• About the Exhibit

    Tell us what you think of this exhibit!

    Let us know what you like -- and what we can improve.  All your comments are appreciated. Send us a message or simply email us at chevychasehistory@msn.com.

    Funding and Support

    The Chevy Chase Reads online exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland.  We thank the Council for its ongoing support.

    Special thanks to the Board Members of the Chevy Chase Historical Society for their interest and support of this project, in particular Angela Lancaster and Mary Sheehan.


    Gail Sansbury, PhD, former Director of the CCHS Archive and Research Center, developed this exhibit with the help of CCHS volunteers and graduate interns. The historical research and historical narratives about individuals as well as organizations are by Gail Sansbury and Bob Andrews, CCHS volunteer. Graduate interns Tyler Vachon, Andrew Hellerstein, and Elizabeth Kay assisted with editing and transcription, as did CCHS board members Angela Lancaster and Helen Secrest, and Bob Andrews. Special thanks to Bob Andrews for all his research and writing, especially the narrative about the Literary Club and almost all of the biographies of the members of the Reading Class.

    Some of the content in this online exhibit was presented at the Montgomery County History Conference in January 2016. Many thanks to those who commented on this session, particularly CCHS board members Mary Sheehan and Mary Anne Hoffman, and Tyler Vachon and Bob Andrews.

    Over the course of several years, a number of family members of the men and women profiled in this exhibit have assisted us with the exhibit. Mary and Thomas Robertson’s grandson, Donald Robertson kindly read and commented on Mary Robertson’s short biography and also helped us contact the granddaughter of Jesse Bowen and his wife Grace Robertson Bowen. Mrs. Mary Eleanor McNally spoke with us on the telephone about her grandparents and sent us copies of two lovely photographs for use in this exhibit. We thank Mr. Robertson and Mrs. McNally for the generosity of their time and interest in this project.

    An online query about a family photograph in the CCHS collection was the beginning of an email correspondence with the grandchildren of Clift and Fanny Richards, Jonathan and Tad Richards. India Richards, a great granddaughter of Clift and Fanny, also joined this discussion, and kindly donated scans of Richards family photographs. Some of these photographs had contemporary captions which helped us understand both the occasion and meaning of the images. This was particularly true of the handwritten caption by Miriam Richards Hoffman, daughter of Clift and Fanny Richards, on the back of a group photograph of Chevy Chase men who called themselves the "Honorary Economical Epicureans." It turns out that these men did not actually cook meals, but simply benefited from the efforts of their "economical" and "epicurean" wives! We are grateful to all the Richards family for this new information, and all of their assistance.

    Special thanks also to Jessa Clayton, who granted permission for the use of family photographs of Hattie and Clifford Howard.

    Many thanks to Mary Anne Tuohey and Marilyn Bracken for sharing the history of the Chevy Chase Atheneum Book Club; to Naomi Camper for the history of the Primrose Street Book Club; and to Kathleen Jeschke for the history of the Jefferson Cafe at the Chevy Chase Public Library.

    In addition to documents, photographs and maps in the CCHS Archives, we also drew key information from a number of CCHS Oral History Interviews, in particular:

    Hoffman, Miriam Richards (daughter of Clift and Fanny Richards) and Esther Van Dyne, interviewed on July 26, 1982 by Mary Anne Tuohey and Marjorie Zapruder.

    Jarvis, Edith Claude (daughter of Cicely Armes Claude and Herbert Claude) interviewed on May 1, 1987 by Marjorie Zapruder and Mary Anne Tuohey.

    Roberts, Jean Taylor Tucker (daughter of Charles Cowls Tucker and Helen Zimmerman Tucker), interviewed on June 14, 1994 by Marjorie Zapruder and Mary Potemra.

    Robertson, Louis (son of Mary and Thomas Robertson), interviewed on September 25, 1994 by Helen P. Secrest and on June 20-21, 2002 by Donald B. Robertson.

    Robertson, Donald (grandson of Mary and Thomas Robertson), interviewed on May 23, 2005 by Adrian Kinnane.


    We used the following sources for newspaper accounts of Chevy Chase residents who participated in the Free Library Association, the Chevy Chase Reading Class, and the Literary Club:

    The Evening Star (1854 - 1972), The Evening Times (1895 - 1902), The Washington Herald (1906 - 1939), and The Washington Times (1902 - 1939).  Newspapers published prior to 1922 were accessed through "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers," developed by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and available online. The Evening Star and other papers published after 1922 are available online at the District of Columbia Public Library.

    The Washington Post (1877 - 1995).  Accessed through ProQuest Historical Newspapers, available online at the Montgomery County Public Library.

    In addition to newspaper databases, we used U.S. Census data and other public document information made accessible on the genealogical website Ancestry.com.

    Additional Sources:

    Aron, Cindy Sondik. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Civil Service: Middle-Class Workers in Victorian America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

    Blair, Karen J. The Clubwoman as Feminist: True Womanhood Redefined, 1868-1914. New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1980.

    Clark-Lewis, Elizabeth. Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics in Washington, D.C., 1910-1940. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2010.

    Flack, J. Kirkpatrick Flack. Desideratum in Washington: The Intellectual Community in the Capital City, 1870-1900. Cambridge: Schenkman Publishing Col, 1975.

    Long, Elizabeth. Book Clubs: Women and Uses of Reading in Everyday Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

    Spain, Daphne. How Women Saved the City. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.

    Tinsley, Katherine and Carl F. Kaestle, “Autobiographies and the History of Reading: The Meaning of Literacy in Individual Lives.” In Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading since 1880, edited by Carl F. Kaestle, Helen Damon-Moore, Lawrence C. Stedman, Katherine Tinsley, and William Vance Trollinger, Jr., 225-244. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Digitization of images, documents and printed materials from the CCHS collection, was done at the CCHS Archive and Research Center, located at the Chevy Chase Public Library, Chevy Chase, Maryland. The exhibit design was developed by Gail Sansbury; Tyler Vachon assisted with uploading content.

    Sandglass Systems, Inc. designed and developed the Chevy Chase Historical Society website. Special thanks to Andrew Fraser, Principal, and the Sandglass staff for their assistance with this online exhibit.





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