Calvert coin Archives' Bulldog
Newsletter of 
The Maryland State Archives
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Vol. 20 No. 5 August, 2006
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Interns, 2006
2006 Intern Class Photo

Standing (left to right):  Erin Troxell, Genevieve Goerling, Sarah Waller, Amber Robinson, Faith Erline, 
Allison Smith, Emily Tordo; Seated (left to right):  Ryan Cox, Cindy Thompson, Camille Manganello, Amy Huggins, Keith Swaney, Louis Malick (not pictured:  Christine Cohn and Anna Pritt)

Each summer the Archives offers paid internships to provide students with an opportunity to learn archival and historical methods in a professional setting.  High school, undergraduate, and graduate students attending Maryland institutions or Maryland residents attending out-of-state schools are eligible to apply.  In addition, students may participate in an abbreviated program for academic or community service credit.  This summer, the Archives hosted twenty students who worked on thirteen diverse projects throughout the agency. The following articles, authored by the students, describe their work which ranged from preserving collections both traditionally and electronically to geographical, demographical, and biographical research. We are extremely proud of their significant contributions, and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Beneath the Underground Railroad by Ryan Cox
Throughout the summer of 2006, the interns working on the Legacy of Slavery project were given major assignments which continued the development of the Study of the Underground Railroad in Maryland.For the first three weeks, we reviewed the 1830 United States Federal Census Records for BaltimoreCounty.In the 1830 Census, we looked for all households including slaves or free blacks, and those dwellings where blacks were listed as the heads of household.The 1830 Census does not provide information beyond the name of the head of the household, and the numbers of people that lived there, organized according to their age, race, and legal status.We entered the numbers into a database which is searchable online at:  Now, the information can be used to locate where blacks lived and worked in BaltimoreCounty, and to gain an understanding about how many were listed as “Free.”Researchers are now able to study trends and themes found by comparing census data from previous decades.

Our second assignment involved using local newspapers to find advertisements by people looking to either purchase slaves or sell them.We also located articles of those slaveholders who lost a slave or had one run away.I looked at the first newspaper printed in Baltimore County, the Baltimore County AdvocateIts focus was on printing information useful to those that lived in the rural areas of the county.Published by EleazarFentonChurch in 1850, the Advocate was a popular newspaper that was inspired and created when the county pressured BaltimoreCity to separate and become its own independent city.Most of the articles published inside the Advocate were those about new techniques, tools, and tips to assist farmers and laborers with their harvests, but not many advertisements discussed slaves and runaways.Of the articles printed that did mention slaves, they briefly described the runaway incidents and captures, but few ads were published about buying or selling slaves directly.

After the information from the census and newspapers was gathered, the interns were asked to write a synopsis about an aspect of our research that interested us.Some of the articles found in the Advocate revealed public sentiment during this time, particularly how subscribers viewed the Mason-Dixon Line and slavery in Maryland.Kidnappings in both Maryland and Pennsylvania were found to be of great interest in BaltimoreCounty during the 1850s.These subjects were discussed most likely because of the pivotal location of the Mason-Dixon Line, and the relation between Maryland (Slave State) and Pennsylvania (Free State).It was interesting to view how each state treated their neighboring state’s laws as they responded to the Compromise of 1850; especially with how the states reacted to the Fugitive Slave Law article included.In any trial or court case that occurred during the first half of the 1850s, the juries seemed to reflect the bias and prejudices that existed there.Slave catchers were viewed as kidnappers in Pennsylvania, and abolitionists were labeled as traitors for not assisting the deputies upholding the laws written in the Constitution of the United States and the Fugitive Slave Laws.From these articles informing readers about national events, and the opinions written by subscribers about those events, researchers can understand the growing schism of the nation from the perspective of the citizen who witnessed the country split and change before them. 

Runaway Ads by Genevieve Goerling

For most of the summer I worked with the resources of the Archives and the Underground Railroad Project to find connections between various records. Using information from the online biographies and slave narratives, I tried to locate the slaves and owners on maps, in runaway advertisements and within the records posted on http://mdlandrec.netMost of the connections were tenuous at best, but I did have some successes. Most notably, I found the record written in 1815 in which John Ferguson of Prince George’s County promised to manumit Thomas Smallwood at the age of thirty. 

In addition, I investigated the ages of runaway slaves for a short web presentation. Using a sample of approximately two thousand individuals drawn from runaway ads for seven counties, I analyzed the dispersion patterns of the number of slaves per age who fled. I then used the ex-slave narratives to find possible explanations for the patterns I had discovered. The combination of data and testimony provided insights into the rules of slave society as well as those individuals who broke the rules.The presentation will be posted online at

Exploring Antebellum BaltimoreCounty and the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland by Keith Swaney

My summer work focused on three projects for the Underground Railroad research initiative.I investigated the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, recording the names of heads of households where either free blacks or slaves lived, and noted the households that consisted entirely of black individuals; scanned runaway slave and domestic traffic advertisements from the Maryland Republican, an Annapolis-based newspaper, for 1851 to 1855; and researched the free black community of Baltimore County, concentrating on the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s.With the first two tasks, I entered data—including scanned images of the newspaper advertisements—into the Maryland Slavery Working Database, which will enable researchers to access this information via the “Beneath the Underground” website (

Each phase presented its own unique challenges, but also opportunities to learn from those challenges.When conducting research on free blacks of BaltimoreCounty, for example, I relied heavily on the 1840 Census, especially the households I had indicated as entirely black when the records were first stripped.The Census records, however, included neither occupational information nor name information on the individuals who resided within particular households.It was not until the 1850 Census that this information first appeared.Consequently, in preparing my essay, I was unable to determine much detailed information about the individual African-Americans who resided in BaltimoreCounty.Yet, in making my argument, I incorporated other primary sources in the account to show how free blacks were treated—and marginalized—by the larger community. 

These sources included original court dockets, newspapers, and legislation from the Archives of Maryland Online (  project.In locating significant free black settlements in antebellum BaltimoreCounty, moreover, I used two important maps: the J.C. Sidney and P.J. Browne Map of the City and County of Baltimore (1850) (see and Robert Taylor’s Map of the City and County of Baltimore from Actual Surveys (1857) (see, these maps helped me to locate African-American institutions—especially meeting houses where free blacks convened to practice their religion—within BaltimoreCounty.In a sense, therefore, the research combined primary sources, some secondary literature, and geographical analysis to demonstrate my thesis that free blacks navigated difficult waters in antebellum BaltimoreCounty.On the one hand, they played important roles in the growing economy becoming increasingly based on free labor and less on slave labor by the 1840s, while on the other hand were constantly under surveillance by the white community, which feared that free blacks might undermine law and order by conspiring with slaves, by stealing money and goods from community members, or by becoming rowdy and violent when assembled in large groups.

Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame by Amy Huggins

The Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame was established by the Maryland Commission for Women in 1985 and recognizes women from Maryland who “have made unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political, cultural, and social life of the state and to provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow’s female leaders.”Six women were inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and came from such varied backgrounds as social activism, medicine, fashion and art.Writing a total of ten biographies this summer, I had ample opportunity to delve into the lives of these extraordinary women. 

All of the women inducted into the Hall of Fame most certainly have contributed to the state in some way; however I personally feel that the women I researched this summer were beyond extraordinary.All showed perseverance and resiliency in the face of opposition, such as the well-known Bea Gaddy who continually worked to feed the hungry of Baltimore despite her own meager living, and the less well-known Hiltgunt Margret Zassenhaus who repeatedly defied the Nazi government, ultimately saving the lives of 1,200 Scandinavian political prisoners.Also researched was Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston, a woman who strove to become a doctor in a time when women were discouraged from entering the medical field; as did Dr. Liebe Sokol Diamond, whose success as a renowned pediatric orthopedic surgeon is only magnified by the fact that she faced nearly insurmountable physical deformities. 

I was fortunate enough to obtain many sources from the Enoch Pratt Library, as well as the Jewish Museum of Maryland in Baltimore and the University of MarylandCollege Park.These outside sources combined with the resources available here at the Archives added greatly to the biographies of the ten women I researched this summer.I sincerely enjoyed researching and recording the lives of such extraordinary women, capturing the richness of their personal experiences and creating a fuller, more complete understanding of the past.

2006 Martenet Interns
           From left to right:  Ronald Owen, Jr., Brian Oswinkle, Richard Brown, and Joshua Hood

The Martenet Project by Ronald Owen, Jr., Richard Brown, Joshua Hood, and Brian Oswinkle

This summer we had the pleasure of working on the Martenet project at S.J. Martenet and Company in Baltimore City. The Martenet project entails scanning of surveyor’s plats, maps, and field notes of Baltimore City and surrounding areas. The work was difficult and, at times, boring, but rewarding in that by the time one section was completed, we had gained both the experience and confidence to work on the next section. This gaining of experience and confidence is exactly what we came to acquire. Overall, the internship program ran smoothly and helped us learn marketable skills in a real work environment. 

African American Attorneys by Louis Malick 

My primary project this summer was to assist Research Archivist Owen Lourie, under the direction of Dr. Papenfuse, in his research for a forthcoming study on African-American lawyers in 20th century Baltimore.Owen’s primary focus is J. Steward Davis, who practiced from 1915 until his disappearance in 1929.My primary focus for the summer was George W. Evans, Davis’ partner from the time of his admission to the bar in late 1923 until the partnership dissolved in late 1928.Evans continued to practice on his own until his death in 1948, but my work this summer centered on his relationship to Davis.This entailed stripping BaltimoreCity court dockets for any references to Davis or Evans in an effort to compile a comprehensive list of cases in which they were involved.This is quite an extensive task, as Baltimore City had six courts at that time, collectively known as the Supreme Bench of Baltimore, each keeping their own dockets, sometimes as many as three or four for each year, ranging from 400 to 800 pages each.So far, the project has documented over 1300 cases for the years 1922 through 1929. 

Another project involved the Archives’ remote scanning operation at S.J. Martenet & Co. in Baltimore.The operation’s goal is to process and scan a massive amount of surveyors’ records from the Martenet and Bouldin firms, ranging from the late 18th century to the present and dealing with Baltimore and the surrounding area.My goal was to learn as much as possible about the project.Working under the direction of Saul Gibusiwa, I went over the processing and scanning procedures step by step and even processed a clamshell of records myself.I gained a much better appreciation for the project’s great scope and often tedious nature.Both projects provided further experience in archival research and processing and reflect the great breadth of work the Archives is currently undertaking. 

Women in Law by Amber Robinson 

The Women in Law summer interns collaborated together and with other Maryland State Archives staff to research women admitted to the Maryland Bar between the years of 1902 and 1975, 1902 being the admittance of the first woman, Henrietta (Etta) Maddox.We began by locating women through the online and original test book indices and online test cards.The test book indices gave us the women’s original signatures and their dates of admission.The online test cards were more valuable, only in the sense that some of them have been updated with name changes and dates of death.Because of the immense number of test cards and the fact that they were in alphabetical order rather than numerical order by year of admittance, it took us approximately the first two and one-half weeks to finish looking at the cards.

Now that we had names of women and possible women and their years of admittance to the Bar, we were able to compile the names into an Excel spreadsheet.On our original spreadsheet, we included the names of the women, their dates of admittance, and which test book and page they signed.Then we began the long process of going through the names of which we were not sure of the sex of the person, such as J. J. Moore and L. C. Reynolds.This was our main focus in the beginning and we used resources such as Heritage Quest for the U.S. Census Records, city directories, and the Martindale-Hubbel law directory to confirm women and eliminate men.We also continuously updated our spreadsheet, adding birth and death dates for the women, miscellaneous information, and law school information.During this time period, we had many meetings with Judge Deborah Eyler of the Court of Special Appeals and Judge Lynne Battaglia of the Court of Appeals, who have been greatly interested in the project and are working long-term to publish at least a two volume book on women admitted to the Bar during the time period of 1902-1975.We narrowed down the list by eliminating more men through resources such as Census records, death records,, and Lexis.We then created biographical files on each of the women, and as we did this, we came to know the women and became enthralled with and attached to their stories.

Towards the last few weeks of the internship program, we have researched the women in more depth, particularly those admitted between 1902 and 1930.This process includes going back through previous resources we utilized to find more information not only about the women lawyers, but also about their families.Like the judges, we were interested in finding connections between the women lawyers and trends among them, such as family members who were also lawyers or countries from where many of their families emigrated during a certain time period.Individually we stripped more information about chosen lawyers between the years of 1902 and 1930 in order to create biographical summary sheets to include with their files.We even wrote a few biographies on the women. 

Currently, we have seven hundred and forty-nine people on our spreadsheet, forty-five of which are possibly men.We have gone through various resources many times to try and confirm if these people are women or if they are men.We have made immense progress.

Throughout the Women in Law project, I have found quite a few women and their families who have interesting stories.Some of these anecdotes may have come from just a few Census records or many records and articles on the person. 

When asked if there is a trend in the earlier years of female admittance to the Bar of whether or not the women went on to practice law or if they chose another field as a career, the answer varies.For instance, Anna Grace Kennedy, reputed to have been the second woman admitted to the Maryland Bar (1906), apparently never practiced law.According to the 1910 U.S. Census Record, she became a public school teacher.Another woman, Helen Sherry (admitted 1923) joined her husband Louis H. Sherry at the law firm of Sherry & Sherry and was counsel in many trials.Lucie Marie Gueydan, who was admitted in 1928 to the Maryland Bar, subsequently moved to New York to work at the firm of Newbold Morris until the age of 78, when she retired and moved back to Maryland.

Another common question when dealing with women lawyers is if they ever married or if they remained single.That varies as well.Anna Grace Kennedy had not married by 1910, but she became a teacher instead of a lawyer, so she may have married sometime after but thus far, we have not found a record of it.Helen Sherry, as mentioned above, became a busy lawyer and married.It is possible that she and Louis Sherry remained married for their whole lives.Their marriage, however, might have prospered because they worked together in the same field.Lucie Marie Gueydan definitely never married.She became a lawyer and she seemed to be happy with just guiding her nieces and her great-nieces throughout her long life (she lived to be 101 years old)!Jeanette Rosner Wolman, who was admitted in 1924, also became a lawyer and married.She and her husband never separated. 

Not only were Jeanette and her husband lawyers, but their two sons, Benjamin and Paul were as well.Two of Lucie Gueydan’s great-nieces became lawyers and there are many other instances when fathers or siblings of the women were lawyers or even judges.

Another interesting trend was that many early women lawyers had Russian-Jewish backgrounds and eastern European backgrounds.A few had Irish/Scottish ties. 

There are other interesting things about the women that made them come alive.Many were involved as suffragists, such as Jeanette Rosner Wolman.Others faced personal obstacles such as Lucie Marie Gueydan who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 35, endured a radical mastectomy, and lived to the age of 101 years.

It has been a pleasure to work on the Women in Law project.When we first started the project by going through the test cards, it seemed that the women were just born to us.Then as we found their vital information, it seemed that they were growing up.Now, as we have created biographical summary sheets on them and learned more in depth information about their lives, it seems that they have come into their own.In short, they seem like they are our children; the project is our baby.Their stories are invaluable and I am proud to have been part of uncovering them.

Women in Law by Allison Smith

This summer we were given a project that the Archives had undertaken to compile research on women in the law for the state of Maryland.Our major task for the summer was to compile a complete list of women that were admitted to the bar between 1902 and 1975.It was also our task to find any and all biographical information on these women as possible.We examined death certificates, census records, marriage licenses, test books, as well as many other primary documents in order to narrow down our list of potential women admitted.We also spent a great amount of time pouring through search engines such as “google” and sites like Lexis Nexis in order to find news paper articles and other pieces of these people’s lives in order for them to “come alive”.We also used many of these resources in order to determine the gender of many people that were on our list. 

Our project also involved meeting with Judge Battaglia and Judge Eyler, two women judges who were heavily involved in the development of this project.It was interesting to see how excited and enthusiastic women that were members of the same profession were about these women.The biographical research that was conducted this summer allowed us to get a better idea of what these women were like and the great things that they accomplished in their lifetimes.Meeting with the judges, who were so interested in the research that we were conducting as well as the women that were being researched, helped to bring the tremendous accomplishments by these women into context for our time.With the insight from the Judges we could see how these accomplishments by early women in the law of Maryland were having a direct effect on the women involved in the law presently. 

One of the most common problems that we came across while compiling the list of names in the early stages of this project were names that were simply first and middle initials with last names attached to them.This provided no means of determining their gender therefore we had to explore other routes of research such as court documents as well as bar admittance applications to view their names in their entirety.

To give a brief history of where this project started we must look at the first woman admitted to the bar in Maryland, Etta Haynie Maddox.Etta Maddox was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1902 after an up hill battle with law makers to allow it.After lobbying for women to be admitted to the bar it was determined in 1902 that women would be allowed to become members.This decision marked the beginning of women in law in the state of Maryland.These women would be suffragist, housewives, immigrants and many others that would accomplish great feats for women’s history and more importantly Maryland history.These influential women over time would leave their mark on the practice of law. 

One of the women that I came across while doing some of the biographical research was a woman by the name of Mary Gray Clemson.  She was born and raised in CalvertCounty.The house that she was raised in happened to be the new site of the Calvert Historical Society.When researching more about her family I found that her father, John Brown Gray Sr., was a teacher turned lawyer and her brother, John Brown Gray Jr., was a Judge.Mary’s sister Sadie served as a legal secretary for her father as well as her brother before he became a judge.Eventually Mary married a man named Charles O. Clemson, who also happened to be a lawyer, and moved to CarrollCounty.Mary’s nephew, Bob Gray, became a lawyer in CalvertCounty as well.Both of Mary’s parents at one time were teachers so this could attest to why the family was so well educated.The story of Mary Gray Clemson is just one of many interesting women that we came across during this summer’s internship.

Women in Law by Erin Troxell

The Maryland State Archives project titled “Women in Law” is a project on a topic that has not been previously addressed. It surveys the years from 1902, when Etta Maddox was the first woman admitted to the Maryland Bar, to 1975. It was our job, as interns, to find and biographically research all the women admitted to the State Bar between those dates. Our first task was to compile a list of women from the test book and test cards. However, we found that many of the names were gender ambiguous due to the use of initials instead of signing a full name or unisex names. Next, we searched city directories, the social security death index, and census records to determine not only the gender of the names but to compile biographical information as well. Once we began to narrow the list down we began to focus on just biographical information. We used several databases to search for information including Lexis Nexis, Google, Heritage Quest, and Ancestry was no doubt the most resourceful because it offered a wide range of information from many different sources. We also made folders for each woman indexed by their name and date of admittance to the Bar. 

As our list narrowed and our folders increased we all focused on certain women. I focused on Vivian V. Simpson. She had an extremely fascinating life as a lawyer and a politician. While attending the University of Maryland, Vivian was dubbed a “trouble maker” because she complained about the difference in the rules for male and female students.  Male students could “smoke on the University premises and keep their lights in their dormitories on all night if desired, female students were forbidden to smoke on campus and were required to turn off the lights in their rooms by 9:30 p.m.”  Vivian was also accused of an “alleged infraction of student rules” and was expelled “for refusing to conform to school discipline”.  She was specifically accused of making fudge after the lights were out to which she responded that she had eaten the fudge but not made it. She was also charged with “wearing Kimonos at an improper time”.  Also a group of students provided affidavits to a news reporter, alleging that coeds and faculty members were engaging in “improper activities” including “drinking, swimming, parties, car rides and even spanking parties."  When questioned by the dean, Dr.Woods, Simpson refused to provide any information. Vivian, along with two other girls, was expelled from the University of Maryland. However, she counteracted the expulsion by suing the University for reinstatement with the help of her father and bother. After the scandal Dr. Woods actually resigned his position at the University of Maryland

Simpson says that the experience with the University of Maryland was a learning experience and that it prepared her to practice law; “it toughened me; before I was as innocent as a babe in arms."  Simpson then transferred to GeorgeWashingtonUniversity and graduated with her Bachelors degree in 1925 and her law degree in 1927 with straight A’s and the Order of the Coif, an honor to students with scholarly achievement. On May 31, 1950, she also received the Alumnae Achievement Award from GeorgeWashingtonUniversity.Vivian Simpson fought for women’s equality in the legal profession as well as in society. Miss Simpson certainly paved the way for many other women lawyers and became an exceptional example of womanly intelligence and power in society and the legal profession. She has been quoted as saying that “she hopes that other women would look upon her experience as one that would encourage them to enter the legal profession” and that “there are no ‘women lawyers’ just lawyers."  She dedicated her life to women’s rights. 

Miss Simpson was only one woman out of the 749 total women found. These women were the first to open the gate for women in the legal profession. Hopefully we, as researchers, will be able to uncover what motivated these women to break the rules, step into a completely male profession, and change it for the future women lawyers of Maryland. I am much honored to have contributed to this original research and it has been a pleasure working for the Maryland State Archives. One thing that I have learned is that we as women can break the rules and make changes with hard work, as well as, how important it is to sign your full name on everything. 

[Sources: “Vivian V. Simpson”, MontgomeryCounty Women’s History Archives. (2004),;Mary Kathleen Scheeler. “Vivian V. Simpson, 1903- Practicing Lawyer.” Notable Maryland Women. 1977, 349-351; Frederick N Rasmussen. “Assignment Was a Maryland First.” The Sun, 16 December 1949; Joseph M Mathias . 2002. Women Become Lawyers. The Bar Association of MontgomeryCountyMaryland.]

Adventures at the Maryland State House by Cindy Thompson

The current Maryland State House, the oldest working state house in the nation, was begun in 1769. The building holds on to its colonial heritage with the restored Old Senate Chamber, set to reflect the style it would have been decorated in during the late 18th century when Washington resigned his commission there. With the 20th century Beaux Arts addition to the State House still being used as the Senate and House Chambers today, the only piece missing from the State House is a representation of its 19th century Victorian past. The Artistic Properties Commission at the Archives is heading a huge project to re-vamp the Old House of Delegates Chamber, currently the Maryland Silver and Calvert rooms, to reflect the way it would have appeared after a massive 1876 restoration of the State House by architect George Frederick. This summer I have been lucky to be involved in helping with the large amount of research which has gone into this project.

Under the guidance of my supervisors Sasha Lourie and Mimi Calver, I began my summer by going through the chronology of the website, and pulling out the pieces of information related to the structure of the Old House of Delegates Chamber and it’s many restorations. It appears that in the 1870s there was a ceiling collapse at the State House in Virginia, and when the Governor of Maryland ordered that our State House be checked for similar weaknesses, it was discovered that the building was literally falling to pieces. Foundations were without mortar, floor joists could be broken off by hand, and perhaps oddest of all, the ceiling of the room, and floor of the Court of Appeals Chamber, was found to be hanging from the roof by chains. A massive overhaul of the building was completed, costing three times as much as the original appropriation, and the rooms were furnished in a highly stylized Victorian manner. This style very quickly fell out of taste and the room was redone in a more classical manner after the 1904 addition, and then split in two with the addition of a floating partition in 1968. My reports on the structure and the furnishings of the room will be used as appendices for the Archives’ proposal, to help assist the designers and historic furnishings consultants in their work to recreate the lost 19th century in the State House. Because of my involvement in this project, I was also offered the opportunity to attend a few meetings related to the restoration, and was thrilled with the chance to see the work in progress.

Because I had become so familiar with the website, my second job for the summer was to take files from recently completed State House projects and upload the important documents to the website. This was exciting to do because it gave me a chance to learn about the very recent history of the State House, a building I have become increasingly more attached to. My final assignment for the summer was to turn my attention to the Old Senate Chamber and it’s restoration into a period room during the 1930s. The Committee in charge of this restoration kept thorough documentation of their work, 758 pages to be exact, and this series of information has never really been explored. I took on the task of annotating the many letters, bills, newspaper articles, ads, and photos that told the story of the Old Senate Chamber’s transformation into the room as it appears today. This was also very interesting work, because it traced the history of many of the original pieces of furniture in the room, and gave exact details as to the makers and styles of the furnishings, even down to the inkwells and candlesticks. It was great to be able to help this story unfold, and it gave me the chance to fill in the gaps in the information that I had gathered about the State House over the course of the summer. All in all it was a wonderful and very busy summer at the Archives, and I am very glad to have had the chance to help piece together the history of one of Maryland’s most historic buildings!

Maryland Commission on Artistic Property by Sarah Waller

This summer I was tasked with drafting a Collections Management Policy (CMP) for the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property. Very basically, the purpose of a CMP is to provide the staff with governing policies to ensure the protection of objects in their care. Some of the topics that a CMP outlines include: the scope of the collections, what objects will be accessioned, how they will be deaccessioned, and what objects will be borrowed or loaned. 

What makes the CMP that I have been drafting important is that it is the first comprehensive policy for the Commission’s collection since the Commission was created in 1969. There have been two previous policy statements; the first was written in 1979 and the most recent revision was from 1993. Since the last revision was thirteen years ago, it was definitely time to revise the policy and bring it up to current professional standards. 

Before I began writing the new draft of the policy, I went back to the previous versions to see what could be kept from those policies, what needed to be updated, and what could not be used again. After I had salvaged what I could, I read the parts of the Annotated Code of Maryland that created the Commission. This was to be sure that anything that I wrote would not be contrary to what the code said was the purpose of the Commission. When the time came to start writing the substance of the CMP, I used models for creating CMPs from both the Smithsonian Archives and one of my graduate classes. These provided me with guidelines and a roadmap to ensure that the CMP I wrote was going to be consistent with current professional standards. When I had finished each draft of my policy, it was reviewed by Elaine BachmannSasha Lourie, and Chris Kintzel. They edited and provided constructive criticism of my policy. They really helped to further tailor it to the specific concerns of the Commission.

Overall, the writing of this policy has been a great learning experience for me. It has been wonderful to be able to work on a project directly related to my field of study. 

A Special Collection by Emily Tordo

I just recently returned to the real world after a visit to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and I find myself longing for my desk and computer.  While enjoying the rarefied air so pervasive at 4,000 feet I thought about what I would write for this article.  I came up with no good answers but many questions which I suppose pegs me as a St. John's student. I could be silly or I could be grave, I could be brief or I could be extensive yet, nothing seemed quite right.  As I'm typing it has occurred to me that I have not yet mentioned what my project was - at last I have somewhere to start!

What I have been doing with my summer is this; I have been working on moving the St. John's Archive Collection from an unprocessed TRANSER (transferred series) to a neat and tidy SPECCOL (special collections). What I soon found out was that this entailed going through all of the documents in their oftentimes poorly labeled boxes and sorting, sorting and sorting again into categories, which I suppose I should properly call series. Once done with that task everything had to go into a folder and be labeled according to its special collections number, MSA SC 5698, and it's series and item number.  This is something I have found one does a lot of - I think I could write out 'MSA SC 5698' in my sleep if I had to.  All of this information then has to be put into the special collections data base, so that it can be readily accessed by the general public. Not surprisingly as the end of my time here as an intern draws to a close I have not yet quite finished this task.

Overall I have found some very interesting things and learned a lot about my school.  Much of St. John's history is lost on its students and even more so on the general populous.  Some of the information one can find in the collection is mundane such as the price of a bottle of ink.  Other information has a greater historical significance such as the original subscriber lists, on which four of the founding fathers of our nation have affixed their signatures. I hope that now this collection is fully processed, described, and cataloged, people will be able to read and learn, something which seems very St. John's to me.

The Conservation of Microfilms at the MD State Archives by Camille Manganello


Among the myriad of projects brought to the attention of the conservation lab in the MD State Archives this summer was the present state of our microfilm holdings. Of course these presented quite an oddity for the lab since most projects that come through are documents or bound volumes, with perhaps the occasional print or maybe even a textile. So it became necessary to establish some understanding of the conservation of this foreign medium.

Since the creation of “microproduced novelty texts” in 1839, the basic make-up of microfilm has gone through various stages of advancement. Each different method of creating microforms presents various concerns from the preservation standpoint due to their varying chemical fingerprints. Prior to the 1930’s, microforms were manufactured using cellulose nitrate. This material however had some rather unfavorable characteristics as it aged, including the occasional explosion, and even self-ignition with difficulty extinguishing, and developed certain off-gases that are harmful to anyone exposed to them for an extended period of time. These gases also contribute to an inhospitable atmosphere for other objects sharing the storage area. Because of the extreme volatility of the chemicals, these films are classified as a hazardous substance. Fortunately the Archives does not hold any microforms of this composition.

Another system of manufacturing microfilm was developed in the 1930’s using cellulose diacetate, and then cellulose triacetate in the 1950’s, in lieu of the explosive nitrate. After such tribulations with cellulose nitrate films the acetates were hailed as the “safety film” that saved photographers everywhere. But although they were more stable than their predecessor, they were still susceptible to nasty manifestations of chemical degradation, with the diacetate being more vulnerable. As the chemicals degrade they give off an acetic acid vapor, and eventually after being allowed to build up in the atmosphere, leads the degradation to an autocatalytic stage whereby deterioration increases exponentially. The visual cues that this is occurring include a warped or wavy base, and wrinkles, bubbling, or crystalline deposits in the emulsion. So once an object reaches this dire stage, not only is it basically irrevocably lost in itself, but any other cellulose acetate based films around it are exposed to that hostile level of acetic acid, furthering their degradation and kicking off a horrific cycle of destruction.

The particular specimen that alerted conservation to the microfilm collection is actually suffering from just such a severe deterioration described above, presenting with symptoms in accordance with what is known as “vinegar syndrome.” This is easily distinguished by its distinct vinegar-like odor, which is not unusual considering vinegar contains acetic acid. These items require isolation from the rest of the collection and placement in cold storage to try to slow the process of degradation. The cellulose acetate also harkens back to its predecessor not just in its inherent instability, but also in that it gives off gases that are harmful to people working with the materials and objects housed with it or in the vicinity. However, the cellulose acetate is not actually classified as a hazardous material like nitrate, but precautions may warrant consideration. One possible remedy for harmful levels of acetic acid vapors is to use molecular traps, either built into the enclosure itself, or stored inside the enclosure with the cellulose acetate film. 

More modern compositions of microforms include silver halide/silver gelatin, diazo film, and vesicular film and can be readily found in the collection at the State Archives. Not only does the Archives receive these microforms from other institutions, but also produces a significant quantity of these microforms itself. As for the deterioration ofthese forms, the silver halide on polyester film has the longest shelf life, with the American National Standards Institute giving it an LE( life expectancy) of 500 to 1000 years even, as long as it is processed and stored properly. This is obviously the clear favorite for archival purposes, with its comparably higher base and image stability, but the silver halide component does have some long-term issues associated with it. There have been reports of redox blemishes on silver images in the State Archives, though these objects have not been through Conservation so we can not confirm its presence in the collection. But it is a very common problem; even occurring in the US National Archives, as well as various state and municipal archives. It is only one manifestation of a larger problem however. 

The heart of the matter is the oxidation of the silver, causing not just red and yellow spots that characterize the redox blemishes, but also silver mirroring and overall fading of the images. This oxidation is caused primarily by peroxides emitting from poor-quality cardboard enclosures, but other contaminants in the atmosphere, such as general air pollution, gases released from paints or other building materials, and ozone from copiers, etc…contribute to the deterioration. 

The oxidizing process is accelerated by high relative humidity (RH), which should be controlled right along with the temperature in storage areas. The archives have maintained control of the RH and temperature fairly well, but the weakness lies in our air circulation. Ideally, activated charcoal scrubbers would be installed at least in the storage area air system, and this has been suggested before but never achieved, yet. By allowing all these air contaminants just sit and stew in the atmosphere, these redox blemishes start to develop, especially in areas on the gelatin where there are scratches or other imperfections caused by poor processing. The archives does have some control over the quality of processing by doing it onsite, but all the other films that are sent from outside sources are potentially already damaged and made vulnerable by processing equipment that is not regularly maintained and cleaned. Under poor conditions, films damaged during processing could begin to deteriorate in as little as five years. 

These silver gelatin on polyester films would also be best preserved by using them as preservation or duplicating master copies, from which reference copies could be made on diazo or vesicular films. These films are well-suited for reference because they are less susceptible to scratching, but they are less chemically stable so they are not as suitable as silver gelatin film for long-term storage. The ideal situation with the masters would be to have two copies, one for purely preservation purposes, and a separate one to make duplicates from, but with the burgeoning size of the collection, storage is at a premium, making having more copies than absolutely necessary impractical. 

So now that it has been established that there are items within the collection that are deteriorating, as is only natural, it is necessary to conduct a survey as a first step, to gauge the extent of the damage. Then areas where items are in particular need can be made a priority for treatment. There are dozens of different procedures for sampling a collection for inspection however, and one has yet to be chosen. When, or if, a survey is conducted though, it is generally recommended that it be repeated about every 2 years. Hopefully in this way the Conservation Lab can aid in monitoring and maintaining the condition of the microfilms, and ensure a longer life expectancy for them.

IT Programming by Kyle McLean

As an IT intern this year for the Archives, I (along with many other people), have to thank for our summer of gainful employment. Created as an online repository for land record instruments, MDLandRec is without a doubt, the biggest project the Archives’ IT staff has ever taken on. 

However, I can also thank MDLandRec ( for a very busy, albeit productive summer as well. With a large chunk of the programming staff dedicated to working on the project, I was tasked with creating and maintaining the smaller programs and websites that the Archives’ staff uses on a daily basis. 

My two biggest contributions were to the administrative staff, as I rewrote the older publications management system (PUBS) for added stability and the addition of several much-desired features and updated the mail logging system (MAILREF) to automatically print receipts that were previously written by hand. These two programs are very closely related, as MAILREF logs every incoming and outgoing piece of mail that goes through the building, while PUBS manages the inventory and orders of Archives publications, which often arrive via mail. 

I also made smaller updates on several programs that both staff and fellow interns may recognize, the most prominent among them being the MSA staff directory in the MSA portal, where I added additional information fields, and created a printable directory listing. I also created a web interface for the Archives account management system that can create, edit, and delete user accounts and permissions for many MSA applications like MSAREF. 

Despite working on all of these projects however, MDLandRec found a small way to pull me into its development, as I was tasked with writing several report generators for the Land Records Access Committee (LRAC), a group made up of the county court clerks who help fund the site and its development. By using these reports, the LRAC can stay abreast of MDLandRec’s progress. 

In spite of the number and wide diversity of programs I worked on this summer, it was an enjoyable experience. I got a better understanding of how several programs work together and how they are connected, as well as seeing how far I’ve come in IT by comparing some of my code from previous years to the work I’ve done this summer.

The Library by Faith Erline

This summer, I worked with the Library and Government Publications Division. The main goal of all of my tasks was to make the library and its related catalogs more accessible and easier to use for both staff and Archives patrons. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays, when the Archives are closed to patrons, I shelf read the general information genealogical research aids and specific family history. Since these are the resources most used by patrons, keeping them in order is a timesaver for potential family researchers. 

I cataloged many of the back issues of the library’s collection of serials, publications from organizations such as local genealogical or historical societies, or national organizations like the Library of Congress or the National Archives. Now, a detailed page for most of the serials shows which issues of each publication the Archives hold in its collection, and where the issues can be found. This information can be referenced on site at http://msaweb/msa/refserv/library/serials/html/serials.html

I also worked at cataloging and accessioning new books for the library’s collection, and recataloging older items–making corrections, clarifications and reaccessions in the database where needed. I completed purchase orders for the library’s next book order in the upcoming fiscal year. In an effort to better preserve the library collection for patrons and staff, I worked in the Conservation Lab making Mylar book covers for all items and wraparounds for books that had been disbound. I produced call number labels for new materials and replaced out of date labels on older items so that the collection would remain consistently organized. 

Christine Alvey, the Archives' librarian, and I also completed a summer-long project of going through each shelf of government publication holdings on the second floor of the stacks, recording how much room was left to store new holdings. This record will certainly make her job much easier. 

I hope my work cataloging, organizing, and preserving will make many jobs easier in the months to come!

Editing the Archives of Maryland Online by Anna Pritt

When I heard Melvin Steinberg's name mentioned on the radio, my eyes popped wide open.Steinberg!I know him!Lieutenant governor of Maryland, 1995!William Donald Schaefer was governor, Louis Goldstein was Comptroller of the Treasury, and… and… who was Secretary of State? I can't remember… oh yeah, it was Tyras S. Athey!  I stopped with a sheepish giggle, realizing how silly that must have sounded.But after my summer internship with the Maryland State Archives, Schaefer and his cabinet almost did seem like old friends.

Three months ago, I had never even heard of Melvin Steinberg.I knew next to nothing about Maryland government, and I couldn't even name half the counties in Maryland.Then I began working on the Archives of Maryland Online Electronic Archives Project.With my trusty 1994-95 Maryland Manual in hand, I sat down at my computer to proofread and edit an online version of the Manual.Over the next few months I would go through hundreds of lists of names and numbers, descriptions of the committees and agencies in each department, and biographies of senators, delegates, and departmental secretaries.

I am very glad I was able to gain experience working for the State Archives this summer, especially since I am considering a career in history.Although I live too far from Annapolis to participate in a regular internship, I was able to work at home and on a very flexible schedule.Special thanks to Emily Squires and Jennifer Hafner for making this telecommuting internship possible!

black thin line

Founded 1987 
Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist
Patricia V. Melville, Editor
Mimi Calver, Assistant Editor
Lynne MacAdam, Web Editor

The Maryland State Archives is an independent agency in the Office of the Governor and is advised by the Hall of Records Commission. The Chairman of the Hall of Records Commission is the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The Archivists' Bulldog is issued monthly to publicize records collections, finding aids, and other activities of the Archives and its staff. 

The Editor welcomes editorial comments and contributions from the public.

The Archives maintains a web site on the Internet at

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