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Record Unit 9558,  Hutchinson, Louise Daniel. interviewee,  Louise Daniel Hutchinson Interviews, 1987

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at
Creator: Hutchinson, Louise Daniel. interviewee
Title: Louise Daniel Hutchinson Interviews
Dates: 1987
Quantity: 4 audiotapes (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9558
Language of Materials: English

These interviews of Hutchinson by University of Maryland graduate student Anne M. Rogers cover her childhood in Washington, D.C., education, reminiscences of segregation and community activism, her career as a researcher and educator for the NPG, Douglass Home and AM, and reminiscences of colleagues such as John R. Kinard and S. Dillon Ripley.

Historical Note

Louise Daniel Hutchinson (1928- ), was Director of the Research Center at the Anacostia Museum from 1974 to 1986. Born on 3 June 1928 in Ridge, Maryland, she grew up in Washington, D. C. Her parents, Constance Eleanor Hazel and Victor Hugo Daniel, were teachers and active in African American community affairs. She attended Miner Teachers College, Prairie View A & M College and Howard University, where she received a B. A. degree in 1951 and pursued additional graduate studies in sociology. After her marriage to Ellsworth W. Hutchinson, Jr., she taught as a substitute teacher while raising their six children.

In 1971, Hutchinson began her Smithsonian career as a researcher at the National Portrait Gallery [NPG], where she worked with the William E. Harmon and Winold Reiss collections of portraits of African Americans and on the exhibit, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution. After her 1972 appointment as an Education Research Specialist, she focused on the creation of cooperative programs between the NPG and the District of Columbia Public Schools and the development of a curriculum on the history of the District of Columbia.

Hutchinson left the Smithsonian in 1973 to become an Education Research Specialist for the National Park Service at the Frederick Douglass Home in Anacostia. At the Douglass Home, she trained staff to use artifacts and historical writings to enhance interpretation of the site.

In 1974, Hutchinson was appointed Historian and Director of Research at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum [renamed Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) in 2006]. At the museum, Hutchinson was responsible for research in support of exhibits, including The Anacostia Story: 1608-1930, Out of Africa: From West African Kingdoms to Colonization, and Black Women: Achievements Against the Odds. During her tenure, Hutchinson also worked to define a mission for the ANM; increase dialogue with the museums on the Mall; build a permanent collection; establish close ties with the local community; and create exhibits which responded to community needs and the changing mission of the ANM. She developed the ANM's program of recording community history through oral history and was a catalyst in the formation of the Anacostia Historical Society. Hutchinson retired from the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in 1986.


The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Hutchinson was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of her pioneering career in black history at the National Portrait Gallery and Anacostia Neighborhood Museum. Additional information about Hutchinson can be found in the Records of the Anacostia Community Museum, which are also housed in Smithsonian Archives. Hutchinson's personal papers will be available to researchers at the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Descriptive Entry

The Louise Daniel Hutchinson Interviews were conducted for Smithsonian Archives in January and July of 1987 by Anne McPherson Rogers, a graduate student at the University of Maryland, as part of course requirements for an oral history seminar. The interviews discuss Hutchinson's family history, youth, education, work at the NPG and Frederick Douglass Home, career at the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, and reminiscences of colleagues such as John R. Kinard, S. Dillon Ripley, and Lawrence Erskine Thomas, c. 1928-1986. Box 1 contains the transcripts of the interviews and cassette copies of the original reel-to-reel recordings, which are in security storage. They consist of 3.0 hours of tape, 77 pages of transcript, and occupy 0.07 linear meters of shelf space. The interviews are open to researchers but may not be cited, quoted or reproduced without the permission of Louise Daniel Hutchinson prior to 2025.

Use Restriction

Restricted. For information about use of this interview, contact

Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9558, Hutchinson, Louise Daniel. interviewee, Louise Daniel Hutchinson Interviews

Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview 1: 21 January 1987

Box 1 of 1

Covers her family background, early life, education, work at the NPG and Frederick Douglass Home, and her initial involvement with the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, c. 1928-1974, including:
family background;
childhood in the Shaw district of Washington, D. C.;
mother's community involvement and acquaintance with such noted figures as Mary McLeod Bethune, William Henry Hastie and Carter G. Woodson;
enrollment at Miner Teachers College, especially the influence of Dr. Paul Phillips Cooke;
recollections of segregation and community action in 1940s, including sit-in at Hecht's Department Store;
attendance at U. S. Supreme Court hearings of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas;
transfer to Prairie View A & M College in Hempstead, Texas;
reminiscences of her father's interest in history and her parents life at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama;
transfer to Howard University in Washington, D. C., including classes with Ralph Bunche, John Hope Franklin and E. Franklin Frazier;
marriage to Ellsworth W. Hutchinson and family life in Southeast Washington, D. C.;
impact of assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on her life;
initial position at the NPG with James R. Vivian, III, and Robert N. Works conducting research on the William E. Harmon and Winold Reiss collections;
appointment as Education Research Specialist at NPG, especially outreach programs with District of Columbia;
collaboration with scholars such as Sidney Kaplan and Letitia Woods Brown;
responsibilities as Education Research Specialist at Frederick Douglass Home, especially training of docents in the use of artifacts and historical documentation to enhance interpretation;
involvement with the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum Advisory Committee and friendships with Zora Martin Felton and John R. Kinard;
emergence of the ANM as an outlet for African American community concerns;
support for the ANM from S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution;
growing pains of the ANM, especially its struggle to achieve permanent status and acquire collections.
Transcript, pp. 1 - 36, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 2: 14 July 1987

Box 1 of 1

Covers her career at the ANM and the status of the ANM in the Smithsonian Institution, c. 1973-1987, including:
the multi-faceted role of the ANM, especially such exhibits as The Anacostia Story: 1608-1930, The Frederick Douglass Years, and Out of Africa: From West African Kingdoms to Colonization;
establishment of a permanent mission statement for the ANM focusing on the study of African American history and culture;
role of ANM and SI administrators in developing the mission statement, especially Julian T. Euell, Phillip S. Hughes, John R. Kinard and S. Dillon Ripley;
buildings that housed the ANM;
debate over permanency of the ANM;
new building for ANM at Fort Stanton;
influence of S. Dillon Ripley in expanding museum topics and audiences to include minorities;
problems resulting from being labeled a "black" museum;
collaboration with SI scholars and administrators on the Mall for such projects as Portraits in Color and O Write My Name exhibits;
efforts to borrow and/or acquire objects for ANM exhibits;
use of artifacts and other documentation in exhibits at the NPG and ANM;
effects of the lack of a comprehensive collection, curators and registrars on the programs of the ANM;
efforts to develop support for ANM and exhibits on African-Americana;
varying levels of support from SI administrators;
efforts to initiate African American studies at SI;
support from Julian T. Euell;
efforts to increase responsiveness to the concerns of the local community;
problems raised by acquisition of artifacts for the exhibit, The Anacostia Story;
establishment of an oral history collection;
assistance from George Washington University, especially its School of Law and Department of Urban Studies;
founding of the Anacostia Historical Society by John Tetrault and Hutchinson to continue community interest in local history and the ANM;
abandonment of concept of ANM as a storefront museum and mini-version of museums on the Mall;
efforts to stimulate community involvement with the ANM.
Transcript, pp. 38 - 77, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Audio Recordings of Interviews

Interview 1: 21 January 1987

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference copies: 2 audiocassette tapes

Interview 2: 14 July 1987

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference copies: 2 audiocassette tapes