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They Live By Night: Portraits

In celebration of our new exhibition, ”Reflections: A Brief History of Looking at Ourselves,” we wanted to share a few photographs from one of our favorite collections, the Robert Kniesche Photograph Collection.  Each of the images below shares the same uncommon characteristic. Taking photographs at night without using a camera flash poses many challenges—even with today’s technology. [...]

Tracing the Travels of Maryland’s African Americans

  In high school, I volunteered at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, rooting myself in the contributions black people have made in the past and present to the development of the state of Maryland. Given the scope of the Reginald’s exhibits and my own childhood in Maryland, my [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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