • United States Government, with Richard C. Remy, Lena Morreale Scott, and Megan L. Hanson (McGraw-Hill).


  • The Oxford Handbook of Oral History (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Congress and Harry S. Truman: A Conflicted Legacy (Truman State University Press, 2011)
  • Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (McCarthy Hearings, 1953-1954). (Government Printing Office, 2003).


  1. ^ "Donald A. Ritchie" (2011). Almanac of the Unelected: Staff of the U.S. Congress. 23rd ed. Suzanne Struglinski and Lisa Friedman (eds.). Lanham, MD: Bernan Press. p. 29.
  2. ^ "Knox Annual Lecturer: Historian, Donald A. Ritchie, on Henry Knox's impact in Congress" (2014) [posting about event on August 7, 2014]. The Penobscot Bay Pilot. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  3. ^ U. S. National Archives and Records Administration (undated). "Senate Oral History Program," section "About the Interviewer: Donald A. Ritchie." Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  4. ^ Bolton, Alexander (March 6, 2015). "Senate historian Donald Ritchie to retire." The Hill. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  5. ^ Ritchie, Donald A. (August 2003). "Releasing Joe McCarthy." Organization of American Historians (OAH) Newsletter, vol. 31, no. 3. p. 1, 6. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  6. ^ a b Wilson Center (2010). "Why a Congress and Not a Parliament" [posting about event on September 13, 2010], section "Donald A. Ritchie" [speaker biography]. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  7. ^ "Donald A. Ritchie" (2006) [contributor biography]. In Barry A. Lanman and Laura M. Wendling (eds.), Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians: An Anthology of Oral History Education. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. p. 480.

External linksEdit

  • Appearances on C-SPAN
    • C-SPAN Q&A interview with Ritchie, August 15, 2010
  • Don Ritchie on the History of the Oral History Association, September 25, 2015.
  • "Donald Ritchie on Deep Throat." [interview], National Review, June 1, 2005
  • "Interview with Donald A. Ritchie, Oral Historian at the USA senate", veruscacalabria, August 9, 2010
  • Fast Forward: Oral History in the 21st Century by Donald Ritchie
  • The Election of 1932: Photographs
  • The Election of 1932: Cartoons
Government offices
Preceded by 2nd Historian of the United States Senate
2009 – 2015
Succeeded by