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mdhslibrarydept

mdhslibrarydept has written 153 posts for underbelly

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 [...]

Cathy McDermott: A Remembrance

Last July 14, longtime MdHS volunteer and member of the library committee Cathy M. McDermott passed away. On April 14, 2018 the Special Collections Department was named in her honor. Reference librarian Francis O’Neill provides the following remembrance: At this point I’m a little vague on the “when”, but I’m very clear on the “why” [...]

The History of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library

1844 – Alarmed by the disgraceful condition of the state’s historical documents, Brantz Mayer and twenty-two civic-minded Baltimoreans organized the Maryland Historical Society in 1844 to collect “the scattered materials of the early history of the state” and preserve its heritage through research, writing, and publications. 1845 – In a joint venture with the Library [...]

“This curious Art”: Shorthand record of George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

“This curious Art will teach you to take down, the great Affairs of Government and Crown.”(1) James Weston, 1743 Special Collections staff pulled this document while prepping for an upcoming exhibit and all agreed we had never seen eighteenth-century shorthand — nor did we know this writing form existed. Moving two steps ahead of “that’s [...]

Curtis W. Jacobs’ Diary and Account Book, 1854–1866

Shortly past noon today, April 19, 2018, the niggling “we are forgetting something” hovering on the edges of our brains suddenly took shape. It is 157 years since Union troops on their way to Washington D.C. clashed with angry citizens on the streets of Baltimore, resulting in the Pratt Street riot, the first official bloodshed [...]

Leonora Jackson: “A Name that Will Live in Musical History”

Although largely forgotten today, violinist Leonora Jackson was among a group of pioneering female classical musicians who broke down a number of barriers for women in the late nineteenth century. One of the first female American solo violinists to gain international acclaim, Leonora Jackson dazzled crowds throughout Europe and the United States with her virtuoso [...]

Through the Lens: Early Photography and the Cased Photograph Collection at the Maryland Historical Society

The Cased Photograph Collection in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library is a remarkable slice of photographic history. The nearly 600 item collection contains daguerreotypes, tintypes, and other examples of the earliest photographic technology. These photographs capture domestic scenes from Maryland life—family portraits, souvenir snapshots, and rare outdoor scenes. In 1839, Louis Daguerre introduced an invention [...]

Miss Szold: A Jewish Idealist in the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore

This summer, under the direction of Loyola University Maryland English Professor Jean Lee Cole, I was part of a group of students who transcribed documents from the papers of the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore held at the Maryland Historical Society. The club was founded in 1890 and disbanded in 1920, and over the summer, [...]

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