Conference Schedule Update: Tour Synopsis: Henry Adams: Washington Historian and Author (@ Lafayette Square)

Kim Roberts leads a guided walking tour, “Henry Adams: Washington Historian and Author,” to take place in and around Lafayette Square. The tour will begin and end at the McPherson Square Metro Station, and will take an hour and a half.

1) Date: Saturday, November 5, 2011
2) Time: 1:30-3:00 pm

For most of his adult life, Adams lived in Washington, DC, in the shadow of the White House, where his grandfather and great-grandfather had served as US Presidents. This walking tour will visit the sites of his three houses (only one still standing) and those of several eminent neighbors in Lafayette Square, including John Hay (US Secretary of State), Clarence King (first Director of the US Geological Service and famed explorer of the American West), Senator Donald Cameron and his elegant wife Lizzie, Senator James G. Blaine, and George Bancroft (then America’s foremost historian). The tour will include discussion of Adams’s books: his political biographies, novels, poems, and his own autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, which has never gone out of print since it was first published in 1918, and is now considered a classic piece of American literature. Although he never held any elected office, Adams served as a behind-the-scenes advisor to presidents, cabinet ministers, and senators, and called himself a “stable-companion to statesmen.” The tour will also recreate the rarified upper-class life of Gilded Age Washington, covering the city clubs and institutions Adams helped to found, as well as his patronage of eminent artists and architects.

Kim is an independent literary historian who has done extensive research on writers with ties to Washington, DC.; she developed a tour of the greater U Street neighborhood called “The ‘Harlem’ Renaissance in DC,” presented at the 2008 Split This Rock Festival, and co-authored a self-guided walking tour brochure, “Whitman in Washington,” for the 2005 festival, “DC Celebrates Whitman: 150 Years of Leaves of Grass.” The Humanities Council of Washington has hired her since 2007 to produce tours for the DC Big Read program, connected to books by Zora Neale Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Carson McCullers, and Ernest Gaines. She was a presenter at the 2005 DC Historical Studies Conference, speaking on “Traces of Walt Whitman in Washington: Art and Architectural Commemorations.”

Kim is the author of three books of poems, a nonfiction book, Lip Smack: A History of Spoken Word Poetry in DC (Beltway Editions, 2010), and the editor of an anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010).


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