Arthur J. Olmstead Collection - PP133

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Society


Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, July 1999



According to the 1914 publication Industrial Survey of Baltimore, the Baltimore food packing industries were growing rapidly in the few years just prior, doubling the value of the industries' output and causing proportionate increase in number of employees. The R. E. Robert Company, Inc., located at the foot of Fell Street, processed and packed oysters. The industrial survey states that in 1914 there was only one concern in town engaged in clarifying and packing olive oil, which may have been the Pompeian Olive Oil Company, although the company is not found in the Baltimore Directory at that time. The survey also refers to the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, which may account for the presence of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Pure Food Inspector at these businesses in 1914-1915.

Collection Origin

Gift of Harry H. Olmstead, 1981 (76025).

Scope and Contents

The collection is housed in one box with four folders containing 15 photographic prints dated 1914-1915. The photographs show early 20th century food industries in Baltimore City. There are scenes of workers processing and canning oysters at the R. E. Roberts Company, workers processing spinach, and storage apparatus in the Pompeian Olive Oil Company album with workers dispensing oil into containers. At several of these sites, inspections are underway by U.S. Department of Agriculture Pure Food Inspector John F. Earnshaw. All photographs are captioned "U.S.D.A. photo by A. J. Olmstead" and dated; some have subject identification.

Digital Images

View available digital images from the Arthur J. Olmstead Collection


The photographs are arranged in four folders according to PP catalog number.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 4 Folders

Box 1, Folder 1
PP133.1 - Earnshaw inspecting oyster cargo aboard boat in Baltimore Harbor. 1 item. Copy negative: Z24.512

Box 1, Folder 2
PP133.2-PP133.6 - Raw oyster packing at R. E. Roberts Co.; workers engaged in oyster shucking, steaming, and packing, with inspectors underway by Earnshaw. 5 items. Copy negatives: Z24.84; Z24.707; Z24.1082.

Box 1, Folder 3
PP133.7-PP133.11 - Workers dispensing oil at Pompeian Olive Oil Company and oil storage apparatus, with inspections underway by Earnshaw. 5 items. Copy negatives: Z24.1835; Z24.1555

Box 1, Folder 4
PP133.12-PP133.15 - Earnshaw inspecting spinach cargo aboard boat in Baltimore Harbor; workers engaged in processing and canning of spinach. 4 items. Copy negative: Z24.1090