African-American History

Everyday People: Paul Henderson Collection Goes to City Hall

Can you identify these sharp dressed young men? "Two Unknown Young Men," MdHS, HEN.08.01-004.

Can you help identify these young men? “Two Unknown Young Men,” MdHS, HEN.08.01-004.


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in the Imaging Services Department at MdHS. Through some wild confluence of ambition and scheduling, I agreed to curate and deliver a 48-piece photography exhibition the very week of the debut of my new documentary, HIT & STAY, at the Maryland Film Festival. I can’t really tell you what I was thinking, but I can say that after a week’s extension from the nice folks at City Hall, I live to say all’s well that ends well.

Honor bright. This negative is dated 1959, but the cars in the background seem to tell a different story. “Boyscout,” ca. 1959, MdHS, HEN.00.B2-221.

This week I couldn’t think of anything more important to write about than our new exhibit opening at Baltimore City Hall next week on June 5. Paul Henderson: Maryland’s Civil Rights Era in Photographs, ca. 1940-1960 is actually part two of work begun by my predecessor, former Digital Projects Coordinator & Curator of Photographs Jennifer Ferretti. Jenny opened the first Henderson exhibit at MdHS to much fanfare and acclaim in February 2012.

Since then the library has been working hard identifying the Paul Henderson Photograph Collection. Our event on April 7 earlier this year was a great success in bringing out the community, raising awareness about the collection, and identifying people and places in Henderson’s photos. To that end, our new exhibit at City Hall, which is also the first stop on the traveling Paul Henderson Photo Collection exhibit, seeks to carry on the task of identification. Most of the prints containing unknown people and places have QR codes printed on the labels that will take smartphone users to an online survey where they can type in names and other information. Identification forms will also be available in the rotunda at City Hall near the prints.

There are many more photos like this in the Paul Henderson Collection. MdHS strives to identify all subjects in the collections one day.  "Two Unknown Young Women," MdHS, HEN.01.12-020.

There are many more photos like this in the Paul Henderson Collection. MdHS hopes to one day identify all subjects in the collection. “Two Unknown Young Women,” MdHS, HEN.01.12-020.

Please enjoy this sneak peak of the exhibit and remember to check it out the next time you visit City Hall. If you can identify any of the people in the three photos above, please fill out an online survey by clicking here. (Joe Tropea)

This exhibit is scheduled to run throughout the month of June. For a look at more images from the exhibition please visit our Paul Henderson Photo blog.



  1. [...] he was helping us identify individuals from photographs of Morgan State University found in the Paul Henderson Collection in 2011. Soper had served as Chairman of Morgan’s Board of Directors for many years, so it [...]

  2. [...] preview of the images in the new exhibit can be viewed here:…  and here: [...]

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