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Damon Talbot

This tag is associated with 29 posts

An American Tragedy

Originally posted on November 29, 2012 Many who devote their lives to bringing about social change can recall a single incident or episode that altered their perceptions and determined their path in life. Civil rights activist Rosa Parks recalls that one of the first ways she realized the difference between “a black world and a [...]

The Baltimore Chronicle: Baltimore’s Community Newspaper

In the late 1960s—late 1970s, a number of alternative and underground newspapers sprang up in Baltimore. These papers intended to fill a news void with coverage of subject matter—the counterculture, radical politics, local artists and musicians, avant-garde theatre, community news—largely ignored by mainstream publications, notably the Baltimore Sun and the Baltimore News-American. The publications ranged from cultural and literary magazines [...]

The Prints of Joseph St. Lawerence

The Maryland Historical Society’s print collection numbers more than 5,000 lithographs, etchings and engravings spanning over 250 years of Maryland history. These include a large number of prints by major nineteenth century lithographers, including E. Sachse & Company and A. Hoen and Company, engravings from newspapers such as Harper’s Weekly, advertisements, and frakturs. The collection [...]

The Oldest Known Photographs of Ellicott City

Institutional memory is a vital component of any organization. Today, with increasing turnover rates and the decreasing probability of employees remaining with one employer for the duration of their working career, that memory is a dwindling resource. In an archive, where an in depth knowledge of objects that may number into the millions can only [...]

The Chocolate Dandies: Blake and Sissle’s other Musical

On April 28 of this year, Baltimore born ragtime and jazz pianist and composer Eubie Blake and his partner Noble Sissles’ most famous work, Shuffle Along, will open on Broadway, nearly 100 years after its initial run. In 1921, Shuffle Along transformed Broadway and left a far reaching cultural and social legacy. But the pair also produced [...]

Unearthing the Calverts: The Search for the State’s Seminal Documents

The story of how the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) acquired the papers of the state’s founding family is not well known. In fact it isn’t even a singular story. Simply preparing this piece about the collection unearthed a tale that highlights shaky provenance, the concept of authenticity in an archive, and the importance of institutional [...]

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 [...]

The Great Fight

Although it’s rare, a sporting event can sometimes transcend its role as pure competition and entertainment. Boxing in particular seems especially suited to seeing its participants elevated to more than mere sportsmen. Rather than just two men trying to knock each other unconscious, the combatants become symbolic representatives of larger social, cultural, or political forces. [...]

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