About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for A Georgetown Life: The Reminiscences of Britannia Wellington Peter Kennon

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to this virtual book talk with Grant Quertermous, author of A Georgetown Life: The Reminiscences of Britannia Wellington Peter Kennon.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Monday, December 7, at noon, we’ll welcome author Larry Tye and former Senate Historian Don Ritchie, who will discuss Tye’s new book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy.

And that same evening, at 6 p.m., join us for a program titled “The Four Continents—An Open Dialogue.” Michele Cohen, Curator for the Architect of the Capitol, and Brent Leggs, Executive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, will discuss the Four Continents statues at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City.

I hope you can join us for these two programs.

* * *

Just 14 years after Congress first met in Washington, DC, Britannia Wellington Peter Kennon was born in the newly designated District of Columbia. Living into the first years of the 20th century, Kennon saw first-hand about half of the history of the nation’s capital. We are able to discover her unique view of early Washington, DC, because of the written record left by Kennon and other family members.

Grant Quertermous has made this historical documentation available to the public by editing and annotating a manuscript found in the Tudor Place Archives known as “The Reminiscences of Britannia W. Kennon.”

The National Archives, through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, has long supported the preservation and publication of primary records of significant historical value. The Commission made its first grants in support of editing and publishing manuscripts in 1964, and since 1974 NHPRC has funded projects in every state and territory to preserve and increase use of historical records.

Today’s guest author introduces us to a remarkable witness to life in the District of Columbia from its earliest years through the Civil War and into the 20th century.

* * *

Grant Quertermous is the curator and director of collections for the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. As the former curator of Tudor Place Historic House & Garden, he spent five years researching the Custis Peter family and using the collection to interpret their nearly two centuries of ownership of the National Historic Landmark property in Georgetown and their familial ties to George and Martha Washington. Prior to his arrival at Tudor Place in 2015, he was the assistant curator of collections at James Madison’s Montpelier, where he worked for nearly nine years on the mansion interiors initiative to research and furnish the mansion following its architectural restoration.

Now let’s hear from Grant Quertermous. Thank you for joining us today.