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Kaitlin Calogera, the founder of A Tour of Her Own, D.C.’s first tourism company to focus exclusively on women’s history, has survived something none of us should have to: She lost her two cats and most of her belongings in a fire that destroyed her Petworth apartment building on March 14.
In a personal email shared with TOHO newsletter subscribers on Tuesday, April 18, Calogera writes: “On March 14th, I was in my Washington, DC apartment building when a fire took over. I ran out of the building and found safety alongside my neighbors who all made it out mostly unharmed. Unfortunately, my two cats Ghost and Rae did not survive. I’ve been absolutely heartbroken ever since.”
For all intents and purposes, TOHO was headquartered within Calogera’s 700-square-foot apartment. Among her personal belongings, she also lost stacks of the 2021 book she co-wrote with Rebecca Grawl, 111 Places in Women’s History. She kept the books close on hand for events including book signings and literary festivals.
“As most of you know, I am the sole owner of A Tour of Her Own,” Calogera continues in her email. “I’ve always been so proud to recognize myself as a small woman-owned business. When I looked around at the ruins, it occurred to me that one of the few things I still own is this company, A Tour Of Her Own LLC – and no fire can take that from me.”
She is asking for time, grace, and support from community members and fans. District Fray Magazine launched a GoFundMe for Calogera shortly after the fire. As of April 18, it’s raised $51,380 of its stated $55,000 goal.
Over the next six weeks, Calogera will take a step back to respond to unanswered emails and inquiries that built up before she was able to replace her computer. That, however, does not mean A Tour of Her Own is taking a hiatus. In fact, the company’s team of tour guides are still offering plenty of public programming. “If you are interested in joining us, it would help out significantly if you register now rather than wait!” Calogera writes. To inspire more advanced registrations, she’s offering a 50 percent discount on all programs listed in their Lineup 2023 with the promotion code SUPPORTTOHO.
An obvious book lover, Calogera also lost her personal library, which included nearly two dozen autographed books by authors she had met including Michelle Obama. Like-minded bibliophiles can help her rebuild by reaching out with details about the book donation you’d like to make. (Last October, she posted this video to A Tour of Her Own’s Instagram sharing her signed copies.)
Calogera closes her email with a note of gratitude: “I want to reassure everyone that I now have safe and secure housing as well as the necessities to move forward,” she says, thanking District Fray and the GoFundMe contributors. “You sent messages of hope, you sent food and clothes, you gave hugs, and you held me up when I hit rock bottom. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by you and receiving your love – from friends, colleagues, and strangers.”
You can donate to Calogera’s GoFundMe here, or sign up for TOHO tours here.