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Ruth Ann Overbeck, Historian

Ruth Ann Overbeck moved to Capitol Hill from her home state of Texas in 1968 and immediately immersed herself in the neighborhood's history and historic preservation. For the next thirty years, while building a historical research business that frequently took her far beyond the Hill, she doggedly mined her new community for oral histories, photographs, maps and other documentation with intentions of some day writing the neighborhood's definitive history. That aspiration was dashed, unfortunately, by her untimely death from cancer in the Spring of 2000.

As her husband Robert Hughes notes in a memoir published by the Hill Rag, Ruth Ann chaired the original effort to define and establish the Capitol Hill Historic District. She researched hundreds of house histories for home owners in the neighborhood, and designed and conducted more than thirty-five D.C. walking tours for the Smithsonian Resident Associates on various historic themes. Her resume lists an astonishing number of archeological and preservation projects, historic studies and publications, and other accomplishments. In 1992 she was honored with the Capitol Hill Community Foundation's Community Achievement Award.

In the final weeks of her life, though racked by cancer, Ruth Ann insisted on going forward with a series of tape recorded interviews, preserving for posterity some of her encyclopedic knowledge of the community's history. Our project proudly bears her name and seeks to carry on her work.

The complete collection of Ruth Ann's working files, house histories, neighborhood histories, and other articles and papers, filling 28 feet of shelf space, can be found at Gelman Library at George Washington University . We offer here a list of its contents . [pdf]

Also note the brief remembrance of Ruth Ann [pdf] that Gary Scott included in his Overbeck History Lecture on April 20, 2010.

 
 
 
    The Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project, Washington, D.C.