More Conference Presentations!

More conference presentations have been uploaded to the conference
website, including
* the published version of Blair Ruble’s 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Lecture,
* a video of Kenneth Winkle’s 2011 Letitia Woods Brown Lecture, and
* 15 presentations from 10 different conference sessions

2011 Conference Papers

Why Washington History Matters (2010 Letitia Woods Brown Lecture)
[published in Washington History]

2011 Letitia Woods Brown Lecture Thursday night – Lincoln’s Citadel
[YouTube video]

Friday 11:00 Session 1: Built Environment of DC

From Gritty to Garden City – Chris Shaheen

Washington Sketchbook: Drawings by R. L. Dickinson Slides – Gail
Washington Sketchbook: Drawings by R. L. Dickinson, 1917-1918 Notes –
Gail Spilsbury

Friday 1:30 Session 3: African American Washington

A District of Columbia Freedmen’s Cemetery in Virginia? Arlington’s
Section 27 – Timothy Dennee

Friday 3:15 Session 6: Current Archaeology of Washington, D.C.

Worthy of the nation: The Effects of Infrastructure on the Archeology
of Urban Life in the District of Columbia – [a look at Square 530 –
F/G/3rd/4th Sts NW] – Charles D. Cheek

Saturday 9:30 Plenary: Social History of Washington, DC

Prohibition in Washington, DC: How Dry We Weren’t – Garrett Peck

Female Federal Employees In DC – Jessica Ziparo

Saturday 11:00 Session 7: 150 Years of Policing Washington, DC

On Being Black in an Overwhelmingly White Police Department – Sandra
K. Schmidt

Saturday 11:00 Session 8: Contrabands in the DC Area

Freedmen’s experience on Theodore Roosevelt Island – Jonathan Pliska

Saturday 1:30 Session 9: DC Neighborhoods

Our Own Outrageous Ontario – Adam Rubin

Segregation in Truxton Circle 1880-1930 – Marie Maxwell

Saturday 1:30 Session 10: DC History on the Web

Blogging DC History – John De Ferrari
H-DC – Matthew Gilmore

Saturday 3:15 Session 11: Neighborhood history

Capitol View presentation – Patricia Hallman
African American Architects & Builders of Eastland Gardens – Javier

Saturday 3:15 Session 12: Political Collections

Local DC Politics in Records in the DC Public Library’s Washingtoniana
Division – Derek Gray

2011 Conference Papers

More will be posted as made available (some are still Powerpoint
presentations–these will probably be reloaded as PDFs.


HSW and Convention Center/Events DC (finally) sign agreement

Washington Convention Center Authority
11/15/2011 | Press release
Agreement creates new economic-impact opportunities for Events DC and long-term stability for the Historical Society of Washington, DC

[Posted for inquiring minds.–Ed.]

WASHINGTON, DC -Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, and the Historical Society of Washington, DC (HSW) announced today the execution of an 88-year lease amendment for the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Under this agreement, Events DC will develop and operate special-event space and develop new opportunities for creating economic impact in the District while creating long-term stability for HSW. The HSW will continue to use the building for its headquarters, the Kiplinger Research Library and exhibit galleries for its collections of historical materials.

”This agreement marks a major milestone for our organization as we play a pivotal role in the revitalization of Mt. Vernon Square and the historic Carnegie Library,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. ”The Library itself is a high-demand venue and will serve as a natural extension of our work to create a premier event experience in order to generate economic impact for the city’s residents and businesses. This historic landmark is a perfect complement to our existing space in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, making this opportunity a perfect fit for Events DC.”

Events DC assumed administrative control of the Carnegie Library, including the remaining 88 years on the HSW’s lease, from the District government in May. Under the terms of the lease amendment, the Society will turn over approximately 80 percent of the building to Events DC, which will develop new uses for the space, including a visitors center with information on current events, maps and neighborhood-level wayfinding. In return, Events DC will operate and maintain the 110-year-old building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with HSW as a tenant, allowing the Society to focus all of its resources on core operations and programs, which will continue to be located at the Library.

”These are exciting times for the Historical Society,” said Julie Koczela, chair of HSW’s Board of Trustees. ”The agreement with Events DC breathes new life into the Society, restores our financial viability and enables us to move forward with a strategy for serving residents, tourists, conventioneers and all others who want to know more about the nation’s capital and its extraordinary history.”

According to O’Dell, the building’s central location and its historic significance make it an ideal location for a special-events venue and a gateway for visitors to the District. ”We will provide local, regional, national and international travelers with a welcoming experience to the District, encouraging visitors to see the city’s diverse neighborhoods while returning life and energy to the Carnegie Library and Mt. Vernon Square.”

Events DC programming at the Carnegie Library will include a visitors center showcasing the city’s past and present, while HSW will continue to operate its renowned Kiplinger Research Library. The Society will present exhibits and other programs in the Small-Alper Gallery and another large exhibition gallery on the second floor.

”The agreement represents a win-win situation for both organizations,” said Koczela. ”Events DC will leverage its expertise in high-profile special events and tourism promotion inside of one of Washington’s architectural treasures while HSW will be able to continue its important work collecting, conserving and presenting materials and programs about the city’s history for students, scholars and the general public.”

By reviving the site as Washington, DC’s cultural crossroads, a role the Carnegie Library has historically played, Events DC will reinvigorate the public nature of this location, creating a new destination for residents and visitors alike. HSW will continue to use the building for its headquarters, the Kiplinger Research Library and exhibit galleries for its collections of historical materials.

About Events DC
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that generates over $400 million annually in total economic impact. Events DC also manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes the historic Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, and the non-military functions of the DC Armory. Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. For more information, please visit

About Historical Society of Washington, DC
Founded in 1894, the Historical Society of Washington, DC, serves the city, its residents and visitors as an educational institution that promotes knowledge of the past for better understanding of the future. The HSW collects, preserves and shares the rich history of Washington, DC, and promotes understanding of the nation’s capital as a city of crossroads. The Society is devoted to making the history of the Washington metropolitan area and its people accessible and understandable to public audiences to achieve a sense of identity, place and pride in Washington for those who live and work here. The Society’s Museum is located at 801 K Street, N.W. in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit

Conference online survey

Thank you for your interest in the 38th Annual DC Historical Studies Conference. Please help us by taking a short survey. Your feedback is confidential and crucial to the success of future conferences.

You can take part below:

Thank you again,

The 38th Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies Committee

Thanks to all who made the 38th Annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies a success!

A big thank you is deserved for all those who participated in the 38th
Annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies!

We had over sixty speakers, moderators, and tour leaders–we drew widely
nationally for our presenters and had a good mix of local scholars–a
tribute to the value placed upon the conference. We had more than a dozen
organizations represented in the History Network, and well over 200
conference attendees. And a dedicated, hard-working conference committee
pulled it all off (Brett Abrams, Jeffrey Donahoe, Matthew Gilmore (Chair),
Mark Greek, Derek Grey, Stephen Hansen, Ida Jones, Jane Freundel Levey,
Adam Lewis, Richard Longstreth, Jason Moore (eo), John Muller, John
Richardson, Gary Scott, Kimberly Springle, Mary Ternes).

We want to thank the Humanities Council of Washington DC, the Association
of Oldest Inhabitants, Friends of the Washingtoniana Division, and the Rainbow
History Project for their financial support.

This support allowed us an expanded conference–returning the Letitita
Woods Brown Lecture to Thursday evening, filling out the program with
sessions into Saturday afternoon, parallel with two tours, and a special
tour on Sunday.

You can see the final schedule on the conference website:
Also images from the reception and sessions.

We will be adding a speaker contact list in the next few days, as well as
including as many of the speaker presentations as are made available to

Folks wishing to join the conference planning committees (program and
logistics) should express their interest by email to:
Our next meeting will be in December to wrap up this conference and begin
on the next.

Building on success

Friday Plenary Session

The Friday plenary session had an overflow audience, much like the Brown lecture the evening previous.
Professor Winkle and his team explored the contents of their a collaborative digital humanities research project, Civil War Washington through an interconnected set of texts, databases, images, interactive maps, and analytical essays.

The following sessions shifted from the Library’s fourth floor down to the third and filled the Washingtoniana Division and Black Studies splitting an overall attendance of nearly 200.

Friday 11:00 Session 1: Built Environment of DC
Friday 11:00 Session 2: Researching Public School history

Friday 12:30 History Network

Quiet moment at the History Network in MLKML Lobby

The History Network proved very popular with over a dozen extremely varied organizations participating.

The afternoon saw two sets of concurrent sessions sharing a robust attendance.
Friday 1:30 Session 3: African American Washington
Friday 1:30 Session 4: Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C.

Friday 3:15 Session 5: Documenting the local Soviet Jewry movement
Friday 3:05 Session 6: Current Archaeology of Washington, D.C.

Also very popular was the Washingtoniana Division’s first ever book sale.

Tremendous turnout for Letitia Woods Brown Lecture

Professor Kenneth Winkle


So far the 38th Annual Conference has been a smashing success!

We had a standing-room-only turnout for the conference reception and the Letitia Woods Brown Lecture Thursday night at the Goethe Institut in Chinatown. Concluding the reception and leading into the lecture Clarence Davis from the DC Archives, Ida Williams from the Recorder of Deeds, and DC Surveyor Rick Dreist spoke briefly on their offices and each answered questions from the audience.

Letitia Woods Brown lecturer Professor Kenneth Winkle gave an understated and very well-received overview of Civil War Washington.

Bruce Guthrie’s photos of the slide show

Conference Committee members Brett Abrams, Jeffrey Donahoe, Mark Greek, Adam Lewis, John Muller, John Richardson, Mary Ternes, and Jason Moore (eo) deserve much credit for their hard work in smoothly handling all the logistical details which go into bringing off a successful conference.

Conference reception check-in