SE Quadrant, Capitol Hill, Architecturally Significant, Federal Government Employees, Journalists, Lawyers, Also of Interest

George Watterston
(October 23, 1783 - February 4, 1854)

224 Second St. SE, Capitol Hill neighborhood, DC.

George Watterston was the third Librarian of Congress, serving from 1815 to 1829, and was the first Librarian to reconstitute the Library after its destruction by fire by British troops in the War of 1812. He published a catalog of the Jefferson Purchase, Catalogue of the Library of United States (1815).

He was also the author of four novels, two of which use Washington as a setting: The Lawyer, or Man As He Ought Not to Be (1808), Glencarn, or the Disappointments of Youth (1810), The L----- Family in Washington (1822) and Wanderer in Washington (1827). Watterston also wrote poems: one titled "The Wanderer in Jamaica" (1810) was dedicated to Dolley Madison and may have influenced James Madison's decision to name him to his Library of Congress post; another is titled "Scenes of Youth" (1813). He also wrote a play, "The Child of Feeling" (1809), and four nonfiction books: A Memoir on the History, Culture, Manufactures, Uses, &c. of the Tobacco Plant (1817), Letters from Washington on the Constitution and Laws (1818), A Course of Study, Preparatory to the Bar or the Senate (1823), and Gallery of American Portraits (1836).

Watterston studied law, practicing in Hagerstown, MD and DC. He was editor of the Washington City Gazette before becoming Librarian of Congress, and editor of the National Journal after. He was instrumental in the campaign to construct the Washington Monument, a long-time secretary of the Washington Botanical Society, and the author of two guidebooks to Washington (1840 and 1842).

His former house, now the headquarters of the National Indian Gaming Association, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He is buried in Congressional Cemetery.

Architect: Attributed to Nicholas King
Year: c. 1815
King, to whom this house is attributed, was the first Washington City Surveyor (1796-1797 and 1803-1812), as well as an accomplished architect. His sketches and maps provide some of the best early records of the city.