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Eben Dennis

This tag is associated with 15 posts

Hagerty’s Hieroglyphicks

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching we thought it would be appropriate to feature three of the more beautiful and intriguing prints from our collection produced by John Hagerty, a Baltimore printer and the son of Irish immigrants: The Tree of Life, Hieroglyphicks of a Christian, and Hieroglyphicks of the Natural Man. More selfishly I was [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Summer Vacation: Greetings from Ocean City!

How does the small underbelly editorial team cope with colleagues traveling to the beach, mountains, and parts unknown while we’re stuck here running the blog and tending to our many other duties? We travel vicariously through photographs and post cards! While real beach-goers are dealing with staggering crowds, the oppressive sun, crawling traffic, and marching [...]

Morris A. Soper Papers – Coming Soon! (or 25 years late…)

Several months ago while pulling a collection from our sub-basement, or coal cellar, under the south end of the Keyser building here at MdHS,  I became intrigued by a box labeled Soper Papers. Most curious were the words “Don’t catalog until 3/88” scrawled on it. Being quite familiar with the fact that most archives—including MdHS—have [...]

A Whale of a Tale: the Mysterious Case of the Tolchester Whale*

  It’s hard to work at the Maryland Historical Society and not be familiar with the R.H. Eichner & Company color lithograph entitled “Go See the Whale at Tolchester, 1889.” An original of this iconic print lives in our library, and posters depicting it grace the halls of the Education Department and the offices on the [...]

Antoinette in the Air: Hubert Latham and His Historic Flight Over Baltimore, 1910

Hubert Latham was almost the first person to fly an airplane over the British Channel. If the French aviator and adventurer was discouraged when his first attempt came up short, he never showed it. As he bobbed in the waves waiting to be retrieved by a passing vessel, Latham casually smoked a cigarette in the cockpit [...]

Conduit: Druid Lake and the Wall of Mud (1863 – 1871)

In 1863 the Baltimore City Council approved a $300,000 loan to construct a billion gallon capacity reservoir in the newly established Druid Hill Park. Though the new city waterworks project from Lake Roland to the Mount Royal Reservoir on the Jones Falls had just been completed, it had become apparent that the city’s water problems were far [...]

Conduit: Mount Royal Reservoir and the Baltimore Waterworks,1857-1863

Since last month’s Hampden Reservoir post, I have taken more delight in my commute as I pass by Roosevelt Park, going to and returning from work via the Falls Road exit of the JFX; I can almost see the half moon shape of the reservoir on my left as I climb the hill approaching 36th Street. [...]