Keene-Rasin Collection - PP73

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

ca. 1860-1900

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, August 1999


(Isaac) Freeman Rasin (1833-1907) was a democratic boss of Baltimore for many years, and was considered a powerful political boss in the United States during his life, counting among his friends President Grover Cleveland. Born in Kent County and educated at private schools and at Washington College, he came to Baltimore in 1847, working first as a dry goods clerk, then as a dry goods merchant with his own business. In 1867, he was elected to Clerk of Court of Common Pleas in Baltimore, for which post he was re-elected in 1873 and 1885, serving altogether 18 years. In 1886, he was appointed Naval Officer for Baltimore by President Cleveland, and served until 1890. He was a Baltimore Insurance Commissioner from 1892-1895, and at one point President Cleveland offered Rasin the position of U.S. Consul to Berlin, which he declined. Married to Julia Ann Claypoole Rasin (d. 1899), their home was at 1039 N. Calvert St. in Baltimore.

John Henry Keene (d. 1914) was an attorney and denizen of downtown Baltimore, making his home at 100 E. Preston St. before moving to Glencoe in Baltimore County. He was a lawyer, whose fondness for distinctive clothing - especially broad plaids – and elaborate walking sticks made him a familiar sight, and whose habit of writing vividly worded letters of opinion to local newspapers on matters such as the noise disturbance caused by streetcars in his neighborhood made him a well known personage. One such letter read: "I give you further notice that the nuisance of which I complain exceeds the extravaganzas of fiction. It equals the barbarous cruelties of the Middle Ages. The nuisance is no mere visionary picture; it is a stern reality, a flesh and blood fact with color in its cheeks".

In the legal community, Keene was known for his brief, written for Henry Janes of West Mount Vernon Place, against the building of a bay window onto the home of B&O Railroad President Robert Garrett which would block Mr. Janes’ view of the Washington Monument. He was the son of John Henry Keene of Lauraville, and studied in private schools and at Harvard University. He practiced law with his brother Robert Goldsborough Keene. In around 1884, he married Miss Fannie Cooke of New York, but she died only four months later, a shock from which Mr. Keene is said to have never recovered.

Collection Origin

Gift of Mrs. Addison H. Reese, 1983 (76678).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 box with 1 folder containing 4 photographs taken ca. 1860-1900. The subjects are portraits of Keene and Rasin family members, and pictures of houses in the Mt. Vernon.area of Baltimore city.

Note: Related materials are found in MS. 2541, the Keene Family Papers in the Manuscripts Department of the Maryland Historical Society.


The photographs are arranged according to PP catalog number.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 1 Folder

Box 1, 1 Folder
PP73.1 – Isaac Freeman Rasin residence at 1039 N. Calvert St. (Baltimore, Md.), n.d (ca. 1900). 1 item.

PP73.2 – John Henry Keene residence at 100 E. Preston St. (Baltimore, Md.), n.d. (ca. 1890). 1 item.

PP73.3 – Julia Claypoole Rasin, carte de visite studio portrait, ca. 1860.

PP73.4 – Sam Y. Keene, carte de visite studio portrait, n.d. (ca. 1870). © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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