The U.S. Senate routinely purchased leather portfolios from 1843 to 1908 in quantities of one to five dozen for providing the portfolios to senators. The portfolios were personalized, as evidenced by charges in the secretary of the Senate's expense reports ranging from 12 1/2 cents to 25 cents for "lettering names on portfolios." Portfolios were equipped with a fastener, at least three pockets for filing important papers, and a copy of Dreka’s Dictionary Blotter—a combination spelling guide and blotter case. These handy portfolios allowed senators to conveniently organize and carry their work since most senators did not have personal offices until 1909, when the Senate's first office building, the Russell Senate Office Building, was completed.
This brown leather portfolio belonged to Senator Jacob H. Gallinger, a representative and a senator from New Hampshire, who also served as president pro tempore during the 62nd Congress. Judging by the amount of wear, the portfolio incurred frequent use during Gallinger’s 27-year Senate tenure from 1891 to 1918.