Rescuing Lady Baltimore

Rescuing Lady Baltimore

From the desk of
Burt Kummerow

Volume 2 Issue 10
October 4, 2013

Dear Reader,

Lady Baltimore needs help! The honored Lady has been quietly enduring storms, birds, pollution, traffic, you name the threat, for almost 200 years. The City of Baltimore is coming to the rescue, and we here at Maryland History Central (aka The Maryland Historical Society) are eager to join the noble efforts.

Who is Lady Baltimore? She has been in our midst practically forever, standing atop America's oldest official Battle Monument. She decorates our city police and fire badges and is central to the city seal.

Lady Baltimore
A Bird's Eye View of Lady Baltimore, courtesy S.A.T.
After the 1814 Battle of Baltimore and the defeat of the most powerful country on earth, Baltimoreans and Marylanders marched a year later to a square near the courthouse and laid a cornerstone with much pomp and ceremony. Over the next several years, they erected an elaborate memorial to forever remember the local citizens who had lost their lives in the city's defense. It was a groundbreaking achievement, and President John Quincy Adams soon announced that Baltimore should be called "The Monumental City."

Beautiful Lady Baltimore, holding a victory wreath and a rudder that proclaims an essential local relationship with bay and ocean, is the monument's star attraction. Sculpted by Antonio Capellano, an Italian émigré who had studied with the best of his era, the Lady is decked out in a classical and mythic gown so popular in early America. She would be right at home among the seven hills of ancient Rome but here she stood right in the heart of a new American city. She faces the harbor, a source of Baltimore's prosperity and fortune.

Still standing majestically amidst 21st century traffic snarls, Ms Baltimore is showing her age and getting worse as our modern world attacks her marble façade. There have been years of attempts to rescue her with modern conservation, notably the efforts of Conservator of Fine Arts, Steven Tatti, Inc. with Crump & Kwash Manufacturing LLC. Now, City officials, along The Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), have decided to remove the Lady and replace her with a facsimile that will stand the test of time and restore her all but lost beauty.

Enter the Maryland Historical Society. We offer a perfect location away from the summer storms, the lazy pigeons and the evening dews and damps. Lady Baltimore will be surrounded by the best collection of 1812 era documents and artifacts in the state. Rescued from relentless corrosion, she will become a fine legacy of the 1812 Bicentennial. Properly protected and interpreted, Lady Baltimore will continue to remind us of a great American city coming of age during a time of danger and heroic resolve.

How Will She Be Moved?

Interesting Facts About
Lady Baltimore

Battle Monument
Location: Calvert and E Fayette Streets, Baltimore

Weight: A delicate 2,750 lbs

Created By: The Battle Monument was designed by Maximilian Godefroy. Lady Baltimore was created by sculptor Antonio Capellano

Interestingly, her two current arms are "prosthetic" and created by two of Baltimore's most important sculptors: Her raised arm is the work of Hans Schuler, and her lowered arm is the work of Rueben Kramer. Both original arms had to be replaced due to storm damage and deterioration over many years.

Age: 190 years (young!)

Historical Significance: The Battle Monument is the official emblem of the City of Baltimore and is part of America's oldest official battle monument. Inscribed with the names of everyone who died in the Battle of Baltimore, The Battle Monument also became the nation's first "democratic" monument."
You may have seen the scaffolding already up around The Battle Monument. Sometime this month, Lady Baltimore will be placed into a cage and carefully lowered from monument. At the same time, the reproduction statue will be moved into place, offering future generations the joy of seeing the Monument as it has appeared in the City for almost 200 years.

Once she arrives at our new home, Lady Baltimore will be installed atop a 500 lb steel-reinforced platform in the 2nd floor Gallery of the Beard Pavilion. Passersby on Park Ave. will be able to view the 8' statue through the floor to ceiling windows. At night, she will be illuminated.

Alongside Lady Baltimore, a future exhibit will document the relocation process and interpret the history of the Battle Monument as well as its significance for 1812-era America.

"Lady Baltimore really is the culmination of all trials, tribulations and successes of that 1812 generation," says Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch. "She is a superb compliment to our bicentennial exhibits and programs."

You will be able to see Lady Baltimore 'up close' for the very first time when the installation is complete. We will be hosting a Lady Baltimore Party in mid-November that will feature Baltimore's Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, as well as the Executive Director of Baltimore City's Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation (CHAP), Kathleen Kotarba. Keep an eye on your inbox for all of exciting those details as we get closer to November!

And finally, if you're in the Baltimore viewing region, check out WJZ-TV and Fox 45 Baltimore tonight - both will have stories on Lady Baltimore's historic move to The Maryland Historical Society!

Free Museum Admission to
Our Furloughed Friends

We are sensitive to the recent government shutdown, especially how it has affected families throughout the Maryland, DC and Virginia regions. So we've decided to offer free general admission to furloughed federal government employees and their families.

We will continue to offer free general admission until the furlough is lifted. Family members of those affected by the shutdown are also eligible for free admission.

With so many people out of work right now, we thought this might be our small way of helping pass the time until a decision is reached.

Simply present your Federal ID at our front desk. We look forward to seeing you.

Upcoming Events in October

Just a Few Seats Left On Our Bus Tour to Wye House!

Wye House
On Saturday, October 5 from 9:00 AM until 6pm, join us for a rare visit to Wye House, one of the most important and well-documented plantations in Maryland.

Abolitionist leader and author Frederick Douglass lived at Wye House during his childhood, and he described events at the plantation in his autobiographies.

In recent years, archeological excavations on the property by The University of Maryland have provided an important new perspective on the lives of African Americans who lived here. Check out this feature story by National Public Radio.

Our day begins with a curator-led tour of the Academy Art Museum, which recently opened a new exhibition titled Joint Heritage at Wye House. This major interpretive exhibition draws on archaeological evidence from the slave quarters and the Orangery at Wye House. The tour will focus on the culture made by Africans and African Americans, featuring archival sources, household objects, books, recipe collections, maps, and artwork.

Following the Academy Art Museum, we will enjoy a luncheon at the famed patio on Wye House's grounds. Then, we'll take an exclusive tour of Wye House and, after that, the Orangery. The National Trust for Historic Preservation believes the Orangery to be the only surviving 18th Century greenhouse in North America.

Tickets are $150 per person, and our luxury motor coach is almost completely sold out! Get yours now by visiting this link or calling 410-685-3750 ext. 377.

History Day Research at The Maryland Historical Society!

Male Protestors
Paul Robeson and Dr. John E.T. Camper protesting Ford's Theatre Jim Crow admission policy, Circa March 1948, MdHS, HEN.00.A2-178
Each year, middle and high school students throughout the state of Maryland are invited to participate in a history competition called History Day, sponsored by the Maryland Humanities Council.

And for three Saturdays in the fall, The Maryland Historical Society invites students and their parents to participate in a workshop on historical research methods that will help them get started on their History Day research.

The sessions are Saturday, October 19, Saturday November 16 and Saturday, December 7.

Each session is limited to 12 students and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Upon receiving your registration request, an MdHS educator will confirm that your topic can be researched using MdHS collections.

While some topics are beyond the scope of MdHS's library resources, individual student research sessions are also available upon request.

The cost is $10 per student. Parents and teachers will receive free admission to the museum. And as always, limited free parking is available in our lot.

Click here for a list of topic ideas. Please note that the registration deadline for the October 19 Research Day is October 11. To register, call David Armenti at 410-685-3750 x 324 or email

Our Next Young Defender Event!

Image courtesy Ben McGann
Thank you to all those who came out for our Food Truck Gathering on September 26! We welcomed over 700 people in our courtyard, many friends old and new!

We can't tell you how excited we are to be reaching a young and vibrant new generation of history lovers.

So, what's our next event under the stars? Mark your calendar for Cigar and Whiskey Night on October 12 at 6pm!

Sip on some whiskey, smoke a cigar, and enjoy a refined evening in our courtyard. This event is organized by our young professionals group, the Young Defenders of the Maryland Historical Society (the same people who brought you the Bootleggers Bash!)

What Does Rye Whiskey Have To Do With Maryland? Plenty!

Rennert Whiskey
Rennert Maryland Straight Rye Whiskey bottle," Paul Henderson, 1949, MdHS, HEN.00.A1-042
Maryland was home to many distilleries of rye whiskey, which has roots as early as the 1700s. After tobacco crops were harvested, rye and wheat were planted in its place to help add nutrients back into the soil. Even George Washington, down at Mount Vernon, had a rye distillery.

During the Civil War, production slowed as a high whiskey tax made rye distilling a nearly unprofitable business. But when the war ended, production resumed, and that's when Maryland's rye whiskey became the stuff of legend.

Rennert Whiskey
In celebration of Maryland's storied history, on Saturday, October 12 at 6pm, the Young Defenders of the Maryland Historical Society are offering small-batch boutique whiskey tastings, provided by the Country Vintner.

The evening will include a Whiskey bar with all the fixings for your favorite classic cocktails.

Cigars will be provided courtesy of Main Street Cigar & Pipe Company.

We will also be serving hors d'oeuvres in addition to a specialty cocktail for the ladies in attendance, the Scarlett O'Hara!

Plus, we'll feature free guided tours of our Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War exhibition all throughout the evening.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 410-685-3750 x399 or visit this link.

Re-Discovering Maryland's Anna Ella Carroll

Now here's a challenge to all the Nancy Drews, Alex Crosses, history buffs, women activists, and those in the military - past or present!

I'm sure everyone has heard of the geographic regions of Carroll County and the town of New Carrollton, and you've likely heard of Charles Carroll, too.

But do you know who Anna Ella Carroll was?

From Thursday October 24-Saturday October 26, we've created a unique series of events aimed at re-discovering this Civil War heroine.

Jointly sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society, the Maryland Women's Heritage Center, and the Friends of Anna Ella Carroll, these events will be thought-provoking and important in determining the recognition of Anna Ella Carroll currently proposed to the U.S. Congress.

You can hear from experts and weigh in on the long-standing controversy about her role and importance during Lincoln's administration.

The events are:
Re-Discovering Anna Ella Carroll
Maryland Women
Anna Ella Carroll
Thursday, October 24 at 5:30pm
Maryland Historical Society
$10/nonmembers; $5/members, seniors, students, and military

Hear from authors and historians. Weigh in on the long-standing controversy about her role and importance during Lincoln's administration. Light refreshments will be served.

Charley Mitchell, author of Maryland Voices of the Civil War

Claudia Floyd, Professor of History and Political Science at Stevenson University and author of Maryland Women in the Civil War: Unionists, Rebels, Slaves and Spies; Kay Larson, author of Great Necessities: The Life, Times and Writings of Anna Ella Carroll; Ed Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents
To reserve tickets, please visit this link or call 410-685-3750 Ext 377
Invisible No More: A Place for Women in Military History
Friday, October 25 at 1pm
Women's Heritage Center (39 W Lexington Street, Baltimore)
$10/nonmembers; $5/members, seniors, students, and military

Learn about the role of women in the military - from the Civil War to today. Gain information about the Purple Heart being proposed for Anna Ella Carroll. Discuss issues with historians, military officials, and legislative representatives. Have lunch and participate in the program.

Moderator, Ann Quasman, Host, WomanTalk Live

To reserve tickets, please send an email by clicking here
"Lost River" - a pioneering film about Anna Ella Carroll
Saturday, October 26 at 1pm
The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House (4 E Pratt Street, Baltimore)

Baltimore Premiere followed by discussion with "Lost River" filmmaker/producer Bruce Bridegroom. Suitable for adults and children.

To reserve tickets, please send an email by clicking here.

And for more information on the film, click here.

Mentioning Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte's 'Unmentionables'

By Alexandra Deutsch, Chief Curator

Pieces of gowns owned by Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.
In a simple box labeled "Scraps," the staff of the Maryland Historical Society unearthed some of the most interesting surviving examples of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte's once so-grand wardrobe. Always willing to spend money on her appearance, Elizabeth treasured the fine clothing she wore. Never one to throw out something that might come in use later, Elizabeth carefully packed away even the smallest pieces of lace, silk and velvet. What was seen as "scraps" in the past are now seen as treasures, some of the rarest in the museum's collection.

Within this simple box lay a never-before seen silk "bra" or corset, a rare survival of early 19th century fashion. Unlike the structured stays or corsets most of her peers were still wearing, by the early 19th century Elizabeth was adopting the thoroughly modern unstructured "bra-like" corset. This garment is particularly interesting because Elizabeth's figure was celebrated and her ample endowments were commemorated by poets, admirers and detractors alike. Rather than encasing herself in a rigid undergarment, this delicate silk "bra" provided minimal support and maximum effect.

Pieces of gowns owned by Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.
Never one to shrink for attention, Elizabeth showed off her fine figure in the latest French style, first wearing the daring muslins of the early 19th century and later sport figure-flattering silk bodices with lower necklines. It has long been said she wore nothing under her transparent garments, but the "discovery" of this bra, along with other documentation, suggests that although she was boldly wearing unstructured undergarments, she was indeed wearing them!

We're not going to post a photo of Elizabeth's 'unmentionables,' but for the first time since its arrival at the Maryland Historical Society and for one afternoon only, Elizabeth's bra will be on view as well as other examples of her remarkably stylish and fashion-forward wardrobe.

It will be part of an event we're calling the Madame Bonaparte Tea, on Sunday, November 10 at 2pm.

This elegant afternoon at the Maryland Historical Society will feature tea and delectable French refreshments. Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch will introduce guests to many objects currently on display in our latest exhibition, Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy and discuss Elizabeth's fabulous fashions and accessories.

From muslin shot through with gold thread to silk velvets in crimson and purple, some of her most interesting "scraps" will be on view at the Madame Bonaparte Tea. This is a rare opportunity to see inside Elizabeth's wardrobe and learn more about both her seen and "unseen" glamour.

The Madame Bonaparte Tea will be held on Sunday November 10 at 2pm at the Maryland Historical Society. Tickets are $40/members; $50/nonmembers. To register please call 410-685-3750 ext. 377 or visit this link.

Our Year of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte continues with a special Curator's Tour of Elizabeth's jewelry on Thursday, October 17 at 6pm (sign up here) and our second annual 1812 Fashion Show, to be held on Saturday November 3. Details to come in our November newsletter but for information now, click here.

'Who's Who' in Greenmount Cemetery

Back by popular demand and just in time for Halloween! Our annual tour of Greenmount Cemetery will be held this year on Saturday, October 26 at 12pm.

We're partnering with Baltimore Heritage to bring you the fascinating details of many important Marylanders who are buried here, such as: William and Henry Walters, Johns Hopkins, and Enoch Pratt, to extraordinary slaves like Patty Atavis, and even the infamous assassin John Wilkes Booth and Baltimore's own elite Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.

Greenmount Cemetery tells a rich and fascinating - and often overlooked - story of Baltimore.

The program will begin with a gallery tour at the Maryland Historical Society highlighting the stories and objects important to these historical figures. We'll be incorporating items from our collection into the discussion, too.

Then we'll head out to Greenmount Cemetery for the tour. Lunch will be provided. Registration is $40 for both Members and non-Members. Sign up on our website or by calling 410-685-3750 ext 399.

Baltimore: Block By Block

Baltimore House
600 North Howard Street, 2012,
by James Singewald
MdHS Imaging Services Technician James Singewald is on a mission to photograph ten main streets in downtown Baltimore. He is researching the history behind each block and his project will eventually be turned into a book - but right now, he needs your help to meet his Kickstarter Campaign goal!

The ten main streets in Baltimore that James is photographing are: Howard, Eutaw, Fayette, Lexington, Baltimore, Monument, Pennsylvania, North, Greenmount, and Broadway.

This work is an extension of the Masters thesis James completed at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2010. James photographed the entire two blocks of what is known as Old Town Mall (formerly Gay Street) in East Baltimore; a failed urban renewal project attempted in the 1970s. He photographed every building on this strip, researched the history of the neighborhood, including what it was and how it changed, as well as what the future may hold for it. He combined all of the photos and research into a self-published book titled, Old Town, East Baltimore.

James has less than 40 days to raise $8,000. Help support James by clicking here to see his Kickstarter page, and spread the word!

Our Annual Report Is Now Available

Here it is! Our Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013. Please browse through and see all of the good work we are doing here at the Maryland Historical Society. A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our members and supporters whose generosity makes our programs possible!

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:

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Speaking of Trivia...

Trivia Time!

Question: You may have surmised, we have monuments on the mind! Denizens of the Monumental City love to point out that our Washington Monument precedes D.C.'s famed obelisk. However, though Baltimore's Washington Monument was the first monument planned to honor America's favorite patriarch, it was not the first constructed.

A different Maryland municipality beat them to the punch in 1827 while Baltimore's column, lagging through nearly 15 years of planning and construction, would not be completed until 1829. What Maryland city completed America's first monument to George Washington?

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 (library only) 12 pm-5pm.