Traveling with a Large Flag and a Small Document

From the desk of
Burt Kummerow

Volume 3 Issue 5
May 1, 2014

Dear Reader,

During the last week in April, a group of us, business guests and Maryland Historical Society Trustees and staffers, assembled in the Society's Park Avenue Courtyard. It was a fine spring evening, sunny with a stout breeze. The anticipation mounted as we opened the nondescript plastic container and everyone formed two lines. Out came a large jumble of red, white and blue wool bunting.

We were preparing to unfurl our own 15 Stripe and Star Spangled Banner, a lovingly hand sewn Replica of the original now preserved and displayed at the Smithsonian. In July and August, 2013, our loyal band of stitchers had welcomed thousands of other volunteers, each eager to place their own stitch and create some crowd sourcing history.
Guests at our Business Reception unfurl the Star-Spangled Banner Replica 

Now, after raising the completed flag at Ft. McHenry and unfurling it in the Maryland Statehouse, we were again unfurling our version of "Old Glory" for our special guests. We all searched for edges as the pile of cloth was carefully stretched out. The excitement was palpable as it grew and grew. Many hands were soon grasping the giant flag that stretched over much of the courtyard. Everyone took a moment to reflect on an always memorable moment.

This impressive ceremony will be repeated many times as Maryland's own Star Spangled Banner travels throughout the Old Line State in the next few months. We are in high gear as we partner with the historic Schooner Pride of Baltimore II and all the partners who are devoted to making this 1812 Bicentennial year unforgettable. In September, our flag will be front and center at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine as we reenact the moment in 1814 when Francis Scott Key saw his flag defiantly flying in the face of a British onslaught.

Our special part in all these important commemorations is even more historic because of a tiny document now on display among hundreds of other artifacts in our In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812 exhibit gallery. Our original version of the National Anthem, penned by Francis Scott Key on September 16, 1814, will be traveling to eager audiences at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in late June. For the very first time, document will join the original flag for a patriotic and historic occasion that will move the nation.

We invite you to follow our bicentennial pilgrimage, remembering a battle and a song that saved a young country. Come one and all! Join us as we commemorate our Star Spangled Year! Help us give our ancestors three hearty huzzahs!

See Our Star-Spangled Banner
Replica In May and June!

Richard Troxell performs the National Anthem in front of our Star-Spangled Banner replica during the opening day baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, Monday, March 31, 2014, in Baltimore.
Photo: Patrick Semansky, AP
Our replica Star-Spangled Banner flag accurately represents the 30 x 42-foot banner that flew over Fort McHenry and inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Made entirely by hand, bearing fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, the replica Star-Spangled Banner flag was created by over 200 'stitchers' and more than 1,000 volunteers at the Maryland Historical Society in the summer of 2013, using authentic fabric and hand stitching techniques - just like Mary Pickersgill did in the summer of 1813.

Most recently, the flag was seen at the Baltimore Orioles' Opening Day festivities. In March, it was proudly carried aboard the Pride of Baltimore II to Annapolis for Maryland Day celebrations with The Fort McHenry Guard.

Now, in commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the National Anthem, the flag is on the move once again!

So mark your calendars; you will be able to see it at the following commemorations in May and June! We will continue to update you with flag events throughout the spring and summer.

May Star-Spangled Banner Replica Appearances
May 3   |   10 AM - 5 PM   |   Havre de Grace
War Of 1812 Commemoration

Visit the Lock House as the British once again storm Havre de Grace! There will be an encampment, demonstrations, and period vendors.
Price: Free
Contact: Susquehanna Museum of HdG at the Lock House
Phone: 410-939-5780
May 10   |   9 AM - 5 PM
Marlborough Day 2014

This year's Parade Grand Marshall is the Upper Marlboro Historic Committee, in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the town's role in the War of 1812 and our national anthem. Our SSB will be a part of the celebrations.
June Star-Spangled Banner Replica Appearances
June 6-8 (See our flag on June 7)   |   Leonardtown
Raiders & Invaders Weekend

Friday and Saturday in Leonardtown, it's music, street theater, food, brews and fun along the waterfront. Sunday, experience the rich history and culture of the entire St. Mary's peninsula. It's all just a short drive south of D.C. and Baltimore.
June 21 and 22   |   St. Leonard
Battle of St. Leonard's Creek

This year's Parade Grand Marshall is the Upper Marlboro Historic Committee, in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the town's role in the War of 1812 and our national anthem. Our SSB will be a part of the celebrations.

Coming Soon! A 'Google Map' of 1815 Baltimore

A model of an 1815-era home that will be
featured on our map
As mentioned in previous issues of History Alive, for the past year, the Maryland Historical Society has been working with UMBC researchers at the Imaging Research Center (IRC) to construct a map of 1815-era Baltimore.

It is a true collaborative effort. The bicentennial of the War of 1812 has provided an opportunity for the IRC to use experience gained from its 'Visualizing Early Washington, DC' project to develop an accurate map and 3D depiction of the Baltimore cityscape circa 1815, shortly after the bombing of Fort McHenry.

"Baltimore was an awful big city to rebuild," says project director Dan Bailey with a laugh. Early Baltimore was such a dynamic and successful city that it inspired many new Americans to call it home and the British to call it a 'nest of pirates.'

By 1815, Baltimore's population had exploded, growing from a small town to the third largest city in the United States. By creating this map, IRC researchers and the Maryland Historical Society aim to convey a sense of Baltimore's prominence as a seaport and commercial hub for the country.

And the map is, in a word, amazing.

We recently had a chance to meet with Dan and the rest of the IRC team and check in on their progress. They showed us JPEG mockups of the city and the different points of interest they are building, one brick at a time.

Accuracy Is Key

To create the topography, Environmental Data Manager Joshua Cole and his students digitized historic topographic maps and deduced how the early landscapes of Baltimore and nearby watersheds appeared.

Tamara Peters, IRC researcher and artist, has spent more than a year consulting maps, paintings, photographs, written descriptions, and scholars to determine what Baltimore structures would have existed in 1815 and how they would have appeared at that time. For example, she found the 1815 Baltimore Directory and went through it, page by page, to determine the street names used at that time and the exact areas of development to map out the appropriate buildings.

Tamara also worked with the National Park Service's Historic Structures Report to model Fort McHenry. Her efforts have been exhaustive, and no detail has been spared - right down to the correct placement of a Sentry Box in one corner of the Star Fort!

Undergraduate interns are using Tamara's research to create 3D computer models of various Baltimore row houses, churches, and other landmark buildings that made up the early Baltimore scene. Technical Director, Ryan Zuber, ensures that all of these models, along with the terrain, trees, and other elements, can be brought together for a computer to effectively render out the final product.

Check Out the Installation in June

We can't wait to unveil the map at our museum in June. Our members will get a 'first glimpse' of the map at our Annual Meeting on June 18 at 5:00 p.m. The map will be on public view beginning June 19, 2014. It will serve as the gateway to our 1812 exhibit, In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812.

The installation will include two screens: a touchscreen 3D map of Baltimore, and a larger projection screen so that multiple visitors can enjoy the experience.

By touching a point on the screen, you can 'zoom in,' just like on Google Maps, to a point of interest. A full, historically accurate view of the building's façade will appear as well as information about its relevance in history.

Supplementing this fascinating digital imagery will be images of primary sources from our own Maryland Historical Society collection. For example, when a visitor clicks on the image of the Indian Queen Hotel, the site where Francis Scott Key likely penned the "Star-Spangled Banner" poem after the Battle of Baltimore, you will be able to see handwritten receipts of a tavern bill by patrons of the time.

It is an awesome (and awe-inspiring) project, and we can't wait to unveil it to you in June! We wish to thank the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation for their funding support. For more information about the other fascinating projects the IRC is working on, click here.

More May Events At
The Maryland Historical Society

Citizen Stand: Battle of Baltimore 1814
Friday, May 2   |   6 PM

Baltimore School for the Arts Students
Baltimore School for the Arts students perform at Fort McHenry
Imagine learning about history - not just by reading about dates and generals in your high school textbook, but rather, by investigating the little-known, personal stories behind historical events.

Then imagine having the chance to act out these stories wearing historically accurate clothing.

Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Every spring, students at The Baltimore School for the Arts do just that. The school's Sophomore Stage Production Ensemble has the opportunity to conduct research on historical Baltimore events at the Maryland Historical Society. The students then use this material to create and act out performances about life in Baltimore during critical moments in time.

This innovative program is called Citizen Stand.

Now in its sixth year, this free production includes three short plays written by faculty and student playwrights. The plays are inspired both by the stories found in primary sources - and the students themselves.

The really interesting part about Citizen Stand is the fact that students in the Sophomore Production Ensemble don't focus on well-known historical figures. Rather, they choose stories about the everyday people who lived through an important moment in our country's history.

"[The performance is] more about the unity it brought to us -- the soldiers losing their lives, the families having to sit in fear as they witnessed bombs hitting Baltimore," student Julian Owens tells WBAL-TV.

This year's production focuses on the War of 1812. Students present three dramatic scenes about the Battle of Baltimore and Francis Scott Key composing the Star-Spangled Banner:

1) Woman of all Work, by Nora Worthington, explores the role of women behind the front lines. Working women and officer's wives find themselves ordered to leave the Fort as preparations for the battle begin. What will everyday people do if the British burn their city?
2) Loyalties Tested, by Natalie Pilcher, highlights the diverse experience of free and enslaved African Americans during the war. Brothers and sisters, black and white, free and enslaved, find themselves on Hampstead Hill in a frantic effort to defend the city from advancing forces. Who is obligated to defend the city, and who may actually join the British to gain their freedom?
3) The Common Defense, by Paul Christensen, illustrates how Jewish and Quaker citizens reconciled their religious convictions to defend their homeland. As the British bombard Fort McHenry, citizens of Baltimore anxiously await the outcome in a nearby tavern. How have Jewish and Quaker citizens reconciled their religious convictions with their passionate desire to defend their homes?

The performances, which began in April, were hosted at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. The final performance will take place at the Maryland Historical Society tomorrow, May 2, at 6pm. This performance is free and open to the public. Join us!

To register, click here.

Racing the Times: A Celebration of Maryland's
Thoroughbred Heritage
Tuesday, May 13   |   6-8 PM

Woodlawn Vase
Woodlawn Vase
Join us for a celebration of Maryland's Thoroughbred Heritage. The famous Woodlawn Vase will be on display before it moves to Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes. Preview "Racing the Times," the epic story of Maryland's 400 year history with horses. Light refreshments will be served.

Presented by: Brown Advisory, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Please RSVP by May 9 by calling Rachel Crone at 410-685-3750 Ext 399 or emailing

Pricing: $25/person.

To register, click here.

The B-More Social Hunt & After-Party
Thursday, May 15   |   6:30 - 9:30 PM
Theme: BYOB (bring your own bowtie or boa)

B-More Social Hun 
To register for The B-More Social Hunt, click here.

A New Look at the MdHS Quilt Collection and Afternoon Tea
Sunday, May 18   |   1 - 4 PM

Quilt, Baltimore, Maryland, Maryland Historical Society, 1983.31.1.05-detail
On May 18th from 1 to 4, quilt aficionados will gather to learn more about the work of the Baltimore Appliqué Society at the Maryland Historical Society and view the newly installed quilts from the museum's collection. In addition, participants will enjoy a lovely afternoon tea and an opportunity to view a few rare quilts up-close.

"Of all the collections at the Maryland Historical Society, our quilt collection ranks among the museum's most important. Few objects at the museum receive as much attention, both national and international, as our Baltimore album quilts," remarked Alexandra Deutsch, Chief Curator.

For the past two years, members of the Baltimore Applique Society have dutifully volunteered at the museum, meticulously cataloguing and rehousing the entire quilt collection. This is the first time all of the quilts in the collection have been given close attention. Although the Album Quilts have always been of paramount scholarly interest, there are other quilts in the collection that are historically and aesthetically-significant and through the Quilt Assessment Project, headed up by BAS members, the museum staff now knows so much more about the quilt collection as a whole. "These volunteers have been like a quilt "think tank" and have taught the museum staff so much. The event on May 18th is a celebration of the BAS's lasting and remarkable commitment to the museum and its quilt collection.

Pricing/Further Information: $35/Baltimore Applique Society members;
$45/MdHS members; $55/nonmembers
In partnership with the Baltimore Appliqué Society

To register, click here.

Special Curator's Tour
Gossipmongers Set Atwitter: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte
Thursday, May 22   |   6 PM

Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Massot
Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, Firmin Massot, 1823, MdHS, XX.5.69.
In 1814, Elizabeth wrote to Dolley Madison, her friend and confidante, "[the] Public are so malicious & so much pleased when people meet with disappointments that I wish to avoid gratifying them again at my expense." Since her marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoléon's brother, Elizabeth's life had gratified a gossip hungry public. The glamour of her union, followed by the devastating annulment of the marriage by Napoléon in 1805, provided perfect fodder for a public who found a famous person's "disappointments" titillating.

Perhaps the most fascinating element of speaking about Elizabeth is that even today the aspect of "gossip" is central to the discussion. Assumptions are made about Elizabeth based on the same stereotypes of celebrity we embrace today. She was beautiful therefore no one thinks of her intelligence and business acumen. Her figure was stunning therefore she must have flaunted it as a celebrity would today. Men adored her therefore she must have had a romantic life worthy of comment.

Despite the fact that she lived her life without scandal in the modern sense, it is still viewed as scandalous.

Please join us as Chief Curator Alexandra Deutsch guides visitors through the exhibition Woman of Two Worlds: Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte and Her Quest for an Imperial Legacy. This special tour will focus on the gossip surrounding Elizabeth's marriage and lifestyle. Light refreshments will be served. This event is FREE for MdHS members; $20/nonmembers. Space is limited, please RSVP.

Pricing: FREE for MdHS members; $20/nonmembers

To register, click here.

Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author Event! 
The Slave War of 1812 in the Chesapeake
Lecture presented by Alan Taylor
Thursday, May 22   |   6 - 8 PM (Lecture at 6:30 PM)

Internal Enemy
During the War of 1812, Royal Navy warships pushed into Chesapeake Bay and up the Potomac River to punish the United States for declaring war against the British Empire. The Royal Navy attacked the region as the home of the national capital, as a heartland of economic resources. The naval raids created an opportunity for the enslaved to escape and become free. Hundreds enlisted in the British service as sailors and marines or served as laundresses and nurses. And their assistance helped the British to capture Washington, D.C. and later to attack Baltimore. After the war, the refugees became free in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Trinidad.

Taylor recently was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History for his scholarly work. This is an event you definitely won't want to miss. We expect tickets will sell out early, so get yours today!

Pricing/Further Information: $10/person.
Light refreshments will be served.
In partnership with Fort McHenry National Historic Site and Shrine.

To register, click here.

Book Launch
Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings
Maritime Lecture presented by Craig Symonds
Thursday, May 29   |   6 - 8 PM (Lecture at 6:30 PM)

Seventy years ago, more than six thousand Allied ships carried more than a million soldiers across the English Channel to a fifty-mile-wide strip of the Normandy coast in German-occupied France. It was the greatest sea-borne assault in human history. The code names given to the beaches where the ships landed the soldiers have become immortal: Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, and especially Omaha, the scene of almost unimaginable human tragedy. The sea of crosses in the cemetery sitting today atop a bluff overlooking the beaches recalls to us its cost.

As you know, this June marks the 70th anniversary of The D-Day Invasion. Symonds' new novel couldn't come at a better time. Get your tickets while you can.

Pricing/Further Information: $10/MdHS members; $15/nonmembers
Light refreshments will be served.
Lecture organized by the MdHS Maritime Committee.

To register, click here.

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Speaking of Trivia...

Trivia Time!

Mary Pickersgill and the Flag
Mary Pickersgill Making the Star-Spangled Banner, R McGill Mackall, ca. 1976, MdHS, 1976.80.61
Congratulations to everyone who correctly answered last month's question! After creating the lasting legacy of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag, seamstress Mary Pickersgill dedicated her efforts and served as President to another benevolent cause that still serves Marylanders today. The institution now bears her name in honor of her service there, but its original name was The Impartial Female Humane Society.

This early 19th-century benevolent organization was established to assist distressed women in Baltimore, Maryland. The society was formed in 1802 and incorporated in 1811. Its most noted president was Mary Pickersgill, who served from 1828 to 1851. Under Pickersgill, the society opened an Aged Women's Home in 1851. The home, which was supplemented with a men's home in 1864, became the focus of the society, and today the organization has evolved into the Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson, Maryland.

Ready for this month's question?

Question: As we begin placing buildings on our fantastic new 3D Map of 1815 Baltimore, several landmarks really stick out. Name three Baltimore churches that are around today and would have existed back in 1815.

Email us your answer, and you, too, could win a prize! Best of luck.

Until next month,

Burton Kummerow
President, The Maryland Historical Society

Founded in 1844, The Maryland Historical Society Museum and Library occupies an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore. The society's mission is to "collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland's diverse cultural heritage." The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled "Maryland Historical Magazine." The Society is located at 201 W. Monument Street and open to the public Wednesday-Saturday from 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday (library only) 12 pm-5pm.