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mdhslibrarydept

mdhslibrarydept has written 160 posts for underbelly

Game of Rings

  A common refrain is that “chivalry is dead.” For a small contingent of Marylanders though, chivalry and other medieval traditions reign supreme from spring to fall in the form of jousting tournaments. Before you start picturing every jousting scene depicted in popular culture as two knights galloping at each other while carrying giant lances, [...]

Devil in the Details: Snowball Incident at 123 W. Lanvale St.

Starting January 2019, the content featured in our Aspect Ratio photography and film blog will merge with underbelly. Please look for series such as: ”Devil In the Details” (see below); “Career Day,” featuring workers and workplaces of Maryland; “Age of the Auto,” showcasing all things related to road transportation; and “They Live By Night”—a celebration of night photography.   We know [...]

Electrifying and Animating Maryland’s Christmas Gardens

The image of an electric train going around a Christmas tree is now almost as iconic to the holiday as the tree itself, especially in America. And while a simple decorated tree and a single loop of track can fulfill the requisite scene, the real joy is in the trappings—the lights, the miniature structures and [...]

Researching Curious Revolutionaries at MdHS

The Lord Baltimore Fellowship was a wonderful way to expand my own research on the history of fossil display in museums, and curatorial research on the Peale family for the American Philosophical Society Museum’s newest exhibition. In my own work, I had the wonderful opportunity to browse the MdHS’s Museum curatorial files on Peale’s epic [...]

Scattered across the Globe and the Political Spectrum: The Tilghman Family in the Revolutionary War

On March 16, 1777, twenty-seven year old Anna Maria Tilghman wrote to her father, James, “I was made happy by the appearance of a Letter from my Brother Tench but when I came to open it it almost broke my heart. He talks of never seeing us again and says if he should fall it [...]

The Tale of John Brown’s Letter Book

The Maryland Historical Society has in its collection a small, tattered letter book written in the hand of famed abolitionist John Brown. In October 1859, Brown led a raid of a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in the hopes of igniting a nationwide slave revolt. The failed raid and Brown’s subsequent execution by hanging [...]

Photo Mystery: The Investigation

A few weeks ago, we shared a photograph of an unidentified building which had long stumped the Library staff. We are grateful for the myriad of suggestions from our readers, and we’ve been busy investigating them by digging into our Passano-O’Neill file and photograph collections. Several readers suggested that the date of the ambrotype was [...]

Photo Mystery: A Stumped Sleuth

One of the best parts about working in the Special Collections Department is trying to identify subjects in old photographs. It requires a certain amount of detective work – a keen eye, dedicated research, and a lot of reasonable deduction. While it is often impossible to determine the identity of an anonymous subject from a [...]

Carlin’s Park: “Baltimore’s Million Dollar Playground”

On August 13, 1919, John J. Carlin advertised the opening night of his latest business venture—an amusement park he billed as “Baltimore’s Million-Dollar Playground.” Liberty Heights Park only featured a carousel, “Dip the Dips,” and a few other rides, but major plans were underway. He promised that his park when completed would be “an amusement [...]

“Happy play in grassy places:” Baltimore’s Playgrounds in Photographs, 1911-1936

Happy play in grassy places; That was how in ancient ages Children grew to kings and sages. (1) As the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, the nation’s park system underwent a radical transformation. The park as a bucolic escape from the buzz and bustle of urban life defined the ideal of public parks [...]

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