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Joe Tropea

This tag is associated with 13 posts

Kohl’s Orioles, 1993

Our Baltimore Orioles are off to a bit of a slow start this year, but it is ridiculously early to start worrying. But this doesn’t mean that many of us won’t start worrying or haven’t already started. It’s a proud tradition of worry we have in Charm City. There are plenty of reasons to keep [...]

A Monumental Undertaking

If you are fortunate enough to live or work in Mount Vernon, you’ve probably noticed the barricades that recently went up around the Washington Monument. The Baltimore Sun has been covering the project for months, and surprise!, there has been no lack of controversy regarding overall restoration of Mount Vernon Place. City Parks and Rec, at [...]

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 [...]

The Death of Topsy: a book review

Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison. Atlantic Monthly Press, 369 pages, $27.                                       If there’s one thing you can say/About Mankind/There’s nothing kind about man — Tom Waits [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Your Baltimore Canaries: a very brief history of Baltimore’s second professional base ball team

Look up, Baltimore baseball fans! You’ve come a long way. The origin of baseball in Baltimore is a ridiculously complicated affair. Scant photographic evidence remains and accounts in newspapers, which used nicknames for teams and players as often as they did proper names, leave behind a murky, hard-to-follow record. By the 1870s there were already a [...]

“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 [...]

The Death of Sport

Among the many mysterious photographs in MdHS’s collections, two of an elephant stand out as particularly unsettling. Buried in the Subject Vertical File, an artificial collection that was compiled throughout the years, in the Photographs and Prints room is a folder labeled “Animals–Elephant–1898–Hanging.” In this folder rests two tattered and faded turn-of-the-century prints of an [...]