NW Quadrant, East of Rock Creek, Sheridan/Kalorama, Woodley Park, Architecturally Significant, Female, Genre, Journalists, Also of Interest

Mary Roberts Rinehart
(August 12, 1876-September 22, 1958)

2419 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Sheridan Circle neighborhood, DC.
Now the Embassy of Zambia.

A prolific and popular detective novelist, Rinehart lived in DC from the early 1920s through 1935. She trained as a nurse, but married and raised her children instead, and found her true vocation after the stock market crash of 1903, when she began to write to supplement her husband's income.

She contributed stories regularly to the Saturday Evening Post, and was the first female war correspondent, covering the Belgian front during World War I. After her husband's death, she moved to New York, where she helped her sons found the publishing house Farrar & Rinehart.

Rinehart published over 50 books: novels, short fiction, and travelogues. She also published plays, poetry, and articles. Her best-known novels are The Circular Staircase (1908), The Bat (1920), and The Door (1930); she also wrote a popular Broadway comedy, Seven Days (1909). According to Mary Church Terrell, Rinehart had "no patience...with narrow, petty prejudice." She continued, "It is impossible for anybody to entertain broader views" on the civil rights of African Americans, and she materially helped African American writers such as Terrell to get published in mainstream white magazines. Terrell says, "I often called on her and invariably came away from her presence encouraged and inspired."

She is remembered locally by two monetary awards in her name: one given to student writers of particular promise enrolled at George Mason University, and one to a woman writer of nonfiction presented at the Fall for the Book literary festival in Fairfax, VA.

Architect: Nathan C. Wyeth and William P. Cresson
Year: 1906
A gambrel-roofed Georgian Revival house with extensive terraced gardens, now the Embassy of Zambia.


Woodley Tower, 2660 Woodley Rd. NW, Woodley Park neighborhood, DC
Historic author photo courtesy of Library of Congress.