Posts in category Collections Snapshot

What If? Washington: A Castle-less Capital City

Imagine. What if the Smithsonian Castle had burned all the way to the ground when flames surrounded the building in 1865? One of the most distinctive – and wonderfully odd, really, with its mismatched turrets and cloister-influenced nooks and crannies – and immediately recognizable buildings in all of Washington might have ceased to exist. What if James Smithson’s papers hadn’t […]

Help Needed! Volunteer Opportunities Available

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. has a busy fall ahead and we need volunteers to help us! Through serving as docents for the permanent exhibit, staffing programs, providing reference services, processing collections, and performing administrative activities, the countless hours contributed by members and other volunteers are critical to the continued success of the Historical Society’s mission. […]

Tip of the CAP: The Great Rehousing Project

The Society applied for and was thrilled to receive a 2014 Conservation Assessment Program (CAP) grant. This is Part IV of a series of posts regarding the CAP assessment. (Here are Part I, Part II, and Part III).  One of the recommendations made in the report was the rehousing of the Ephemera Collection. We’re so […]

Meet Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s Cow

Meet Pauline Wayne, President Taft’s Cow

When it comes to White House animals, Presidential pets are the most well-known. Andrew Jackson had Polly, an infamous swearing parrot, James Buchanan had an elephant at the White House (a gift from the King of Siam), and Teddy Roosevelt and his children had a small menagerie of nearly thirty pets during their time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. […]

Do You Remember These “Long-Gone” Washington Eateries?

Do You Remember These “Long-Gone” Washington Eateries?

More than a dozen images from the Historical Society’s collections are featured in today’s Washington Business Journal. Some of the “long-gone” restaurants include Duke Zeibert’s at Connecticut and L, Gusti’s at 19th and M, and L’Escargot on Connecticut in Cleveland Park. Which places do you remember? Check out the full gallery.

History Mystery: Dating Door Keeper Buckingham

History Mystery: The circa 2004 catalog record for the portrait of John E. Buckingham dated the image to 1865. When the photograph was pulled in 2015 for research regarding the assassination of President Lincoln, it was noted that the back, or verso, included a long note that threw doubt on the original cataloging.  Our task […]

Collaboration with Ford’s Theatre Launched

Oops. Contrary to the information seen in this broadside, Secretary of State William H. Seward did not die in the April 15, 1865 attack that killed President Abraham Lincoln. In fact, after surviving the brutal stabbing attempt on his life, Seward would go on to serve several more years as Secretary of State; he was […]

Collection Snapshot: Doctors Hospital

Title: Doctors Hospital Publicity Records, 1940-1979 (MS 0792)     Content:  When was the last time you saw a pharmacy register ring up at 35 cents – or heard baby girls described as a “combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale,” – or attended an evening function where cigarettes were literally on the menu? Publicity materials […]

Backstage: The Down Side of Framing

Backstage is an occasional series covering the behind-the-scenes actions that are part of collections care. We’ll delve into the decisions regarding rehousing collections of all kinds, and explore different methods of collections processing, from manuscripts to panoramic photographs to ephemera. We’ll tackle the tug of war between preservation concerns, the commitment to access for researchers […]

Deco the Halls!

Have you seen a movie at the Uptown? Have you – or your kids or grandchildren –  taken a ride on the carousel at Glen Echo Park, or wondered about the low-lying, tiered, rounded entrance to the massive office building at 1100 New York Avenue NW? (If you haven’t yet, get thee to all three […]