Photo Mysteries

This category contains 9 posts

Capturing the Movement: Before and After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Photographs

Fifty years ago this week the Civil Rights Act of 1964 voided all discriminatory laws (de jure segregation) in the public arena. It went a step further than each of its predecessors of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957 and 1960 by outlawing racial segregation in schools, the workplace, and other public spaces. Considered the most important act in its lineage, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Then and Now: The Owl Bar

The Owl Bar has long been a favorite after-work drinking spot for MdHS staffers. A decent beer selection, cheap happy hour specials, and some of the best brick oven pizza in town are only part of the draw though. The bar, tucked in the back of the Belvedere Hotel, has a certain ambience to which [...]

Sunday Best: a volunteer reflects on photo crowdsourcing

Last week the Maryland Historical Society opened a satellite photograph exhibit, “Paul Henderson: Maryland’s Civil Rights Era in Photographs,” at Baltimore’s City Hall. The show marks our latest efforts to identify the people and locations in the Henderson Photograph Collection. Earlier this year, MdHS hosted an event to kickstart this process. The following is a reflection [...]

Everyday People: Paul Henderson Collection Goes to City Hall

  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in the Imaging Services Department at MdHS. Through some wild confluence of ambition and scheduling, I agreed to curate and deliver a 48-piece photography exhibition the very week of the debut of my new documentary, HIT & STAY, at the Maryland Film Festival. I can’t really [...]

Paul Henderson Collection: Who or Where?

The Paul Henderson Photograph Collection contains over 6,000 photographs of mostly unidentified African Americans from ca. 1935-1965. When the Paul Henderson: Baltimore’s Civil Rights Era in Photographs, ca. 1940-1960 exhibition opened in 2012, several people from the media asked why it was important for MdHS to identify the people Henderson photographed in and around Baltimore. If you’ve ever [...]

“Facing the Masks”: Masked Mystery Solved

Last week we reached out for help understanding a photograph, and wow, did we get it. Our photo from the Hughes Company collection traveled far and wide. The image, known then as “Detective room, Police Department,” was not only a headscratcher, but also a Rorschach Test of sorts. Different eyes saw different things happening. Speculations, observations, [...]

Masked Mystery

Last month we solved a longstanding photograph mystery that we never expected to solve, that is until we rolled up our sleeves and actually tried. Modern digitization technology, more precisely the ability to zoom deep into a photo or negative to see details previously unavailable to the naked eye, coupled with searchable newspaper databases make solving [...]