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Arts Club of Washington, D.C. Collection

Identifier: 012

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of photocopied clippings taken from newspaper society pages from 1916 to the 1960s. Topics include exhibits, announcements, officer of elections, and programs. Original documents include two volumes of monthly calendars, 1929-1947; the newsletter “Artifacts,” 1952-1964; invitations and programs from the annual dance, “Bal Boheme;” annual financial statements; a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, 1950; and training manuals for historic building research workshops conducted by the Club in the 1990s. Clippings from the 1980s and 1990s may be found in the vertical file under Societies and Clubs: Arts Club of Washington, D.C.


  • Creation: 1916-1990


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

The Arts Club of Washington, D.C. was formed in May 1916 “to create a center for artists and art lovers.” The Club was one of the first in the District to admit both men and women and focused on painting, sculpture, drama, and music. The original intent was to form a non-political national organization to foster an interest in art.

Located at 2017 I Street NW, the Club resides in a house completed in 1808 which served as home to President James Madison following the burning of the White House during the War of 1812. In the early 1920s the Club considered moving to larger quarters but decided to remain in the historic building and build an annex. In 1929 the Club purchased the adjacent MacFeely House, former residence of Brigadier General Robert MacFeely, to provide a theater room, studio space, and additional galleries.

Activities of the Club include members only dinners and events, dinner dances, art exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, literary events, and lectures. The Club embraces many forms of artistic expression from painting, to literature, to historic preservation.


1 Linear feet

2 Boxes


Original materials have been integrated with the clippings and are arranged chronologically. Processed without series.

Custodial History

Most of the items in this collection were originally part of the Washingtoniana Division’s Vertical File Collection, a set of files maintained by librarians on various topics related to D.C. history and current events. The vertical files primarily contain clippings but also include other rare items such as signed letters, original programs, and reports. To ensure the physical preservation of rare documents in the vertical file, they were removed in 1999 to create this collection.

Processing Information

Basic archival processing procedures were applied to the collection when it was processed.

Arts Club of Washington, D.C.
An inventory of Arts Club of Washington, D.C. at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by DC Public Library.
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