Images of a Vanished Baltimore

Our Changing Landscape

From the desk of
Burt Kummerow

Volume 3 Issue 12
November 6, 2014

Dear Reader,

At the beginning of November, local historian Lance Humphries spoke at the Maryland Historical Society about how early Baltimore architecture has disappeared over the years to neglect and wrecking balls. An amazing collection of large, impressive 18th and early 19th century buildings, marvels in their own day and built in a port that traded with the world, fell prey to a restless society that was more interested in moving forward than preservation. Americans fighting to preserve past landscapes have collided regularly with urban renewal.

"Self Portrait," Jacob Glushakow, Jacob Glushakow Collection, Gift of Herbert and Naomi Denenberg, and Helen and Mildred Glushakow, MdHS, 2014-54, 
We are indebted to the intrepid artists who have left a record of vanished America both in paintings and photographs. Our considerable Maryland collections have just received a remarkable gift from the relatives of a talented painter named Jacob Glushakow. During the years after World War Two when the early brick fabric of Baltimore's downtown was becoming rubble at a rapid rate, Mr. Glushakow recorded everyday scenes on street corners and row house blocks in center city. The dozens of paintings that will go on display in our galleries this month will add an engaging slice of life quite different from our recent exhibits that take us back to early Maryland. We are leaving behind bicentennials and sesquicentennials for a look at a more recent past that many of us will remember. We guarantee that you will be touched by this honest and often gritty trip back to the Baltimore of our parents and grandparents.

Speaking of bicentennials, we are winding down after an amazing year of commemorations reaching out to America and highlighting our treasures. We are often accused of being too focused here on Baltimore but we logged many miles in 2014 traveling to every corner of Maryland. Our education programs again went to every county in the Old Line State and our hand stitched Star-Spangled Banner was unfurled by thousands of eager young and old volunteers as it visited festivals and ceremonies accompanied by the Fort McHenry Guard and the Pride of Baltimore II.

We are planning more excitement next year and are counting on your support to keep our rich Maryland history, stretched over four centuries, alive and well into the future. If you choose to join us as a member, you will become one of the thousands who now know that Maryland's history is truly America's history.

Images of a Vanished Baltimore:
The Art of Jacob Glushakow

"Druid Hill Park," Jacob Glushakow, Jacob Glushakow Collection, Gift of Herbert and Naomi Denenberg, and Helen and Mildred Glushakow, MdHS, 2014-70-_02, 

Jacob Glushakow (1914-2000) painted the everyday of Baltimore, the people, the neighborhoods, the harbor, the markets and, perhaps most significantly, the vanishing urban landscape of the city. The first child of Russian Jewish immigrants, Esther and Abraham Glushakow, Jacob entered the world at sea on the ship Bradenburg traveling from Bremen, Germany to Philadelphia. The family, after fleeing the beginning of World War I, settled in East Baltimore. Jacob graduated from City College in 1933 and attended the Maryland Institute of Art. Until the end of his life, he sketched and painted the city he loved. When asked about his work, he described his powerfully rendered images as "emotion recollected in tranquility."

In his vivid compositions, often painted with electric turquoises, saturated oranges and rusty browns, Glushakow found importance in the humdrum, the noble in the quotidian. His eye transformed people sitting in a park, workmen lounging at the harbor, even the interior of a tailor's shop resonate with visual significance. He made the common place scenes and objects of life tell stories. Today, his work provides a glimpse of a largely vanished Baltimore and reminds us that the urban landscape of the city changed profoundly throughout the twentieth century.

In 2014, thanks to the generosity of the Glushakow family and Helen Glushakow in particular, the Maryland Historical Society received a gift of paintings, drawings and oil sketches by the artist. From touching family portraits to more jarring scenes of urban renewal at work, Glushakow's art explores the human experience with sensitivity, honesty, and sometimes, humor. On November 13, 2014, the Maryland Historical Society will open "Images of a Vanished Baltimore: The Art of Jacob Glushakow," an exhibition which will highlight this important acquisition and celebrate the significance of this Baltimore artist's work. The opening reception will take place from 6-7:30 pm. All are invited to attend.

"Jacob's dream was to have his paintings at the Maryland Historical Society," remarked Helen Glushakow, his sister. Glushakow's work intersects seamlessly with the museum's other 20th century holdings of paintings and photography. "This gift of Glushakow's paintings and drawings offers us so many opportunities to interpret life in twentieth-century Baltimore. His art provides glimpses of the everyday, but it tells big stories about this city's history. His work "puts the viewer on the ground" in this city as it looked in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s..." Alexandra Deutsch, the museum's Chief Curator observes. "Images of a Vanished Baltimore: The Art of Jacob Glushakow" will remain on view until March, 2015. To RSVP for the opening event, call 410-685-3750 Ext. 377.

Support Us on Giving Tuesday!

Giving Tuesday
Mark your calendars to SUPPORT THE LIBRARY on Giving Tuesday, December 2nd. It's the charitable alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Documents need a proper climate control system for preservation, and ours need an upgrade! Join our team, learn more and donate at:

We're proud to link our campaign with MarylandGivesMore, where every donation helps make Maryland the most charitable state in America!

Timeline Studio:
A MdHS Distance Learning Update
By Chelsea Bracci

Pack It Up 1
A demonstration from the 'Pack It Up Program'
We are excited to share that Timeline Studio, the Maryland Historical Society's new distance learning program, is up and running! The Maryland Historical Society has a long history of working to make United States History accessible to the public, and distance learning is a new platform for us to share our collections and programming. Through a generous grant from the Sheridan Foundation, we are now delivering dynamic and interactive programming to classrooms across the country. From the green screen to the state of the art videoconferencing system, we have the ability to interact with students as if we were there in person and have already had great success engaging students in lively discussions.

Distance Learning students at work
We are partnering with other museums and cultural organizations to develop distance learning programming that exposes students to new resources and experiences. For example, our distance learning program "What Makes a Good National Anthem?: A Star-Spangled Question" is being offered in conjunction with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Star Spangled Banner Concert for Maryland schools. During this interactive lesson, students are asked to analyze the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner and then compare and contrast our national anthem with the national anthems of other countries and other American patriotic songs. It is through partnerships such as this that we are able to offer programming that isn't just a digital replacement for a visit, but offers learners of all ages a completely unique experience.

This is an extremely exciting time for the field of Museum Education. Technology has literally dissolved the walls of the museum and revolutionized the way we interact with audiences. As we look to the future, we are excited to continue forging new partnerships and developing new cutting edge programming that inspires curiosity and exploration of our nation's past.

A Pictorial Tour of the Washington Monument
(under renovation)

GW Head
Washington Monument by Eben Dennis, 2014
Library staffers Eben Dennis and Joe Tropea were recently invited by Lance Humphries, chairman of the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy Restoration Committee, to tour the Washington Monument as work on the restoration project was winding down.

Along with the many historical facts they learned, amazing views they took in, and vertigo they experienced, Dennis and Tropea came away with something neither expected: a profound respect and appreciation for scaffolding.

Click here to enjoy some rarely seen images from both high and low.

Francis Scott Key Lecture Series
The Cultural Landscape of the Early South
Thursday, November 6, 2014 6-8 PM

View of Richmond
"View of Richmond," Benjamin Latrobe, 1796, MdHS, 1960-108-1-1-36

From the time that European and English explorers began to colonize the New World, artists and mapmakers created visions of the American landscape that fueled the European imagination. They depicted a wilderness inhabited by exotic species and people they regarded as savage. These images provided fertile ground upon which Europeans could project their own beliefs and aspirations, supplying them with powerful tools for propaganda. Gradually, colonials themselves began to play a larger role in shaping an image of America.

On Thursday, November 6, Margaret Beck Pritchard, Senior Curator and Curator of Prints, Maps, and Wallpaper, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation explores how visual images depicting the south and those who lived within its bounds defined the cultural landscape of the region.

Ticketing and Further Information:
This event is part of our Francis Scott Key Lecture Series 2014
Thursday evenings 6-8 PM

Tickets for the Francis Scott Key Lecture Series are $40/lecture; $175/individual series; $300/couples series. To register, call Rachel Crone at 410-685-3750 ext. 399, email, or click here. Lecture begins at 6:30 PM. Open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres to follow.

FREE Lecture!
Reclaiming American Cities: The Struggle for Humane Urbanism Since Olmsted
Saturday, November 8, 2014 1-3 PM

Mt Vernon
Mount Vernon, Baltimore, courtesy Rutherford Platt
Baltimore City Historical Society, Friends of Maryland Olmsted Parks & Landscapes and the Maryland Historical Society invite you to a special, FREE program on Saturday, November 8 from 1:00-3:00 PM exploring urban environmental history and the grassroots efforts to create a more humane metropolis. Our special guest speaker is Professor Rutherford Platt.

Frederick Law Olmsted famously launched the field of landscape architecture in the United States through the hundreds of parks, boulevards, college grounds, estates, and town plans that he and his associates designed. Less recognized than Olmsted's legacy of treasured greenspaces is his democratic vision that cities must not simply enrich and amuse the privileged, but must also nurture and uplift the lives of the entire urban populace. In 1870, for instance, he proudly wrote that Central Park was enjoyed by "vast numbers of people brought together closely, poor and rich, young and old, Jew and Gentile."

Battery Park
Battery Park City on the Hudson River in Manhattan
Around 1990, after a century of dominance by top-down, establishment-driven policies, the interests of local communities, neighborhoods, and diverse constituencies started to gain traction. In cities and suburbs across the country, there are countless signs of "humane urbanism" - some encouraged by the Smart Growth movement and some simply homegrown - such as shoring up older neighborhoods, reviving parks, expanding bike paths, restoring urban streams and waterfronts, growing food and creating farmers' markets, and resisting gentrification.

Learn more about the sites and parks that are making local residents more connected to one another and to the natural phenomena in their midst!

Rutherford Platt, PhD, is a University of Massachusetts professor, who has organized a series of conferences, including one in Baltimore several years ago, called "The Humane Metropolis" focusing on efforts to make our cities more livable, environmentally sustainable, and environmental just. His most recent publication is Reclaiming American Cities: The Struggle for People, Place and Nature Since 1900. Click here to visit Platt's Humane Metropolis website.

Ticketing and Further Information:
To register for this FREE event, please email: 

Now On Sale!

cecil bedroom
Get a rare glimpse into the everyday life of a Civil War soldier, with Ross Kimmel's new book, I am Busy Drawing Pictures. Using beautiful, high-resolution images of Omenhausser's drawings, as well as texts of his letters, many to his beloved "Annie," the book is a window into the life and soul of an ordinary soldier caught up in a terrible conflict.

Omenhausser's drawings in the book are drawn from institutions around the nation and from private collections. About 90 per cent of them illustrate life at Point Lookout, where Omenhausser was a prisoner-of-war for over a year.

Click here to order.

Book talk and author signing:
Eliza Anderson Godefroy:
Unearthing the Story of America's
First Female Magazine Editor

Thursday, November 20, 2014 6-8 PM

The Observer
Baltimore, 1807: Eliza Anderson, 26 years old, defies prevailing ideas about a woman's proper place to become editor of the 'Observer,' a magazine that blends serious commentary and satire. But while Eliza mocks her neighbors, someone in her household is observing her -- and feeding scandalous information to her enemies.

Based on real events and incorporating actual excerpts from the 'Observer' and other publications of the time, The Observer provides readers with an illuminating window into an era when the young nation was struggling to define its identity. At the same time, the book spins a universal tale of forbidden ambition, frustrated love, and, ultimately, hard-won empathy that transcends the barriers of class and culture.

"As an historian, Wexler is able to place her reader 'on the ground' in Federal Baltimore, a city just reaching its golden age of commercial success and cultural growth," says Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch, "Reading this book, one feels as if you are walking the muddy streets, smelling the slums, even glancing through the windows of Baltimore's elegant townhouses."

Join us on Thursday, November 20 as Wexler discusses her research for writing this historical fiction, much of which has been compiled from resources in the Maryland Historical Society's archival collection.

For instance, for much of her life, Eliza Anderson was a friend and confidant of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Wexler explores that relationship and includes scenes with Bonaparte in her novel.

Natalie Wexler is the author of two previous books, the award-winning historical novel A More Obedient Wife and the contemporary satire The Mother Daughter Show, hailed by the Washington Independent Review of Books as "clever, witty, acutely observed social commentary." She grew up in Baltimore and now lives with her husband in Washington, DC, where she writes and edits the blog Greater Education.

Read Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch's complete review of the book in the Washington Independent Review.

Ticketing and Further Information:
Tickets for the Eliza Anderson Godefroy book talk are $10/Members and $15/Non Members. To register, click here. Lecture begins at 6:30 PM, book signing and light reception to follow.

The Ghost of Mendes Cohen: Living History Performance

Mendes Cohen
Sunday, November 16th, 1pm
At the Jewish Museum of Maryland
Featuring actor Grant Cloyd
The performance is included with Museum Admission

See history come alive with this performance of The Jewish Museum of Maryland's newest Living History character, Mendes Cohen - the most fascinating Baltimorean you've never heard of! Full of action and adventure, this one man show has something for everyone. Learn about this fascinating character as he recounts some of his most captivating anecdotes, including his experience as a defender at Fort McHenry and his time as a world traveler.

Mendes Cohen is the focus of a new exhibit, The A-Mazing Mendes Cohen, developed in partnership with the Maryland Historical Society. Click here for more information about the Jewish Museum of Maryland and to register.

Mark Your Calendar!

Monument Lighting Night
Now that the scaffolding has come down from the Washington Monument, the stage is set for the 2014 Downtown Partnership Monument Lighting, which will be held on the First Thursday of the month, December 4! The festivities begin at 5:30 that afternoon and end at 8 PM.

The event is produced this year, as always, by Downtown Partnership with support from the City. In addition, there has been a lot of support from the Mount Vernon Conservancy, which has devised a new way to hang the lights from the Monument so that the structure is not damaged by the wires that support the lights. There will be live music, a holiday village in West Park and a special children's zone. And, as always, the event will end with a spectacular crescendo including a fireworks display and the lighting of the Monument!

Click here to check the Downtown Partnership's website for all of the latest!

And be sure to stop by the Maryland Historical Society for caroling and refreshments during our annual Open House. We'll offer free admission all night on Thursday, December 4, plus a few surprises!

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Speaking of Trivia...

Trivia Time!

Congratulations to everyone who correctly answered last month's question! After publication of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, friends of the famed orator and abolitionist feared for Douglass' safety. As an escaped slave, he was still considered the 'property' of ex-owner Thomas Auld. Douglass travelled to England and Ireland, where he resided for two years. There he remarked that he was treated "not as a color, but as a man."

Ready for this month's question?

Born in Annapolis in 1892, this author is noted for his terse writing style and grim subject matter. He created seminal works in the hard-boiled detective or noir genre of literature, many of which were adapted into popular movies. His first story was published by H.L. Mencken in the American Mercury. After leaving the state to work in New York and then Hollywood, he returned to Maryland and lived in Prince George's County until his death in 1977. In his first novel he wrote: "Love, when you get fear in it, it's not love any more. It's hate."

Name the author and the source of the quote!

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

Until next month,

Burton Kummerow
President, The Maryland Historical Society

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 (museum only) 12 pm-5pm.