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Marylanders

This category contains 26 posts

A Magical History Tour of Maryland

Almost one hundred years ago, the world famous magician Harry Houdini dazzled a crowd of 50,000 with one of his signature death-defying escape acts. On April 26, 1916, Houdini freed himself from a straitjacket as he dangled upside down, sixty feet above the sidewalk from a cornice of The Sun building in Baltimore. City police [...]

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 [...]

“Some Account of Mr. and Mrs. Cohen’s Fancy Ball,” February 2, 1837

Several days after Benjamin and Kitty Cohen hosted their glamorous party, James Macon Nicholson (1807-1975) dutifully fulfilled his promise to send an account of the event to his mother at Wye House.(1) Too ill to attend, Rebecca Lloyd Nicholson apparently longed for every detail, but her son found his memory “considerably at a loss.” Nicholson [...]

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 [...]

A Safe Harbor: The Port Mission in Fells Point

The Southeastern Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point was, until recent years, a rough and tumble sort of place – a sharp contrast to what is today an upscale and historically charming part of the city. Sailors, arriving from all corners of the world, crowded into rowdy saloons and bawdy boarding houses while awaiting the next [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

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, [...]