NE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, Federal Government Employees, Journalists, Major Literary Awardees

Augustus Thomas
(January 8, 1857 – August 12, 1934)

310 A Street NE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC

A playwright, reporter, editor and publisher, Thomas worked as a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1885 and then became the editor and proprietor of the Kansas City Mirror. After returning to St. Louis, he became a newspaper staff artist. Between jobs he toured the Midwest with his stage version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's story "Editha's Burglar." He also traveled with a vaudeville troup.

Among his more than 60 plays, the better known are Colonel Carter of Cartersville, In Mizzoura, Arizona and The Witching Hour. His most successful play, The Copperhead (1918), made Lionel Barrymore a star. Thomas was one of the first playwrights to make use of American material. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was awarded the National Institute's gold medal in 1913. He also served as president of the American Dramatists' Association from 1906 to 1911.

Thomas lived at this address with his namesake uncle/grandfather, Augustus Wallace Scharit in the 1870s. In his fantastic memoir The Print of My Remembrance, he relates those years of working as a page in the Reconstruction Congress and writing and staging his first plays in the carriage house behind this townhouse.

 

Historic photos courtesy of Library of Congress.