NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Architecturally Significant, Civil War Era, Historians, Journalists, Also of Interest

Henry Adams
(February 16, 1838 – March 27, 1918)

Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street NW, Foggy Bottom neighborhood, DC.

Adams lived here with his parents during the winter of 1860-61. Aware that he was witnessing an historic time, he kept a journal, wrote dispatches for a Boston newspaper, and later published an essay, "The Great Secession Winter," which historian Gary Wills describes as "full of inside information" and still "repeatedly cited in treatments of the Civil War's onset."

Adams left DC after this time, serving as his father's personal secretary when Charles Francis Adams was appointed ambassador to the United Kingdom, then working as a professor of history at Harvard University. He returned to DC after that, living on Lafayette Square from age 39 until his death at age 80. Neither of his later two houses still stand.

Adams is best remembered as the author of two novels, Democracy (1880) and Esther (1884), and his autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams (1918). He also wrote biographies of Albert Gallatin and George Cabot Lodge, a critical study of Mont Sant Michel and Chartres, and the multi-volume History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (1889 - 1891). His homes in Lafayette Square became celebrated salons for a small elite group of intellectuals, the Five of Hearts, and their friends.

The Arts Club of Washington preserves this elegant historic home (and the attached one next door) as a private club with public art galleries. In addition to being rented by the Adamses, it was at one time the home of President James Monroe. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays during regular business hours. No appointment necessary.

Architect: Timothy Caldwell. Year: 1805
In addition to Henry Adams, notable tenants have included James Monroe, Cleveland Abbe (who established the US Weather Bureau), and the British Legation. The Arts Club bought the house and the adjoining one next door in 1916. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969; declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.


Arts Club of Washington