Latest Books



Betsy Bonaparte

Helen Jean Burn

Over the past 130 years, Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte has inspired countless books, movies, articles, and fictionalized accounts, yet none captures the full measure of her fascinating life. The product of thirty years of study, Helen Jean Burn’s life of Betsy Bonaparte surpasses its predecessors in scope, depth, and soul.

Born in Baltimore to a wealthy family in 1785, Elizabeth Patterson shook local and Parisian society when she wed Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the Emperor Napoleon. Determined to secure a better future for his brother, the emperor annulled the marriage, but not before it produced a son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte. Shrewd and successful in real estate dealings, Betsy's quest to win royal status for her son and grandsons consumed the remainder of her ninety-four years.

Helen Jean Burn spent most of her working life in television, and as head writer for Maryland Public Television, specialized in historical documentaries. She is the author of two books: Savannah, a historical novel, and Better than the Birds, Smarter than the Bees: No Nonsense Answers to Honest Questions about Sex and Growing Up. She has also published work in such magazines as Redbook, McCall's, and Good Housekeeping.

Maryland Historical Society

page count, 244
6x9, 24 illustrations ISBN, -0-9842135-0-4 0-9842135-0-3 Price $34 / £17.50 hc

 Combat Correspondents

Combat Correspondents

The Baltimore Sun in World War II

Joseph R.L. Sterne

The Baltimore Sun covered World War II with an outstanding team of combat correspondents, among them three future Pulitzer Prize winners. The correspondents witnessed momentous events: Anzio and Cassino; D-Day; Black Christmas in the Bulge; the crossing of the Rhine; the link up with the Russians on the Elbe; the German surrender at Rheims; the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa; and the Japanese surrender on the U.S.S. Missouri.

They took enormous risks. Price Day was in action at Anzio and Cassino; Holbrook Bradley landed with the 29th Division on the Normandy beaches. Lee McCardell narrowly escaped death when a bomb exploded near his jeep. Howard Norton was on a subchaser when a Japanese shell killed most of its crew. Philip Heisler’s escort carrier nearly capsized in a typhoon.

They filed stories from the front lines of history. Norton scooped the world on the execution of Mussolini. Day and McCardell were among the first to file stories on Nazi atrocities and death camps. The doyen of these correspondents, Mark Watson, wrote prescient articles on military strategy. All of them sent back gritty stories of the endurance and humor of ordinary G.I.s.

This was a time when correspondents wore uniforms, censors could block their stories, and journalists wrote on portable typewriters and traveled dozens of miles to file their stories. Enjoying a personal freedom of movement and decision-making unknown in today’s electronic era, these newspaper men were working at a time when print journalism was the prime medium for news. Their dispatches, which reported the war with the immediacy of real time, make up the core of this book.

Joseph R.L. Sterne is himself a veteran reporter, not unfamiliar with war zones. His career at the Baltimore Sun spanned over four decades, as reporter, bureau chief in London and Bonn, a roving correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, assistant bureau chief in Washington DC, and editorial page editor for a record twenty-five years. He has known all the wartime correspondents personally.

Publication of this work was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Press of the Maryland Historical Society

page count, 256
ISBN, 0-938420-03-8 pub date, November 2009 Price $34

 Chesapeake Ferries

Chesapeake Ferries

A Waterborne Tradition, 1636–2000

By Clara Ann Simmons

Clara Ann Simmons moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore more than fifty years ago and marveled at this land of rivers and creeks and bays. A journalist by profession, she became fascinated with water travel in the Chesapeake region, that intricate network of connections “that set the traveler on his way so that he might continue his journey.”

Thus opens an engaging and gracefully written narrative that takes the reader from the earliest days of colonial settlement when all who journeyed through the region crossed the waterways, to the age of bridge building that changed forever the way people reach their destinations. Beautifully illustrated with dozens of photographs and maps, Chesapeake Ferries is a tribute to the region’s maritime past.

Publication of this work was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Press of the Maryland Historical Society

page count, 144
trim size, 81/2 x 11 binding, paper ISBN, 0-938420-78-X pub date, June 2009 Price $34 MdHS Steward Member Price $22.10


Treasure in the Cellar: A Tale of Gold in Depression-Era Baltimore

By Leonard Augsburger

Coin collectors and enthusiasts have long been familiar with the story of two boys who unearthed a fortune in gold coins while playing in a Baltimore basement in 1934. But the rest of the story trailed off while playing in a Baltimore basement in 1934. But the rest of the story trailed off to a few odd details. Lifelong coin collector Lenonard Augsburger uncovered the rest on the story. What happened to the kids? The gold? Who buried it in the first place?

Publication Date, September 2008. Paper, $26.00. ISBN 978-0-938420-97-6. 35% discount with select MdHS membershhips. To order call the MdHS, 410-685-3750 x363, or contact our distributor, Johns Hopkins University Press, 410-516-6965.


Publication of this work was made possible by the generous support of the Friends of the Press of the Maryland Historical Society.


A Maryland Sampling: Girlhood Embroidery 1738-1860
By Gloria Seaman Allen, Ph. D.
ISBN 938420-98-4

A Maryland Sampling brings together for the first time a rich collection of Maryland samplers and pictorial embroideries and the stories of the girls who created them. With more than 150 color photographs-most never before published-the book showcases the most skillful, unusual, and interesting aspects of Maryland girlhood embroidery, illustrating regional, religious, and racial diversity. This beautifully crafted book will appeal to many, including modern day embroiderers, students of women’s history, the decorative arts, and Maryland history Unique to Maryland are the antebellum samplers and needlework pictures worked by African American girls-primarily daughters of Baltimore’s free blacks. Appendices provide researchers with names of all documented examples of Maryland needlework and all documented schools and teachers, as well as a list of all students known to have worked silk pictorial embroideries at Saint Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Order Now.


 Challengine Slavery


Challenging Slavery in the Chesapeake: Black and White Resistance to Human Bondage, 1775-1865
By T. Stephen Whitman
ISBN 938420-96-8

The very cradle of American slavery, the Chesapeake, brought forth vigorous resistance to that terrible institution. Now T. Stephen Whitman (Author of The Price of Freedom) describes the ideas, attitudes, and complex human relationships that gave it form and momentum. Following the Revolution, in which large numbers of blacks sought their freedom by fighting for the British, a largely white abolition movement born of religious beliefs and revolutionary idealism flowered briefly, then fell into lingering decline by the 1850s. Rising from these pages are the idealists-Benjamin Lundy, William Lloyd Garrison, William Still, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Frederick Dougless- whose pens and voices would not be stilled. Here, too, are the warriors- Harriet Tubman, Gabriel, Nat Turner, William Parker, John Brown. As formidable as they were, their struggle to end slavery would have failed but for the thousands of men and women, enslaved and free, who changed history with individual acts of determination and defiance.Order Now.