NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Lafayette Square, Architecturally Significant, Major Literary Awardees, Radicals, Showbiz, Translators, U.S. Poets Laureate, Also of Interest

Robert Lowell
(March 1, 1917 - September 12, 1977)

The Dolly Madison House, 721 Madison Place NW, Lafayette Park neighborhood, DC. Marked with an historic plaque.

Lowell rented a room in what was then the Cosmos Club, a private men's club, at this location, while serving as the sixth US Poet Laureate in 1947-48. The building is now the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and a National Historic Landmark.

Lowell is the author of 16 books of poems, including: Lord Weary's Castle (1946), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Life Studies (1959), which won the National Book Award, and which the Academy of American Poets has called "a watershed collection...which forever changed the landscape of modern poetry"; and The Dolphin (1973), which won him a second Pulitzer. He is widely considered a founder of the movement known as Confessionalism.

Lowell had numerous mental breakdowns and was frequently hospitalized for manic depressive illness. Lowell taught at several universities: the University of Iowa, Boston University, University of Cincinnati, Harvard, and the New School for Social Research. He was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during WWII, and later protested against the Vietnam War, and was arrested in a Peace March in Washington, DC in October 1967. In addition to serving as US Poet Laureate, he was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1962 until his death in 1977.

Year: 1819.
This house was commissioned by Richard Cutts and his wife Anna, who was Dolley Madison’s sister. The Madisons took possession of the house in 1828, and the First Lady lived here from 1837 until her death in 1849. Now part of the National Courts building.

Author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.