History Talks: Don Hawkins and Ken Bowling

The U.S. Capitol Historical Society will close 2019 with two final history brown bag lectures.

First, the rescheduled talk from Don Hawkins on the L’Enfant manuscript plan of Washington will take place on Friday, November 22 in Ketchum Hall. On Wednesday, December 11, we welcome Ken Bowling to discuss the Bill of Rights, including how the first 10 amendments got that name.



November 22: “A Really Close Look at the L’Enfant Manuscript Plan of Washington”
Don Alexander Hawkins, independent historical cartographer
Location: Ketchum Hall, 200 Maryland Ave. NE; Washington, DC 20002

The Library of Congress holds a copy Peter L’Enfant’s manuscript plan for the city of Washington. As a U.S. Capitol Historical Society Capitol Fellow in 2012, Hawkins used high resolution scans of the plan to inspect the manuscript more carefully than had previously been possible. Hawkins will discuss which versions of the plan were drafts as well as who modified the drafts and contributed to the final plan.

Don Alexander Hawkins is an architect and longtime resident and student of Washington, D.C. He began mapping aspects of the city’s early history while earning a master’s degree in urban design at Catholic University. He has lectured widely on Washington’s beginnings and writes occasionally on its major unbuilt projects in Washington History Magazine. He is presently writing and drawing a book, Washington’s L’Enfant Plan: Described and Deconstructed.



December 11: “Hunting for the Bill of Rights: The Historian Detective”
Ken Bowling, Independent Historian
Location: The National Churchill Library and Center (NCLC), First Level, 2130 H St. NW, Washington, DC 20052 (enter the Gelman Library through side courtyard)

Ken Bowling will give an overview of historians’ attempts to locate the 14 original copies of the “so-called Bill of Rights.” Bowling will also talk about how the first ten amendments became the iconic Bill of Rights we know today.

Kenneth R. Bowling was born and raised in Baltimore, from which he made many trips to Washington by train in the 1950s. It was then that he met United States Capitol Historical Society founding member Myrtle Cheney Murdock, who introduced him to the treasures and history of the Capitol. She inspired in him a lifelong interest in the building and early American history. He graduated from Dickinson College in 1962 and received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin in 1968. Ken has written many articles and two books of particular interest to Society members, The Creation of Washington D.C. (1991) and Peter Charles L’Enfant (2002). He served as co-editor of the multi-volume Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, 1789—1791 at The George Washington University.