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Overbeck History Press

In its tenth anniversary year, the Overbeck Project branched out into book publishing in order to bring to light a wonderful new book by Mary Z. Gray describing the Capitol Hill of her 1920s childhood and the family members who had inhabited the Hill for four generations before her. The book is available for purchase at local bookstores and at Amazon.com.

301 East Capitol
Tales From the Heart of the Hill

by Mary Z. Gray

To most of the world, "Capitol Hill" means the U.S. Congress. This book is about the personal side of the Hill, where for five generations a family of music makers and undertakers, homemakers and home breakers, shared a small neighborhood with the white-domed Capitol of the United States.

Washington writer Mary Z. Gray, born in 1919, brings vividly back to life the community she saw and heard from her childhood home at 301 East Capitol. Streetcars run again; newsboys reappear, shouting headlines on street corners. Tom the huckster hawks his wares from a horse-drawn wagon, as a lamplighter at dusk leaves pools of light along a dark street. And a mystery that had haunted the writer's family for over 50 years is solved.

Richard Thompson, creator of Cul de Sac, calls Mary Gray "one of the funniest raconteurs I know." Her book abounds with unforgettable scenes – being tugged away from Sherrill's Bakery on Pennsylvania Avenue by her family's maid, who would not have been allowed to eat there; frightening a nun at St. Cecilia's Academy with stories about the family business; being taken to meet Charles Lindbergh, just back from his solo flight to Paris.

During her long career, Gray wrote speeches for the Kennedy-Johnson White House and countless free-lance articles for The Washington Post, The New York Times and other publications. The book is available for purchase at local bookstores and at Amazon.com.

Mary Z. Gray circa 1923 and 2011. Latter portrait by Alice Jackson.

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