Robert E. Lee Hall - PP55

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Society Library

Not dated (ca. 1900-1930?)

Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, December 1999



Robert E. Lee Hall was a Baltimore pharmacist, doctor, and lawyer. After receiving a pharmacy license in Missouri (1881), Hall came to Baltimore and practiced pharmacy from 1884-1894, then look a degree from the Baltimore University School of Law in 1894. He was active in the Democratic party, and was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1904.

Hall lived at 635 Gorsuch Avenue in the Homestead area of Baltimore, within several blocks of a Chinese family named Lang or Fang. He was involved in community politics, at various times working with the Homestead League and Improvement Association, the Baltimore Reform League, and the Suburban Civic Federation, among others.

Some of the photographs in the collection were apparently related to an undated letter, possibly to Hall, which begins: "Honorable Sir: Won’t you do us the favor of examining the enclosed photographs, which tell a true story of the conditions which exist in the Old Annex". The photographs depict unimproved residential streets, with captions pointing out lack of water, sewer and electric facilities. The letter goes on to request that the recipient vote against a certain House Bill No. 89, which, in the opinion of the writers:

". . . breaks faith with the people; it is unjust and unfair to cancel that moral obligation and agreement which the officials of the City of Baltimore made with the people of the Old Annex".

Collection Origin

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Gordon Martin, 1978 (75644) and 1985 (001656).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 box with 2 folders containing 20 photoprints which are undated, but may originate from ca. 1900-1930. 6 photographs depict identified residential streets in the Old Annex of Baltimore. Included streets are Montpelier St., the corner of Walpert Ave. and Adams St., Bay St., Lohrman Ave. and the corner of Allendale Rd. and Caton Ave. In addition, there are 14 portraits of unidentified (Chinese?) people, who may be members of the Lang or Fang family who lived on Gorsuch Ave. in Baltimore, as Hall’s papers contained some materials concerning this family.

Note: The collection contains 10 folders of non-photographic materials, with various printed ephemera and publications pertaining to business, government, organizations, and schools. Included is a blank book of birth certificates for Baltimore City. The collection also includes 1 box of about 40 matchbooks originating in Maryland (transferred to Ephemera Collection)

Note: Related materials are found in the Manuscripts Department of the Maryland Historical Society: MS. 2475, the Robert E. Lee Hall Collection, 1885-1952.


The photographs are arranged by subject.

Container List

1 Box

Folder 1
Photoprints of sites in the "Old Annex" of Baltimore. 6 items. Captions as follows:

No. 1 – "Montpelier Street. Northern section of Old Annex and is a street in name only; has never had any improvements; no sidewalks; impossible to travel over this street."

No. 2 – "Northeastern section. S.E. corner of Walpert Avenue and Adams Street, a corner lot, showing both streets, which exist in name only."

No. 3 – "North section of Old Annex, corner of Bay Street. Look at the steps used as sidewalks. Impossible for any vehicle to travel here."

No. 4 – "Western section of Old Annex, N.E. corner of Allendale Road and Caton Avenue. This is a corner in name only. No lights, and north of this point the nearest light is one-half mile or over. No sewers, no electricity."

No. 5 – "Corner of Lohrman Avenue. Note mud (hile?) street. No water, no electricity, no sewers."

No. 6 – "Shows the water supply and sewerage plant. The old pump is all the water they have; the sewerage or toilet a mere hole in the ground."

Folder 2
Unidentified portraits of (Chinese?) people. 14 items. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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