The meeting was called to order by Chairman Bell at 12:20 p.m.Attendees and Introduction of Special Guests
Dr. Papenfuse welcomed the Ottenritters and Butlers to the meeting to thank them for the gift of surveyors records which is of great interest to the Archives. The Archives has been working hard to preserve and care for oversized materials that exist in the courts throughout the State, particularly plats and recordation of surveys of property. The more oversized materials are used, the more rapidly they deteriorate. There is a project underway with the courts and, with the help of the Land Records Improvement Fund, to implement county by county image-based retrieval of all condominium, subdivision and survey plats, starting with Baltimore County. Dr. Papenfuse said it was providential that we were offered this wonderful collection of survey materials relating to Baltimore County that was still in private hands and which needed a good home and good care. It includes a wonderful edition of the 1915 Bromley Atlas which is a very carefully done atlas of Baltimore City and parts of Baltimore County. Its owner was a surveyor who annotated all of the work he did, so it provides a key to his collection as well.
Dr. Papenfuse introduced another special guest, Dr. Lois Green Carr, the world's leading authority on 17th and 18th century Maryland. Dr. Papenfuse recommended an award-winning article of Dr. Carr's, The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland, which explains what life was like for women in the 17th and into the 18th century, as well as her book Robert Cole's World: Agriculture and Society in Early Maryland. Dr. Carr helped the Archives get a grant to preserve her research notes which are an invaluable treasure trove of biographical data on 17th and 18th Century Marylanders, and now will be made available on line at the Archives' web site.
Other staff recognized by Dr. Papenfuse included Kathy Beard who handles all administration and coordination for these meetings; Mimi Calver who works with the State House Trust; Pat Melville who handles publication of the Archivists' Bulldog; Lynne MacAdam, the Archives' web master who handles all of our web-based activities and some of our publications; and Ray Connor who is handling the video taping of this meeting.
Standing in for the President of the Senate is Vicki Fretwell, and Jeff Bishop is representing the President of St. John's College.
Mr. Bishop reported very bad news: the tree was severely damaged in Hurricane Floyd and is cracked down the middle. Many tree experts have been consulted, and the only advice they can give is that the tree should be cut down as it is unstable and a safety hazard. A fence has been put around it to keep people away and, because of the tree's instability, people have been moved from one end of one building. The Bartlett Tree Company, which has been taking care of it for 40 years, won't even prune it back and secure it even if they are indemnified against adverse consequences. After a meeting at the College, it was decided that St. John's does not wish to be responsible for cutting down the Liberty Tree. Mr. Bishop said that while St. John's has protected it, they do not own the Liberty Tree. the College would like to prune it back, secure it, and build an appropriate fence so people can view it from afar. However, he cannot find anyone to do the work and will probably have to call on the resources of the State. The tree is 100 feet tall and will require from 700-800 feet of fence.
Secretary Richkus asked how an appeal to the State would be made, and Mr. Bishop responded that it has one of the greatest fans in William Donald Schaefer who would certainly be an advocate. Secretary Richkus said she was sure that the Cabinet would give a lot of support. Mr. Bishop suggested referring it to the Board of Public Works on an emergency basis. Secretary Richkus said she could press the issue on an emergency basis; however, it is a matter of identifying it as State interest. She asked Mr. Bishop if she could get back to him with a suggestion.
Dr. Papenfuse said that the tree is beyond its normal life by probably
50-70 years because of the way it has been cared for and there are numerous
saplings that have been taken from it. There is one growing in Kew
Gardens in London and there is one on Lafayette Street in Annapolis.
It would be appropriate to think in terms of a benign death of the Liberty
Tree and the return of the tree from one of its saplings. It could
be a combined decision not only to save what can be saved but also how
the future memory of the tree is perpetuated. Mr. Bishop added that
there is a 110 year old offspring of the Liberty Tree on St. John's campus
planted by the DAR in 1889. Secretary Richkus also noted that the
Tree is being cloned as part of Maryland 2000. Treasurer Dixon asked
how much money was involved in the repair of the tree. Mr. Bishop
said that the cost to take one limb down which is severely cracked is $4,000
and to put up a 700-800 fence is $50,000-$60,000.
Upon motion by Dr. Ridgway, seconded by Secretary Richkus, and unanimously approved, a resolution of thanks was given to Dr. Carr for all of her good work and for making it possible to make these notes available through this grant.
Dr. Ridgway asked if there was any damage to the records. Dr.
Papenfuse said for the most part there was not. There was some water
leaking on a work area where we had some plat materials out. A little
bit more disturbing is if water gets into any of the stack areas, it creates
a potential for mold, but the stack area was well-designed. Dr. Papenfuse
is very grateful to Secretary Richkus and her staff for addressing this
For the first time in 25 years the Archives has a baseline budget that begins to cover all but the value added (records description and interpretation) services of the Archives. The over the CPS requests for general funds include the Archives of Maryland project, called Maryland Legal History On-Line, which was jump-started by the Information Technology fund this year. Because the Archives can't go back to the Fund twice for the same project, an estimated at $1.1 million over 10 years has been placed in an Over the CPS Request as a Managing for Results project. If the Archives get this money, every legislative proceeding, every law Maryland ever passed, all of the constitutional conventions - the core documents of understanding what Maryland is - will be available on-line, indexable and retrievable.
Other Over the CPS requests include:
1) two very special, important collections that have come to our attention that are of state-wide importance. One is the I. Henry Phillips Collection of negatives which is of profound value to the African-American community. They are in terrible shape and are owned by a decendent of Henry Phillips, a photographer for the Afro-American who covered the period from the 1930s to the near present. There are about 10,000-12,000 negatives that need to be scanned, preserved and brought on-line. If the Archives can get matching funds from the legislature, it raise the additional matching funds. The project will cost about $202,000 over several fiscal years. The second collection, the Martenet Collection, is of survey records going back to the 1860s that are state-wide in their import. Simon J. Martenet has a huge collection of plats, maps and materials to which they are willing to raise matching funds to get preserved in an imaging way. The Archives is asking for a matching fund grant to get this project underway as well.
2) preserving newspapers. The Archives is not being funded to preserve newspapers and, as a result, this major source of information is dying on our hands. The paper is crumbling and is going to disappear. A fair amount of microfilming has been done of major newspapers, but the county newspapers and those that relate to the substance of what has happened in various localities are not being preserved in an archival context.
3) public art for public display. The Archives has identified the need for a conservation assessment of its extensive art collection.
4) providing digital copies of records on demand. This Over the CPS Request was suggested by one of the members of the House Appropriations Committee who questioned why the Archives could not provide a digital copying service that would be able to turn around requests for copies in one or two days rather than the 7-15 days it currently takes. Dr. Papenfuse is asking for equipment to follow through on this request.
5) additional shelving. If the Archives is going to care for the paper public records of this state, it needs to continue to have a temporary storage facility where appraisal can be conducted and where there is sufficient shelving to accommodate the records.
6) historic structures report for the State House. It is going to take help from the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the President and the Speaker to ensure that the historic building they share is properly documented so that when such necessary improvements as a fire suppression system is installed, the historical fabric of the building is not destroyed or severely compromised. While considerable attention has been paid to the exterior of the building, such as the good work that was done in replacing the Acorn, little attention has been given to documenting the interior.
Ms. Fretwell asked what was the total Over the CPS Request for this year, and Dr. Papenfuse said it was about $800,000.
Dr. Ridgway made a motion in support of Dr. Papenfuse's budget letter to Frederick W. Puddester, Secretary of the Department of Budget & Management, it was seconded by Secretary Richkus and unanimously approved with discussion at the request of Treasurer Dixon. The Treasurer said that the motion should include the total anticipated surplus to exceed $1 million to put it in proper perspective.
Dr. Papenfuse reviewed the following speaking engagements in which he is directly involved over the next few weeks to give the Commission an idea of the kinds of special events with which he is directly involved, and also the kinds of things the Archives does in a recurring way:
The CD can be accessed directly or off of the Archives web site. As an example, Dr. Papenfuse took the commission to the section of the Atlas showing where he now lives in Roland Park. William Whitney put deed references for every piece of property he worked on. So, to do a title search on a piece of property that you know about and have a rough idea of where it is, you can go in on the 1915 atlas, find that citation, and go back to the Archives' index to subdivision plats and maps in Baltimore County and find any plat that is associated with that deed reference. The Bromley Atlas is a remarkable volume and a wonderful addition to our collection, and Dr. Papenfuse again thanked Mrs. Ottenritter for giving to the Archives.
Dr. Ridgway motioned for a resolution of thanks, seconded by Mr. Nelson and unanimously approved, the Chairman concurring.
The next Hall of Records Commission meeting will be at the call of the Chair sometime in March or April 2000.
Before closing, Secretary Richkus told the Commission that the following afternoon from 4:00-6:00 p.m., there would be a Preservation awards ceremony at the Paca House. DGS, who managed the State House Acorn project, will be receiving recognition for the role it played. Secretary Richkus' predecessor, Mr. Gene Lynch, will also be there. Dr. Papenfuse said that DGS did a wonderful job on this project. He noted that it was a project of the State House Trust and that the Lt. Governor played a very critical and positive role in seeing to it that it would be done properly. Ms. Calver indicated that the Lt. Governor is being honored as well at the ceremonies.
On a motion by Dr. Ridgway seconded by Mr. Nelson, the meeting adjourned at 1:21 p.m., the Chairman concurring.
Edward C. Papenfuse
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