Overview

Welcome to the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum

Sharing the story…

Preserving the legacy…

Inspiring the ongoing quest for women’s full equality…

The Sewall House has stood strong on Capitol Hill for over two hundred years. Early occupants of the house participated in the formulation of Congress and witnessed the construction of the US Capitol and the Supreme Court. In 1929, the National Woman’s Party (NWP) purchased the house, and it soon evolved into a center for feminist education and social change. For over sixty years, the trail-blazing NWP utilized the strategic location of the house to lobby for women’s political, social, and economic equality.

In 1921, The New York Times called the newly purchased headquarters of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), opposite the US Capitol, the “watch tower to keep close supervision of Congress and its doings.” From Cameron House on Lafayette Square to the Alva Belmont House on Capitol Hill, the NWP strategically and purposefully chose each location. A desire to be in direct proximity to the seat of power within Washington, DC represented the organization’s immediate and long-term goals for women’s equality. While lobbying for the federal suffrage amendment, the NWP focused its efforts on President Wilson and the White House. In 1921, the NWP gave up its Lafayette Square headquarters to move to the Old Brick Capitol, across the street from the US Capitol and Congress, where it launched the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment.  Finally in 1929, the NWP moved across the street to the Sewall-Belmont House, making it the organization’s fifth and final national headquarters.

Today, the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum tells the compelling story of a community of women who dedicated their lives to the fight for women’s rights. The innovative tactics and strategies these women devised became the blueprint for women’s progress throughout the twentieth century. Visit the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum to learn about the historic National Woman’s Party, and the work for women’s equality that remains unfinished.

“It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun. There is hardly a field, economic or political, in which the natural and unaccustomed policy is not to ignore women…Unless women are prepared to fight politically they must be content to be ignored politically.”—Alice Paul, NWP National Chairman, 1920

“May it stand for years and years to come, telling of the work that the women of the United States have accomplished; the example we have given foreign nations; and our determination that they shall be—as ourselves—free citizens, recognized as the equals of men.”
—Alva Belmont, January 4, 1931