December History Alive Newsletter

Counting Our Blessings

From the desk of
Burt Kummerow

Volume 2 Issue 12
December 2, 2013

Dear Reader,

On the threshold of the Maryland Historical Society's 170th year, all of us who work here on Monument Street are giving thanks for exceptional successes during this last year.

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, that amazing 19th century lady and story, continues to be a force to reckon with even in memory. A major exhibit with so many of her beautiful objects opened with a stunning June gala, and interest has been growing since.

stitchers and the flag
Courtesy Associated Press
A summer of stitching led to a giant, full-sized replica of the original Star Spangled Banner Flag. While a legion of experienced volunteer stitchers labored enthusiastically on every hand stitch, thousands of eager folks from every state and many foreign lands stepped up to add their own stitch. Now we have a new icon, a tangible grassroots-created reminder of our own 1812 bicentennial for future generations.

While all of our daily and weekly efforts continue to serve the historically minded public and promote Maryland's unique, four centuries of fascinating stories, we are looking forward to a very memorable 2014. Be on the lookout next year for a giant flag and a humble but priceless document penned by Francis Scott Key. This is a special time for all of us, remembering how Maryland played a major role in building our nation.

Upcoming Events At MdHS:

Celebrate the Baltimore Monument Lighting  
And Lady Baltimore's Debut!

You are cordially invited to our Lady Baltimore Debut Party and Holiday Open House, this Thursday, December 5 from 4pm-9pm!

Monument Lighting
It's become an annual tradition here at The Maryland Historical Society.  Just as every year, Mount Vernon celebrates the holiday season by illuminating the Washington Monument in festive lights, we decorate our lobby with festive ornaments and feature hot chocolate, cookies and even a visit from carolers singing historical holiday songs!

We are especially excited this year to feature not one, but two major new items on public display: Lady Baltimore and our recreated Star-Spangled Banner flag.

Why Come Out On December 5th? 

Beginning at 4 pm at The Maryland Historical Society, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will speak about the history of Lady Baltimore, the statue that stood atop the Battle Monument for 190 years. Known as the 'iconic symbol of Baltimore,' this marks the first time that Lady Baltimore will be on view to the general public since its move in October.

Throughout the evening, we will offer receive FREE museum admission and refreshments. You'll enjoy music from The Fort McHenry Fife and Drum Corps, and even see 1812 Living History characters.

In addition, the recreated Star-Spangled Banner flag, which last summer was stitched completely by hand by volunteers from Maryland and around the world, will be on view for one night only in France Hall. So you can bring your family and point out your stitch!

The complete Public Event schedule is as follows:

4:00 PM - Opening Remarks by MdHS President Burt Kummerow
4:10 PM - Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)  Executive Director Kathleen Kotarba
4:20 PM - Fort McHenry Chief of Interpretation Vince Vaise
4:30 PM - Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch
4:40 PM - Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
4:50 PM - Fort McHenry Fife and Drums
5:00 PM - Refreshments served
5:00-9:00 PM - Open House featuring the recreated Star Spangled Banner, carolers and 1812 Living History characters

About Lady Baltimore

Lady Baltimore Move
Image: Kaitlin Newman, Baltimore Sun
In early October, 2013, the eight-foot Lady Baltimore statue was placed into a cage and carefully lowered from atop The Battle Monument. A concrete reproduction was moved into its place.

Lady Baltimore was transported by The George Young Company to the Maryland Historical Society, where, just as carefully, the statue was transported upstairs to the second floor gallery to its new, permanent home. The process posed many design challenges, and raising the 2,700 lb Carrara Marble statue onto its permanent base was no easy feat. It took a team more than 90 minutes to lift the statue 1.5 feet. Using railroad jacks, they blocked the statue up, step by step, to distribute the load and safely raise her onto a specially constructed base.

Lady Baltimore's new home is in an environmentally friendly location in the second-floor gallery at The Maryland Historical Society. Passersby on Park Ave. are able to view Lady Baltimore through floor-to-ceiling windows. At night, the statue is beautifully illuminated.

This marks the first time you will be able to see Lady Baltimore 'up close,' and almost two centuries of wind, rain and pollution have taken a toll on its features. The statue underwent years of restoration efforts by Conservator of Fine Arts, Steven Tatti, Inc. with Crump & Kwash Manufacturing LLC. The project was administered by the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, CHAP. Lady Baltimore's new and wonderful installation at The Maryland Historical Society is the culmination of CHAP's $400,000 restoration of the Battle Monument. This legacy project is CHAP's contribution to the Star Spangled Banner Bicentennial.

About The Baltimore Monument Lighting

Holiday cookies
The Baltimore Monument Lighting, sponsored by Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, will begin on December 5th at 5:30pm in front of the Washington Monument, with the Lighting Ceremony set to start at 7:00pm. A colorful burst of fireworks marks the finale.

The Open House at The Maryland Historical Society will run from 4pm-9 pm, making it the perfect time to stop in before or after the Monument Lighting.

 It's an evening of fun the whole family can enjoy, so come in out of the cold and step back in time at MdHS!

Support The Maryland Historical Society on #GivingTuesday!


Show your support of The Maryland Historical Society tomorrow, December 3, by donating to #GivingTuesday!

We are especially proud to announce that once we hit 100 gifts of any size, we will get $10,000 from an anonymous donor!

#GivingTuesday is a first-of-its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners - charities, families, businesses and individuals - to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday inspires people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world.

Supporting the Maryland Historical Society provides us with the resources needed to be certain that future generations understand our state's past and have access to the artifacts and documents that connect them to that history. Your support makes up more than one-third of our entire budget, so the more we receive, the more we can give in preservation and programming.

You'll hear from us on Tuesday, when #GivingTuesday officially begins, but if you don't want to wait until then to support us, you don't have to! Simply click on this link to pledge your support in advance.

Our sincerest thanks for your generosity!

Save On Our Holiday Gift Bundles!

1812 Bundle

List Price: $45.90
Sale Price $35!
Click Here To Buy Now! 
War of 1812 Holiday Bundle:

In Full Glory Reflected Ralph Eschelman and Burt Kummerow. (Softbound) Award-winning revisiting of the War of 1812 in Chesapeake Bay region. Retail value: $24.95

O'er the Ramparts (CD) Ft. McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps' stirring rendition of tunes and marches from the period. Retail value: $15.00

Our Star Spangled Banner Flag Lapel pin. Retail value $5.95

Civil War Bundle

List Price: $44.95
Sale Price $35!
Click Here To Buy Now! 
Civil War Holiday Bundle:

Maryland's Civil War Photographs - the Sesquicentennial Edition (softbound). Ross Kelbaugh's wonderful and poignant selection of images from the Civil War. Retail value: $29.95

Fun and Fury: 2nd United States Artillery (CD) The Ft. McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps' stirring renditions of authentic tunes and marches from the period. Retail value: $15.00

Betsy Bundle

List Price: $66.95
Sale Price $50!
Click Here To Buy Now! 
In Honor of Our "Woman of Two Worlds" Exhibition:

Helen Jean Burn's 2012 biography - Betsy Bonaparte 296 pp, Softbound. Retail value: $34.00

Our handsome Madame Bonaparte keepsake box, featuring George D'Almaine's 1856 triple portrait after Gilbert Stuart, Retail value: $32.95

It's a Maryland Historical Society Tradition!

Betsy Ornament

List Price: $10.95
Click Here To Buy Now! 
Our 2013 Limited Edition Holiday Ornament:

This 3.5" openwork china oval from Maryland China features the 1856 pastel triple portrait Madame Elizabeth Bonaparte by George D'Almaine from the "Woman of Two Worlds" exhibition!

Save 10% on all Gifts and Books On-Site!
Plus, receive your MdHS Member Discount on top of that!

Gift Ideas

Don't Miss Our Close-Out Sale!
Only at MdHS!

MdHS Exterior

Treasures await you at our on-site Close-Out sale!
Only at The Maryland Historical Society. Items are individually
priced to move, including books, gift items, and more.

Shopping for Christmas? Order by December 20
to ensure on-time delivery!

Like 'History Alive?' Share it With a Friend!

I hope you're enjoying our monthly History Alive! E-newsletter. If you have a friend or family member who might enjoy receiving up-to-the-minute news and information about our events and exhibitions (and, of course, our trivia questions), simply send them this link:

And they can sign up!

Speaking of Trivia...

Trivia Time!

Congratulations to everyone who correctly answered our last trivia question! The Exorcist is the cinematic classic from 1973 that takes place in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., but is loosely based off of real events, shrouded in mystery and skepticism, that took place in Maryland in the 1940s.

The Maryland county where the real events purportedly took place is
Prince George's County.

Ready for this month's question?

Question: After Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. spearheaded the development of New York's Central Park in the 1850s and 60s, he and later his sons continued to create parks throughout the nation that ignited a sea change in America's attitude towards landscape architecture, city planning, and recreation.

Olmsted's two sons, Frederick Law Jr. and John Charles, created parks and neighborhoods throughout Maryland. Frederick Law Jr. even helped design the rebuilding of Downtown Baltimore after the Great Fire of 1904. At the dawn of the 19th century, the two brothers created a comprehensive park system plan for the growing Baltimore metropolitan area that centered around three prominent geographic features. Though never fully completed, the realized aspects of the plan make up most of the park system Baltimoreans know today.

Name the three features the Olmsted brother's deemed essential to a park system for larger Baltimore and a modern park that is part of that system.

Email us your answer, and you, too, could win a prize! Best of luck.

Until next month,

Burton Kummerow
President, The Maryland Historical Society

From Our Friends

From November 19-December 22, check out A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration at Center Stage. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel spins a musical tale of hope and forgiveness. It's a bitterly cold Christmas Eve in 1864 and all along the Potomac, from the White House to the battlefields, friends and foes alike find their lives strangely and poetically intertwined. Weaving together traditional carols and period folk songs, this "beautifully stitched tapestry of American lives" (The New York Times) is sure to become a new holiday classic for the entire family. Performances run Tuesday through Sunday, and tickets start at $19. For tickets and more info, call 410-332-0033 or visit


Center Stage is located at 700 N. Calvert Street in Baltimore, MD.

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." The Society is located at 201 W. Monument Street and open to the public Wednesday-Saturday from 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday (library only) 12 pm-5pm.