Interest in the urban development of Washington has led to a rich field of residential and architectural histories that can help any map maker with their endeavors. First, most depend upon an understanding of the geography of the city to a precise detail and supply illustrations that support their work. Second, most describe the connections between residence and architecture with population booms and busts; surrounding landscapes; the business history of the region; and the development of infrastructure such as sanitary measures, electrical and other utilities, and transportation networks. Third, the methods used in these studies are instructive as they stitch together insights derived from photographs, maps, building permits, the census, and other records.
Don't let the volume of this work put you off!
Maps can be used to enrich any story that you want to tell. There is relatively little that can illustrate the access that marginalized residents -- particularly the large Black population -- had to local businesses, transportation systems, clean water and sound plumbing, parks, schools, and leisure within their neighborhoods.
These studies also suggest methods, changes over time, and provide important markers that can be used to help visualize a place. Researchers attempting to reconstruct the geography of Black life should consult in particular the work of James Borchert, Letitia Woods Brown, Donald Hawkins, and John Vlach.
Borchert, James. "Alley Life in Washington: An Analysis of 600 Photographs." Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 49 (1973): 244-59. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40067743.
Brown, Letitia W. "Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860." Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 69/70 (1969): 66-79. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40067705.
Hawkins, Don A. "The City of Washington in 1800: A New Map." Washington History 12, no. 1 (2000): 74-77. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40073435.
Hawkins, Don Alexander. "The Landscape of the Federal City: A 1792 Walking Tour." Washington History 3, no. 1 (1991): 10-33. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40072965.
Hawkins, Don Alexander. "Unbuilt Washington: The City as It Might Have Been." Washington History 5, no. 2 (1993): 29-41. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40073207.
Jackson, Cordelia. "People and Places in Old Georgetown." Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 33/34 (1932): 133-62. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40067468.
Mitchell, Mary A. "An Intimate Journey through Georgetown in April 1863." Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 60/62 (1960): 84-102. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40067220.
Mitchell, Mary, and Robert Lyle. "A New Look at Old N Street in Georgetown." Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C. 63/65 (1963): 386-400. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40067371.
Vlach, John Michael. "Evidence of Slave Housing in Washington." Washington History 5, no. 2 (1993): 64-74. Accessed March 4, 2021. http://www.jstor.org.proxy.library.georgetown.edu/stable/40073209.
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