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Maryland History

This tag is associated with 61 posts

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 [...]

“White Enough to Pass”: Uncovering the story of John Wesley Gibson

“John Wesley Gibson represented himself to be not only the slave, but also the son of William Y. Day, of Taylor’s Mount, Maryland…” This is the opening statement of a slave narrative that tells the story of a man who chose freedom in a place and time that allowed slavery — Maryland in the 1850s. [...]

Lost City: Baltimore’s Vibrant Automobile Show Rooms

In early 1900s Baltimore, Mt. Royal Avenue looked quite different from the land originally developed in 1881 carved from portions of Oliver and Johns Streets. The advent of the automobile began to change the face of America and Baltimore. Beginning in 1899 automobile showrooms began to sprout up on Mt.Royal Avenue. Brands like Locomobile, Peerless, [...]

Thomas Poppleton’s Surveyor’s Map that Made Baltimore, 1822

Between 1776 and 1820 Baltimore grew like kudzu on a riverbank.  Geographically three settlements, the original town, Old town and Fell’s Point were legally merged into one and the official boundaries of the resulting BaltimoreCity (incorporated in 1797) were expanded to encompass 14.71 square miles by legislative fiat in 1817.  In that period the resident [...]

John Niernsee: Architect, Engineer and Surveyor

John Rudolph Niernsee (1814-1885) was one of Baltimore’s most prolific and successful architects. Over the course of his nearly 50 year career he contributed to the designs of more than 150 homes, churches, commercial and public buildings and railroad stations including Camden Station, the Greenmount Cemetery Chapel, the Carrollton Hotel, Maryland Jockey Club Clubhouse, and Grace [...]

Here at Last He is Happy: The Death and Burial of Edgar Allan Poe

“There are some secrets that do not permit themselves to be told.” –Edgar Allan Poe, “The Man of the Crowd,” 1840 The mysterious death of writer Edgar Allan Poe still haunts and fascinates his fans and biographers. The facts of his untimely passing in 1849 have been obscured and confused since he was found barely [...]

When Maryland Almost Got Philadelphia: The Remarkable Story of the Mason-Dixon Line

It takes a shrewd fellow indeed to persuade the King of England to grant him a charter to all the land in the New World between the colonies of Maryland and New York. When Quaker William Penn II did so, he became the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania in March 1681—thereby securing repayment of [...]

E.J. Gallagher: Builder of Lifetime Homes

In the first decades of the twentieth century Baltimore saw a boom in rowhouse building that came to be dominated by just a handful of builders. One of these developers was Edward Joseph Gallagher, the son of Irish immigrants, whose most successful and well-known creation, Ednor Gardens, became a model for developments throughout Baltimore.(1) While [...]

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte – The Woman I Have Come to Know

Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson Bonaparte was just another name to me when I arrived at MdHS in 2012 as a volunteer curatorial assistant.  Since that time I have come to know her intimately—not as the celebrity she was, but as a real-life woman. I first got to know Elizabeth (she never referred to herself as “Betsy”) [...]

“A Somewhat Noted Controversialist, of Baltimore”: The Reform Career of the Reverend Andrew B. Cross, 1810-1889

Andrew Boyd Cross was a strongly polarizing figure in the divisive public issues confronting the United States, the state of Maryland, and the city of Baltimore in the nineteenth century. Following his death in 1889, his alma mater Princeton Theological Seminary eulogized Cross in its annual alumni report: “He was a man of decided character, [...]

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