Who’s Participating in the History Network

1. John Feeley – Brookland — new book
2. John de Ferrari – Lost Washington — new book
3. Daniel Kerr – Public History at American University
4. Dan Vera – DC Writers’ Homes
5. Tyrone General – Historic Woodlawn Cemetery
6. Rebecca Sharp – National Archives
7. David McKenzie – Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington
8. Chas Langelan – Washington Map Society
9. Jenny Masur – National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
10. Maureen Malloy – Society for American Archaeology
11. Cindy Janke – Washington D.C.: Views of the Past and Present — new book
12. Rebecca Roberts – Historic Congressional Cemetery
13. Kent Slowinski – Environmental Health Group
14. Karen Needles – Lincoln Archives Digital Project
15. Jessica Marlatt – Cultural Tourism DC


dcwriters.org — Mapping DC’s lively literary legacy — at the History Network


New online resource reveals writers’ homes and history in the nation’s capital

A new online resource for lovers of literature and history has been launched in the nation’s capital. DC Writers’ Homes, at http://www.dcwriters.org, celebrates the rich literary heritage of Washington by mapping former homes of novelists, poets, playwrights and memoirists. Some authors remain famous, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston, Sinclair Lewis, and Katherine Anne Porter. Others are rediscoveries.

The over 120 homes included on the website represent every major period of Washington’s history and span the range of urban architectural styles. The earliest documented writers’ homes include those once occupied by: Francis Scott Key, the lawyer-poet who wrote the lyrics to the US National Anthem;Horatio King, who served as Postmaster General during the Civil War and hosted a popular literary salon in his home; and Frederick Douglass, whose remarkable autobiographies remain deservedly beloved. The most recent include authors who passed away in the last few years.

The project was conceived, researched, and created by DC writers Kim Roberts and Dan Vera, who spent more than five years tracking down and photo-documenting house locations. Only authors who have passed away, and whose houses are still standing, are included. Most houses are privately owned and not marked by historic plaques. “We wanted to claim our literary forebears,” Roberts states. “We don’t want our history to be lost or forgotten.”

The project is a collaboration among five groups that support or present the literary arts in the city. Split This Rock, whose festivals of “poets of provocation and witness” bring nationally-acclaimed authors to the city, is the sponsor. The Humanities Council of Washington, DC, provided funding. And three other organizations signed on as partners: The American Poetry Museum, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Poetry Mutual. Sarah Browning, Director of Split This Rock, calls DC Writers’ Homes “an extraordinary gift to DC.”

Authors are sorted by the geographical location of their houses, as well as by affiliations. Users can easily find authors, for example, who taught at or attended Howard University, served as US Poets Laureate at the Library of Congress, wrote on environmental themes, or were Latino. Every author is cross-referenced into at least two categories.

Kim Roberts and Dan Vera will present a slide/lecture on the making of DC Writers’ Homes on Friday, December 8 at 6:30 pm. This event, at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the presentation.

Book Sale

The D.C. Public Library’s Washingtoniana Division will be having its first ever
book sale in its 107 year history, scheduled to take place during the 38th Annual
Conference on D.C. Historical Studies. Highlight of the sale is hundreds of
volumes/issues of the Records of the Columbia Historical Society and Washington
History that date back to Vol. 2, published in 1899.

The sale will be held in Washingtoniana, Room #307. Cash or check only. Hours of
the sale, open only to conference attendees, are:
Friday, November 4: 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Saturday, November 5: 9:00 am – 9:30 am & 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

A preview sale for current and new Friends of Washingtoniana will be held:
Friday, November 4: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime sale of Washingtoniana books!

Special mini-presentation Thursday Nov. 3, 2011

As a conclusion to the conference reception and lead-in to the Letitia Wood Brown Lecture we’ve invited the DC Archives, the Office of the Recorder of Deeds, and the Office of the Surveyor of the District of Columbia to each speak briefly on the what has happened in the past year as far as records preservation and access.

Office of the Recorder of Deeds

Office of the Surveyor of the District of Columbia

DC Archives

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).

Conference Schedule Update: Tour Synopsis: The Temperance Tour

Tour Synopsis: The Temperance Tour 
Washington, DC was expected to be the model dry city for Prohibition, but it turned out to be anything but that, as the city had 3,000 speakeasies and Congress employed its own bootleggers. How did Americans come to the extreme point of changing the Constitution to ban alcohol? The answer was in the temperance movement. Join Garrett Peck, author of Prohibition in Washington, DC: How Dry We Weren’t, on the Temperance Tour (www.temperancetour.com) to explore the origins of Prohibition.
The tour begins at the Cogswell Temperance Fountain (7th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, across from the Archives/Navy Memorial Station). It continues to theNational Portrait Gallery to talk about Lincoln’s views on alcohol and see where Lincoln had his second inaugural ball. We’ll end at Calvary Baptist Church (8th & H Streets, NW) where the Anti-Saloon League had its first national convention in 1895. For those with time (and thirst), a happy hour with a cash bar will follow at PS-7’s, just a block from Calvary Baptist. Garrett will have copies of Prohibition in Washington, DC on hand for sale and signing.
1) Date: Saturday, November 5, 2011
2) Time: 3:15 – 5:00pm
3) Cost: FREE!
4) No registration is required – just show up.
5) The tour start is within easy walking distance of the DC Historical Society Conference, and we’ll end a block from the MLK Library. Look for Garrett at the conference, and he can lead you directly there about 3:00pm.
6) Follow the tour route and see pictures of our destinations at www.temperancetour.com (note that we won’t be visiting the Woodrow Wilson House).

Conference Schedule Update: Another Sesquicentennial — 150 Years of Policing Washington, D.C.

150 Years of Policing in the District of Columbia

Saturday, November 5, 2011 11:00-12:30
Session 7:

William (“Bill”) Brown, President of the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of D.C., Retired Fairfax County Deputy Police Chief and former MPDC Reserve Police Officer

Session Abstract: Since its inception in 1861 and for the ensuing 150 years, the Metropolitan Police Department and its members have witnessed every change in policing imaginable… not to mention changes in DC governance.  From the integration of the agency in  1869, to its first line-of-duty death,  to its handling of the Bonus Army March and subsequent acts of civil disobedience, enduring Congressional inquiries and witnessing the appointment of its first African-American Chief in 1977, Nicholas Breul, Martin Murray and Sandy Schmidt will provide insight into MPDC’s first 150 years.
Lieutenant Nicholas T. Breul, MPDC, Department Historian “Some Highlights of the 150 Year History of the Metropolitan Police Department” It all starts with Lincoln and a dubious connection to his protection or lack thereof…the arrests of President Grant, the riots of 1919, the Bonus Army of 1932, and the corruption scandal of 1950, where officers were asked by a congressional committee investigating gambling and pay offs to fill out financial questionnaires.  It will culminate with Watergate, Nixon, the May Day protests, Air Florida, the Reagan Assassination attempt, the Mount Pleasant riots, and where MPD stands now.
Martin Murray, Author and founder of “Washington Friends of Walt Whitman” “The Poet and the Policeman:  Walt Whitman and Officer Doyle” Police brutality.  Media feeding frenzy.  Juvenile delinquency.  The topics are current, but the year is 1871, when poet Walt Whitman defended Metropolitan Police Officer Francis Doyle from a pillorying by the DC press after Doyle arrested a young boy for stealing eggs and held him in the jailhouse overnight.  The tempest provides insight into the life of a nineteenth-century police officer, and exposes some surprising views by Whitman on youthful hooliganism and irresponsible journalism.  Later the same year, Officer Doyle was again a featured headline, but under more tragic circumstances when he became the first of the Metropolitan Police’s “thin blue line” to give his life in the line of duty.
Sandra Schmidt, Independent Researcher “On Being Black in an Overwhelmingly White Police Department” On July 8, 1869 the Board of Police Commissioners appointed the first “colored” men to the DC police force and a total of six by the end of the year, just 2.5% of the force.  Only a handful in number until the mid 20th century, African Americans endured racial discrimination in hiring and promotion policies as well as overt hostility from prejudiced white policemen and citizens.  This is the story of some of the early black officers, their successes and failures, and the eventual rise of African Americans through the ranks ending in the appointment of the first Chief of Police in 1977.  A special tribute will be paid to those who died in the line of duty.

Sunday Tour: Civil War Fortifications (limited registration!)

Tour Synopsis: Lincoln’s Line of Defense
Explore the Civil War forts erected by Lincoln’s army to protect the
nation’s capital during the Civil War and the summer cottage where
President Lincoln contemplated emancipation, war strategy and the fate of
the Union.  Nestled among the hills of the city are the remains of a vast
network of earthwork forts that proved impenetrable to Confederate forces
during the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11-12, 1864.  In addition to a
stop at President Lincoln’s Cottage, this tour includes stops at Forts
Reno, Marcy, DeRussy and the reconstructed Fort Stevens.  Also included is
a stop at the recently renovated the Superintendent’s Lodge at Battleground
National Cemetery, the resting place of 41 Union soldiers who fought in the
Battle of Fort Stevens.  President Lincoln’s Cottage is a National Historic
Landmark managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Civil
War Defenses of Washington are part of a local network of National Parks.
Tour lasts approx. 3 1/2 hours.

1) Date: Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011
2) Cost: $30/person (cash or check)
3) Time: 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
4) Pickup Point: in front of MLK Library, 9th and G Sts., NW, D.C.
5) Max. 50 riders. Email: dchistoricalstudies@gmail.com to reserve

How to Register for the Conference….

The Question Everyone’s Been Asking–How do I Register?

Answer: Email: dchistoricalstudies@gmail.com

— click the “email” tab below this post and send it to the address dchistoricalstudies@gmail.com

  • Registration Cost: $20 (on-site at Goethe Institut or MLKML only)
  • Sunday Civil War Fortifications Tour $30 (limit 50 persons)

Please check/indicate the sessions you are interested attending below and email this post to: dchistoricalstudies@gmail.com

Conference Sessions I plan to attend (multiple choice):
Conference Reception Thursday night 
Letitia Woods Brown Lecture Thursday night
Friday 9:30 Plenary: Toward a Digital History of Civil War Washington
Friday 11:00 Session 1: Built Environment of DC
Friday 11:00 Session 2: Researching Public School history
Friday 12:30 History Network
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 3:15 Session 6: Current Archaeology of Washington, D.C.
Saturday 9:30 Plenary: Social History of Washington, DC
Saturday 11:00 Session 7: 150 Years of Policing Washington, DC
Saturday 11:00 Session 8: Contrabands in the DC Area
Saturday 1:30 Session 9: DC Neighborhoods
Saturday 1:30 Session 10: DC History on the Web
Saturday 1:30 Tour 1: Lafayette Square
Saturday 3:15 Session 11: Neighborhood history
Saturday 3:15 Session 12: Political Collections
Saturday 3:15 Tour 2: Prohibition Washington
Sunday 11:00 Tour of Civil War Fortifications (limit 50 persons)