Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Conference on DC Historical Studies – 2015

Posted on November 4th, 2015

The Annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies (November 12-15, 2015 at the D.C. Historical Society) presents the latest fascinating insights and provocative research on all things Washington. Presenters and audience members—historians and history fans—mix it up in a stimulating and entertaining series of discussions, book talks, films, and lectures.


As the nation concludes its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the conference will consider the aftermath: the era known as Reconstruction. A number of conference presentations examine the legacy of the post-war years, drawing parallels to other tumultuous eras in the city’s past. In addition, the conference will consider:

  • archaeology
  • archival treasure troves
  • civil rights
  • the “D.C. Sound”
  • education in the city’s early days
  • the challenges of gentrification
  • Home Rule and the Great Society
  • labor struggles
  • Latino community formation
  • Reconstruction
  • school desegregation
  • and much more

Making presentations will be professional scholars, graduate students, filmmakers, writers, and eyewitnesses.

The curtain rises Thursday evening, November 12, 6 pm, at the National Archives with the Curt C. and Else Silberman Foundation lecture and reception. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, the acclaimed author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, addresses “Reconstruction and the Fragility of Democracy.” The lecture will take place at the William McGowan Auditorium, National Archives (Constitution Avenue entrance, between Seventh and Ninth Streets, NW). The free lecture is followed by a catered reception. Attendees are required to register separately for the lecture.

The conference sessions begin on Friday morning, November 13, and continue through Saturday evening. Check-in opens at 9 am each day. All panels take place at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K Street, NW.

Friday’s conference opens with the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Lecture: “Scholarship, Leadership, and Incomparable Strength: Letitia Woods Brown, a Centennial Reflection,” by the distinguished Howard University Professor Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, author of the prize-winning Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics in Washington, D.C. The lecture focuses on the legacy of its namesake, a pioneering historian of African American Washington, during the centennial of her birth.

The conference offers 23 panels as well as several recent DC films. The History Network, a marketplace of D.C.-history-related ideas, organizations, publishers, and projects, is held on Friday, 12:30–2 pm. On Saturday six authors of new history works will present short book talks in a literary version of speed-dating. And the plenary session looks at the state of the field of D.C. History. Sunday brings a choice of intriguing neighborhood walking tours.

The conference schedule and complete information on sessions and presenters are available at this link. Fees are $30 for the conference ($20 for seniors and students) and $5 for each walking tour. Register now!

Posted by John DeFerrari