March is Women’s History Month and Ward 6 Democrats are continuing their recognition of Women in Ward 6 by honoring Ruth Ann Overbeck, a Capitol Hill historian and teacher.
Ruth Ann Overbeck, who died in April of 2000, is buried in Ward 6’s Congressional Cemetery. Her gravestone, by design, has no birth or death date. Instead it is engraved: “Look it up!”
Overbeck bought her house on Capitol Hill in 1968, a few weeks after the riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King – a time when many people were fleeing the city. She spent the next 30 years restoring her own house as well as building a historical research business. She doggedly mined the community for oral histories, photographs, maps and other documentation and thus, contributed a wealth of information about the neighborhood’s history.
She chaired the original effort to define and establish the Capitol Hill Historic District. She researched hundreds of house histories for homeowners and designed and conducted more than 35 DC walking tours for the Smithsonian Resident Associates on various historic themes.
She received both her B.A. and her M.A. from the university of Texas, Austin. She was never allowed into a PhD program because she was a woman.