Monday, May 14, 2012

Walking in Their Footsteps

A wonderfully relaxed, rainy day strolling around Washington, D.C. After I dropped visa applications off at the Kenyan embassy on R Street for the upcoming trip my sister and I are planning, I did some casual sightseeing, a little birthday shopping for Roger and Jack, and visited the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which I will write a bit more about tomorrow.

I ended up back at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by the White House and Lafayette Square to meet my friend Pat, who is the librarian there. I worked at the court as an intern during the fall of 1984, and then as an actual employee for the summers of 1985 and 1986.

Working at the court was an extraordinary experience, and was the perfect place to learn how to function in a high stakes professional environment with people at the top of their profession as I transitioned from undergraduate work, through graduate school and into longer-term jobs. Wouldn't trade my time there for anything.

I also discovered some things I hadn't known before today. Most of the court is in the modern red brick building in the photo above, but the administrative offices have gradually taken over the historic row homes you can see in the foreground. The building on the corner is the Dolly Madison House. This morning I walked through a room in that house where Abraham Lincoln once sat. 

That's really neat, but just a few houses to the east (sort of behind a tree in the photo above) is the Tayloe House. Here's a better picture:

Despite all of the times I've been in the Tayloe House, I never knew that it was once the headquarters of the National Women's Party, which was founded by women's suffragist Alice Paul. I have walked the halls once walked by the women who fought for and won our right to vote!

And if it weren't for women like them, and so many women who came after them, I might never have had the opportunities I had to work for the federal court that now occupies that property. Thank you, my sisters!

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