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“Home-made wines made of dandelions”: Prohibition in Maryland

This Saturday night, the Young Defenders of the Maryland Historical Society will be hosting its second annual Bootlegger’s Bash party at the 1840s Plaza at 29 S. Front Street, the site of the old Peale Museum. In anticipation of this popular fundraiser we have decided to share a selection of photographs, documents, and ephemera of [...]

A Mystery Admirer

In this Valentine’s Day poem, Cupid  promises the holiday’s namesake patron, St. Valentine, that he will search high and low for a most worthy maid to strike with his arrows of love. He comes upon Baltimore City, “Which though for a City ‘tis somewhat slow…Is renowned for its maidens fair,” where he discovers the incomparable Nannie [...]

The Dreams of Benjamin Banneker

Over the 200 years since the death of Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), his story has become a muddled combination of fact, inference, misinformation, hyperbole, and legend. Like many other figures throughout history, the small amount of surviving source material has nurtured the development of a degree of mythology surrounding his story. While myths make for great [...]

Scenes from the ’70s: The East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project

In 1976, Maryland Institute College of Art photography professor Linda G. Rich, and two of her students, Joan Clark Netherwood and Elinor B. Cahn, began work on a project documenting the large swath of neighborhoods collectively known as East Baltimore. What was intended to be merely a project for Rich’s class on social documentary photography, [...]

A Monumental Undertaking

If you are fortunate enough to live or work in Mount Vernon, you’ve probably noticed the barricades that recently went up around the Washington Monument. The Baltimore Sun has been covering the project for months, and surprise!, there has been no lack of controversy regarding overall restoration of Mount Vernon Place. City Parks and Rec, at [...]

The Dream of the ‘90s is Alive: Pre-processing the Joseph Kohl Collection

Whatever you do, do not mistake the title of this post as a diss. The photographs taken by Joseph Henry Adam Kohl (1957 – 2002), and left on deposit here at MdHS by his friend Carl Clark, capture an era in the greatest sense of that cliche. Best, too, not to take the title too [...]

Industrial Art: The 1858 Artists’ Excursion over the B&O Railroad

On June 1, 1858 a motley group of artists, poets, journalists, business and railroad men, and photographers boarded a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad train at the Camden Street Station in South Baltimore bound for Wheeling, Virginia (today West Virginia). Their five day trip, across central and western Maryland and Virginia, was a unique event in the [...]

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 [...]

Antoinette in the Air: Hubert Latham and His Historic Flight Over Baltimore, 1910

Hubert Latham was almost the first person to fly an airplane over the British Channel. If the French aviator and adventurer was discouraged when his first attempt came up short, he never showed it. As he bobbed in the waves waiting to be retrieved by a passing vessel, Latham casually smoked a cigarette in the cockpit [...]

What’s the Point?

While writing a previous post that looked at the debate over the oldest house in Baltimore, a coworker introduced me to another longstanding Baltimore debate. After reading the post, my coworker gently chided me for the use of “Fell’s Point” rather than the correct “Fells Point.” Not being a native Marylander, I was unfamiliar with [...]