// author archive

mdhslibrarydept

mdhslibrarydept has written 157 posts for underbelly

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 [...]

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 [...]

Facebook

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Pinterest