It is a humbling experience to to be the last among so many distinguished speakers. I would like to add my congratulations to Judge Byrnes whose devotion to the history of this city and state is without peer. It is a pleasure to work with him as we do our best to preserve and make accessible the City's and the State's historical records. As Governor Ehrlich noted in his remarks, today we celebrate another anniversary. Today is the the hundredth anniversary of the official celebration of Maryland Day. Begun in 1903 by the State Board of Education, Maryland Day was made a legal holiday by the Maryland General Assembly in 1916.
This morning we celebrate the original educational intent of Maryland Day by recognizing the contributions of two high school students to this year's Maryland Colonial Society's essay contest. The theme of this year's contest is: "Getting Here From There: Early Maryland Maps and Travel Journals." Students were asked to write an essay or design a web site around imagining what it was like to be a traveler in Maryland in the 17th and 18th centuries, using maps and travel accounts found at public libraries and web sites such as American Memory, the Maryland State Archives, and the Maryland Historical Society. The web site contest was open to individual students or to classes using the contest as a class project. Alternatively, students could choose to write an essay about the importance of mapping and travel narratives to our understanding of the early history of Maryland.
They were provided a quote from Captain John Smith, written in 1627, as inspiration: To paraphrase Captain Smith:
Geography without History seems a carkasse without motion, ... History without Geography wanders as a Vagrant without a home.Captain John Smith made this observation about the connection between history and geography after returning to England from Jamestown. While in the New World, he began the first mapping of Maryland after two expeditions up the Chesapeake Bay in 1608. His map of the Bay, along with his extensive journals, provide us with much of what is known about the Native Americans and the flora and fauna of the Bay area. Another important source of information on the earliest days of the colony is Father Andrew White's account of the voyage of the Ark and the Dove to Maryland in 1633/34, called "A Relation of the Successefull beginnings of the Lord Baltemore's Plantation in Mary-land."
Almost 400 years later, we are still making and using maps to get from here to there, and travel journals are as popular - and useful - as ever. In this contest, students were asked to explore the study of geography and history as interconnected disciplines, drawing on early maps and accounts of travel in Maryland. A number of institutions, including public libraries, the Library of Congress American Memory, the Maryland State Archives, and the Maryland Historical Society have rich collections of early Maryland maps and travel journals, a number of which are available on line through the world wide web.
It is my pleasure to announce that the Best Essay this year is Travel in Colonial Maryland by Louis Malick, Calvert Hall College High School. This essay most closely adheres to the guidelines of the contest and presents a thoughtful, coherent picture of travel in early Maryland. I was particularly taken by his writing style. Of all the entries submitted, his was the most original and entertaining, yet sufficiently supported by documentation. After reading Louis Malick's essay, you feel as if you have glimpsed what it was like to be a traveler in Maryland and understand the attraction that Maryland's waterways have had to travelers down to the present. It wasn't always as easy on the water as he and his readers might think. President George Washington was stranded on a sandbar in a violent storm one night at the mouth of Annapolis Harbor and had little good to say about the experience.
The Best Web Site is A Colonial Journey of Maryland by David Seamon, The Key School. This web site takes a creative approach to travel and the use of maps in Colonial Maryland by using contemporary maps to help the reader understand both the geography of the State and the attraction of settling in Maryland's furthest western reaches. In creating this web site, David has provided an interesting framework with which to pursue a number of documented geographical related themes in the context of the imagined experiences of a frontier planter/settler. We hope he will continue to work on the project.
If funding is not cut by the General Assembly, both Louis and David are offered places in our summer internship program for high school students and are encouraged to make their interest known to Emily Squires, our internship coordinator.
We did not receive an entry in the class web site category, but I am pleased to announce the Maryland Public Television has launched a wonderful new web site today called Exploring Maryland's Roots. For those of you who use the computer go to: <http://www.mdroots.thinkport.org>. Ann Klimas, Ben Graff and Karen Kane have done a marvelous job with the site. All of us who participated in bringing it to the web are pleased to have been engaged in helping launch what I predict will be one of the most heavily used web sites for teaching Maryland History in the schools.
I would also like to recognize Calvert Hall College and Key School generally for their interest and participation in the essay contest this year, and, as always, special mention should be made of Lois Jones who suggests the theme each year and is an inspiration to us all with her graceful prose and an unflagging enthusiasm for the study of Maryland History.
When Cecil Calvert commissioned a great seal for the Colony of Maryland, the same great seal that is used to day to authenticate all laws and all Governor's proclamations, he chose to inscribe one side with a favorite verse from the 5th Psalm, a psalm that speaks directly to us today as much as it did to the Calvert family 369 years ago:
Scuto Bonae Voluntatis Tuae Coronasti nosThank you
Lord Wilt Thou Encompass Us as With a Shield
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