The house was donated to the University in 1921 by the original owner’s son, General Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull, a University trustee and benefactor. Woodhull had been instrumental in the University’s decision to relocate from downtown to this block of G Street.
William Henry Seward lived in the house between 1855 and 1858, when he was serving his second term as U.S. Senator from New York. An unsuccessful candidate for the presidency in 1856 and 1860, he was to serve as Secretary of State under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson. Remembered today for having negotiated the purchase of Alaska, he was known to his contemporaries as an outspoken opponent of slavery and the first major political figure in the nascent Republican Party. During the Civil War his principal diplomatic objective was to prevent Great Britain from intervening on the side of the Confederacy.
DC designation: November 18, 1987
National Register listing: April 12, 1991