Full House for House History Workshops

House history workshops are a great way to begin to discover the myriad local history resources available at both the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Washingtoniana Division of the D.C. Public Library.

House history workshops are a gateway to the myriad local history resources available at both the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the Washingtoniana Division of the D.C. Public Library.

The Kiplinger Research Library hosted nearly sixty new and veteran researchers on August 15 as part of the DC Community Heritage Project House History Day workshops.  As with the April workshops, which were held in the Washingtoniana Division at the D.C. Public Library, participants in the August event were introduced to resources for learning about property history available at both local repositories as well as online.

Through the two 2-hour programs, participants learned how to research the history of their own home or any other historical property through sessions on neighborhood context, led by Jasper Collier of Humanities DC; D.C. maps, led by historian and editor of the H-DC listserv Matthew Gilmore; the Historic Building Permit Database, led by historian, author, and tour leader, Brian Kraft; photography resources, led by Anne McDonough, Library & Collections Director, Historical Society of Washington, D.C.; and microfilm and online records, led by Mark Greek of DCPL’s Washingtoniana Division.

During the hands-on portion of the workshop, participants examined neighborhood development; discovered names and occupations of buildings’ previous inhabitants; and learned about the city’s architects and builders through real estate atlases, city directories, the John P. Wymer Photograph Collection and the building permits database.

If you missed the workshops, never fear: All of these resources, and more, are available for individual researchers in the Kiplinger Research Library. Contact the library for an appointment!

Previous inhabitants - and their occupations - can be discovered through the city directories.

A building’s previous inhabitants – and their occupations – can be discovered through the city directories.

Real estate atlases show the footprint of a building, lot and square numbers, dimensions and other key information. Fun fact: the four volumes of the real estate atlases do not correspond to the city's four quadrants.

Real estate atlases show the footprint of a building, lot and square numbers, dimensions and other key information. Fun fact: the four volumes of the real estate atlases do not correspond to the city’s four quadrants.

Matthew Gilmore helps participants locate where their buildings of interest using real estate atlases.

Matthew Gilmore helped participants locate their buildings of interest using real estate atlases.

During the lecture portion of the workshop, Jasper Collier of Humanities DC presented on neighborhood context and the DC Digital Museum.

During the lecture portion of the workshop, Jasper Collier of Humanities DC presented on neighborhood context and the DC Digital Museum.

Many of the published resources can be found at both the Historical Society and the DCPL's Washingtoniana Division. As Mark Greek noted, city directories and tax assessments are among the microfilm resources you can find at either location.

Many of the published resources can be found at both the Historical Society and the DCPL’s Washingtoniana Division. As DCPL’s Mark Greek noted, city directories and tax assessments are among the microfilm resources you can find at either location.

Using laptops contributed by Humanities DC, the workshop included hands-on time with the building permits database, guided by creator Brian Kraft.

Using laptops contributed by Humanities DC, the workshop included hands-on time with the building permits database, guided by creator Brian Kraft.

Library & Collections Director Anne McDonough welcomed the groups to the Historical Society. The August workshops, produced in partnership with Humanities DC, Historic Preservation, the D.C. Public Library’s Special Collections, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., were sponsored by HSW member Marlene Hunt Moss.

Library & Collections Director Anne McDonough welcomed the groups to the Historical Society. The August workshops, produced in partnership with Humanities DC, Historic Preservation, the D.C. Public Library’s Special Collections, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., were sponsored by Marlene Hunt Moss.

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