Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

Hiss, Chambers, and the Cold War, 1948

In 1948, Americans watched anxiously as a dramatic espionage tale unfolded in the House of Representatives. Whittaker Chambers, a Time editor, confessed to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that he’d been a spy for the Soviet Union. Chambers accused a former State Department official, Alger Hiss, of being among his Communist contacts.

Hiss fiercely denied the charge. Representative Richard Nixon of California, suspecting that Hiss was lying, convinced Chambers to produce microfilm documents from Hiss—documents that Chambers had hidden on his farm in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Hiss sued for libel, but was convicted of perjury in 1950 and sent to prison. The Hiss–Chambers confrontation riveted the nation, triggering widespread espionage fears and spurring further congressional investigations.

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Richard Nixon (right) and staff...
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Richard Nixon (right) and staff investigator Robert Stripling pose for photographs with the “Pumpkin Papers”- microfilms that implicated Hiss as one of Chambers’s Communist contacts.

© Bettmann/CORBIS

Richard Nixon (right) and staff investigator Robert Stripling pose for photographs with the “Pumpkin Papers”- microfilms that implicated Hiss as one of Chambers’s Communist contacts.

© Bettmann/CORBIS

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