NW Quadrant, West of Rock Creek, Georgetown, Architecturally Significant, Civil War Era, Female

Mabel Loomis Todd
(November 10, 1856 – October 14, 1932)

Georgetown Female Seminary, Now the Colonial Apartments, 1305-1315 30th St. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC. Marked by an historic plaque.

Born in Cambridge, MA, Todd moved as a child to DC, where her father had a job in the US Nautical Almanac Office. She graduated from Georgetown Female Seminary, then moved to Boston to study music at the New England Conservatory. By the time of her marriage, she had already published short fiction. She is the author of five books, Footprints (1883), Total Eclipses of the Sun (1894), Corona and Coronet (1898), A Cycle of Sunsets (1910), and Tripoli the Mysterious (1912).

Todd is best remembered for her relationship with Emily Dickinson and her family. She had a 13-year affair with Dickinson’s brother Austin, and corresponded with Dickinson (though they never met in person). After Dickinson’s death in 1886, Todd edited her poems in the books Poems by Emily Dickinson (1890), Poems: Second Series (1891), and Poems: Third Series (1896), sometimes changing punctuation and rhymes and adding titles, to better fit the tastes of late 19th c. readers. She also edited a two-volume Letters of Emily Dickinson (1894). In 1896, after the death of Austin, Todd and the Dickinson family had a falling-out over a piece of land, resulting in a nasty legal battle, and Dickinson’s manuscripts were split between Dickinson and Todd descendants.

Also home of Jessie Benton Fremont and Emma Willard.

Year: 1820
The Georgetown Female Seminary was commissioned by Miss Lydia English; the architect is unknown. English ran the school in this location from 1820 to 1861, after which time it served as a temporary Civil War Hospital. It was built with 19 bedrooms, a library, and several parlors, and had running hot water. In 1870, the building was converted to apartments.