To most of the world, Capitol Hill means the U.S. Congress. This book is about the personal side of the Hill, where for five generations a family of music makers and undertakers, homemakers and home breakers, shared a small neighborhood with the white-domed Capitol of the United States. Washington writer Mary Z. Gray, born in 1919, brings vividly back to life the community she saw and heard from her childhood home at 301 East Capitol. Streetcars run again; newsboys reappear, shouting headlines on street corners. Tom the huckster hawks his wares from a horse-drawn wagon, as a lamplighter at dusk leaves pools of light along a dark street. And a mystery that had haunted the writer's family for over 50 years is solved. Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson calls Gray one of the funniest raconteurs I kw. A writer all of her adult life, she got her first by-line in the Washington Post in 1940. Since then, she has been published frequently in The Post, as well as The New York Times and many other U.S. and Canadian papers. She also worked as a reporter/editor for Broadcasting Magazine in the 1940s and as a White House speechwriter during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Her book Ah Bewilderness! Muddling Through Life With Mary Z. Gray (Atheneum) was published in 1984.
Mary Z. Gray was born into a Capitol Hill family in 1919 and grew up above their inherited funeral parlors, two blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Since the 1840s the extended family had lived in, and rarely moved out of, a ten-block area of the neighborhood. A writer all of her adult life, she got her first by-line in the Washington Post in 1940. Since then, she has been published frequently in the Post, as well as The New York Times travel section and many other U.S. and Canadian papers. In the 1940s she was a reporter/editor for Broadcasting Magazine. Gray became a speech writer for the Kennedy-Johnson White House in 1963 and continued as a writer for a Presidential committee for the next 14 years. In this period she also wrote speeches for Cabinet members and members of Congress. Her book Ah Bewilderness! Muddling Through Life With Mary Z. Gray (Atheneum) was published in 1984. A resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, since 1939, she has a son and daughter, a grandson, and three great-grandchildren. This book was inspired by conversations with members of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project.