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“This curious Art”: Shorthand record of George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

“This curious Art will teach you to take down, the great Affairs of Government and Crown.”(1) James Weston, 1743 Special Collections staff pulled this document while prepping for an upcoming exhibit and all agreed we had never seen eighteenth-century shorthand — nor did we know this writing form existed. Moving two steps ahead of “that’s [...]

Curtis W. Jacobs’ Diary and Account Book, 1854–1866

Shortly past noon today, April 19, 2018, the niggling “we are forgetting something” hovering on the edges of our brains suddenly took shape. It is 157 years since Union troops on their way to Washington D.C. clashed with angry citizens on the streets of Baltimore, resulting in the Pratt Street riot, the first official bloodshed [...]

Green Mount Cemetery, John Pendleton Kennedy, and Elizabeth Kennedy’s Unusual Grave Marker

Green Mount Cemetery, dedicated in 1839, is a paradigm of the rural cemetery movement which transformed American burial practice.  Like other mid nineteenth-century reform efforts such as temperance, abolition, and women’s rights, it was an attempt to improve society. Yet Green Mount has not attracted the attention enjoyed by other early rural cemeteries, such as [...]

General Hospital No. 7 and the Blinded Veterans of the Great War in Baltimore

Many of the hundreds of students who pass through the Humanities Building at Loyola University Maryland each year may not know the true significance of the halls through which they are walking. Indeed, one may not realize that almost exactly one hundred years ago the officials of the U.S. Army War Department were making necessary [...]

What we lost in the Fire

This past summer, I was one of five Loyola University students that conducted research on the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore. The club, which met on Tuesday afternoons between 1890 and 1920, was only a small part of the nationwide movement of women’s clubs to emerge after the Civil War. Most of them served as outlets [...]

Foodways and Fantasies in Nineteenth Century Personal Cookbooks

Old cookbooks, both published and handwritten, can offer a tempting glimpse into historic foodways. The H. Furlong Baldwin Library contains many classic Maryland cookbooks like The Queen of The Kitchen written in 1870 by the well-connected Mary Lloyd Tyson, and the more modest 1853 Domestic Cookery by Quaker homesteader Elizabeth Ellicott Lea. There was an [...]

Growing Up in Fell’s Point: More Jennie Sokolowska Stories

The previous installment of this series appeared on December 15, 2016. Jane Schoeberlein (1924-2014), known as Jennie Sokolowska in her youth, was the daughter of Polish immigrants of limited means. She spent her childhood and early adult life in the Fell’s Point area of East Baltimore. Here are a few of her stories that touch [...]

Mason and Dixon and Knopfler and Taylor: The BBC visits the MdHS

Chris Jackson, a senior producer for the BBC, was driving near his home in Newcastle, England when he heard a song on the radio by Mark Knopfler, a famous British rock star, entitled “Sailing to Philadelphia” recorded as part of the album of the same name with James Taylor.  Knopfler, a native of the northeast [...]

Portraits and Paper Art — The Schröder Family at MdHS

The museum staff refreshed the Folk Art gallery several months ago and in perusing the newly installed pieces, this intricately designed paper cutwork immediately caught our attention. The delicacy of the work, coupled with the knowledge that a ten-year-old girl had created these mini masterpieces captivated our imaginations. Who was this child? Label copy identified [...]

The Velvet Kind: The Sweet Story of Hendlers Creamery

Originally posted July 18, 2013 July in Maryland can be truly miserable. The temperature sizzles at over 100 degrees for days on end. Humidity weighs down the most ardent of breezes. Luckily for the sweaty masses, July is also National Ice Cream Month. So in honor of the vaunted occasion, here’s the scoop on the [...]

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