FAQ

How can I find out about my relatives who came into or through Baltimore from the ‘old country’?

 The Furlong Baldwin Library holds a wealth of documents and records, including ship registers, immigrations records, birth and death records, church registers, civil and military records, and other information useful for family research. With the  the Maryland State Archives, MdHS is among the best resources in the area for researching genealogy.

How can I find out about the background of the house or property I’m living in… thinking of buying… etc.? 

The Furlong Baldwin Library collections include important city and county maps, land and business records, historical prints and photographs that can help you with researching an individual property, business or neighborhood. 

The Maryland Historical Trust maintains a registry of historic properties throughout the state that also might be helpful in this research.

I need information about getting my home registered as a historic property… finding guidelines for restoring or renovating a historic property… report a historic property that is being threatened by development.

 MdHS does not maintain the registry, determine what qualifies as ‘historic’, or set the standards for restoration or renovation of historic properties. Contact: the Maryland Historical Trust: 410- 514-7600, www.mdihp.net , Preservation Maryland: 410- 685-2886, or the Baltimore Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP): 410-396-4886.

I want to report damage to, or find information about one of the roadside historical markers.

 Historic Roadside Markers are placed and maintained the Maryland Historical Trust: 410- 514-7600. A full listing of all markers and their locations is available at their website: www.mdihp.net

Can you help me research… get an appraisal for… find a conservator for…an item I have in my collection? 

For researching an object, contact the Enoch Pratt Free Library. They have an excellent collection of non-circulating reference books on fine and decorative arts in their Fine Arts area, and many references on Maryland in the Maryland Room. Other resources maybe available at your local public library or county historical society. 

For appraisals: Local antique dealers and auctioneers such as Alex Cooper, Richard Opfer, or local branches of Sotheby or Christies Sloan may be willing to assist you. You can also submit a request online at the International Society of Appraisers: 800-272-8258 or at their website www.isa-appraisers.org. You’ll be asked what kind of object you want appraised, your geographic location, and you’ll get a referral to someone in your area. 

For conservators: Again you can inquire at local antique dealers and auctioneers for a referral, or contact the International Society of Conservators: 202-452-9545, or at www.conservation.org. You’ll be asked what kind of object you want to have conserved, your geographic location, and you’ll get a referral to someone in your area.

I have an item that I’d like to donate or sell to the museum or library. Who can help me with that?

 MdHS has a very specific process for reviewing and considering any objects or materials to be donated or purchased for the collection. All items to be considered must have a significant Maryland connection: i.e.: made in Maryland, owned or used by a prominent Marylander, or someway involved with Maryland historic locations or events; and they should address a need or want in rounding out our holdings.

For objects for the museum (china, paintings, jewelry, silver, furniture clothing weapons, sculpture, linens, quilts, etc.) Contact Liz Nilson at 410-685-3750 x 322 or email: Museum_dept@mdhs.org. Provide as much information about the object, its condition and it’s relation to Maryland and digital images if possible. The request will be researched and recommendations presented to the Collections Committee which will make the final decision to accept or acquire the object.

For library materials (manuscripts, books, prints, photographs, paper ephemera, etc.) Contact Mr. Francis O’Neill, 410-685-3750 x 359. Mr. O’Neill will review the offer and make a recommendation to accept or decline the materials.

Can you give me a number for -------- County Historical Society? 

A complete listing of all Maryland County Historical Societies is available at the Maryland State Archives website: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/01glance/histsoc/html/county.html

Where is the Edgar Allan Poe house… grave? 

Poe House Museum is at 203 N. Amity St. near the intersection with Lexington St. Phone ahead: 410-396-7932. 

Gravesite is at the Westminster Cemetery, at the intersection of Fayette and Green streets near University of Maryland Medical Center.

Where is a house where Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of Windsor lived? 

221 East Biddle Street

34 E. Preston Street

1301 St. Paul Street

Where is a house where Gertrude Stein lived?

215 East Biddle Street

220 E. Eager Street

2408 Linden Avenue

What is the connection with Nipper, the RCA Dog? 

Nipper the RCA Victor logo statue was on top of the D& H Distributing Co. on Russell St., the local RCA Distributor. It came to us from the Baltimore City Life Museum.

Where can I see the famous Baltimore Painted Screens?

Exhibit at Hatton Senior Center, 2825 Fait Avenue.

What is the source of the design for the Maryland State Flag?

The flag combines the family banners of the Calvert family, gold and black stripes with diagonal inset, and the Crossland family, the red and white ‘cross bottony’. It was adopted officially in 1904.

What is the meaning of the figures and words on the Maryland Seal?

The current Maryland seal design was approved in 1854 and is based on the original Great Seal commissioned by Cecil Calvert in 1648. The obverse depicts Cecil Calvert in armor on horseback. The legend in Latin translates: “Cecil, Absolute Lord of Maryland and Avalon, Baron of Baltimore”. The Reverse, the more familiar side, depicts the Calvert and Crossland arms quartered on a shield, with an earl’s coronet on top. The helmet represents absolute authority. The farmer represents Maryland and the fisherman represents Avalon, Cecil’s province in Newfoundland. The inscription on the banner translates: “Manly deeds, Womanly words”. The border inscription translates: With Favor Wilt Thou Compass Us as with a Shield”.

Why is Maryland called “The Old Line State”?

The nickname comes not from the ‘Mason - Dixon Line’ boundary, but from the valiant stand made by men of the 1st Maryland Regiment at the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776. 400 men held off over 20,000 advancing British and Hessian troops, permitting George Washington and the rest of the Continental Army to escape to Manhattan. The Marylander’s ‘held the line’ and lost about half their number before being overwhelmed.