By Ross Schipper
On March 6, Arcadia Publishing, the leading local history publisher in the United States, released a new 128-page book on our neighborhood as part of its Images of America series. Burleith is the result of a three-year effort on the part of its two authors, me and Dwane Starlin, your Burleith neighbors. Of the 26 DC neighborhoods west of Rock Creek, only five have produced books in the Images of America series—Georgetown, Palisades, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park, and Forest Hills. Now Burleith joins as the sixth member of this elite club.
The effort to develop this book began in January 2014 when Arcadia, having researched DC's neighborhoods, expressed an interest in publishing a pictorial history of Burleith. As head of the Burleith History Group, I was approached by the publisher, and quickly enlisted Dwane Starlin as co-author. Books in this series include 180-to-240 black-and-white images (90% must be pre-1970).
It was a challenge to accumulate pre-1970 images; collection of the last image used in the book took place in September 2016. Two-thirds of the images were donated by current or former residents of Burleith. Another major contributor was the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and images were even collected from the National Library of Scotland.
After image collection, the other primary focus of our work was the development of captions to accompany the images. Arcadia has very specific requirements for the style and word count of captions. The captions, tracing the history of Burleith between 17th-century Scotland and the early 1970s, describe a wonderful blend of well-known individuals along with ordinary citizens of the community, and pay attention to the individuality of its residents as well as their varied talents.