NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Dupont Circle, Architecturally Significant, Female, Journalists Society Hostesses

Cissy Patterson
(November 7, 1881 - July 24, 1948)

15 Dupont Circle NW, Dupont Circle neighborhood, DC. Now the Washington Club. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Patterson was one of the first women to head a major daily newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald. She published two novels, Glass Houses (1926) and Fall Flight (1928), and her short fiction appeared in Harper's Bazaar.

Patterson was born into a newspaper family. Her grandfather, Joseph Medill, edited the Chicago Tribune, and her brother was founder of the New York Daily News. Under her leadership, the Times-Herald doubled its circulation.

An early marriage to a Polish Count, Josef Gizycki, ended in a messy and protracted divorce, in which Patterson was physically abused, and her daughter kidnapped by the Count. Only the personal intervention of President William Howard Taft secured the daughter's release back to the US. A second marriage, to a lawyer named Elmer Schlesinger, ended after four years with Schlesinger's death. She subsequently went into publishing in 1930, at the age of 48.

Along with Marguerite Cassini, the daughter of the Russian ambassador, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, Patterson was considered a major Washington society hostess. The women were labeled the "Three Graces," and Patterson's feuds with Longworth were legendary, eventually leading to a brief and spiteful affair between Patterson and Longworth's husband.

In 1946, a profile of Patterson appeared in Collier's Weekly, proclaiming her "probably the most powerful woman in America. And perhaps the most hated."

Architect: Stanford White.
Year: 1902
A white marble Renaissance palazzo, the ornate façade is encrusted with garlands, swags, putti and escutcheons. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

 

Author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.