Objects of the Month

August 2012: Photograph of 76th Board of Commissioners, 1965

Photograph of 76th Board of Commissioners, 1965
  • Object No.: 2004.13.1
  • Donor: Constance Tobriner Povich
  • Description:

    Photograph of the 76th Board of Commissioners of Washington D.C.: (left to right) John Duncan, Walter Tobriner, Charles M. Duke, July 22, 1965.

Walter N. Tobriner was a native Washingtonian and lawyer whose career was distinguished by his service to his hometown. He was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to the city's Board of Commissioners. At that time, the Board was D.C.'s governing body whose three members were Presidential appointees. Tobriner served as its president for six years.

Although he had always been a strong advocate for some form of home rule for the city, Tobriner knew that 1961 was not the year to push for it. He felt, as The Washington Post reported, Congress would not pass a home rule bill unless the President actively worked for its enactment; the newly elected John F. Kennedy would be occupied with more pressing matters. Nevertheless, Tobriner was a visionary for positive change.