Built between 1892 and 1894 for opera singer Sarah Adams Whittemore, this Dupont Circle mansion stands out from its contemporaries for its restrained design. While other mansions built during the Gilded Age typically relied on ornate Beaux-Arts decorations, the Whittemore House is closer in style to the English Arts and Crafts movement in its emphasis on simplicity of design and quality of materials.
After Whittemore and her family left the house, it hosted several prominent renters, including John F. Dryden, the founder of Prudential Insurance Company, who lived in the house for several years during his time in the Senate. However, it is best known for its association with the Woman’s National Democratic Club, which began renting the house in 1927 for use as its headquarters. The WNDC held a dedication ceremony on May 10, 1927 with Edith Wilson, Woodrow Wilson’s widow, and Ellen Davis, the wife of politician and diplomat John W. Davis.
The WNDC has used the house since then toward its end of educating American women about political philosophy. Its distinguished guests have included Eleanor Roosevelt, who delivered many of her radio addresses in the 1960s from the house’s library and hosted a women-only press conference in the house to combat the obstacles faced by female journalists.The club continues to hold events and programs related to women’s political advancement.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: July 16, 1973