Women of Ward 6 Initiative

Women of Ward 6 is a non-partisan monthly recognition of Ward 6’s women, sponsored by the Ward 6 Democrats. This effort, in partnership with the National Woman’s Party, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and the Hill Rag, will culminate in the 2020 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

We will be recognizing women of Ward 6 – current or historical who lives or works in Ward 6 – for the significant contributions to better our lives. Follow along as we honor these women as part of our Women of Ward 6 Initiative here.

You can help with our initiative by nominating a woman for this honor. If you want to nominate a woman, or to serve on the committee to help with this important initiative, contact: marcihilt@aol.com

Nadine P. Winter

Nadine Winter (1924-2011) was an urban-housing activist who was one of the original members of the Council of the District of Columbia when DC gained home rule in 1974. She represented Ward 6 on the council until 1991.

Nadine P. Winter moved to Washington, DC in 1947 to work on housing issues. She was elected in 1974 to represent Ward 6, a diverse but largely poor area which stretched from Capitol Hill to Anacostia, and she held the seat for 16 years. She came to the council keenly aware of the housing problems that plagued the ward, as well as the city. She had been the director of the Hospitality House, one of the first shelters to house entire families and led the screen group for an uban homesteading program in the 1970’s.

She was born in New Bern, N.C.; one of five children of a brick mason and high-school dietician. A community activist from an early age, she helped found Winston-Salem’s first Girl Scout troop for black girls.

In 1980, she sponsored a DC law instituting recycling in DC.

She was an original organizer of the National Welfare Rights Organization and she served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. After she retired from government, she founded health Action Information Network, a non-profit agency providing health education. She was a four-time cancer survivor.

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Elizabeth Haines

Not many Capitol Hill women have a building named after them, but Elizabeth Morrison Haines does. She built the large grey building that still stands at the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania SE in 1892. The building featured 15,000 square feet of trading space on two floors for 50 different departments, plus a third floor that was rented out to local vendors – an impressive achievement. 


Haines was a highly successful entrepreneur and business woman who advertised her building as “The largest store in the world built, owned and controlled by a woman.”


Born Elizabeth Morrison in the1840’s in Ohio, she married Mahlon Haines. They had three children; the last just a few weeks before Mahlon was killed in an accident.


In 1882, she moved to Washington, DC, so her children could be educated in DC schools. At first, the family lived above a small store on 11th Street SE. Elizabeth Haines's first successful business was a shop in Anacostia; her second was a larger shop in the 1200 block of 11th Street SE.

In 1892, she oversaw construction of the Haines Building, which now overlooks the Eastern Market Metro plaza. Total construction time for the building was six months, from ground breaking to store opening. An article published four years later described it as “a store with all the modern conveniences, where trading becomes a pleasure instead of a vexation.

In early 1893, a series of bankruptcies and bank runs caused a severe depression, whose effects were felt all over the United States. The economy did not recover until 1897. In spite of this, Haines persevered, and her store survived, even when a fire burned much of the store in 1905. Haines also gave money to causes she believed in, including posting bail for several of the leaders of Coxey’s Army, who held the first organized protest on the Capitol grounds.
In 1910, Haines sold her store. It was bought by Milton Ney and Joseph Goldenberg, who sold off most of the stock in a major “reorganization sale,” and then, having renamed it the “Haines’ Department Store,” continued to run it for many more years.

After she sold the store, she moved to Florida where she bought a large of property. She then took a trip around the world to research the types of fruit and crops she might grow there. Eventually, she reached the Philippines where she met the governor of Luzon Province. After about two years, she made it back to DC and then married the Luzon Province governor, who had resigned and followed her home. They entertained, traveled, and lived in Florida until she died there in 1928.

Elizabeth Haines Ward 6
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Winifred Mallon

Ward 6 Democrats are continuing our recognition of the Woman of Ward 6 by honoring Winifred Mallon (1880-1954), an early Washington, DC, newspaper reporter.

According to the History of the Washington Press Corps, by Donald A. Ritchie, Winifred Mallon got her start as a clerk in the cable room of the State Department. She had written part-time for the Washington bureau of the Chicago Tribune since 1902. In 1905, she joined the staff of the newspaper. The Tribune gave her a byline whenever she dealt with women’s issues, but anything else she wrote appeared as an anonymous “special.” 

In 1913, Mallon started a column for the Tribune on the campaign for woman suffrage. During World War I, she earned a place on the Washington bureau’s regular staff, writing a column on legislation pending in Congress. She mastered immigration legislation so thoroughly that a House committee called her as an expert witness.

During the Jazz Age of the 1920’s when women exerted a greater degree of economic independence and social liberation than before, newspapers opened more jobs for women in their editorial and marketing departments and also as reporters. 

At the 1928 political conventions, Mallon freelanced for the New York Times, interviewing women delegates and wives of the candidates. That led the Times to hire her as the first woman member of its Washington staff, to cover the social side of the White House, weddings, the Red Cross, and similar assignments.

She was a small woman who carried an oversized handbag that trailed along the ground. She appeared eccentric, but colleagues recognized that she held her job because she possessed “a lively mind and the ability to think clearly and to write clearly.” Even after Times bureau chief considered the aged Mallon “virtually no use,” he kept her on the payroll because she was single and lacked a pension.

Mallon became close to Alva Belmont, who founded the National Women’s Party, and would sometimes sneak out of the Tribune building to the Women’s party headquarters on Capitol Hill (now the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument) to help write press releases and other publicity materials for the suffrage cause. 

Mallon, who helped found the Women’s National Press Club and served as its president for the 1935-1936 term, is buried in Ward 6’s Congressional Cemetery, and her grave is featured on the Suffrage Walking Tour.


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Ruth Ann Overbeck

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.

The Women of Ward 6 initiative is a non-partisan recognition of Ward 6’s women, which honors women who have worked or lived in Ward 6 and who have made significant contributions to better our lives.

The initiative, in partnership with the National Woman’s Party and the Hill Rag, will culminate in the 2020 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

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.


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Alva Belmont

Alva Belmont (1853-1933) was a prominent multi-millionaire
American socialite who used her fortune to advance the women’s rights movement in the early 1900’s. She was noted for her energy, intelligence, strong opinions and willingness to challenge convention.

She was the daughter of an affluent cotton broker. She was educated in France, where her family moved after the Civil War.

After American women won the constitutional right to vote in 1920, Belmont took over leadership of the NWP. She herself reportedly refused to vote until a woman candidate was in the running for president.

Belmont donated thousands of dollars to the women’s equality movement and with her great wealth, Belmont helped the NWP establish a new headquarters. In later years, she became for focused on women’s rights on an international scale. More info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alva_Belmont

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Alice Paul

Alice Paul (1885-1977) was a towering leader in the women’s suffrage movement. She was an outspoken suffragist and feminist who tirelessly led the charge for women’s suffrage and equal rights.

Born on Jan. 11, 1885, in Mount Laurel, N.J., Paul was the oldest of four children of Tacie Parry and William Paul, a wealthy Quaker businessman. Paul’s parents embraced gender equality, education for women and working to improve society.

Alice grew up attending suffragist meetings with her mother. She pursued an unusually high level of education for a woman at that time, graduating Swarthmore College in 1905, receiving a master’s in sociology in 1907 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1912 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Borrowing from her British counterparts, Paul organized parades and pickets in support of suffrage. Her first – and the largest – was in Washington, DC, on March 3, 1913, the day before President-elect Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Approximately 8,000 women marched with banners and floats down Pennsylvania Avenue from the US Capitol to the White House, while a half million spectators watched, supported and harassed the marchers.

On March 17, Paul and other suffragists met with Wilson, who said it was not yet time for an amendment to the Constitution.

In January 1971, Paul and more than 1,000 Silent Sentinels began 18 months of picketing the White House, standing at the gates with such signs as, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” They endured verbal and physical attacks from spectators, which increased after the US entered World War I. Police arrested them on flimsy charges and Paul was sentenced to jail for seven months, where she organized a hunger strike in protest. Newspaper accounts of her treatment garnered public sympathy. By 1918, Wilson announced his support for suffrage.

She founded the National Woman’s Party (NWP) in 1916. With the passage of the 19th Amendment, Paul believed the vote was just the first step in the quest for full equality. She wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923. She is remembered as a tireless, devoted pioneer in the fight for women’s rights.

More info: https://bit.ly/2LIVln9

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The Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument

The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument at 144 Constitution Ave., NE, is an important fixture of Ward 6. Home to the National Woman’s Party for nearly 90 years, this building was the epicenter of the struggle for women’s rights.

Once home to the secretary of the treasury, then burned by the British in the War of 1812, this house became a hub for women’s rights.

It is named for two women who were prominent members of the 20th Century women’s rights movement – Alva Belmont and Alice Paul The building is among the oldest residential properties in the city and it became the headquarters of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), a political movement that fought for equal rights for women. Today, the NWP focuses on educating the public about the women’s rights movement.

From this house in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court, Alice Paul, a towering leader in the women’s suffrage movement, and the National Woman’s Party developed innovative strategies and tactics to advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment and equality for women. President Barack Obama designed the building a national monument on April 12, 2016.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/bepa/index.htm