Oral History Interviews

Abell, Tyler
Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dumbarton Street resident, Tyler Abell, 79, has lived at the intersection of power and politics almost from the time of his birth. In 1936, his mother, Livie Abell, married journalist Andrew (Drew) Russell Pearson (1897-1969), whose syndicated newspaper column “Washington Merry-Go-Round” was among the best-known of its day. Pearson paid $20,000 for four houses comprising the entire corner of Dumbarton and 29th Streets, razing two and renovating the other two. His office was in one home, at 2822 Dumbarton (formerly 1313 29th Street). Tyler still owns both properties and his son, Lyndon Abell, resides in one today. Abell’s wife, Bess, served as an assistant to Mrs. Lyndon B. “Lady Bird” Johnson from 1961-1963 when Lyndon Johnson was Vice President and later as White House Social Secretary in the Johnson Administration from 1963-1969. In his July 21, 2011 interview with Betty van Iersal, Abell remembers a Georgetown of small neighborhood stores, some of which are still in business, including Scheele’s Market and Morgan’s Pharmacy. Others, including a Jewish delicatessen and a Chinese laundry, have faded into history. He rode the streetcar up Wisconsin Avenue to St. Alban’s School and roller skated on the neighborhood’s often bumpy brick sidewalks. Coal was delivered almost daily, and you could buy a milk shake for five cents. Though much has changed, he thinks that much of the essential character of Georgetown has remained the same.

Addison, Grace
Sunday, January 17, 2010

Grace Addison told CAG Oral History interviewer Patty Murphy that the Addison family received “a grant by Charles II... that’s how long the Addisons have been around here.” Though she grew up in Chicago, Grace’s father believed speaking with a southern accent was “proper” and moving to the DC area was the natural thing to do. Grace moved to Georgetown after meeting her pilot husband, Joe, while working as an "airline hostess" after World War II. They moved to P Street near Volta Park and she has lived here ever since. In her interview, Grace gives detailed descriptions of the Georgetown homes she has lived in, her neighborly friendship with President Kennedy, her daughters learning to play tennis in Volta Park, and how Martin’s Tavern has been a staple of the Georgetown scene.

Birch, Tom
Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tea and conversation with Tom Birch: The congenial Mr. Birch first came to know Georgetown as a student at George Washington University Law School in the late 1960's and moved there permanently with his partner in 1987 after serving in the Peace Corps and beginning his career on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist for nonprofit organizations. Over the years, Tom has enjoyed the village atmosphere of Georgetown where people often live together for generations, sharing bonds, not just a friendship but also responsibility. As part of that responsibility, Tom Birch has served for many years on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission with a focus on historic preservation. In his interview with Tanya Lervik, Tom recalls working to maintain the unique community spirit of Georgetown - where diplomats, authors, artists, and statesmen have all made their mark.  

Bowman, Catherine
Friday, February 12, 2010

Catherine Bowman, the fifth child of six, at 86 years old is a third-generation Georgetowner. Born in 1924 to a mother and grandfather that both lived in Georgetown all of their lives, she has seen many changes occur, particularly in regards to race. She loves correcting anyone that says that Georgetown was once “all-black”. In her words, “Georgetown was never ‘all-black’. They had their section and we had ours.” That section was a tight-knit community at the eastern edge of Georgetown, just before Rock Creek and the bridges to Dupont Circle and the West End/Foggy Bottom. This community centered around five churches and Rose Park. Catherine, who has lived in her P Street house since 1927 when her parents purchased it, provides a glimpse into life in “Black Georgetown” by sharing stories about growing up here, former residents, community amenities and the socioeconomic changes she has witnessed.

Bralove, Edith
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Edith Bralove moved to Georgetown in the 1960’s with her three teenage children. In her interview with Annie Lou Berman, she remembers the curfew imposed after the 1968 riots, the filming of the movie The Exorcist, and entertaining styles and nightlife. She discusses the history of her house with an incredible view overlooking the Potomac River and the imported Haitian ironwork in the back of the house. Edith also talks about Georgetown University’s plans for expansion and how it might affect the neighborhood.

Brown, Gerald
Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ever wonder why airplanes flying to and from Reagan National Airport follow the path of the Potomac River? You can thank Gerald Brown for his part in expressing the concerns of the residents of Georgetown about high levels of airplane noise and for his relentless pursuit of an amicable solution with the Airports Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Gerald and his wife, Maude, have seen many changes since moving to Georgetown in 1951. In this interview with Michele Jacobson he describes some of these changes as well as his experiences over the years as an active member of the Citizens Association of Georgetown where he addressed the issues of trees, a proposed twenty-story tower at 29th and M, street lights, community leadership and many other elements that contribute to the quality of life in Georgetown.

Burling, Frida
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Frida Burling has seen Georgetown transform from a “sleepy old southern town…full of racial prejudice” into a vibrant community with lots of young families.  Frida moved to Georgetown in 1945 with her first husband and after a brief stint in Cleveland Park, moved back with her second husband, Eddie Burling, in 1959.  She has been a constant figure in the Georgetown community ever since.  In her interviews with Annie Lou Berman, Frida describes what it was like to live here during desegregation in the 1960s.  She also details the differences in the social scene – people rarely put on their tuxedoes for a weekday dinner party anymore.  Through all of the changes in her 50 plus years of living in this community, Frida has maintained her positive attitude for Georgetown and continues to love the neighborhood unconditionally.  

Charles, Ellen
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ellen Charles has been an extremely successful board director of Hillwood, the estate of her formidable Grandmother, Marjorie Merriweather Post.  Ellen Charles’ s vision and leadership has taken a family home and professionalized it into a well respected museum that is a Washington treasure. 


Betsy Cooley and Cathy Farrell engaged Mrs. Charles in a lively interview shortly after she stepped down as Chair of the Board of Hillwood., a position she maintained for 25 years.   Ellen says she left at the top of her game.  Hillwood operates in the black and welcomed over 70,000 visitors last year.  Mrs. Charles talks freely about the conditions she confronted in making Hillwood a successful museum.  She talks about how to make Tudor Place a successful, historical point of interest in Georgetown and she compares and contrasts its management with her experiences at Hillwood. 


Her decision to relocate to Georgetown from her home in Maryland is an interesting recollection as is the story about the remodeling of her house on 31rd Street.  Mrs Charles is very proud that her walled garden looks which looks like is has always been there, including the lovely moss growing on it.  This interesting and very personal story is a wonderful reflection of the character of its subject as well as a very complimentary expose of happy life in the Georgetown community. 


Copperthite, Mike
Friday, April 8, 2011

In an April 18, 2011 interview with Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Mike Copperthite unveiled one of the greatest forgotten stories of Georgetown. His great-great-grandfather, Henry C. Copperthite, a farm boy from Connecticut, was stationed at Georgetown College during the Civil War. After returning to West Washington as a newlywed with his young wife, Johanna, they decided to settle and began a small baking shop called H. Copperthite Pie Baking Company at 1407 32nd Street Business boomed and soon the company was churning out over 50,000 pies each day in Washington at their factories on Capitol Hill and in Georgetown on the corner of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

As his company grew, so did the Copperthite influence in Washington. Henry Copperthite owned part of Analostan Island (now Theodore Roosevelt Island), constructed many of the wood and brick houses in Georgetown that were built between 1880 and 1925, and was a large supporter of horse racing in the Washington, DC area (he sold a racehorse to Cornelius Vanderbilt for a record sum). As a fifth-generation Washingtonian, Mike Copperthite shares the story of his family and gives insight to an amazing man in a true rags-to-riches story.

Davis, Judy
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Judy Davis shares stories of growing up on P Street including running around with neighborhood children, spinster neighbor ladies, shops and restaurants she and her family frequented and what life in Georgetown was like before the war. Judy grew up on P Street in the same house her mother was born in and that had been in her family for over 100 years. She says she never had a key to her house until after she was married. She recalls Georgetown as a quiet, safe, and marvelous place to live. Judy attended Jackson School and then Potomac School and always walked to school with other neighborhood children and often back home for lunch. During the winters she sledded down 31st street and skated on Rock Creek. Judy shares a colorful memories of life in Georgetown with interview Tom Birch.

Delany, Kevin
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Born and raised in the melting pot of Brooklyn, New York, Kevin Delany learned a sense of tolerance and understanding of different cultures at an early age. This certainly paid off later in life when he worked as a foreign news correspondent and traveled the world as an evaluator of Peace Corps missions. As a young man, Kevin entered the Navy during World War II and later found himself at Williams College where he excelled as a track and field star. Following in his brother’s footsteps, Kevin applied and was accepted to Harvard Business School but, in the wise words of Yogi Bera, “When he came to the fork in the road, he took it.” He declined Harvard and attended Columbia University’s journalism school which sparked his career as a foreign news correspondent for CBS and ABC news. When not traveling the globe, Kevin returned home: to Georgetown. He first encountered Potomac Street as a young Navy ensign in 1952 and bought his first home on Orchard Lane in 1968 (he rented that home out to Peter Jennings of ABC news during a trip to Vietnam). In his interview with Elizabeth Maloy, Kevin Delany recounts a remarkable and exciting life as a world traveler who always found home in Georgetown.

Desan, Elizabeth
Monday, April 18, 2011

Elizabeth Desan has lived in both the East and West villages of Georgetown. Two of her three children were born in DC so she has known the public school system and how it changed through the years. During her April 18th, 2011 interview with Ingrid Beach, Elizabeth compared life in the two villages and how they, too, changed during the forty five years she has lived here.

Deutschman, Barry
Friday, March 26, 2010

Barry Deutschman, owner/pharmacist of Morgan’s Pharmacy at 30th & P Sts., NW., has seen his professional life in Georgetown come full circle since beginning his association with this independent neighborhood pharmacy as a part-time weekend pharmacist in the 1970s. Since purchasing the 98-year-old pharmacy in 1992, D.C. native Deutschman has retained its historic tradition and much of its appearance while updating its product line to meet the health care needs of a modern audience. An integral part of the East Village since 1912 when rumor has it a young woman married one of the original Morgan brothers so that she could obtain free ice cream from the soda fountain, modern-day Morgans serves both young families and seniors. One thing that has not changed is the pharmacy’s emphasis on personal service and strong communication with customers. "What makes people comfortable, especially when they are ill, is when they can come into the pharmacy and be addressed by their first name. Everyone is a person here, and no one is a number," Deutschman emphasises. The good news for Georgetown is that Deutschman has no plans to retire. "I still look forward to coming to work every day. We certainly want to carry on the tradition of Morgan Pharmacy. It is very important to us. We know how important it is to the neighborhood. We really thank the neighborhood for continuing to support us. The key to our success is the fact that it is a two-way street, and we are very thankful for what our neighbors give back to us."

Donohue, Matthew
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Matthew Donohue is the scion of a Georgetown family with a rich history of real estate holdings in Georgetown and other parts of Washington. After graduating from Georgetown University in 1959, Matt worked for the Job Corps -- part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty Program. For the next twenty years, his job was to find and acquire Job Corps sites all over the country. He later continued in real estate, concentrating on commercial properties and keeping tabs on family tracts, particularly in Georgetown. In this interview with Kevin Delany, Matt talks about the tightly-knit Donohue family and their properties in Georgetown -- including several grocery stores, a bar, drug stores, pharmacies, physicians offices, and the site of the City Tavern Club.

Emes, Ed
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Edward L. Emes, Jr. grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, joined the Marine Corps, was a member of the Ohio State NCAA championship swim team, and moved to Georgetown in the early 1950s. After living in several houses, he settled on N Street where extensive repairs were needed: “We were in Georgetown at a time when an awful lot of renovation had to be done.” In his interview with Vivienne Lassman, Ed talks about his home’s previous owners (one was Nina Gore Vidal Auchincloss), the closing of the Sealtest Dairy on Prospect Street, swimming in the Potomac, and attending “exclusive” parties as a bachelor in the 1960s. Ed also explains how Georgetown has changed from a neighborhood with two or three restaurants and motorcycle bars into the tight-knit, child-friendly community it is today.

Emmet, Anne
Monday, June 2, 2014

Anne Emmet’s lively and personal commentary about her experiences weaves together her deep Washington family history with memories of half a century of life in Georgetown. Her first residence was on Dent Place in the early 1940’s.  Her aunt, Mrs. David Finley, wife of the then head of the National Gallary of Art, owned three houses on Dent.  Anne and her mother moved into one while her father was away in New York during the early years of  World War II.   Her mother walked her to St. Patrick’s Nursery School, up Reservoir Road to Foxhall Village, past government Quonset huts that provided temporary housing for workers.  

After a few years in New York City, her family returned to Georgetown to be with Anne’s Grandmother, Edith Morton Eustis, widow to William Corcoran Eustis, in the large yellow house at the corner of 28th and P Street.  

Anne’s life has involved many different Georgetown houses with interesting histories.  She discusses how much the social life of Washington has changed over the years.  She remembers dinner parties given by “important women” who invited people “who mattered” and where important decisions were made.  Reflecting on her debut year she commented, “I look back and I think, what a crazy, sort of an empty existence. We had a ball.”

Evans, Kay
Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kay Evans tells the story of a young woman from Minnesota, who comes to Washington looking for a news job and ends up marrying a reporter who becomes a famous syndicated columnist. In her interview with Kevin Delany, Kay describes the nation’s capitol and Georgetown during the Kennedy years and beyond, a period storied for newsmakers and their sources gathering at glamorous cocktail parties and dinners seeking “The Inside Story!” for America’s news media.

Friendly, Pie
Monday, May 7, 2012

Pie Friendly moved to Washington in 1971 with her new husband, Alfred, and lived in the Friendly family home on 31st Street for a few years before moving to Cleveland Park. Marrying into one of the established Georgetown families, Pie depicts a life where the tennis court was one of the centers of social and political life. Georgetown was a small community where friends would gather at shops, like the French Market and Neams, and parks during the day and then attend supper parties in the evenings. Pie describes the dinner parties organized by famous Georgetown hostesses, including Polly Fritchey and Evangeline Bruce, where politics were discussed as the main topic of conversation. Pie also worked on the Averell Harriman political campaigns and with the local charity The Georgetown Children’s House, which provided day care services to employees of local families. In her interview with Kelly Richmond, Pie gives a candid account of living in Georgetown and raising two sons during the community’s political heyday.

Gary Tischler
Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In the late 70s Gary Tischler arrived in DC from California as a young freelance writer.  He intention was to go to work for the “Washington Post” but he met Dave Roffman, second publisher of “The Georgetowner,” who encouraged him to write a story about Ted Kennedy’s campaign.  Some thousands of articles later, Gary Tischler hold the record as the longest-serving writer for that local paper.   He has written extensively about the transformation of cultural offerings in Washington over the past 50 years. In this interview he comments on the steady rise of offerings in music, the arts, and the development of experimental theater in the community as well as Georgetown’s numerous and varied musical venues. 

Gary compares his life in this city and his job at the “Georgetowner” to having been invited to take his place at a large banquet table.  His enjoyment in his long career, the observations he makes about the “classy” people of Georgetown, his memories of street events and people involved, his appreciation for those who have encouraged and achieved excellence in their chosen fields are all part of the informative history Mr. Tischler shares with the oral history project.

Gordon, Barbara
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barbara Gordon, resident in Georgetown since 1961, was brought up on a sugar cane ranch in Cuba, she is bi-lingual and has travelled extensively. She was the first person in the United States to recognize the extraordinary art of Ferdinand Botero and to buy his works. Her art collection reflects her interest in South America and Hispanic artists but includes the Washington color school with artists such as Sam Gilliam and Gene Davis. Her husband MacKenzie Gordon was with the U.S. Geological Society; through his work they travelled abroad and he was a collector of oriental art. In her interview with Vivienne Lassman, Barbara describes her love of art and her early years in Washington when she worked for the State Department and later as a volunteer for the Association of Foreign Service Women.

Greenway, Cooby
Monday, April 11, 2011

Cooby Greenway has had a relationship with Georgetown's East End during many different phases of her life: from living with her parents there as a child and early teen, staying there when back from boarding school and college, and beginning her career in Washington. Now she lives again in the East End of Georgetown. As an early environmental advocate Ms. Greenway helped D.C. from being overrun by highways. She also assisted in the creation and launch of the Kennedy Center. Her love of Georgetown comes from its uniqueness; as she puts it, “There is nothing else like Georgetown.” She describes Georgetown as a residential village which retains its character and charm despite all the changes she has seen over the years. Ms. Greenway discusses her relationship with Georgetown through the years -- including the presence of ghosts in her parents’ home on Dumbarton Street -- with CAG interviewer Kelly Richmond.

Hays, Betty
Sunday, August 3, 2014

Betty Hays fell in love with Mexican art and culture while on vacation with her husband. So much so that they decided to open The Phoenix on Wisconsin Avenue and share their love of Mexico with Georgetown. As owner of one of the oldest retails stores in Georgetown, Betty has seen the area change slightly, but she steadfastly claims Georgetown has not changed very much – the character of the area is still here, “basically Georgetown is still Georgetown.” Read more about her time as a shop owner in her interview with Elizabeth Barentzen.

Hays, John
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

John Hays is a second generation owner of the Phoenix, Georgetown's longest surviving retail store. John's mother, Betty Hays opened the Phoenix with her late husband in the 1950's, after deciding it would be much more exciting to sell Mexican arts and crafts than to work for the government. In his interview with Elizabeth Barentzen, John discusses his experiences growing up in the Georgetown area, from integration and Martin Luther King's famous speech on the National Mall, to the present day challenges and fulfillment he has received as a member of Georgetown's business community.

Hinds, Richard
Saturday, January 27, 2018

Richard Christel's interview with Richard Hinds focuses on the evolution of Georgetown Campus Plan negotiations.  Mr. Hinds serves a General Counsel of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, a position he has held for many years.  During the 1990s and into the present day, Georgetown University has been at times in conflict with the neighborhoods that border its campus.  Mr. Hinds underscores and explains the evolution of the neighborhoods' commitment to pushing back plans that the university wanted to implement in order to move some of its students off campus and into housing in residential areas.  These negotiations, begun in the 1990s, were finally settled after years of activism by concerned citizens, CAG, the ANC, and the university in June of 2012 when the President of Georgetown, Jack DeJioia and ANC chair Ron Lewis announced the formation of the Georgetown Community Partnership.  


Jacob, Elizabeth
Sunday, June 5, 2011

Elizabeth Jacob married Jean Jacob in December 1979 on a Sunday – because the French Market in Georgetown did not close on a Saturday during the busy holiday season! In her interview with Catherine Habanananda, Elizabeth and her daughter, Cathrina, describe the relationship of the Jacob brothers and their famous French Market. There were very few specialty food markets in Washington during the 1960s and 1970s and the French Market filled the void first in Chevy Chase and later in Georgetown on Wisconsin Avenue. Elizabeth reminisces about her first meeting with Jean at the market while looking for calf’s brain for a recipe, the extraordinary love and friendship between the Jacob brothers, and the success of the French Market in Georgetown.

Jacob, Georges
Sunday, May 15, 2011

Georges Jacob and his family moved to the United States when he was almost 19 years old. While his father was working at the Chevy Chase Club, he met a man who was eager to help him open a butcher shop. In 1958 Georges’ father and four sons opened their French Market, which included not only a butcher shop but a wide array of French provisions. The location in three adjoining townhouses at 1628, 1630, and 1632 Wisconsin Avenue (painted in “bleu, blanc, rouge”) became a huge success. It was famous for gorgeous cuts of meat and Georges’ father’s ability to help local women impress their party guests with a magnificent menu. In his interview with Catherine Habanananda, Georges recalls Jacqueline Kennedy visiting the store with her mother and the strong French influence in upper Georgetown at the time. Georges, the only surviving brother, describes the popular market that many Georgetowners remember with great affection. 

Jacobsen, Hugh
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hear Hugh Jacobsen’s humorous recollections of moving into Georgetown, raising a young family and starting his now international architectural firm over a delicatessen in the early 60’s. You’ll be in awe of his knowledge of Georgetown’s architectural styles and history, how he changed the look of so many Georgetown homes with his modern approach, and how his DC practice took him all over the world. In his interview with Annie Lou Berman, Hugh Jacobsen has many stories to tell, friends to roast, and books to refer to - you will find this a most entertaining oral history!

Joynt, Carol
Saturday, July 9, 2016

Carol Joynt / Nathan’s of Georgetown
Nathan’s was a well-known and well-frequented tavern established in 1969 by Howard Joynt and two partners. It sat in the heart of Georgetown at the corner of M & Wisconsin. Mr. Joynt quickly bought out his partners and built Nathan’s into the go-to place for Washington celebrities. It’s been described as an up-scale Cheers where the rich, famous, and fun-loving folks of Washington society once came to hob-nob on any given night. Along with Clyde’s Restaurant, just down the street, Nathan’s helped put Georgetown on the map. When Mr. Joynt died suddenly in 1997, his stunned and grieving widow Carol, then a newly single mother of a five-year-old son, learned that the tavern owned millions of dollars in back taxes. She quit her job as a successful network news producer (she won an Emmy for a Charlie Rose prison interview with Charles Manson) and took on the job as tavern owner. Twelve years later, reluctantly, she closed Nathan’s.
In this interview with Linda Greenan, Ms. Joynt talks about the impact of Nathan’s on Georgetown and what Georgetown was like in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and the times she faced as a proprietor of one of the city’s most notable watering holes.

Cathy Farrell
Linda Greenan

Kenworthy, Stuart
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stuart Kenworthy was Rector of Christ Church Georgetown from 1991 until his retirement, November 2, 2014. He also served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard from 1994-2007. As a resident of Georgetown for more than 20 years, he speaks eloquently of the unique aspects of Georgetown as a small, supportive village in the midst of an internationally influential city. This interview is a testament to the sense of community and the exceedingly strong neighborhood spirit that has marked Georgetown as a uniquely wonderful place to live not only in the past but in the present.

Kraft, Polly
Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sitting in the living room of her lovely home on N Street, Polly Kraft gave interviewer, Michele Jacobson, a glimpse into her remarkable life in Georgetown. An established artist, whose work is exhibited at the Fischbach Gallery in New York and the Addison/Ripley Gallery in Georgetown, she moved here from New York with her well-known journalist husband, Joe Kraft, upon the election of John F. Kennedy. Following the loss of Joe, she later married Lloyd Cutler, trusted legal advisor to Presidents Carter and Clinton. Polly’s Georgetown has included enjoying the company of journalists, politicians, artists, intellectuals, and others involved with interests of national significance. It also has included the ability to walk to the drug store and to enjoy her garden – an unusual combination that defines life in Georgetown pretty well.

Kukulski, Ray
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ray Kukulski moved to Georgetown as a young naval officer in 1967 with a few of his naval buddies and the group rented a house between M Street and the Potomac. After more than forty years of living in “lower Georgetown,” Ray has witnessed the massive changes that have occurred on the waterfront. When he arrived, the waterfront was mostly industrial: Geller’s lumber yard, the Flour Mill, Washington Gas and Light Company, and other offices littered the Potomac shores. Ray has since become a steady figure in the Georgetown community as a past president of CAG, ANC chairman, and a key spokesperson in the Georgetown Waterfront Park negotiations. In his interview with Beverly Jost, Ray goes into detail about the history of the Georgetown community and interjects anecdotal histories of specific buildings, people, and stores. His keen interest in historic building permits makes this interview a must-read to fully grasp the transformation of Georgetown as a working-class, industrial town into the family-friendly community it is today.

Kurzman, Steve
Saturday, November 16, 2013

Steve Kurzman moved to Georgetown with his wife in 1961 after he began working on Capitol Hill - He and his first wife, Ellen, loved the neighborhood because of its quaint charm and architecture, especially appreciated by his architect wife. The first house the Kurzman family rented was 22 feet long and 11 feet wide on 26th Street – a "charming house." In his fascinating interview with CAG Oral History volunteer Arlene Alvarez, Mr. Kurzman describes integration in the DC public school system and his time working on the Hill when the Civil Rights Bill was passed. He describes Georgetown as an “interesting mixture” and “constantly changing” – which are two main reasons he loves living in Georgetown.

Levy, Richard & Phillip
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In a remarkably informative interview with Emma Oxford, brothers Richard and Philip Levy relate a complete social and commercial history of Georgetown from the early 1920s to present day. Beginning with the extended family’s relocation from Southwest DC to M Street, the brothers discuss the expansion of a vibrant Jewish merchant class that developed along M Street and was well established by the early 1940s when these sons of Sam Levy were born.

The brothers recall a Georgetown that has changed significantly during their lifetime, moving from a small southern town with a racially mixed population and an industrial area below M Street through several transformations to the community we know today.  As children they talk about the freedom they had to explore, the police who walked the beat, the ethnic characters who lived across the street, the rich southern music traditions that marked Georgetown nightlife, and riding the street car “through people’s back yards” out to Glen Echo.  Richard Levy is managing principal of The Levy Group and Philip is the owner of Bridge Street Books on Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Linskey Nietfeld, Patricia
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Patricia Linskey-Nietfeld’s family has roots four generations deep in Georgetown, and she is very knowledgeable about their history. In this interview with John Verghese, she shares stories about her family’s long involvement in the Irish community in the city, as well as stories from her own childhood growing up at 1657 Wisconsin Avenue. She recalls the way many historic moments affected her own life in Georgetown, from the desegregation of DC public schools to the Kennedy election. Pat has a number of lighter-hearted memories to share as well, including the system Georgetown kids used to employ to sled all the way down Book Hill Park.

Lipert, Keith
Sunday, December 10, 2017

The mixture of internationals, celebrities, and local residents give a unique feel to the Georgetown community. Carey Rivers’ interview with her neighbor, Keith Lipert, a well-known merchandizer of fashion jewelry and accessories, explores the personal joys and pleasures of living and working in Georgetown. How lucky Georgetown is that he and his young family moved here and opened a shop on M Street in 1987. Keith has been a key part of the commercial life of Georgetown as it has undergone various iterations over the years as he and fellow shop owners have worked to maintain Georgetown’s status as a prime, shopping destination. He describes the local business cycles of the low times in the 80’s, the high times of the 90’s. He examines the changes of the past 20 years and explores the new Main Street Project, which is a city-public-private partnership to help independent stores maintain their viability. Keith feels strongly that the viability of commercial businesses is what sustains a neighborhood. The interview underscores the optimism Keith feels for the future of our community.

Lyddane, Eugene
Monday, March 10, 2014

Eugene “Toddy” Lyddane was born at the old Georgetown University Hospital on 35th and N Streets in 1911. Toddy grew up on Hall Place, in Glover Park just north of Georgetown, and worked in his father’s grocery store, which had been opened a generation earlier by Toddy’s grandfather, on 1408 Wisconsin Avenue. He pulled a little wagon full of groceries to different customers’ houses; people rarely went to grocery stores and just called in orders. After moving into Georgetown in 1929, just before becoming a teenager, Toddy has remained a steady figure in the community. In his interview with Alec McKaye, Toddy Lyddane reminisces about old Georgetown: cowboy movies at Dumbarton theater, frequenting Connecticut Lunch for sandwiches on Wisconsin and O Streets, and the spaghetti dinners at Heon’s Restaurant. Visit Georgetown through the vivid recollections of a long-time Georgetowner and enter a small town made up of groceries, pharmacies, bakeries, and streets so empty you could play baseball on them.

Lynch, Jack M.D.
Friday, August 15, 2014

Dr. Jack Lynch is a third-generation Georgetowner whose grandfather was a physician and whose father was a pharmacist here. In his interview with Ronda Bernstein, he tells stories of Georgetown when it was a small village - with milk delivered by horse-drawn carts - and its transformation into a bustling social hub with the entrance of the Kennedy administration. Coming from a large family (all seven siblings were born at Georgetown Hospital), Dr. Lynch's memories cover a large variety of topics about growing up in Georgetown. "We used to roller skate because all the streets were macadam. It was great for roller skates. Just next to Martin's many years ago, there was a garage. You could skate into the garage where the Gap is now and use the oil can to oil up your skates and get back on the streets." And, talking about school days, he recalls "On lunch time we'd go out to the trestle where the street cars went over to go to Glen Echo and climb up in there and stick our heads up when the street car was coming and try and frighten the driver. My parents would have killed me if they knew...."

Mak, Dayton
Monday, August 21, 2017


Martin, Billy
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interviewed on his birthday by Joyce Lowenstein, Billy Martin shared stories on how Martin’s Tavern was founded and has thrived throughout its almost eighty years of existence. The Tavern was founded by Martin’s great-grandfather who traveled to the United States from Ireland in the late 1890s. He purchased the property on the corner of Wisconsin and N Street in 1933 and transformed the building from a Greek delicatessen into the Tavern – it looks almost identical today as it did when it officially opened its doors in 1934. Martin’s Tavern has operated within the Martin family for four generations. Read the candid interview with the fourth Billy Martin to learn the stories of spies, famous proposals (namely JFK and Jackie), and how every American president from Truman to George W. Bush has eaten in one of the booths (the Martin children wrote a letter to Mr. Obama inviting him to dine to keep the tradition alive). A true gem, Martin’s Tavern, and the family that owns it, represents the history and neighborhood-friendly ways of Georgetown.

Martin, Guy
Monday, June 9, 2014

Approaching his 100th birthday, Guy Martin spoke candidly with interviewer Constance Chatfield-Taylor about his beautiful old home on the corner of 33rd and O Streets. Built in 1855, the house was briefly occupied by the likes of Douglas MacArthur (who described it as a “cottage in Georgetown”) and blue-blooded Englishmen including the Queen’s cousin. Martin and his wife moved in 1963 and raised four children. The family experienced Georgetown through the assassination of President Kennedy and the riots of the 1960s, although Martin insists they did not affect Georgetown much. A four-level home with 14-foot ceilings throughout and filled with beautiful antiques, the Martin home paints a beautiful picture of life in Georgetown.

Moorhead, Lucy
Monday, November 9, 2009

Lucy Moorhead moved from Pittsburgh to Georgetown in 1959 with her Congressman husband and four small children. The Moorhead family first lived on Foxhall Road while trying to decide where to permanently settle; they soon fell in love with the streets of Georgetown: “We'd walk down to wherever it was that we were going, somebody’s house. We just loved the feeling of it. And we’d look into peoples’ houses it was at night so of course you could see into peoples’ rooms because nobody seemed to bother to pull down the shades.” She has lived on 31st Street ever since. In her interview with Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Lucy goes into detail about raising four children in Georgetown, the unnerving fires and riots of the 1960s, the elaborate dinner parties, and even a portable 12x12 foot dance floor that was shared amongst neighbors for elaborate dinner parties. Though the weeknight, black tie parties may have waned a bit, Lucy insists nothing in Georgetown has changed much in the 50 years she has lived here.

Mynchenberg, Janice
Monday, July 7, 2014

Janice Mynchenberg became pastor of the Georgetown Lutheran Church in 2013. In this interview she reflects upon the history of this church which occupies the northwest corner of Volta Place and Wisconsin Avenue. The church established itself in 1766 when a group of Lutheran Germans, attracted by an offer of cheap land, selected the location at 4th and High Street for their church. They built a log cabin in the same location that the existing church stands today. The cornerstone was laid in 1769. Pastor Mynchenberg’s comments highlight how service to the immediate community has been important to the identity of the church since its founding and continues to be central to its mission today.

Over recent years the Georgetown community has enjoyed the extensive, colorful garden that surrounds the church. Pastor Mynchenberg commends the dedicated service of its gardener, Valentine Garcia, who can be found working in the garden throughout the year.

Her delight and spiritual commitment to her role as leader of this community makes this interview particularly engaging. Pastor Mynchenberg is thrilled to be living in Washington and finds the living history of Georgetown to be an added bonus to her work with her congregation.

Oppenheimer, Margaret and Franz
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Margaret and Franz Oppenheimer bought their home on O Street in 1950, raised three children in Georgetown, and continue to live there. While they aren’t completely positive, they believe a relative of Napoleon Bonaparte may have lived in their house before them. In their April 1, 2010 interview with Joyce Lowenstein, the Oppenheimers describe how they came to Georgetown in 1947 when Franz as a young lawyer got a job at the World Bank and Margaret worked at a school for children with learning disabilities. The couple loves living in Georgetown even though Franz actively opposed buses and wishes we still had trolley cars. Read more of their candid interview to learn how Georgetown has changed over the last sixty years.

Owen, Sofia
Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sofia Owen moved to the west side of Georgetown with her new husband in 1940 from her hometown of Monte Video, Uruguay. After a brief departure while her husband was stationed in Brazil by the State Department, the Owens returned to Georgetown in 1958, this time on the east side where they have been here ever since. In her interview with CAG Oral History interviewer Ingrid Beach, Mrs. Owen remembers raising four children in “a very different Georgetown,” where fewer young families lived in the neighborhood. Nonetheless, the friendships her children forged at that time remain strong to the present day (including with their friend Jimmy Wheeler, son of Oral History Project pioneer Al Wheeler). She cannot say enough about her wonderful neighbors, the history of the neighborhood – one house nearby used to be the Emma Brown School which was opened just after the Civil War as a school for neighborhood black children – and what it was like to have Secret Service stationed on her street when her neighbor was former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

Pozell, Ella
Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ella Pozell who, along with her husband Joseph, worked for 26 years at Oak Hill Cemetery in the heart of Georgetown from 1986-2012. Oak Hill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; included on the grounds are two structures – Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel and the Van Ness Mausoleum – both of which are also listed, separately, on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1849 and completed in 1853, it’s a good example of a “garden cemetery” which has landscaped winding paths and terraces that descend into nearby Rock Creek Park. The cemetery is notable not only for its natural beauty but for its many famous inhabitants which Mrs. Pozell covers quite well in this oral history. Because of its history and its beauty, Trip Advisor recommends Oak Hill as one site to see while visiting Washington, DC. Interviewers: Cathy Farrell Linda Greenan

Prince, John
Sunday, September 27, 2009

John Prince moved to Georgetown in 1954 with a Cordon Bleu education in French cooking after fighting in WWII and travelling the globe. After many years in the catering business and a short stint as manager of The City Tavern Club, he decided his next business adventure would involve more person-to-person interaction. In an interview with Louise Brodnitz, John tells about his career in the Georgetown real estate business and shares many stories about catering parties for the political elite that lived in Georgetown.

Randolph, Frank
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Frank Randolph was born on Reservoir Road in Georgetown and the son of Ernest Randolph, the renowned senator from West Virginia. Frank received his early education from the Hardy school and Duke Ellington high school. After two years at West Virginia University, Frank was ready for something different, and signed on for a highly regarded and exciting fine arts program at the University of Florence. Frank returned from Italy and got his real estate license to sustain him. He not only sold homes but his keen advice to his clients on how to enhance their purchase launched him on an interior design career. Some forty years later he is still at it, having earned a reputation that puts him among the elite in his field. In his interview with Kevin Delany, Frank reveals he still finds time for local causes, such as Trees for Georgetown and the annual Georgetown house tour. In short, he has never left his roots.

Richardson, John
Thursday, November 10, 2011

John Richardson is a builder who has lived in Georgetown since 1976 while raising his son with wife, Nina, and developing his business. He was instrumental in the amazing transformation of Volta Park, from what was a “very run down mess – like an old freight yard – filled with inner tubes and dirt and rocks” to the beautiful park it is today. He talks about the early days of that effort and how the people in the neighborhood made it happen – against all odds, about how Georgetown has changed over the years, and offers amusing anecdotes from years past.

Ricks, Vernon and Barbara Ricks Thompson
Thursday, June 16, 2016

Vernon Ricks and his sister, Barbara Ricks Thompson, have been active worshipers at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church on 29th Street since their childhood years in the 1940’s and 50’s. Vernon and Barbara describe how living in Georgetown, attending Mt. Zion church, being educated at Philips, Wormley, and Armstrong schools, and being part of a close, supportive family and community gave them the foundations upon which they each created successful lives.  

Vernon was born at home during the war years at 1404 26th Street, attended by Dr. C. Herbert Marshall, dedicated physician to the community in Georgetown. He was in the first class to graduate from Armstrong High School after Brown versus Board of Education.  Barbara describes playing house with her friends in Rose Park, where the mud pies and stone biscuits were sampled by Vernon and other, younger siblings.  She also recalls difficulties she faced venturing into areas of the greater Washington community as segregation came to an end. In this warm and personal interview with Cathy Farrell and Henry Courtney, both reminisce about Rose Park, riding the bus to the end of the line on Sunday afternoons, their family, schools and community, with joy, gratitude, and a good dose of humor.

Roosevelt, Selwa "Lucky"
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Selwa “Lucky” Roosevelt moved to Georgetown after she married Archibald Roosevelt, Jr., grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, in 1950. While working at the Washington Post, Lucky wrote her first big magazine article for the Saturday Evening Post about remodeling their N Street home. Later appointed as the Chief of Protocol for the Reagan administration, Lucky hosted numerous heads of state, prominent musicians, and even President and Mrs. Reagan for luncheons and dinners (her guestbook is filled with impressive persons). The Roosevelts would also host after-dinner dances at their N Street home complete with an orchestra until 6 in the morning! In her May 21, 2011 interview with Tanya Lervik, Lucky reminisces about her early years in Georgetown with corner groceries, numerous movie houses, and how, with the help of CAG, the historic and beautiful character of Georgetown survived the era of the “hippies.”

Satterthwaite, Ann
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ann Satterthwaite is committed to the preservation of the environment and the community – and is also very interested in historic preservation. What better place to settle than in Georgetown? Ann arrived in Washington after finishing her graduate degree in city planning at Yale University to work with the Outdoor Recreation Resources Commission in the early 1960s where she helped to create parks and green spaces for the city. Having worked in several cities and countries throughout the world, Ann set roots in Georgetown and committed herself to the decades-long project of the creation of Georgetown Waterfront Park. In her interview with Catherine Habanananda, Ann details the struggles and victories during the transformation of the commercial hub south of M Street into the beautiful, peaceful green space it is today. She sums up the unique character of Washington, DC and Georgetown as: “The marvel of this city is that it is so green. It is called the City of Trees."

Saxe, Ruth MacKenzie
Friday, May 6, 2011

In an interview with Kevin Delany on May 6, 2011, Ruth Saxe tells the story of a young lady from Fergus Falls, Minnesota (population: 10,848) who comes to Washington and leaves her mark on the Peace Corps, Common Cause, and the CAG newsletter – while administering an awards program for almost 30 years that encourages young Americans to engage in socially-useful projects.

Schafer, Edith
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In her interview with Janet Kandel and Cathy Farrell, Edith Shafer talks about moving to Georgetown in 1960 when she married  and what it was like to raise her family here.  She tells how she became involved with the Garden Club and, in 2017, Edith, Lee Childs and June Libin were awarded the William A. Cochran Community Service Award for their efforts to protect and enhance the parks and architecture of Georgetown.  At the recent Oral History evening, Edith solicited belly laughs from her audience when she told stories of how she loved the raging cocktail parties available all evenings on her neighborhood streets decades ago.   


Edith Shafer has been an active, engaging and engaged member of the community for years. Since the early 1960s, her curiosity, wonder and wit have lead her to comment on the history, houses, gardens both public and private, eccentric residents, and those things that she believes make Georgetown unique and wonderful.  A sharp, creative observer of life in Georgetown, some of the essays Edith has written for the  CAG newsletters have been collected into 100 pages of delightful reading in Aspects of Georgetown.  

Shannon, Don
Saturday, January 9, 2010

Don Shannon was an army artillery officer during World War II who served in the Pacific and in the occupation of Japan just after the war. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 1951 and spent nearly forty years as a foreign correspondent in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In this interview with Kevin Delany, Shannon talks about exciting times as his paper’s first White House correspondent during John F. Kennedy’s administration. For more than fifty years, Don and his late wife, Sally, have lived in a house built in 1800 on 31st Street. Shannon was very active in CAG during the 1970s and 1980s.

Shorey, Ev
Monday, April 7, 2014

Ev Shorey moved to West Lane Keys in 1986 with his wife, Joan, after raising four children in Cleveland Park. Originally from Illinois, Ev moved to Washington in the early 1960s as the Deputy General Council of the Foreign Aid Administration. He became very active in the Citizens Association of Georgetown in the early 1990s, eventually becoming President of the organization in 1992. Ev created the successful block captain system and the Guard Program. In his interview with Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Ev talks about the fabulous people who make up the Georgetown community and his great appreciation for the neighborhood.

Stern, Gunther
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

For close to 30 years, Gunther Stern headed up the Georgetown Ministry Center, offering a place for homeless people in our community with a clubhouse-type drop-in center providing health and wellness services, a winter shelter, and street outreach to those individuals so many of us encounter every day.  A native of Washington, DC, Gunther talks about his life and how it brought him to the work to which he dedicated himself.  He explains the changing nature of homelessness during his years in Georgetown and something of the causes of homelessness addressed by the GMC.  Gunther’s involvement with the residents and businesses in Georgetown has meant that the GMC has become a linchpin for service and engagement in our community.

Stevens, Elizabeth
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Elizabeth Stevens moved from Shenandoah to Georgetown with her family when she was young. She attended the Potomac School and then went to boarding school. Her mother was active in starting the Kennedy Center -- especially their education and volunteer programs. Elizabeth lived on 29th and N Street prior to moving to her current home on Avon Lane. She and her husband raised three children in Georgetown all of whom attended schools here. Elizabeth’s fondest memories of Georgetown revolve around the small specialty shops -- her favorite bookstore, butcher shop, hardware store, and dress shop. Elizabeth also shares her experience through some historic events in Washington – the Martin Luther King assassination and riots, the Kennedy assassination, and the Redskins Superbowl championship.

Sugar, Harold
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Harold Sugar met his wife during the blizzard at John F. Kennedy’s Presidential inauguration – she helped push his car out of a snow bank in Georgetown. Since then, he has been an integral member of the Georgetown community as the head pharmacist of Dumbarton Pharmacy at 3146 Dumbarton Street for forty two years. Although the pharmacy recently closed in 2008, Harold Sugar helped numerous famous clients including a future President of the United States, an Attorney General, two Secretaries of State, and several Supreme Court Justices – although he keeps their identities confidential! In his informative and delightful interview with Constance Chatfield-Taylor, Harold Sugar declares Georgetown has been a true “village” throughout the numerous years he worked here.

Thompson, Eve
Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In an intimate and informative interview with Cathy Farrell, Eve Thompson and her husband Ken Thompson recall various events from their Georgetown years that involved Mildred Barnes Bliss, Robert Woods Bliss, and Beatrix Farrand. All three were lifelong friends of Eve’s grandfather, Royall Tyler and his wife, and her father, William R. Tyler who served as director of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection from 1969 to 1977. Eve’s grandparents and the Blisses were close friends from the early years of the last century before each married, and this remarkable relationship continued as they traveled together and collected art for the next 30 years. And as all good reflections on events long past, this one ends with a lovely ghost story.

Treanor, William
Saturday, November 1, 2014

Following the construction of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in the 1950’s, proposals began to emerge to turn Canal Road NW into a highway and to connect it to Virginia by building a bridge across the Potomac over a small group of rocky islets known as the Three Sisters.  Several different plans for the roads and bridges were discussed for a decade. In the late 1960’s citizens of Georgetown, students at the university and individuals from other neighborhoods in the city began to protests against the construction of the bridge and the highway plans. 

William Treanor was a student at Georgetown University in 1969.  In his “eyewitness” interview with Cathy Farrell, he recounts his personal involvement with the several demonstrations that occurred in the fall of that year. Some of the demonstrations were violent. He vividly recounts confrontations with the police and a night when students and protestors occupied the Three Sister islands. Bill provides plenty of background information about individuals and groups who pulled together to protest the highway plans and he fondly recalls the Georgetown, Foxhall Village, and Palisades neighbors who became involved and supported the protests.

Waters III, Neville
Thursday, January 25, 2018

A sixth-generation Washingtonian, Mr. Neville Waters III has been coming "home" to Georgetown for 61 years. Neville's grandfather, Mr. Waters bought the home on P Street in the 20's for around $2,000 when it was a predominately black neighborhood. It has remained in the family ever since, once holding all three generations of Neville Waters under one roof. Be it community parties, games of Bridge, basketball meetings, Epiphany Church gatherings, black Georgetown reunions, and a revolving door for Mrs. Waters' cherished BLT sandwiches, the home has taken on a spiritual quality for Neville, his life and legacy here. 

From playing sports in Rose Park throughout childhood to his teen years grabbing burgers at Little Tavern and attending the Sidwell Friends School, to a dream fulfilled earning his MBA at Georgetown University, his memories of Georgetown are vivid and immense. He is currently President of the foundation that supports the Mount Zion Female Union Band Society Cemetery where he works to restore, maintain, and extend the legacy of the cemetery and the contributions of black people in Georgetown. In this interview with Samantha Herrell, Mr. Neville Waters III reveals the magic of Georgetown, a community he actively contributes to and feels privileged to call home. 

Weaver, Jim
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

W.T. Weaver & Son was founded in 1889 by Jim Weaver’s grandfather. Originally selling farm equipment, the business evolved with the times into selling decorative bath and hardware pieces. Jim Weaver began working in the store as a child, now his own children work with him in the Wisconsin Avenue location. Throughout their many years in Georgetown, the Weaver family has witnessed a real sense of community in Georgetown, especially when their store burned to the ground in 1963. Customers and competitors alike helped rebuild W.T. Weaver & Son and Billy Martin’s hosted a grand opening party. In this intriguing interview with oral history interviewer Kelly Richmond, Mr. Weaver narrates his many encounters with celebrities such as actress Goldie Hawn, newscaster David Brinkley, and actor Vincent Price. He even had coffee and cookies in the kitchen of the White House and sent a custom hardware lock to be installed in its dining room.

Wheeler, Al
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Since 1950, Al Wheeler’s life has been deeply intertwined with Georgetown. He and his wife, Naomi, raised their children here, building a home to suit when they couldn’t find one that would address their young son’s penchant for bolting out of the door at every opportunity. And while Al was at it, he also designed and built the neighboring 18 homes around their new one, forming a unique enclave friendly to pedestrians and young sprinters in an area now called West Lane Keys. In an interview with Michele Jacobson a few weeks after his 90th birthday in July 2009, Al described life in Georgetown and in particular how the commercial area has changed. Having been general counsel for North Central Airlines, chairman of the D.C. Democratic Central Committee and strong champion for home rule for Washington, D.C., it is no surprise that Al is capable of holding and expressing an opinion. Add to that his concurrent roles as resident, lawyer and developer in Georgetown for sixty years, and you get rich fodder for a fascinating story about friendships, struggles, local characters and all that life in Georgetown offers.

Wilson, Page
Thursday, September 3, 2009

Page Wilson has lived in the same house on Q Street for over fifty years. Raising four children and three step-children with her second husband, she explains that they rented the house next door and cut a hole in the wall to connect the two to accommodate their newly combined family. In this interview with Joyce Lowenstein, she gives a tour of the neighborhood -- from the sandwich shop on Dent Place owned by Mrs. Rosen, a Lithuanian immigrant, -- to the drug store near Potomac Street where her husband and son "disappeared" for hours on Sunday afternoons. Page also recounts tales of her friendship with Kathleen Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy, Jr., and participating in the famous march from Selma to Montgomery with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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