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“Are We Satisfied?”: The Baltimore Plan for School Desegregation

(This is the second part of a two part series – The first part of the story was posted on May 15, 2014 and can be read here.) Baltimoreans, perhaps more than the residents of any other major American city, were poised to meet the challenge of school desegregation. The city’s public school system had already grappled [...]

Beatlemania in Baltimore

As Baltimore celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner and the successful defense of Fort McHenry from invading British forces, there’s another British invasion worth remembering. It occurred fifty years ago and was of an entirely different sort. On September 13, 1964, The Beatles invaded Baltimore for a one-day stop during their first American tour. John, Paul, George, [...]

Head Cases: The Baltimore Phrenological Society

On February 17, 1827 an assemblage of distinguished minds from Baltimore’s medical community gathered at the home of Dr. Richard Sprigg Steuart for the inaugural meeting of a new scientific and medical organization. Among those present were Dr. William Donaldson, Sprigg’s medical partner; Dr. H.H. Hayden, dentist and future founder of Baltimore College of Dental Surgery; [...]

Propaganda in the Free State: MdHS’s Collection of Poster Art

Before the advent of the internet, one of the simplest and most effective ways of getting the word out to people about a local festival, a concert, or a political message was by slapping a poster on a wall, storefront window, or telephone pole. Just recently, library staff completed an inventory of the over 1,300 [...]

Ponzi’s Plea

My house of cards had collapsed! The bubble had busted! I had lost! Lost everything! Millions of dollars. Credit. Happiness. And even my liberty! Everything, except my courage. I needed that to take my medicine like a man. To meet the future. Unquestionably, I was licked. For the time being. But no man is ever [...]

“The Most Spectacular Print of Baltimore Ever Made”

Working at the Maryland Historical Society, you get to see some pretty amazing things on a daily basis. From Francis Scott Key’s original draft of the Star Spangled Banner, early copies of the Declaration of Independence, and some of the first daguerreotypes of Baltimore harbor, to more recent gems like Eubie Blake’s collection of sheet [...]

Ocean City: The Great March Storm of 1962

“This is the worst disaster in the history of Maryland in my time,” declared Maryland Governor Millard Tawes in March of 1962 as he surveyed the remnants of Ocean City by helicopter following one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the eastern seaboard of the United States. The nor’easter that bombarded the Atlantic [...]

“Is He White or Colored?”: Chinese in Baltimore City Public Schools

The story of race in Baltimore has traditionally been presented as a black and white issue. Particularly in discussions about the Civil Rights Era, the focus has been on the interaction between these two racial groups, with Jewish residents representing an ethnic middle ground between them. In researching this pivotal time period in the city’s [...]

The Photographs of Robert Kniesche

When longtime Baltimore Sun photographer Robert Kniesche died in 1976, a colleague praised him as “one of the best cameramen The Baltimore Sun ever knew.”(1) Although far more obscure than his famous contemporary at The Sun, Aubrey Bodine, Kniesche left behind a body of photographic work that stands among the best produced by a Marylander [...]

The Velvet Kind: The Sweet Story of Hendlers Creamery

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 history of the frosty treat [...]