Wilmer – Hoffman – Deford Photograph Collection, PP281

Finding Aid to the Wilmer – Hoffman – Deford Photograph Collection


H. Furlong Baldwin Library, Maryland Historical Society

 Collection summary


The Wilmer – Hoffman – Deford Photograph Collection


Deford family (of Baltimore County, MD)

Call number


Inclusive dates

1829 – 20th Century

Bulk dates

20th Century


1 box

Related Collections

CSPh 537, CSPh 538, CSPh 539

MS 3079


The Wilmer – Hoffman – Deford Photograph Collection consists of 28 photos and paintings of and collected by the various branches of the Wilmer, Hoffman, and Deford families. The earliest dated piece in the collection is a photo of a miniature depicting Mrs. Samuel Hoffman, painted in 1829 by Anna Peale. However, there are in the collection a few photographs depicting a set of much earlier miniatures. The majority of the collection appears to be from the 20th century, and includes pictures of notable family members such as the artist Wilmer Hoffman. This collection also contains a rare opaltype in excellent condition.

Administrative summary 


H. Furlong Baldwin Library

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.

Baltimore, MD 21218



Access restrictions


Use restrictions

Permission to quote must be received in writing from the Special Collections Librarian.


Gift of Mrs. Robert B. Deford; donated in 2008.

Accession number


Processing note

The collection was processed and finding aid begun in 2010 by Emily Lapayowker; finding aid completed by Damon Talbot, November 2013.

Biographical Note

The Wilmer- Deford – Hoffman Photo Collection spans at least a century and includes photos of five separate families. Though there are recurring images of many individuals throughout the collection, there are a few who have helped to shape the content and character of this collection – their lives will be given greater detail here.

Admiral Mark Milbank of the British Royal Navy (1725? – 1805) was the third son of Sir Ralph Milbank, fourth baronet of Halnaby, Yorkshire. He rose quickly through the ranks of the Royal Navy, after leaving the academy at Portsmouth in 1740 or 1741 he was quickly made a lieutenant (1744 April), then soon after given command of a sloop (1746 October). After being given command of successively larger ships, Milbank was promoted on 1779 March 19 to rear admiral of the white, and on 1780 September 26 he was promoted again to vice-admiral of the blue. Milbank was given a fleet two years later under Lord Howe. The rest of Milbanks’ career was equally illustrious and saw him serve as port-admiral at Plymouth (1783 – 1786), as commander-in-chief at Newfoundland (1790 – 1792), promoted to the rank of full admiral (1793 February 1), and serve as commander-in-chief at Portsmouth (1799 – 1803).

A few of the miniatures photographed in this collection can be seen in a related collection, MS 3079, Wilmer – Hoffman – Deford Manuscript Collection, in a book of illustrations about the Curzon family on both sides of the Atlantic. R.C. Hoffman’s correspondence with the Earl Curzon of Keddleston regarding the book can also be found in MS 3079. There are no photos of R.C. Hoffman in this particular collection, but there is one of his wife, Eliza Laurence Hoffman (nee Dallam). Also included are a portrait and a photo of a miniature depicting R.C. Hoffman’s mother – Mrs Samuel Hoffman (nee Elizabeth Rebecca ‘Becca’ Curzon).

There is also a picture of Wilmer Hoffman, son of R.C. and Eliza Hoffman in this collection. Born on 1889 August 1, Wilmer Hoffman grew up in Baltimore, training as an artist first at the Maryland Institute and then at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia for four years.  After his time in Philadelphia, Hoffman was awarded the Cresson Traveling Fellowship (twice) and spent two years traveling through Europe before settling in Paris for the next 14 years.  When France fell to Germany in 1939 Wilmer Hoffman returned to America and bought a house in Charleston, South Carolina.  There Hoffman continued his work as a successful artist and remained a resident of Charleston until his death on 1954 May 21. The photo, though unlabeled, shows Hoffman working on one of his sculptures. Another view of this sculpture can be seen in MS 3079, included in the pictures of Wilmer Hoffman’s posthumous art show.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of 26 photographs and is broken down into six series.

Series I: de Sille contains a photo of a painting depicting Gerdient de Sille and another depicting her husband, Nicarus de Sille.

Series II: Milbank is comprised of 5 photos, total. Three of them are photographs of the same miniature of Harriet Milbank (two of the miniature itself, and one of the back of its case) while the other two are photographs of the same miniature of Admiral Mark Milbank. The miniature of Admiral Milbank was painted by George Englehart; for the miniature of Harriet no artist is given.

Series III: Dallam is comprised of only one picture, that of Henrietta Dallam (nee Mactier).

Series IV: Hoffman contains 5 items total including a paining of Mrs. Samuel Hoffman and a photograph of a miniature depicting Mrs. Samuel Hoffman. Also included in the series are a black and white photograph of Mrs. Richard Curzon Hoffman, a photo believed to be of artist Wilmer Hoffman, and another photo of an unknown man believed to be a member of the Hoffman family.

Series V: Deford includes five photos in all. Two are photos of Robert B Deford; one is of Dorothea Hoffman Deford, dated 1918; and the final two are a matching pair of colorized photos in their frames, one of Mr. Thomas Deford and the other of his wife.

Series VI: Weld contains only one item; it is the color photo of a portrait depicting Emily Weld (1815 – 1892), who was the daughter of Jeremiah and Emily Hoffman. The original portrait is a part of the private collection of Mr. Robert Deford of Boordy Vineyards.

Series VII: Misc is a collection of seven miscellaneous photos that whose subjects were unable to be identified.

Container List 




Image ID#

Series I: de Sille




De Sille



PP281.1 -.2





Series II: Milbanks







PP281.3 - .7





Series III: Dallam












Series IV: Hoffman





1829 – unknown


PP281.9 - .13





Series V: Deford





1902,1908, unknown


PP281.14 - .16

Framed photo of Mr Thomas Deford




Framed photo of Mrs Thomas Deford








Series VI: Weld





Circa 19th c







Series VII: Misc







PP281.20 - .26

Box containing an opaltype of an unknown woman




Envelope containing a sepia photo of an unknown woman wearing a beaded dress; in an gold-colored, oval frame




Envelope containing the photo of an unknown woman; held in an elaborate, hanging frame