NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Sheridan/Kalorama, Architecturally Significant, Female, Hosts of Literary Salons, LGBTQ

Natalie Clifford Barney
(October 31, 1876 – February 2, 1972)

"Studio House," 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Sheridan Circle, DC.
Now the Embassy of Latvia; listed on the National Register of Historic Places; marked by an historic plaque.

The American expatriate feminist and lesbian poet whose Paris salons were famous for drawing modernist artists (and which she hosted for over 60 years) spent early years, beginning at age 10, in this house with her mother, the painter Alice Pike Barney.

In 1900, Barney published Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes (Some Portrait-Sonnets of Women), becoming the first woman poet to write openly about lesbian love since Sappho. Over the course of her life, she wrote seven books of poems and plays (in English and French), as well as a novel, two memoirs, and two books of epigrams. Barney wrote, "If I had one ambition it was to make my life itself into a poem."




 

Architect: Waddy Butler Wood. Year: 1902
After the death of artist Alice Pike Barney, this notable Spanish Colonial Revival studio and house was willed to her two daughters, who retained it until 1961, then donated the house and its belongings to the Smithsonian Institution. From 1976 to 1994, the National Museum of American Art maintained it as a house museum. They sold it in 1999; in 2001, the house became the Latvian Embassy and a residence for the Latvian Ambassador. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.