I have found my mother in the U.S. Census for 1950. This time I used the “official” website for the 1950 census (https://1950census.archives.gov/), where they have used “machine learning (AI)” to extract names from the enumeration sheets to build a searchable index. Here, I searched for “Patricia Dobbs” in Washington DC, and I got a few hits for Dobbs or Hobbs, one of which was a direct hit.
This linked to an image of the sheet upon which my mother appeared. In 1950, she was living at an apartment building located at 1406 16th St Washington, DC. In the image below, we see listed “Dobbs, Dorothy P.”, a single white female born in 1928 in South Carolina. (Link to image)
She is listed as working 40 hours a week as a mail clerk for the US State Department.
The building where she was living at the time, 1406 16th St is no longer there and was replaced by an office building full of Washington lobbyists (1400 16th St.). Next door at 1434 16th St. is an older apartment building now owned by the Church of Scientology. This is in the area between the Dupont and Logan Circles, a few miles north of the White House.
Now on to the south-side of Chicago to try and find my dad, who was then enrolled in art school, and living the life of a beatnik.