Day at Dumbarton 2022

By Dumbarton House (other events)

Thursday, April 28 2022 11:00 AM 6:00 PM EDT

Join us for our fourth Day at Dumbarton! The theme of our virtual April 28th program is “handwriting." We are excited to invite Dames around the country to join us in exploring the role of handwriting in 18th and 19th century society, as well as how written resources help us to access the rich stories of the past. The day will include fascinating lectures by scholars Ben Bartgis and Blake Bronson-Bartlett, rounded out by a cocktail hour where Dames will have a chance to share their own experiences with handwritten history. We hope you join us!

Early bird registration begins March 1 at $18.04 for general admission (all sessions), in honor of the year Joseph Nourse, first Register of the Treasury for the fledgling United States, moved into Dumbarton House as its first permanent resident.

Starting April 1, general admission will be $25.

The schedule of events is as follows:

Thursday, April 28th 2021

11:00 AM EST to 12:00 PM ET Introduction & Tour

Following introductory remarks by NSCDA Executive Director Carol Cadou, Dames will be led on a tour of Dumbarton House by our Assistant Director, Education and Engagement, Sheridan Small. Whether you've never been to Dumbarton House before or you have visited many times, this tour will welcome you to your National Headquarters and the home of Joseph Nourse, the first Register of the Treasury! Join us to learn about life in 1804 and see how we fit into the national story of the creation of Washington DC!

12:00 PM EST to 1:00 PM ET Break for Lunch

1:00 PM EST to 1:30 PM ET NSCDA / DH Staff lecture on the Dumbarton House Collection 

1:30 PM EST to 3:00 PM ET Lecture and Materials Demonstration by Ben Bartgis

 "'Too Much Pains Cannot Be Taken to Teach our Youth': Writing for a Growing Nation, 1770-1820": The definition of literacy evolved steadily in America during the 1770-1820 period, due to both the changing nature of America from colony to county and developments in technology, pedagogy, and distribution methods, laying the groundwork for the dramatic educational reforms and expansions of the mid-19th century. This lecture looks at how handwriting and education grew and changed to face the challenges of a young Republic, from the nature of early American ink and paper to questions Americans wrestled with about who was allowed to learn and for what ends.

3:00 PM EST to 4:00 PM ET Break 

4:00 PM EST to 5 PM ET Lecture by Blake Bronson-Barlett

"The Pencil's Progress: A Defense of Messy Handwriting": Usable pencils were difficult to find in the late eighteenth century because the quality of graphite needed to make a good mark was relatively rare. This situation changed in the 1830s, when mineral refinement techniques allowed pencil makers to transform inadequate graphite into a more suitable medium for writing and drawing. Bronson-Bartlett will make the case that the availability of good pencils had a liberating effect on American writers, freeing them from the fuss of steel pens and ink pots and allowing them to write in the moment and on the move. He will zoom in on one of Margaret Fuller's extant notebooks from 1840, which she used as she led her famous "Boston Conversations" for the region's feminist avant-garde in her friend Elizabeth Peabody's bookshop. Much like the penciled manuscripts of other American writers from the antebellum period, Fuller's notebook shows us how pencils enabled writers to begin to free themselves and others.

5:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM ET Cocktail Hour

Get to know staff at headquarters and Dames from around the country in informal breakout rooms. Bring your favorite beverage! 

*All registrants will recieve an email prior to Virtual Day at Dumbarton with links to each lecture and event.

Dumbarton House

Mailing Address

2715 Q Street NW Washington, DC 20007