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First Capital Realty Photograph Collection

Identifier: 172

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of 461 photographs and 913 negatives depicting residential and commercial properties located throughout Washington, DC from ca. 1987-1989. Many of the photographs are mounted on cardstock pages that list information about the property, such as its name, neighborhood, number of units (if applicable), owner, and cost.

The majority of the images show the exterior of a property, though there are some shots of interiors, details, and/or surrounding areas, buildings, and streets, as well. Many of the photos of each property are similar to each other, though some properties’ photos have more variety. Some addresses only have one associated image, while others have more than one. Several of the photographs do not have matching negatives, and vice versa. A number of negatives are blurry, overexposed, fill half a panel, or have subjects that are otherwise blocked in some way.

A name that appears to be connected with the collection is Greg Lipscomb. Consequently, one may assume that Greg Lipscomb was the photographer, agent or broker, and/or donor of this collection. However, without documentation, this cannot be confirmed.

Unidentified properties are grouped together at the end of the collection.


  • Creation: Circa 1985



There are no known restrictions on the use of the collection

Historical Statement

Founded in 1984, First Capital Realty is a privately owned, commercial real estate brokerage company based in Bethesda, MD. The company specializes in multi-family/apartment building sales, representing individual owners, private investors, merchant builders, lenders, and institutions.

A cover sheet within the collection lists the company’s address as 727 15th Street NW, Twelfth Floor, Washington, DC 20005. A September 1989 Washington Post article announced that the company was relocating to 5530 Wisconsin Avenue, in Chevy Chase MD. At the time of processing, the First Capital Realty’s website lists their current address as 4350 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD.


1.5 Linear feet (Total Boxes: 3)

Language of Materials



Though it is assumed that First Capital Realty or an affiliated organization or person donated these photographs, the origin of this collection is not documented. At the time of processing, the Library reached out to First Capital Realty to inquire about the donation, but did not hear anything back from the company.

Related Collections

Collection #P009: American Security and Trust Company

Processing Procedures

Prior to processing, photographs and negatives in this collection were not arranged in any particular order. Some photographs were mounted on hole-punched card stock paper, while negatives and additional loose photos were stored in photo printing envelopes. Many of the properties featured on card stock had corresponding negatives and additional photographs, though some of them did not. Likewise, some loose photographs and negatives had no corresponding card stock page with information about the address or property. When possible, the processor researched addresses using context clues from the photographs and/or their envelopes. However, some images’ locations remain unidentified. The processor also made note of apartment buildings’ names (when applicable) and any identifiable businesses in the photographs.

The processor organized the images into series by DC quadrant; the addresses were then listed numerically and alphabetically thereunder. Card stock pages featuring more than one property were arranged according to the first address listed. Similarly, multiple addresses sharing one negative strip have been listed together, organized according to whichever address falls first in numeric/alphabetic order. Unidentified addresses were stored together at the end of the collection. Please note, however, that some negatives for the unidentified addresses are located elsewhere in the collection due to the fact that they share a strip with a known address; in these instances, a note has been made in the folder title.

Only one photo printing envelope was labeled with a date: May 13, 1988. Several other photo printing envelopes were copyrighted 1987. Therefore, the processor estimated the dates for the collection to be ca. 1987-1989.

Throughout processing, the processor removed staples and moved photographs and negatives from their original envelopes into protective archival sleeves. Photographs mounted on card stock, loose photographs, and negatives were placed into clear plastic sleeves and stored in acid-free folders labeled with their corresponding addresses. The photographs and negatives were housed separately from one another, each in an archival box.

The following items were removed from the collection and discarded: original photo printing envelopes, negative sleeves, blank negative strips, and a post-it note that read, “One copy of each negative please. Lipscomb 1st Capital Realty.”

First Capital Realty Photograph Collection
A guide to the First Capital Realty Photograph Collection
Prepared by Julie Burns
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001