Since the 1980s, the CCHS has made it a priority to capture community history by conducting oral histories with long-time Chevy Chase residents, as well as adjacent businesses and their employees. Our oral history collection consists of over 100 transcriptions of taped interviews and every year we add to this oral tradition with new interviews. This work is partially funded by grants from the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission. These voices are wonderful primary sources because of the memories and observations they contain about living in Chevy Chase. In fact, much of the research material used for our new documentary “Chevy Chase Maryland: A Streetcar to Home” came from this collection. Transcripts and some audio files are easily accessed at our Archive and Research Center and the public is welcome to come and explore the collection. For a list of transcribed interviews, click HERE.
If you would like to nominate a neighbor to be interviewed, please download our Oral History Project Candidate Nomination Form or call us at 301-656-6141. We are also looking for volunteers to help us add to and maintain our collection of interviews. Please contact us if you would be interested in interviewing current or former Chevy Chase residents, or help us with other tasks involved with continuing this important project.
Edith Claude Jarvis, 1903-1989
Edith Claude Jarvis grew up in Chevy Chase and, except for her college years, lived here for most of her life, from 1902 until her death in 1989. This oral history was done at her home on the western side of Brookville Road at 9 East Melrose Street in May of 1987, with CCHS members Marjorie G. Zapruder and Mary Anne Touhey. It is immediately apparent from hearing the tape that there was a fond chemistry between the three women. This relaxed atmosphere allowed Jarvis to reminisce freely—and she had a very accurate memory.
Jump into her oral history at any point and you will be swept quickly into the conversation hearing many amusing and informative stories about early Chevy Chase. Be sure to listen also for charming personal anecdotes like that of Jarvis riding the trolley to school with her Irish Setter and the conductors taking the dog home on the returning streetcar, since they knew which stop was his. Edith Jarvis so loved her town that she returned after college and began a lifelong commitment to give back to her community. From 1924 until 1929, she taught at the E.V. Brown School, just over the border in DC, a school from which she had graduated. Eventually, she used her experience as a teacher to found a company called the Jarvis School Bureau, which matched the interests of children with appropriate summer camps and private schools. Her father was a direct descendant of Francis Scott Key, writer of the national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, and to honor her ancestor, Jarvis opened the Francis Scott Key Bookstore in Georgetown and served on the advisory board for a society in his name. She also served as an elected member of the Chevy Chase Village Board of Governors for 12 years during the 1950-1960s—a time when few women held public office.