Francis E. Old, Jr. Collection - PP119

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

ca. 1930-1940


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

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



Francis E. Old, Jr. (fl. ca. 1930-1985) was a book editor who worked for the Williams and Wilkins publishing company in Baltimore. As a young adult, he settled briefly on Cator Ave. in Waverly before moving to 1101 N. Calvert where he lived throughout the 1940s. In the early 1950s, he and his wife Dorothy M. Old moved to Old Harford Rd. in Baltimore Co.

Old was an avid collector of Baltimore printed ephemera, amassing materials which originated in the 18th through 20th centuries, including maps, correspondence, pamphlets, brochures, and other printed materials. His collections were sold at a Howard Street auction house in the 1980s. Much of the material he had bought on Howard Street, but at junk stores in the 1930s and 1940s, rather than antique dealers or auction houses.

Old also created documents of Baltimore; in particular, in the 1930s he made a set of photographs of Baltimore city sites which he felt were "in danger of razing or of natural disintegration because of age and lack of care" (according to Dorothy Old, from a 1987 letter to the Maryland Historical Society). Some of the sites have, in fact, disappeared, for example, Bolton Park (at Rutter, Dolphin and John Sts.), the eastern half of the 1200 block of Mt. Royal Ave., Read St. intersecting Biddle, or the McKim House at 522 Park Ave., which Old photographed in the process of demolition to make way for a Hoschild Kohn warehouse.

Collection Origin

Gift of Mrs. Francis E. Old, Jr., 1987 (001811).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 small box with 69 photoprints and 3 negatives. The photoprints are all approx. 6 x 11 cm. or smaller. The images were made between ca. 1930 and 1940 by Francis E. Old, Jr., of streets and buildings in Baltimore city. The sites and structures run the gamut from fine townhomes such as the McKim House and the Carroll Mansion to the tiniest of Baltimore rowhomes in alleys like Born Court. There are some distinctive aerial photographs of streets and buildings in the downtown business district.


The photographs are arranged according to PP catalog numbers, with the negatives at the end.


Container List


1 Box

Box 1

PP119.1 - Church of the Basilica of the Assumption, n.d.

PP119.2.-.9 - Biddle Street, 100 and 200 blk. West, 1936.

PP119.10.-.13 - Bolton Park, 1936.

PP119.14 - Bolton Street, 900 blk., 1936.

PP119.15 - Born Court, east from Rock Street, 1939.

PP119.16 - Cloney Street, west from Cove Alley, 1939.

PP119.17 - Dolphin Street, near John Street, 1936.

PP119.18-.24 - Fayette Street, ca. 1936: 900, 1000, 1200, 1300, and 1500 blks east.

PP119.25 - Hanover Street, 400 blk. South, ca. 1936.

PP119.26 - Barre Street, 100 West, ca. 1936.

PP119.27 - Hanover Street, 400 blk. South, ca. 1936.

PP119.28-.32 - Hoffmann Street, 100-200 blks. West, 1936.

PP119.33-.34 - Lanvale Street, unit-100 blks. West, 1936.

PP119.35-.36 - Lexington Street, 800 blk. West, 1939.

PP119.37-.39 - Mt. Royal Avenue, 1200 blk. West, 1936.

PP119.40 - Pebble Court, near Cove Alley, 1939.

PP119.41 - Poppleton Street, 200 blk. North, 1939.

PP119.42-.47 - Preston Street, 200 blk. west, 1936.

PP119.48-.50 - Read Street, 100-300 blks. West, 1936.

PP119.51-.54 - Rock Street, 200 blk. North, 1939.

PP119.55 - Rutter Street, 1200 blk., 1936.

PP119.56-.57 - Baltimore Trust Bldg., now Md. Nat'l Bldg., ca. 1930. Dup/copy neg Z24.1549.

PP119.58 - Unit block of Light St., aerial view, 1930.

PP119.59 - B&O Building, aerial view, 1930.

PP119.60-.61 - Unidentified streets in Baltimore (one night, one night and snow), ca. 1935.

PP119.62-.63 - McKim House, 522 Park Ave. under demolition, 1940.

PP119.64 - Unidentified school, Baltimore, ca. 1935.

PP119.65-.66 - Carroll Mansion, ca. 1935.

PP119.67-.68 - Light Street, aerial views, ca. 1930.


Park Avenue, 500 blk., General Wrecking Co., ca. 1940; see photographs #62-63. 2 items. (NEGATIVES NOT FOUND)

View from Charles Street South, ca. 1940. 1 item. Negative ZN14.1698. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Internet Management - WEBNETT