Georgetown’s Bartleby’s Books Closing by Month’s End

June 16, 2011

Tucked just off Wisconsin Avenue at 1132 29th St. on the edge of Georgetown’s lively commercial district is the unassuming but consequential Bartleby’s Books, which specializes in rare and antiquarian books.

While most Washingtonians have walked past the bookshop countless times crossing the bridge to and from Georgetown, only those who frequent the store know that by the end of the month, Bartleby’s will close.

Not limited to rare and antiquarian books, Bartleby’s specializes in American history and law, with a strong selection of books on military history, local history, literature, poetry and travel. (On a recent visit to the store, browsing through DC ephemera I found city reports from the early 1970’s that analyzed metro’s impact on neighborhoods in Far NE.)

With the store’s closing, the count of book stores in greater Georgetown has now dwindled to less than a half dozen. A block east of Bartleby’s is Bridge Street Books at 2184 Pennsylvania Ave. The Barnes & Noble on 3040 M St. is nearby with the remaining book stores in Georgetown on P St. and across Wisconsin Ave. from the foot of Book Hill Park.

As a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), Bartleby’s is one of 450 registered and licensed book sellers specializing in antiquarian materials. According to Susan Benne, Executive Director of ABAA, between 1/3 and 1/2 of members have storefronts. Other members “deal privately in an office” or from their homes.

Second Story Books, with a storefront in Dupont Circle and an enormous warehouse in Rockville, is well known. Wonder Book, with a warehouse in Frederick and storefronts in Hagerstown and Gaithersburg, is the next closest place to find antiquarian books before visiting Baltimore’s ABAA stores.

Bartleby’s was started by iconoclastic John Thomson, Vice-President of ABAA, with his wife in Bethesda in November of 1984; Bartleby’s’ namesake comes from a Herman Melville novella, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.” They have been in their current location on 29th St. for the past five years after moving from previous locations in Georgetown.

“It’s the best bookstore in the city,” said Morgan Holley, a recent graduate of the French International School. “There’s nostalgia and a connection you feel when you have an older book.”
Holley and her classmate, Lydia Dulce, compared Bartleby’s to one of their other favorite bookstores; Shakespeare and Company on Paris’ Left Bank.

“Younger people come in here every day and say they have never seen anything like it,” says Thomson. “The store gives them a historic sensibility of books and what they mean to the human experience.”

“Bookstores are a disappearing phenomenon,” said Joy Denman, a retired educator who lives down the street from the store. “I can’t bear to see them leave. We need to halt this disaster!” she said waving an out-of-print work by Upton Sinclair that she found through the store.
The closing was first reported last fall. By the end of the month, only memories of Bartleby’s Books will remain. In a wider examination of Bartleby’s closing and its impact on the city’s literary culture I feel, as a book reader and collector, a deep sense of loss but also regret that I won’t have more years to explore and get lost in the shelves.

In our city and culture where information and news moves with increased frequency we often find ourselves lost in our smart phones, multiple Apple devices, and E-Book readers. Out with the old and in with the new has its time and place, but Bartleby’s closing signifies an era of the city that is increasingly fading from the cityscape, becoming harder and harder to find.

“You’re always as good as your last buy,” says Thomson, who will continue the business with his wife through their website ( and by appointment.

The store will be open Monday – Sunday through July 2. For more information call (202) 298-0486.
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Ancient Roman Statue Unveiled at National Gallery

June 15, 2011

The famous Capitoline Venus, an ancient and treasured Roman statue, was inaugurated Tuesday in the West Building Rotunda of the National Gallery of Art by Gianni Alemanno, the Mayor of Rome. The six foot, six inch nude portrayal of the goddess Venus will be on display now through Sept. 5 in its first excursion outside of Rome in almost 200 years. The last time the Capitoline Venus left, she was stolen cargo, carried away by Napoleon in 1797 to be held in France until 1816 when she returned home to Rome. The statue is on loan from the Capitoline Museum in Rome, from which this Venus gets her name, one of the oldest public art museums in the world.

“It will truly be an honor to be at the National Gallery of Art to celebrate, through the millennial history and culture of our city, the achievement of an ideal bridge between Italy and the United states, and between their two capitals, Rome and Washington, D.C.,” said Alemanno in a press release issued by the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition, titled “A Masterpiece from the Capitoline Museum, Rome,” is part of a larger project taken up by Alemanno called “The Dream of Rome,” which aims to present similar exhibits in the U.S. over the next two years. It is also an extension of the Italy@150 series, a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italy across Washington and other locations in the U.S.

On the day of the unveiling, Alemanno and Mayor Vincent Gray signed a proclamation cementing the sister city relationship between Rome and Washington, D.C.

“The first trip of the Capitoline Venus outside Italy in almost 200 years marks the unique friendship between our two capitals and our two nations,” said Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, ambassador of Italy to the U.S., in the same press release. “It also witnesses the long standing cooperation between Italian cultural institutions and the National Gallery of Art.”

The Capitoline Venus is an incredibly well-preserved statue hailing from the ancient Roman Empire, and is a variation on what is known as a “Modest Venus,” where the goddess partially covers her nudity with her hands. She was found buried in a large a large garden in Rome in the 1670’s.
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The Georgetown House Tour is one of the oldest and most valued house tours in the country. The homes of 12 high profile residents will be opened to the public to view the design and historic value of these immaculate homes and gardens. This year’s tour will take place on April 30th, 2011. Every home on the Tour will be open from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Houses are arranged for easy walking at your own pace taken in the order you prefer. Your ticket price includes a tour booklet full of useful information including a map of the houses which will make it possible to set your own route. To purchase tickets please visit The Georgetown House Tour Website
Also included in your ticket price is a not-to-be-missed Parish Tea in Blake Hall at the historic St. John’s Church located at 3240 O Street, N.W. In long-standing tradition, this lovely tea features homemade tea sandwiches and sweets. You may walk in at any time between 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to delight in what the parish volunteers are serving!
Also make sure to join us at The Georgetowner’s House Tour Hospitality Suite from 10-4PM at Boffi Georgetown for Wine Reception, Hors d’ Oeuvres, and a day full of special events supporting the Georgetown House Tour. The Georgetowner has always been a supporter of the House tour and looks forward to our First ever Hospitality Suite.
The House Tour benefits, Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Georgetown Parish. During the 1820s, the church fell on hard times and finally stopped holding services in 1831. The church building became known as the “the Swallow Barn” and was rented as a sculptor’s studio for $50 a year. After being sold for taxes, the building was repurchased in 1837 and resumed a new, vigorous life.

For additional information, call 202-338-4833. We look forward to seeing you at the Georgetown House Tour!
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Informative or speculative?

June 13, 2011

For the past few days I’ve been reading up on the indictment of John Edwards, which alleges that the former presidential candidate conspired with others to illegally channel campaign funds to cover up an affair – all to protect his presidential campaign.

I read articles and opinions from a range of newspapers and blogs all saying essentially the same thing, commenting on the scandal of it all, expressing sympathy for his children, proclaiming the demise of Edwards’s political and legal career. But even after reading for several hours, I realized I had gained no concrete understanding of the legal proceedings surrounding the John Edwards case. The press seems to have explored every personal and political angle surrounding the issue, distracted by the sensational from the fact that besides the development of a formal indictment there’s really nothing new to say about John Edwards.

So let’s look at the document itself. We can assume with the issuance of a formal indictment that the government does have probable cause to believe a crime was committed, and most likely believes it has evidence to support the allegations of conspiracy, illegal use of campaign funds and false statements about the use of those funds. The media neglects to explain that finding probable cause to formally charge a person with a crime is significantly easier than presenting sufficient evidence to convince a jury of those allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Edwards has pled not guilty to committing a felony, so the challenge for the prosecution will be to prove that a contributor donated funds to cover up Edwards’s affair in order to protect his presidential campaign. The Government must further prove that Edwards knew that the payments were being made and that he knew it benefitted his campaign. However, until we know the government’s evidence we won’t know how it will prove its case.

This was supposed to be an opinion piece, but I’ve realized I can’t yet fairly form an opinion about the case, because the evidence is yet to be seen. I could speculate for pages about what will happen in court, who I think will testify, what the evidence will be, and what’s next for John Edwards, but I would only be guessing, which would be presumptuous on my part and misleading, confusing and unfair to anyone who might read this. We can say it will be interesting to see how the prosecution plans to prove Edwards’ intent, as this is a necessary element of proof the Government must establish. We can say it will be interesting to see how the conspiracy charges hold up with one alleged campaign contributor and would-be witness deceased and another 100 years old. And we can say it will be interesting to see how the press deals with the story and if they effectively cross examine, try, and convict Edwards while waiting for the jury’s official verdict.

Weekend Round Up June 9, 2011

Visit To find things to do this weekend!

What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?

June 10th, 2011 at 07:00 PM | Free

Come out for the inaugural program of “America Eats,” a series developed in conjunction with José Andrés, who is Chief Culinary Adviser for the new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”Chef Andrés will discuss the history of American food and cooking, science and cooking, and why food is the solution to many of the challenges we face as a nation.


The National Archives
William G. McGowan Theater

The Second Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival

June 11th, 2011 at 01:00 AM | FREE

Come enjoy Bluegrass and Folk music at Kingman and Heritage Islands Park at the 2nd Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival on June 11, 2011. This event will be FREE and open to the public. There will be food from DC’s most popular food trucks, beer and wine from local vendors, a free shuttle to the island from Stadium/Armory Metro Station, bike giveaways, and tours of the island from Bicycle Space. Come celebrate the revitalization of the Anacostia River with bluegrass music!


Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
575 Oklahoma Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Live Jazz at Historic Henley Park Hotel

June 11th, 2011 at 07:30 PM | No Cover Charge

Nancy Scimone sings lively jazz and lush ballads by Mercer, Berlin, Jobim, Gershwin and Ellington. She’s sung at the Kennedy Center, Twins Jazz, Carlyle Club and sparkles on the intimate stage of Henley’s Blue Bar Lounge. Cozy tapestry seats and ambiance for conversation or listening. Classic cocktails, extensive wines, shareable small plates (tuna au poivre, pear bread pudding.) 7:30-11:30 pm Near Metro 202-638-5200 A prestigious member of Historic Hotels of America.


The Henley Park Hotel
926 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20001

The Upperville Colt & Horse Show

June 12th, 2011 at 8:00 AM | $10.00

This year’s show, our 158th, takes place June 6 – 12, 2011.

Upperville is the oldest horse show in the United States. Steeped in tradition, it extends a full seven days, and involves over two thousand horse and rider combinations from young children on ponies to leading Olympic and World Cup riders and horses.


Held, under The Oaks, in Upperville, Virginia, the showgrounds are located forty miles west of Washington, D.C.

Indigo Girls

June 12th, 2011 at 08:00 PM

Grammy Award-winning folk-rock duo behind hit songs “Closer to Fine” and “Galileo” have gained a loyal fan base over the years by combining haunting vocal harmonies with powerful lyrics.


Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Road, Vienna, VA

DC Jazz Festival – A Night In Treme: The Musical Majesty of New Orleans

June 13th, 2011 at 07:30 PM | $20 – $65

A jazz concert to honor the African jazz culture of New Orleans. The performance will feature HBO’s Treme series star Wendell Pierce and musicians from the hit mini-series such as the Rebirth Brass Band, Mardi Gras Indian Chief, saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., and many more highlighting the heartbeat of New Orleans and home in Congo Square.


John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center Concert Hall
2700 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20566

Upperville Colt & Horse Show

Click Here for Live Footage of The Upperville Colt and Horse Show!

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Fauquier County, Va., lies a historical piece of American equestrian history. The Upperville Colt and Horse Show is America’s oldest horse show dating back to 1853, and a classic event for all Del-Mar-Vas to attend each June. The week-long equestrian event provides an array of English events such as side saddle, children’s hunters and jumping. Sunday was the main event: The Upperville Jumper Classic sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Manuel Johnson.

The green grass was scattered with groups of women in flamboyant hats and men in bowties mingling in and out of the Boxholders’ Tent. They were treated to a banquet buffet, bartenders and a Maker’s Mark adorned with Jack Russell Terrier puppies. Tables covered with light pink and purple peonies, green hydrangeas and white roses gathered spectators to chat about social life and the day’s events.

The riders jumped, the crowd cheered, all while the sun shined. In the end, Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W took home the honors as Champions of the Upperville Jumper Classic. Just as Campbell was handed her blue ribbon, the rain poured down. Huddled under the Boxholders’ Tent, spectators took some extra time to enjoy the wine and company surrounding them. The dark sheet of water pouring down did not stop anyone from having a delightful time. A special guest, the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show Champion, the Scottish Deerhound, was a popular friend that kept many smiling during the intense downpour.

Overall, the horse show was a success; no spectator let the rain wash their good time away.

GU Housing Plan Sparks Controversy as Debates Continue

The D.C. Zoning Commission will hold its fifth meeting tonight to continue discussions over the 2011-2020 Georgetown University Campus Plan with hearings from locals both for and against the proposal.

Because Georgetown University enrollment grew by 40 percent in the last ten years, the plan seeks to make room for the campus’ growing number of undergraduate students by developing a 15,000 student enrollment cap and adding 250 beds to on-campus housing.

However, the last Thursday’s meeting was bombarded with public protest against the plan. Dissenters said insufficient on-campus housing forces students to move into and alter surrounding neighborhoods.

At last Thursdays’ meeting, the Citizens Association of Georgetown testified against the proposal, saying it violates D.C. zoning laws, which state “The university shall be located so that it is not likely to become objectionable to the neighboring property because of noise, traffic, number of students, or other objectionable conditions.”

The CAG believes large student populations in the area cause problems for the neighborhood by bothering residents and scaring off potential businesses and investors. CAG president Jennifer Altemus showed the board a video presentation to further prove CAG’s point depicting young people outside bars in Georgetown apparently drunk, yelling and fighting.

The Burleith Citizens Association is also taking issue with the campus plan. The BCU believes university provided on-campus housing and housing incentives would better serve students and the surrounding community.

The University is standing firm behind the proposal which has been in the works for over two years.
“The Campus Plan was created with rigorous care with over two years of planning,” said Jack DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, in his testimony at the initial proposal meeting. “The goal is to reaffirm Georgetown’s commitment to partnership. The 2011-2020 Campus Plan is a modest and responsible plan for the university’s future with substantial commitments that respond to community and city concerns.”

Garrett’s Restaurant & Railroad Tavern Shuts It’s Doors

June 10, 2011

When Garrett’s Restaurant and Railroad Tavern shut its doors for the last time on Monday, it was not simply another restaurant closing but rather the loss of a popular community hangout loved and frequented by locals, students, employees and tourists since 1979.

Garrett’s has been noted for its casual, chill atmosphere, and the restaurant’s weekly game nights and holiday events have attracted neighborhood regulars.

Nick Hardt, a longtime employee at Garrett’s, said he would miss the camaraderie and personality of the restaurant.

“Everyone knows your name, and it’s one of those places that’s been here awhile and it’s just fun,” said Hardt. “It was a gathering place for the neighborhood.”

Staff and friends gathered at the Town Tavern in Adams Morgan to commemorate the end of an era and relive old memories. For the restaurant employees, the parting is sad but amicable.

Hardt believes the restaurant closing reflects an ongoing change in the Georgetown area and a shift in the social scene as rent increases and bigger businesses move in. He hopes to see Garrett’s reopen, but thinks it unlikely that it would reopen in Georgetown.

As for the restaurant’s old haunt? “Hopefully it’s not another Starbucks,” said Hardt.
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Camberely Homes Unveiled

June 8, 2011

“The Centennial Collection employs state-of-the-art construction methods and energy-saving features to provide a high performance home that ultimately can save homeowners money and reduces their impact on the environment. By exceeding the International Energy Conservation Code, we believe the Camberley Centennial Collection delivers a luxury home at the leading edge of the home building trend that satisfies the needs of today’s increasingly environmentally conscious consumer.”
– Alan Shapiro, president of Winchester Homes.

Awareness for energy efficiency is rapidly growing. Taking action, Montgomery County sets a precedent by executing a law disclosing energy expenses to new homeowners. Raising the bar to “go green,” Montgomery County showcases it’s benefits on May 9th, 2011 with Camberely Homes’ most cutting edge home design.

In Popular Run’s community of Silver Spring, Maryland,Camberely Homes, a luxury home building division of Winchester Homes, will have revealed the first Building America/Builders Challenge home. Built in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the home is found as a new success,balanced with science and art as it exceeds more than 40 percent of energy efficiency and Winchester Homes’ consumers’ Your Home. Your Way™standards.

The innovative models, named as the Centennial Collection, showcases the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to push forth for more affordable, environmental friendly homes while encompassing the exact style of its prospective homeowner.

A computer energy model called Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) indexed less than 60 versus compared to the 100 found in a standard home, hence the 40 percent plus savings in energy. While these numbers provide credible statistics, the architectural floor plans construct a design to avoid futile space and more artistic appeal.

Camberley Homes, a winner of the Gala Award Winner for Best Architecture and Design in 2010, welcomes you to be in awe of its Centennial Collection. It’s new, fresh, innovative achievement opens doors for home building pioneers and wilder dream homes.
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Weekend Round Up May 26, 2011

June 2, 2011

Free Summer Saturdays at the Corcoran starts this weekend

May 28th, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Free on Saturdays! | Event Website
Join the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design for FREE Summer Saturdays – back by popular demand! This summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, enjoy free admission to the Gallery, including special exhibitions Chris Martin: Painting Big and Washington Color and Light. Enjoy special programs, Gallery tours, workshops, demonstrations, and performances for all ages.

Kicking off the first Free Summer Saturday this Saturday, May 28 at 2 p.m. is Body, a free performance by interdisciplinary artist ChajanadenHarder, who invites residents in all eight wards of D.C. to respond to the questions: “What do you most desire?” and “What have you lost?” by writing their answers on eight life-size body casts, which are then both performed and collapsed. Come see for yourself all summer!
500 17th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20006

National Sporting Library &Museum Book Fair

Saturday, May 28, 2011, 10 am – 5 pm, the Library will host the NSLM Book Fair. Six authors are scheduled to talk for 20 minutes then sign books, beginning at 11:00. The authors are: Rita Mae Brown, Kate Chenery Tweedy and LeeanneLadin, Tim Rice, Bill Woods, and Norman Fine. Booksellers will be on hand and the authors’ books will be available for purchase. Check for details in early May.

The National Sporting Library and Museum
102 The Plains Road
P.O. Box 1335
Middleburg, Virginia 20118-1335
Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m

Memorial Day Concert

May 29th, 2011 at 05:00 PM | $15 Free for Students | Tel: 202.244.7191 | Event Website
The National Men’s Chorus, with Thomas Beveridge, artistic director, and Paul Skevington on organ, offers our ever-popular Memorial Day concert honoring the brave men and women who served in the American military. This annual event is a day or remembrance and gratitude for our freedom and liberty. Hear the rich tones of an all-male chorus singing America’s favorite patriotic songs, accompanied by organ, brass, and percussion. Stand and be honored as the chorus sings the song of the military branch in which you or a loved one served. Saint Luke Parish, 7001 Georgetown Pike, McLean VA. Tickets $15, students free. 202.244.7191
Saint Luke Parish
7001 Georgetown Pike
McLean VA.

Free Memorial Day Weekend Events at the Navy Memorial

May 30th, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Free and open to the public | | Tel: (202) 380-0718 | Event Website
Memorial Day Weekend Events featuring Rolling Thunder, a performance by the Rock Band Fourmanchu, commemorative wreathlayings and a traditional Navajo dance
United States Navy Memorial
Naval Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Find more event on our Calendar