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Donations and Support
The Maryland Historical Society Library Reading Room
The H. Furlong Baldwin Library of the Maryland Historical Society depends heavily on the generosity of history-minded donors, volunteers, and interns.
Please help defray the cost of accessioning and conserving your donation. A donation of $50 per box of donated materials offsets the purchase of protective storage, ensuring their survival for years to come
The library seeks more books on Maryland history and genealogy for its collection. Needed are historical and genealogical reference books and good scholarly books relating to the American Revolution, Civil War, slavery, civil rights, maritime history, and similar topics. Published family histories for families which have some tie to Maryland are also welcomed.
To donate books, please contact Francis O’Neill, senior reference librarian at 410-685-3750, ext. 358, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate Personal or Family Papers
Historians study all kinds of topics, including family life, childhood, and other personal experiences. They are interested in people from all walks of life, rich and poor, black and white, male and female. Please consider donating your Maryland-related personal or family papers to the Maryland Historical Society.
The Society of American Archivists has developed an excellent guide to donating personal and family papers. It is available at:
If there are papers you would like to donate, please contact the Special Collections Librarian at 410-685-3750, ext. 327, or email@example.com. If we are not the right repository for your collection, we will try to help you find an appropriate institution.
Donate Business or Organizational Records
Organizations—businesses, churches, charities, social clubs, and many other types of organizations—have been an integral part of life in America since the late colonial period. Historians and genealogists prize their records. If you have custody of non-current organizational records please consider donating your Maryland-related organizational or business papers to the Maryland Historical Society.
The Society of American Archivists has developed an excellent guide to donating organizational papers. It is available at:
If there are papers you would like to donate, please contact the Special Collections Librarian at 410- 685-3750, ext. 327, or firstname.lastname@example.org. If we are not the right repository for your collection, we will try to help you find an appropriate institution.
If you have photographs of buildings, public events, or people in Maryland, please consider donating them to the Maryland Historical Society. We accept all types of photographic images, including negatives, slides, and prints. We are particularly interested in photographs that can be identified as to time, place, buildings or people, or other subject matter. Unless the photograph is of unusual interest, we normally will not accept 20th-century photographs without a basic subject identification (for example, "farm building in Frederick County in the early 20th century").
Due to the fact that we receive many requests for copies of the images in our collections, we ask that if you own the copyright on the images, you grant to MdHS the right to reproduce, display, publish, and sell copies of the image.
Please consider donating your Maryland-related photographs to the Maryland Historical Society.
To donate photographs, please contact the Special Collections Librarian at 410-685-3750, ext. 327, or email@example.com. If we are not the right repository for your collection, we will try to help you find an appropriate institution.
Donate Genealogical Research
One resource for genealogical researchers is research done by others. People have been submitting that research to the MdHS for more than 100 years.
If you have done research on Maryland families and would like to donate copies to share with other researchers, we would be happy to accept it if you sources are documented in detail, the material is well-organized, and it relates to one or more Maryland families.
For your donation, please:
- Remove all staples, metal clips, rubber bands, and similar materials, except for plastic paper clips.
- Submit your material already organized in a logical fashion, whether that be by family group, chronology, or some other method.
- Send a letter clearly stating that you are donating this material and giving permission to duplicate and distribute it. This will allow us to photocopy, scan, microfilm, or otherwise preserve it. It also will allow us to give other researchers the right to copy material to the extent allowed by copyright law's "Fair Use" provisions.
- Include either in the above letter or on a separate piece of paper a one-paragraph description of the material, listing the related family names included in it; see our existing G Collections descriptions for examples.
To donate genealogical research materials, please contact Francis O’Neill, senior reference librarian, at 410- 685-3750, ext. 358, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donate Home Movies or Other Moving Images
If you have home movies, videocassettes, or other unique moving images that document events in Maryland history or the lives of Marylanders, please consider donating them. We are interested in materials:
- That document Marylanders' participation in events in local and national history, such as wars, the civil rights movement, natural disasters, or opening of the Bay Bridge, and in such everyday activities as workplaces, home-based activities, recreation, and holiday celebrations.
- That are original or a second-generation copy, because otherwise the quality probably will not be good enough for reproduction.
- That have identifiable people, events, places, and/or time periods. Unidentified footage does not have much archival value.
- For which intellectual property rights may be transferred to the MdHS. For future preservation efforts, it is important that we actually own the rights to the material. We also need to own the rights for the purpose of displaying the material in exhibits, documentaries, or other public forms; providing reproductions to others; and granting permission to others to use the materials in exhibits, documentaries, or other public forms. Please see the National Film Preservation Board's "Depositing Film with Archives: A Guide to the Legal Issues" for further information.
To donate moving images, please contact the Special Collections Librarian at 410-685-3750, ext. 327, or email@example.com. Please do not send materials without contacting us first!
Donate Maps, Prints, Ephemera, and
MdHS would be happy to receive donations of additional items for these collections, if they are Maryland-related, do not duplicate current holdings, and are in good condition (for pre-1900 materials, we may accept items that are not in good condition if they are unique).
For maps, please check our Online Map Inventory to see if we already have a copy. If we do not, please contact us to see if we would like to add your map to our collection. If we do have a copy of the map you’d like to donate, but its condition is noted in the inventory as being poor, please contact us, as we would rather have a copy that is in better shape.
For prints and broadsides, we have only a small part of our collection listed online. Please contact us to determine our interest.
For ephemera, we collect in a variety of categories. Please see How to Find Ephemera for a complete listing of the categories.
If you would like to donate any of the above materials or if you have other items to donate, please contact the Special Collections Librarian at 410-685-3750, ext. 327, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Maryland Historical Society
The MdHS is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. MdHS staff, however, is not allowed by IRS rules to appraise donations to establish their value. The IRS requires that be done by independent appraisers hired by the donor, if the donor is claiming a value of $5,000 or more. If a donor is claiming a value below $5,000, the donor can estimate the value but must be able to provide justification for the estimate, such as what similar items have sold for at auction.