DC Authors' Houses
Kim Roberts and Dan Vera
The addresses listed below were once home to notable authors in the
region who have since passed away. We list only houses that still stand.
Most are privately owned, and only a few are marked by plaques.
We tried to include authors from a wide range of time periods. When
we started this project, driving around the city hunting down addresses,
we were pleased to see how it transformed our sense of place. A nondescript
block suddenly becomes fascinating when we can imagine it through the
eyes of an author we admire. DC is alive with such beneficent ghosts.
Please note: Click on photographs to see at larger
Aiken lived here while serving as US Poet Laureate Consultant, from 1950 to 1952. Later the residence of Stephen Spender.
323 Second Street NW, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.
R.W. Apple, Jr.
Celebrated journalist, gourmand, and author of the guidebooks Apple's Europe and Apple's America.
1509 28th St NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
Auslander was the first person to serve as Poet Consultant at the Library
of Congress and the longest serving (1937 to 1941). His wife, Audrey
Wurdemann, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1935 for her book Bright
Ambush, and was the youngest winner of that award. Together they
wrote short stories and novels.
3117 35th Street NW, Cathedral Heights neighborhood, DC.
Bailey lived here briefly in the 1930s. She returned to DC towards the end of her life to study theology at Georgetown University, earning a degree in 1985. She published four books in 1968, 1971, 1973 and 1989 about her life, education and cooking.
1428 Irving St. NE, Brookland neighborhood, DC.
Natalie Clifford Barney
The American expatriate feminist and lesbian poet whose salons were
infamous for drawing modernist artists (and which she hosted for over
60 years in France) spent early years in this house with her mother,
the painter Alice Pike Barney.
"Studio House," 2306 Massachusetts Ave.
NW, Sheridan Circle, DC. (202) 328-2840. Now the Embassy
of Latvia; listed on the National Register of Historic Places; marked
by a plaque.
Bennett was active in the "Harlem" Renaissance period, writing
poetry, fiction, and journalism, as well as creating visual art (painting,
drawing, and working in batik).
She lived in DC as a child (1907-1910),
and moved back as an adult, when she taught in the Art Department at
Howard University (1926-1929). Her parents rented this house in 1909,
when she was seven.
1454 T Street NW, greater U Street neighborhood, DC.
A poet, Roman Catholic priest, and peace activist, Berrigan and his
brother Philip lived and worked out of this house in the 1960s.
1620 S Street NW, East of Dupont circle, DC.
Journalist, poet, short story writer and satirist, Bierce lived in DC
from 1899 through 1913, renting at four different addresses. While in
Washington Bierce completed his Devil's Dictionary and his word
usage compendium Write it Right.
The Olympia Apartments, 1368 Euclid St. NW, Columbia Heights neighborhood,
18 Logan Circle NW, Logan Circle neighborhood, DC.
1825 19th St. NW, DC, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
El Dorado Apartments, 1321 Fairmont St. NW, DC.
Bishop served as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress
from 1949 to 1950. During that period she lived in this building which
housed Bertha Looker's Boardinghouse.
1312 30th Street NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
Bode, a university professor and poet, lived in the area from 1947 until
just before his death in 1993. He published three books of poems, a
biography of H.L. Mencken, and edited the collected poems of Henry Thoreau.
Bode founded the national American Studies Association.
7008 Partridge Place, Hyattsville, MD.
Brown was born in DC and lived in the city from 1901 to 1918, and from
1929 through his death in 1989. He taught at Howard University and was
the city's first Poet Laureate.
1222 Kearney St. NE, Brookland neighborhood, DC.
Marked with a historic plaque.
Mary P. Burrill
Burill is a playwright whose best-known work precedes the Harlem Renaissance period, who was teacher to, and a model for, many of the Renaissance writers. She was born in DC (year unclear--some sources list the year as early as 1881, others as late as 1884), and graduated from M Street HS and Emerson College in Boston. She returned to DC to teach at Armstrong Manual HS and Dunbar HS, in a teaching career that spanned from 1905 through 1944. She was evidently much loved as a teacher of English, Speech, and Drama, and several of her students became distinguished playwrights in their own right (including Willis Richardson, May Miller, and James Butcher). Her best known plays are "They That Sit in Darkness" (1919), "Aftermath" (1919), and "The Other Wise Man" (1905?). She shared a house with Lucy D. Stowe, Howard University's first Dean of Women, and letters suggest that she was the lover of another playwright and teacher, Angelina Weld Grimke. After her retirement from teaching, she moved to New York, where she died in 1946.
1256 Kearney St. NE, Brookland neighborhood, DC
This simple, post-WWII ranch house was designed by Carson in 1956, where
she lived and wrote until her death in 1964. The Rachel Carson Council,
housed here, works to preserve Carson's legacy through publications,
education, and events.
Rachel Carson Council House, 11701 Berwick Rd., Silver
Spring, MD. (301) 593-7507. A National Historic Landmark, not open to
Poet Chapin was married to Attorney General Francis Biddle. She held
a literary salon in the 1960s in this house till her move in 1971. A
Fellow in American Letters at the Library of Congress, Chapin served
as patron to many artists including Owen Dodson, Langston Hughes, Archibald
MacLeish, and William Carlos Williams.
1669 31st St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
A poet, teacher, and social activist, Cox lived at the first address from 1959 to 1964 (from age 13 to age 18). The second and third were his residences in the 1980s. Cox died in 1992 at age 46. He is the author of three books of poems, one published posthumously.
1345 Saratoga Ave. NE, now the Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative, Edgewood neighborhood, DC
Chateau Thierry Apartments, 1920 S Street NW,
Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC
The Miramar Apartments, 1301 15th St. NW #720, Scott Circle neighborhood,
Crosby, born Mary Phelps Jacob, was the editor of one of the earliest
literary journals based in DC, Portfolio. Crosby was also a memoirist,
gallery owner, and the inventor of the first modern brassiere to receive
a patent. She lived in DC from 1937 to 1950.
2008 Q Street NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
William Waring Cuney
Cuney, a "Harlem" Renaissance-era poet and musician born and
raised in DC, lived in this house with his parents and twin brother
from 1908 through 1926.
503 Florida Ave. NW, DC.
Darr, author of ten books of poems, taught at American University and
the Writers Center.
4902 Falstone Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD.
Black-listed poet, novelist, editor, playwright, and literary critic who promoted the works of Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, and Carl Sandburg. His bildungsroman Moon-Calf was a bestseller. He worked for the WPA and the U.S. Information Service.
6307 Lone Oak Drive, Bethesda, MD
A poet and AIDS activist who was studying to join the Catholic priesthood
at the time of his death in 1990, Dlugos spent formative years in DC,
living at this address from 1973 to 1975.
1437 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Logan Circle neighborhood,
John Dos Passos
Dos Passos (best known for his influential novels Three Soldiers
and Manhattan Transfer) lived in this house as a child.
1201 19th St. NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans
The Museum contains Douglass memorabilia,
and art, photos and stories about role models and humanitarians. Housed
in the first Washington DC home of Frederick Douglass.
320 A St. NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC (202)
Douglass National Historic Site
From 1877 to 1895, Cedar Hill was home of the nation's leading 19th
century African American spokesman, and the author of My Bondage
and My Freedom and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Administered by the National Park Service, this site contains many objects
that belonged to Douglass, and a recreation of the "growlery,"
his outdoor writing studio.
1411 W St. SE, Anacostia neighborhood, DC (202) 426-5960.
Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson
This celebrated literary couple lived in DC from 1898 through 1902.
Both were published poets; Dunbar-Nelson was also a short story writer
and journalist. They lived in the house on the southern end of this
1934 Fourth St. NW, LeDroit Park neighborhood, DC.
Eberhart served as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress
from 1959 to 1961. During that period he lived with his family in this house.
1664 34th St NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
Jessie Redmon Fauset
Fauset lived in DC from 1909 through 1919, teaching at the prestigious
African-American M Street High School (later renamed Dunbar High). She
rented rooms in the 13th Street house from 1912-1915, and the T Street
House from 1918-1919. Fauset, a novelist, moved to New York in the 1920s,
and became literary editor for The Crisis, the publication of
the NAACP, where she published and mentored many younger writers of
the "Harlem" Renaissance (including Claude McKay, Jean Toomer,
Countee Cullen, Arna Bontemps, and Langston
1812 13th St. NW, DC.
1716 17th St. NW, DC.
Flint taught at Georgetown University for nearly 30 years ( from
1968 to 1997) and served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 1995 to 2000.
3701 S St NW, Burleith neighborhood, DC.
8605 Milford Ave., Silver Spring, MD.
Charlotte Forten Grimké
Grimké was a poet and activist who
worked for the abolition of slavery, women's rights, and suffrage. She
lived in DC from 1871 until her death in 1914.
1608 R Street NW, Historic Striver's Section neighborhood,
Edward Everett Hale
The short story author and Unitarian clergyman lived here while serving
as chaplain of the US Senate from 1903 to his death in 1909.
1741 N St. NW, Scott Circle neighborhood, DC.
A classicist and educator whose book Mythology, published in
1942, remains in print after six decades, Hamilton lived in DC for twenty
years, until her death in 1963.
2448 Massachusetts Ave. NW, north of Sheridan Circle,
O.B. Hardison Jr.
Noted Renaissance scholar and author of two books of poems, Hardison
was Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library from1969 to 1983.
1708 21st St. NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
Hemphill was the author of two books of poetry and involved with the Black Arts movement of the 1980s.
3351 Mt Pleasant St NW #9, Columbia Heights neighborhood, DC.
Hughes lived at this first address with his mother and younger brother Kit in 1925, at
the beginning of his career, in two unheated rented rooms on the second
floor. The second two photos show the 12th Street Y, briefly the home of Langston Hughes.
See the excellent displays on the first and second floors including a recreation of a single occupancy room (shown here).
1749 S St. NW, greater Dupont neighborhood, DC.
Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage,
1816 12th St. NW, greater U Street neighborhood, DC. (202) 462-8314.
A National Historic Landmark.
Zora Neale Hurston
A novelist, short story writer, and anthropologist, Hurston rented a
room at this first location in 1922 or '23 while a student at Howard University. The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA was briefly
the residence of Zora Neale Hurston in 1924, also while she was a student
at Howard. It was named for the first published African American poet (1754? - 1784),
Wheatley, who was brought as a slave to Boston in 1761 and published Poems
on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral in 1773.
3017 Sherman Avenue NW, Columbia Heights neighborhood,
Phyllis Wheatley YWCA, 901 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Shaw neighborhood DC. Not
open to the public.
Jarrell lived here from 1956 to 1958, while Poetry Consultant to the
Library of Congress.
3916 Jenifer St. NW, Friendship Heights neighborhood,
This was the site of the "Saturday Nighters," a Literary Salon
active from the 1920s into the 1940s, making this house the most important
"Harlem" Renaissance location in DC. Johnson was a poet and
lyricist who lived in DC from 1901 until her death in 1966.
"Half-Way House," 1461 S Street NW, greater
U Street neighborhood, DC.
James Weldon Johnson
Author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist, Johnson is remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP, as well as for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He lived at this residence while working for the NAACP.
1333 R St NW, greater
U Street neighborhood, DC.
Jean and Walter Kerr
Jean was a student of Walter's in the graduate drama program at Catholic University. They married and moved to New York where Walter became one of the influential drama critics at the New York Times. He won a Pulitzer for his drama criticism in 1978. They collaborated on the multiple Tony Award-winning play Goldilocks. Jean was a best-selling humourist whose autobiographical book Please Don't Eat the Daisies was made into a 1960 film. Doris Day played Jean and David Niven played Walter.
1003 Varnum St NE, Brookland neighborhood, DC
Frances Parkinson Keyes
A prolific novelist, Keyes was popular in her time, although her writing is dated and sentimental now. She also wrote three nonfiction books about her experiences living in Washington, and one book of poems. She lived here with her husband, Henry Wilder Keyes, Senator from New Hampshire, from the 1920s into the 1940s.
Envoy Apartments, 2400 16th St. NW, Columbia Heights neighborhood, DC.
During the 1970s Howard University housed a series of visiting writers at Harvard Hall. Among writers who lived here was John Killens, author of two Pulitzer Prize-nominated novels and co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild.
Harvard Hall, 1650 Harvard St NW, Howard University, Washington, DC.
Kunitz lived here during his first term as US Poet Laureate, from 1974 to 1976. During his second term, 2000 to 2001, he commuted in to DC to fulfill his duties as Laureate, rather than taking up residence in the city.
19 Second St. NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.
Lally was a founding member of Mass Transit, a group of poets active
in DC in the 1970s. The author of These Days and an activist
for feminist causes, Lally lived at this address from 1972 to 1980.
4110 Emery Pl. NW, Friendship Heights neighborhood,
The first American writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Lewis
lived and worked in Washington, DC in what would be his most productive
period. He wrote his classic books Main Street, Babbitt, and
Arrowsmith while living in the capital.
1639 19th St. NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC
3028 Q Street NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
Novelist, short story writer, journalist and translator, Lispector lived here from 1952 to 1959 and began her writing career while living in this house. She is best known for her mystic novel, The Passion According to G.H. She was born in Ukraine but spent most of her adult life in Brazil.
4421 Ridge Street, Chevy Chase, MD.
Locke's anthology The New Negro was the definitive text of the
Harlem Renaissance. Locke lived in DC from 1912 until his death in 1954.
1326 R Street NW, Logan Circle neighborhood, DC.
Marked by a historic plaque.
Clare Boothe Luce
A published playwright and journalist, Luce also served in the House
of Representatives (R-CT). She was later named ambassador to Italy and
Wardman Park Apartments, 2660 Woodley Road NW, Woodley Park Neighborhood,
Watergate Apartments, 2639 I St. NW (private). Listed on the National
Register of Historic Places.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and playwright lived in DC from 1939
through 1949, serving as Librarian of Congress, among other prominent
1520 33rd St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC.
Robert Bulwer, Earl Lytton, published under the name of Owen Meredith. He is the author of six volumes of poetry and the novel-in-verse Lucile. He lived here in 1849 when this building was the British Legation, while serving as private secretary to his uncle, the British Minister Sir Henry Bulwer.
St. John's Parish House, 1525 H St. NW, Lafayette Square neighborhood, DC.
Miller, the "Poet of the Sierras," built his modest log cabin
atop Meridian Hill in the late 1860s, now the site of Malcolm X Park.
The Park Service later moved it to this location in Rock Creek Park.
It is now the site of a summer outdoor poetry series administered by
The Word Works. Miller was a colorful character who wrote poetry and
essays. He worked at various times as a mining-camp cook, lawyer, journalist,
Pony Express rider, and was once jailed as a horse thief.
Joaquin Miller Cabin, Rock Creek Park, Beach Dr. and Military Road, Picnic
Grove 6, DC. (202) 895-6070. Administered by the National Park Service.
A poet and playwright who was an active member of the DC literary community
from the "Harlem" Renaissance period through her death in
1995, Miller was the most widely published African American woman playwright
in the 1920s and 30s, and published seven volumes of poems beginning
1632 S Street NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
Richard Bruce Nugent
Nugent lived here with his grandmother from 1924-1926. Nugent was the
author of "Smoke, Lillies, and Jade," a short story published
in Fire! in 1926, widely considered the first published Black
1231 T St. NW, Greater U Street neighborhood, DC.
Thomas Nelson Page
Page was the author of the story collection In Ole Virginia, published in 1887, among other books. He moved into this mansion in the 1890s. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1759 R. Street NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC
Pauker was the author of three poetry books and editor of the journal
Furioso. He lived at the second address until his death in 1991.
3723 S St NW, Burleith neighborhood, DC
"More Fun House," 3006 Porter St. NW, Cleveland
Park neighborhood, DC.
Perse, born Alexis Saint-Leger Leger, lived in exile from France in
DC from 1940 (when he was stripped of his citizenship and possessions
by the Vichy government) though 1967. He worked at the Library of Congress.
Perse was a former French diplomat and a Nobel Prize-winning poet.
1621 34th St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood,
2800 Woodley Rd. NW, Apt. 404, Woodley Park neighborhood, DC.
Katherine Anne Porter
The Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and short story writer lived in
DC and College Park, MD from 1959 until her death in 1901.
3106 P St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood,
3601 49th St. NW, American University neighborhood, DC.
Pound, winner of the Bollingen Award, was imprisoned here for treason
for 12 years, from 1946 to 1958.
St. Elizabeth's Hospital, 2700 Martin Luther King
Ave. SE, Chestnut Ward, DC. (202) 645-4999.
Rawlins (best known for the novel The Yearling, which won a Pulitzer
Prize for fiction in 1939) was born in this house in 1896, and lived
in DC until leaving for college in 1914.
1221 Newton Street NE, Brookland neighborhood, DC.
Richardson was one of the most prolific playwrights of the "Harlem"
He lived in DC from 1898 until his death in 1977.
512 U Street NW, LeDroit Park neighborhood, DC.
Prolific detective novelist Roberts lived in DC from the early 1920s
Embassy of Zambia, 2419 Massachusetts Ave. NW, north
of Sheridan Circle, DC. (202) 265-9717.
Sargent, the author of eleven books of poems, lived in DC from the
1950s until his death in 2006. He was active in the Capitol Hill Poetry
Group, and served on the Boards of the Folger Poetry Committee and The
815 A St. NE #2, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.
Molly Elliot Seawell
Prolific 19th century author of widely read historical romances and stories for boys in the gilded age. She wrote over forty books of fiction, collected short fiction, and non-fiction, as well as numerous political columns from Washington for New York dailies and essays.
1767 P Street NW , Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
Aiken lived here while serving as US Poet Laureate Consultant, from 1965 to 1966. Previously the residence of Conrad Aiken.
323 Second Street NW, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.
The author of nine books of poems, a memoir, and a collection of short
stories, Tham was editor-in-chief of The Word Works and poetry editor
of the Potomac Review. She lived in the DC region from 1973 until
her death in 2005.
2600 N. Upshur St., Arlington, VA.
Ahmos Zu-Bolton III
Poet, teacher and anthologist, Zu-Bolton lived at this location in the mid-1970s.
President Madison Apartments, 1908 Florida Avenue NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC.
Also of Interest:
Ramón Jiménez Hall
Academic hall named for the winner of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature.
The Spanish poet taught in the Foreign Languages department of the University
from 1943 to 1951. There is a plaque at the entrance featuring a translation
of one of Jiménez's poems.
University of Maryland, Juan Ramón Jiménez
Hall, College Park, MD.
Anne Porter Room
Part of the special collections of the University's libraries, the Porter
Room contains Porter's personal collection of books, plus an oil portrait
of the author and select personal belongings. The University also hosts
the Katherine Anne Porter Society.
University of Maryland, McKeldin Library, College
Park, MD. (301) 405-0800.
Poets & Writers window, south side, side aisle, Bay #2 (going from
W to E). Dark blue color, includes Milton, Dante & Beatrice.
Needlepoint kneelers in St. John's Chapel, to the right
of the high altar, dedicated to American authors: Longfellow, Whitman,
Poe, Dickinson, Millay, and Emerson.
3101 Wisconsin Avenue NW, DC. (202) 537-6200.
Kim Roberts is the author of two books of poems,
most recently The Kimnama (Vrzhu, 2007). She edits Beltway
Poetry Quarterly and co-edits The Delaware Poetry Review.
Her poems have appeared in journals beginning with every letter of the
alphabet. Her website: http://www.kimroberts.org.
Dan Vera is the author of a book of poems, The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books, 2008). He's the editor of the Gay culture journal
White Crane, co-founder of VRZHU Poetry Press, founder of Brookland
Area Writers & Artists, and a member of DC Poets Against War, and
the Triangle Artists Group. His poem have appeared in Delaware Poetry
Review, DC Poets Against The War, Konch, Shaping
Sanctuary, and Pacifica Radios nationally broadcast Peace
Watch program. His website: http://www.danvera.com.
Published in Volume
9, Number 3, Summer 2008.
To read more by these authors:
The Evolving City Issue
Split This Rock Issue
Dan Vera's Intro to the US Poets Laureate Issue (Fall 2009)
Dan Vera on Four Laureates: US Poets Laureate Issue
Dan Vera: Tenth Anniversary Issue