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Maryland History

This tag is associated with 112 posts

Scattered across the Globe and the Political Spectrum: The Tilghman Family in the Revolutionary War

On March 16, 1777, twenty-seven year old Anna Maria Tilghman wrote to her father, James, “I was made happy by the appearance of a Letter from my Brother Tench but when I came to open it it almost broke my heart. He talks of never seeing us again and says if he should fall it [...]

The Tale of John Brown’s Letter Book

The Maryland Historical Society has in its collection a small, tattered letter book written in the hand of famed abolitionist John Brown. In October 1859, Brown led a raid of a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in the hopes of igniting a nationwide slave revolt. The failed raid and Brown’s subsequent execution by hanging [...]

Photo Mystery: The Investigation

A few weeks ago, we shared a photograph of an unidentified building which had long stumped the Library staff. We are grateful for the myriad of suggestions from our readers, and we’ve been busy investigating them by digging into our Passano-O’Neill file and photograph collections. Several readers suggested that the date of the ambrotype was [...]

Photo Mystery: A Stumped Sleuth

One of the best parts about working in the Special Collections Department is trying to identify subjects in old photographs. It requires a certain amount of detective work – a keen eye, dedicated research, and a lot of reasonable deduction. While it is often impossible to determine the identity of an anonymous subject from a [...]

Carlin’s Park: “Baltimore’s Million Dollar Playground”

On August 13, 1919, John J. Carlin advertised the opening night of his latest business venture—an amusement park he billed as “Baltimore’s Million-Dollar Playground.” Liberty Heights Park only featured a carousel, “Dip the Dips,” and a few other rides, but major plans were underway. He promised that his park when completed would be “an amusement [...]

“Happy play in grassy places:” Baltimore’s Playgrounds in Photographs, 1911-1936

Happy play in grassy places; That was how in ancient ages Children grew to kings and sages. (1) As the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, the nation’s park system underwent a radical transformation. The park as a bucolic escape from the buzz and bustle of urban life defined the ideal of public parks [...]

Cathy McDermott: A Remembrance

Last July 14, longtime MdHS volunteer and member of the library committee Cathy M. McDermott passed away. On April 14, 2018 the Special Collections Department was named in her honor. Reference librarian Francis O’Neill provides the following remembrance: At this point I’m a little vague on the “when”, but I’m very clear on the “why” [...]

“This curious Art”: Shorthand record of George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

“This curious Art will teach you to take down, the great Affairs of Government and Crown.”(1) James Weston, 1743 Special Collections staff pulled this document while prepping for an upcoming exhibit and all agreed we had never seen eighteenth-century shorthand — nor did we know this writing form existed. Moving two steps ahead of “that’s [...]

Curtis W. Jacobs’ Diary and Account Book, 1854–1866

Shortly past noon today, April 19, 2018, the niggling “we are forgetting something” hovering on the edges of our brains suddenly took shape. It is 157 years since Union troops on their way to Washington D.C. clashed with angry citizens on the streets of Baltimore, resulting in the Pratt Street riot, the first official bloodshed [...]

Leonora Jackson: “A Name that Will Live in Musical History”

Although largely forgotten today, violinist Leonora Jackson was among a group of pioneering female classical musicians who broke down a number of barriers for women in the late nineteenth century. One of the first female American solo violinists to gain international acclaim, Leonora Jackson dazzled crowds throughout Europe and the United States with her virtuoso [...]

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