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Name GFWC Headquarters
Details A History of GFWC Headquarters, 1734 N Street NW, Washington, D.C.

In 1901, the 56th U.S. Congress granted the General Federation of Women's Clubs a Federal Charter, which stipulated that GFWC maintain its headquarters in Washington, D.C. GFWC maintained temporary war service and editorial offices in the nation's capital during WWI, and in 1920 adopted a resolution to establish permanent headquarters there that would "be commensurate with the dignity, size and influence of the organization." In 1922 GFWC clubwomen purchased 1734 N Street NW in the fashionable Dupont Circle neighborhood, acquiring the colorful stories of all its former owners along with the elegant Victorian mansion.

When retired Rear Admiral William Radford (1808-1890) built the grand home at 1736 (now 1734) N Street NW in 1875, the neighborhood's central feature was known as "Pacific Circle." It would not be identified as "Dupont Circle" until 1884 with the erection of a statue memorializing Rear Admiral Samuel Du Pont. The Radfords lived in the home for several years; in one of Washington society's most notable events, Admiral Radford's daughter Sophia married Russian diplomat Vladimir de Meissner in the family home in 1878.

A unique feature of 1734 N Street is the long, narrow room above the former carriageway (now the entrance to the Iron Gate Inn), constructed in 1884 by owners Thaddeus and Augusta Markley. Having purchased a portion of the adjoining lot to create a grand driveway and admit more light into their home, the Markleys were dismayed to discover that plans for neighboring 1728 included windows overlooking their property. They constructed a wall to protect their privacy, but city building regulations limited its height; undeterred, they built an extension from the second floor, creating a space 12 ½ feet wide by 65 feet long that neighbors dubbed the "spite room."

The unusual gallery-style space attracted later owners. The Washington Post described it as "probably the largest and best-fitted room for a library of any private dwelling in the city" when newly-appointed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Edward Douglass White rented the home in 1894.
General Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925), who achieved military notoriety in the American Civil War and Indian Wars, was the home's next owner. In late 1895, soon after Miles' transfer to Washington to assume command of the U.S. Army, "The General Miles Testimonial Association" organized in New York to raise funds toward the purchase of a home for him in the capital city. The Washington Post later reported that about $40,000 was collected for the purchase of 1736 N Street NW.
General Miles used the long gallery over the carriageway, which was adjacent to his library, to display the many artifacts he had collected during the Indian Wars, "a veritable museum of historical and ethnological objects" according to a February 1899 New York Times feature story on the home.

General Miles sold the home to New Yorkers John and Grace Hoffman White in 1908. The Whites extensively modernized both the exterior and interior of the home. The décor reflected Mr. White's interest in exotic animals and birds, such as those depicted by noted muralist Albert Herter on the painted wall canvasses in the drawing room. Like General Miles, John White used the room above the carriageway to display artifacts and big game trophies. Grace Hoffman White, a suffragist, peace activist, and writer, decorated some of the home's furnishings with poetic sentiments. A few of these are now in GFWC's collections, including the music room mantel engraved with the words: "I can not warm you if your heart be cold."

The Whites leased the home to Uruguay for its legation during World War I and to the new nation of Czechoslovakia after the war, before selling it to GFWC in 1922. Under the encouragement of GFWC President Alice Ames Winter (1920-1924), GFWC members attending the 1922 GFWC International Convention pledged $105,000 and paid $21,000 into the treasury which fully covered the $70,000 purchase price of the house, as well as some furnishings. Hence, 1734 N Street, NW became the official International Headquarters of the General Federation of Women's Clubs.
GFWC's growth required expanded space and 1738 N Street was purchased in 1951 for $38,000. The exterior of 1738 N Street was redesigned to blend with 1734 N when the two buildings were joined in 1955. 1728 N Street was purchased in 1959 for $41,000. In the 1970s and early 1980s, GFWC initiated planning for the Women's History and Resource Center, which officially opened in 1984. The WHRC is responsible for maintaining the GFWC archives, research library, and art and artifact collections.

In December 1991, GFWC Headquarters was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and the Secretary of the Interior in recognition of its "national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America." National Historic landmark status is the highest honor that the National Park Service bestows upon historic sites. As of 2005, less than 5% of all National Historic Landmarks were connected with women's history.

The property presently houses staff offices, rooms for meetings and receptions, and living quarters for the International President, as she is required to live on-site for the duration of her administration. The GFWC archives is housed in 1734 and the research library in 1728. You will see displays from the archives, art and artifact collections in both buildings throughout the tour.

GFWC Headquarters is maintained and furnished by generous contributions both to the 1734 Society and by individual clubs and members. Most of the public rooms, such as the drawing room, the solarium, and the dining room remain in or have been restored to original condition.

Associated Records

MAG 1922.03 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, March 1922 Contents: Senators should hear from home-state folk; p.1. Mrs. Hughes accepts office on committee of Foreign relations; p.1. Low rates, alluring surroundings promised; p.1. Make good pictures pay to reform movies/ by Woodallen Chapman; p.2. Americanism; p.2. Clubwomen as authors of magazine articles; p.2. Mrs. Hays nominated for national secretary; p.2. A "Maine" feature for year book data; p.2. Buy a bolt of cotton goods to help business; p.2. Women serve as 'cops' to keep children safe; p.3. Slides of New Zealand and lecturer available; p.3. Clubwomen approve muscle shoals plan; p.3. Enlist youth in ranks of clubdom says leader; p.3

Image of MAG 1916.06 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1916.06 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, June 1916 Contents: Editorial-The 13th Biennial and Its Message; p.12. From the Governor of New York; p.13. Convention Programs (Industrial and Social Conditions, Home Economics, Music, Legislation, Literature and library Extension, Public Health, Civics); p.14. Message from State Presidents; p.21. Suggestions from the Treasurer/ by Mrs. Wm. B. Williams; p 32. A Valedictory/ by Miss Lutie E. Stearns; p.32. Decoration for Convention Hall/ by Mrs. Elmer Black; p.32. Friendly Talk About Things That Are True/ by Mrs. Haryot Hold Dey; p.34. Permanent G.F.W.C. Headquarters Needed/ by Laura Wilson Johnson; p.36. Americanization of Foreign Born Women/ by F

Image of MAG 1927.12 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1927.12 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, December 1927 Contents: Portraits of Mrs. Coolidge and Mrs. Sherman Mrs. Sherman's Christmas Message Our President's Page Board of Directors to Meet American Home Follow-up Campaign Institute of Pacific Relations Glimpses of the Old World Fall State Conventions "On to Texas" Who's Who and Why Gifts of Books to Headquarters Library Our Junior Clubs Magic Casements, Poems of Our Day The Christ Child in Art (pictorial) Comparative Estimates of Films Editorial The Story of the NEWS Department of Fine Arts Book Reviews Headquarters

Image of MAG 1929.02 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1929.02 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, February 1929 Table of Contents: Cover design; p. 1 Our president's page; p. 4 Mrs. Sipple writes on women and peace; p. 5. Dues discussion made entertaining; p. 6. Publicity from standpoint of the club woman; p. 7. Muskegon-teasure city; p. 8. Correlated welfare program outlined; p. 10. World affairs command women's interest; p. 11. The use of motion pictures in club work; p. 12. Politics is community thinking; p. 14. Key homes constitute an ideal; p. 15. Board meeting offers interest and thrills; p. 18 and 19. Research and printing department reports; p. 22.Federation News and publicity reports; p. 23. Editorial; p. 24 and 25. Our junior clu

Image of MAG 1930.10 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1930.10 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, October 1930 Contents: Rhineland Club Women Visitors; p.5. The CLUBWOMEN GFWC; p.6. The Federation's New Definition/ by Mrs. A.H. Brenner; p.6. Some Factors in Academic Freedom/ by Zona Gale; p.7. Equalizing Educational Opportunities/ by Dr. Mary C. Burch; p.8. An Opportunity for Service/ by Dr. Willis A. Sutton; p.9. The George Washington Biennial/ by Mrs. Vaughn W. Root; p.12. Executive Committee Discuss Vacations; p.14. "Us Girls"/ by Roberta Christensen; p.17. Women's Clubs the World Around; p.18.

Image of MAG 1949.09 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1949.09 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, September 1949 Contents: Bulletin board; p.1. GFWC President travels 'round the world; p.2. Juniors report; p.4. Status of women/ by Iva Gorton Sprague; p.13. Clubs busy in town betterment contest where no one can lost/ by Jessie Ash Arndt; p.15. Greece, and her women speak; p.18. GFWC board meeting; p.20. World cooperation/ by Sara A. Whitehurst; p.22. Streamlining the junior platform/ by Mrs. Hugh Butler; p.24. Program pointers; p.26. Parliamentary procedure/ by Mrs. Hampton Fleming; p.31. Looking out my window/ by Mildred White Wells; p.32.

Image of MAG 1956.04 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1956.04 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, April-May 1956 Conents: Chats with club presidents/ by Mrs. Theodore S. Chapman. p. 8. Two years of accomplishment/ p. 6. The pan-American conference/ by Pauline Mandigo. p. 16. Fifty golden years/ by Anna Kelton Wiley. p. 20. Come to the convention/ p. 12. Delegates are the convention/ by Mrs. W. Glenn Suthers. p. 10. When little children cry/ by Dr. Dorothy Frost. p. 40. Guiding children's interests in current events/ by John Cameron Swayze. p. 26. Operation unity/ by Edwin B. Dooley. p. 30. Peaceful army/ by Colonel Ruth Pagan. p. 28. The armed services treaty/ by Mrs. H.B. Ritchie. p. 32. Down the wide Missouri/ by Mrs. Marion T. Weatherford.

Image of MAG 1923.01 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1923.01 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, January-February Contents: 'Women as a spiritual force' council keystone; p.1. And in her spare time she does other things; p.1. Makes nationwide study of mill-tax system; p.1. National garden week to be held April 22-28; p.1. Formal opening of headquarters in Washington brilliant affair; Makes capital world club-center; p.2. Uniform marriage, Jones substitute Indian land bill, Keyes bill, approved; p.3. Martha Foote Crow calls for poems; p.3. Mrs. White discusses laws affecting women, bills for child labor; p.4. G.F.W.C. cooperating with health foundation; p.4. District planning work for children; p,4. Companion offers $50 prize for criticism; p.

Image of MAG 1920.10 - Magazine Collection

MAG 1920.10 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, October 1920 Contents: To concentrate upon five national issues; p.1. Carillon as women's peace memorial proposed by arts club; p.1. Nat'l headquarters remain in Washington; p.1. Study course in citizenship issued by chairman of American citizenship department; p.2. Treasury department ask eleven specific things of club woman; p.2. Department of public welfare outlines extensive program for biennial period; p.3. Mrs. Cowles heads war-service board of directors club; p.3. Club and Organization news; p.4. State censorship of motion pictures urged by national division chairman/ by Florence Butler Blanchard; p.5. Vice-presidents are assigned special wo

MAG 1920.11 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, November 1920 Contents: Director outlines headquarters plans; p.1. 'Make every club a training camp' -Mrs. Pennybacker; p.1. President discusses "a number of things"; p.1. Illustrious names appear on list of honorary advisors; chairman appointed; p.2. Federation bills should be sent to finance chairman; p.2. Special committee appointments made; p.3. Kentucky districts hear Miss Hafford; p.3. Magistrates leads in mothercraft study; p.3. Club and Organization news; p.4. How organized women conduct and election; p.5. New motion picture chairman appointed; p.6. First suffrage state leading women voters; p.6. Council program chairman named; p.6. Off

MAG 1923.04 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, April 1923 Contents: Fare-and-a-half rate granted conventioners; p.1. Working rules for G.F. in regards to political activites to be asked; p.1. Old south hospitality is offered by Atlanta/ by Florence B. Boykin; p.1. Tentative program for General Federation council at Atlanta, Georgia, May 7th-11th; p.2. Council social events in order of occurance; p.3. Chatanooga to keep open house May 12-13 for council visitors; p.3. California clubwomen would save red woods; p.4. Mrs. Winters itinerary; p.4. Federation to play up own business at council; p.4. Federation co-founder dies at age of 93 years; p.5. Director misquoted; p.5. Who's who in Atlanta; p.

MAG 1921.07 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, July-August 1921 Contents: Summary of work done by State Federations; p.1. Group 1/ by Mrs. Frank Gibson; p.1. Group 2/ by Mrs. Walter S. Comly; p.6. Group 3/ by J.W. McCollum; p.9. Group 4/ by Mrs. W.R. Alvord; p.13. Group 5/ by Mrs. John Slaker; p.14. Group 6/ by Mrs. J.E. Church; p.19. National departments tell of achievements; p.1. Headquarters bureau of service to clubs/ by Miss Lida Hafford; p.1. Legislative department/ by Mrs. Edward F. White; p.3. Visitors register; p.5. Public welfare/ by Mrs. Elmer Blair; p.7. Fine arts department/ by Mrs. Rose V. S. Berry; p.15. Study of report of special committee on home demonstration work; p.20.

MAG 1922.01 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, January-February 1922 Contents: Federation purchases Washington residence; p.1. Limitation of armaments; p.1. Moral disarmament must pave way for peace says chief/ by Mrs. Thomas G. Winter; p.1. Fellowship committee is created by board; p.1. Want statewide laws limiting all civil service appointments; p.2. Seven states seek laws providing kindergartens; p.2. Mrs. Plummer named for Vice President; p.2. Annual conventions to be held in the future; p.3. Wants facts on citizenship work; p.3. Woman urged for post in diplomatic service; p.3. "Women as a working power" keynote of June Chautauqua biennial program; p.4. Women want no more war declares New

MAG 1922.04 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, April 1922 Contents: Expect big attendance at Chautauqua meeting; p.1. Citizenship day plan approved by president; p.1. Penwomen's silver jubilee April 25-28; p.1. Mrs. Edison on board of biennial directors; p.1. State transportation chairmen for travel parties to 16th biennial convention named; p.2. Real contributors to history of art; p.2. Nature exhibit held under clubs' auspices; p.2. Uniform law to protect birds asks by chairman; p.2. Will you free one soul from mental bondage?; p.2. More women needed in politics, declares social hygiene head; p.3. And when at leisure she does other things; p.3. Letters to congress for education bill urged b

MAG 1922.05 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, May 1922 Contents: Biennial convention to be "world parley"; p.1. Mrs. Thomas G. Winter on annual spring tour; p.1. Bill for education hanging in balance; p.1. Johnson Immigration Bill approved by G.F.; ammendment dangerous; p.2. The many sided Chautaqua; p.2. "Service" the rental we pay for space in the world; p.2. Outlines reading course on American life, ideals; p.2. Seeks to promote one moral standard for men, women; p.2. On art appreciation; p.2. Barring of arbuckle films is backed by organized women; p.3. Junior college girls join women workers; p.3. Trans-continental rates to biennial granted by roads; p.3. Mrs. Burdett urges headquarters

MAG 1922.07 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, July-August 1922 Contents: Chautauqua biennial program highlights; p.1. Mrs. Winter makes recommendation in annual report; p.1. Federation declares for child labor law; p.1. President re-elected; p.2. New board members; p.3. Atlanta and Los Angeles next convention points; p.3. Budget for Indian welfare; p.3. Government exhibits; p.3. International day; p.3. Plea is pull together; p.3. "Stand by us" Tokoi's appeal; p.4. Believed in League of nations; p.4. Says world needs divorcement of politics and foreign relations; p.4. Director of Pan American Union speaks; p.4. Women want better understanding; p.4. Urges study of international law; p.5.

MAG 1922.09 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, September-October 1922 Contents: Women's world council to come here in 1925; p.1. Primary vote vital in new citizenship/ by Alice Ames Winter; p.1. The women candidate; p.1. Grace Atcherson named secretary of legation; p.1. Recreational congress to meet in Atlantic city; p.1. Formal opening of headquarters January 8th; director to meet 9th-11th; council May 8th-11th; p.2. To campaign for wages for all men in prison; p.2. Colorado leads the way in upbuilding industry; p.2. Business is boosted by Georgia's women; p.2. "Congressional digest" valuable help to clubs; p.3. Better homes week launched by delineator; p.3. 'Roberts rules of order' author t

MAG 1922.12 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, December 1922 Contents: National park issues of "grave importance"; p.1. Secretary of labor may call conference on women in industry; p.1. Official song free to clubs upon request; p.1. To make headquarters of more use to clubs; p.1. New courses needed for girls in college/ by Dr. C.C. Little; p.2. Headquarters to be agent for congressional digest; p.2. Polish women to hold national convention; p.2. --------------------------------------------- Supplement for department chairman; p.1. Rural education outline of work/ by Josephine C. Preston; p.1. Divison of home economics/ by Maggie W. Barry; p.1. Illiteracy program for club study/ by Cora Wilson

MAG 1932.08 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, August 1932 Contents: Random snapshots of federation leaders; p.4. The President's pages/ by Grace Morrison Poole; p.5. Many appointments are announced/ ; p.6. Communism: menace to America; p.8. The challenge of the child; p.9. State federation work reviewed; p.10. Arkansas wins art festival prize; p.12. Women and community planning; p.13. What the junior club means; p.14. Women's clubs the world around; p.16. Oklahoma woman wins gold medal; p.18. Fine arts community festivals are popular; p.18. The call of the land is heeded; p.19. Wisconsin club has educational movie plan; p.19. Juniors and junior clubs win prizes; p.20. Kentucky club has p

MAG 1932.11 - Magazine Collection

General Federation Clubwoman, November 1932 Contents: Executive commitee, G.F.W.C. (portrait); p.4. The President's page/ by Grace Morrison Poole; p.5. We cross the bridge/ by Grace Morrison Poole; p.6. The CLUBWOMAN GFWC has fifth birthday; p.8. The foundation/ by Mrs. Edward Dexter Knight; p.10. On support of schools/ by Herbert Hoover; p.10. A note of warning/ by Mrs. Fred L. Pigeon; p.10. American education week/ by Joseph Rosier; p.10. Living up to a fine tradition/ by Dorothy Canfield Fischer; p.11. Teaching government/ by David Lawrence; p.12. Unfinished business/ by Bess Goodykoontz; p.13. Club women and the rural problems/ by Florence Hale; p.14. What is new in kind