Women of Ward 6: Ruth Ann Overbeck

March is Women’s History Month and the Ward 6 Democrats are continuing our recognition of notable women in Ward 6 by honoring Ruth Ann Overbeck, a Capitol Hill historian and teacher.

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 uprising that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, at 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. But ironically, she was never allowed into a Ph.D. program because she was a woman.

The Women of Ward 6 initiative s a non-partisan recognition of Ward 6’s women, honoring women who have worked or lived in Ward 6 and who have made significant contributions to better our lives. It is run in partnership with the National Woman’s Party and the Hill Rag and will culminate in the 2020 centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 

You are invited to nominate women, current or historical, to recognize. Our categories include, but aren’t limited to: arts, writing, medicine, labor, media, law, retail, food service, professional services, government, community service, military, religion, education, athletics, women under age 21, lobbying, non-profit, and science. Each woman must have lived or worked in Ward 6.

To nominate someone – or yourself: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y5PVTMY