SE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, Architecturally Significant, Female, Journalists

Emily Edson Briggs
(September 14, 1830 - July 3, 1910)

Maple Square, 619 D St. SE, Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Marked with an historic plaque.

Writing under the name "Olivia," Briggs was one of the first women to acquire a national reputation as a journalist, and the first woman journalist to write political commentary from DC, and be admitted to the congressional press galleries.

A journalist for twenty years, Briggs is one of the best regarded and most widely read of the women Washington correspondents in the period following the Civil War. She arrived in DC in 1861 when her husband was hired as financial clerk of the House of Representatives. They lived for many years in a hotel, freeing Briggs from domestic responsibilities and giving her time to concentrate on her writing.

Her articles covered a range of topics, including descriptions of political figures and dramatic scenes on the floor on Congress, advocating for civil rights for African Americans and women, and society news (such as her lists of "matrimonial eligibles" among DC bachelors). She covered inaugurations, Andrew Johnson's impeachment, and the 1870 National Woman Suffrage Convention.

After her husband's death in 1872, she purchased her Capitol Hill home. She served as first president of the Woman's National Press Association. Briggs's articles were collected in The Olivia Letters, Being Some History of Washington City for Forty Years (1906).


Also home of Francis Scott Key.

Architect: William Lovering. Year: 1795
This Georgian style mansion has been known variously as Friendship House, The Maples, and Maple Square. It was built for William Mayne Duncanson, who hosted George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, among other guests. The house also served as a temporary hospital after the Battle of Bladensburg in the War of 1812. From 1936 to 2008, it operated as a settlement house and community center. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the current owners turned the property into condominiums in 2014.