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mdhslibrarydept

mdhslibrarydept has written 60 posts for underbelly

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from the Underbelly staff! Enjoy these scary photos from the bowels of the Maryland Historical Society’s archives.  

Baltimore, a History Block By Block: Q&A with James Singewald

When he is not busy shooting rare, historic objects for the Maryland Historical Society, James Singewald keeps himself occupied with a more personal form of historic preservation. For the past six years he’s been capturing the deteriorating urban landscape of Baltimore City, one block at a time. This week, we highlight Singewald’s work, which recently [...]

It’s the Slime: Maryland’s Food Pioneer, Dr. Robert Krauss

Though at first glance this post seems anticipatory of Halloween, it is actually topical for an altogether different reason—October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. I am not a vegetarian myself, but my colleague and fellow underbellian Joe Tropea is. So after subjecting him to watching me inhale many a lunch of Maryland Crab at Soups On, or [...]

Return of the Whipping Post: Mining the Museum

(This is the second part of a two part series – The first part of the story was posted on October 3, 2013 and can be read here.) When a museum acquires an artifact, it often goes directly into some dark storage area never to see the light of day again. This was the case [...]

“Only the Instrument of the Law”: Baltimore’s Whipping Post

On a cold March day, three blue-clad guards strapped Baltimore printer Clyde Miller to a cross-shaped wooden post in the Baltimore City Jail, arms outstretched and naked to the waist. As 50 witnesses looked on, Miller was brutally flogged 20 times with a cat o’ nine tails—a whip with multiple knotted thongs—at a rate of [...]

The Death of Topsy: a book review

Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison. Atlantic Monthly Press, 369 pages, $27.                                       If there’s one thing you can say/About Mankind/There’s nothing kind about man — Tom Waits [...]

“As for me, I like him”: H.L. Mencken, Judge Morris Soper, and the Vice Squad

A recent find in the Morris Soper Papers brings to light a fascinating series of correspondence between Judge Morris A. Soper and famed Baltimore journalist Henry Louis Mencken (who was featured in last week’s birthday post). This correspondence between the two men gives unique insight into their personalities,  reveals their professionalism and ethics, and hints [...]

Happy Birthday, Henry – A Mencken Mystery

(Editor’s note, 10/21/2013 – Thanks to the kind assistance of one of the best sources on all things Mencken, Mr. Vincent Fitzpatrick, Curator of the Mencken Room at the Enoch Pratt Library, the mystery of the Mencken photographs has been solved. (Captions for the photographs reflect the updates.) According to Mr. Fitzpatrick, the photograph of [...]

Ocean City: The Great March Storm of 1962

“This is the worst disaster in the history of Maryland in my time,” declared Maryland Governor Millard Tawes in March of 1962 as he surveyed the remnants of Ocean City by helicopter following one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the eastern seaboard of the United States. The nor’easter that bombarded the Atlantic [...]

Workers of the state, unite! (Labor Day 2013)

Workers of the state of Maryland, unite! It’s the last three-day weekend of the summer! In honor of the first Monday of September also known as Labor Day, this week we bring you, our loyal worker-readers, a selection of photographs of your fellow historic laborers plying their respective trades. From ditch digger to pencil pusher, [...]