World War I at Tudor Place

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Armistead Peter 3rd in his naval uniform at Tudor Place during World War I. Courtesy Tudor Place.

Last year, Tudor Place’s curator, Grant Quertermous, happened upon an interesting find, tucked away in a trunk in the mansion’s attic: the World War I uniform of the last owner of the historic estate, Armistead Peter 3rd.

This was a “timely” discovery for Quertermous, as it came during the Great War’s centenary commemorations.

Today, visitors to the Tudor Place gift shop can purchase a postcard of the dashing naval officer, dressed in that uniform, jauntily astride his motorcycle on the Tudor Place lawn.

During the war, he was stationed in Washington. He would go on to combat in World War II, returning to Georgetown, where he established the foundation that now oversees Tudor Place. Armistead Peter 3rd lived a long and patriotic life, passing away at the age of 87 in 1983.

His father, Armistead Jr., supported the World War I war effort in Georgetown — rationing, buying war bonds and walking door to door as far as Foggy Bottom to raise funds from neighbors.

The family’s women, too, did their civic duty. Armistead Jr.’s sister Agnes was so dedicated to the troops that she went to France with the YMCA to volunteer in troop canteens. The woman young Armistead would later marry, Caroline Ogden-Jones, was a Red Cross volunteer in New York during World War I.

But perhaps Georgetown’s most famous contribution to the war came during Christmas of 1917, when Anna Peter, wife to Armistead Jr., rented an entire Washington theater for a special holiday concert and comedy act for the troops, with President Woodrow Wilson in attendance. One of the numbers performed that night was called “Giddy Giddap! Go On! Go On! We’re On Our Way to War.”

Alas, Anna made her own sacrifice by missing the show due to illness.

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