Oral History

CAG - Oral History Program

During the Spring of 2020, we will SPOTLIGHT a variety of interviews from our treasured Oral History Program.  Look for us on our CAG social media - Facebook & Instagram.  As we "self-quarantine" across the country, many of us have extra time to reflect on the past and appreciate the collection of memories that are both informative and entertaining. Thank you to all of those who continue to keep this program moving forward! 

Oral History Project Overview

CAG’s Oral History Project collects and records a “living” history of Georgetown as related in individual interviews with people who have lived and/or worked here. The project records the history of our Georgetown community, people, and places as experienced, remembered, and articulated by long time residents. According to Oral History Committee Chair, Cathy Farrell, transcripts of these “living history” interviews are available on our website and the Peabody Room at the Georgetown Library. This compendium of primary history is available to researchers, residents, and the general public -- and will undoubtedly be of special interest to families and descendants of the interviewees.

Beginning in 2007, the founding committee -- Louise Brodnitz, Denise Cunningham, Betsy Cooley, Hazel Denton, Nola Klamberg, and Leslie Kamrad, Annie Lou Berman, Patty Murphy and Leslie Wheelock – worked out details and procedures for the project. They met with Bernadette McMahon, coordinator of Capitol Hill’s Overbeck History project, to learn about that established project. (Check out Capitol Hill’s excellent website at www.capitolhillhistory.org to get a sense of their fascinating program.)

CAG’s Oral History project is recruiting and training volunteers to conduct interviews with people who have played significant roles in Georgetown over many years. Dozens of long-time residents are being tapped (many in their eighties and nineties) to record their rich experiences and invaluable memories of growing up, living, or raising families in Georgetown and/or participating in the organizations and businesses that have developed and preserved Georgetown buildings and structures over the past century. Our oldest residents are being interviewed at the earliest stage of the project to share their unique and irreplaceable knowledge.


2016 Oral History Panel: Recollections of Georgetown at Sea Catch Restaurant

On Wednesday, March 23, CAG members and friends gathered at Sea Catch Restaurant for an evening filled with well-deserved salutes to significant Georgetowners and their role in capturing the history of Georgetown. Tom Birch moderated this fascinating discussion with panel members include Ellen Charles, Billy Martin, William (Bill) Treanor, and Sarah Yerkes.


2015 Oral History Meeting: CAG Salutes Oral History Pioneers at City Tavern Club

On Tuesday, January 13th, 2015, CAG heard from well-known Georgetowners Richard Levy, Elizabeth Stevens, Philip Levy, Anne Emmet, and Gary Tischler -- all of whom have participated in CAG's oral history project. These engaging Georgetowners have recorded their recollections about life in Georgetown in one-on-one interviews with CAG’s oral history volunteers. The results have been fascinating – visit www.cagtown.org to read the summaries and/or the entire interviews.
Developer Richard Levy and his brother, Bridge Street Books owner Philip Levy, grew up in Georgetown living over their family store on M Street.
In a joint interview they talk about everything from the rough and tumble waterfront including “characters” – businessmen  and  police officers --  of their childhood -- and then go on to  give an inside, insightful account of commercial development here, including Philip’s bookstore, their late brother David’s Key and Biograph movie theaters, and Richard’s extensive involvement with commercial development, including the founding of the Business Improvement District.  Artist Anne Emmet has deep family ties here and reminisces about the old social traditions.  Elizabeth Stevens raised three children in Georgetown and relays fond memories of her favorite bookstore, butcher shop, hardware store, and dress shop as well as recollections about the times of the King and Kennedy assassinations.  Long-time writer for The Georgetowner, Gary Tischler, has known and interviewed the famous and ordinary people of Georgetown for 50 years. Come and meet these living Georgetown legends and hear some of their intriguing stories first hand.

The program began with a brief overview of the project by Oral History Committee Chair, Cathy Farrell. The interviewees then spoke about their memories of growing up in or moving to Georgetown, pursuing careers here, raising families, building businesses, entertaining, renovating buildings – and more.

The City Tavern Club hosted and provided refreshments for the reception.

Citizens Association of Georgetown is a non-profit civic organization representing the interests of Georgetown residents. CAG’s members, programs, and advocacy make Georgetown safer, more beautiful, and more connected.

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