Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives
Vol. 17, No. 16
August 25, 2003
Seated (left to right): Christine Cohn, Katherine Moran, Jigna Vasavada, Amanda Miracle, Katharine Thurlow, Leslie Parker, Rebecca Thomas, and Emily Willard.  Standing (left to right): Ellen Loll, LaTasha Gatling, Hugh Mailly, Andrew Brethauer, Sean Neubert, Kyle McLean, Steven Colmus, Adam Tavel, and Louis Malick.  Not pictured: Joan Axelbaum, Kenneth Bechtel, Dhruv Bhatt, Sandra Harney, Catherine Lilly, Owen Lourie, Lauren Miller, and Jim Newell. Photo by Jim Hefelfinger.
library and government publications; assisting with reference; and computer programming. In addition, high school students Joan Axelbaum, Catherine Lilly, and Jim Newell worked with the Maryland Manual On-line staff. 

The interns enjoyed several presentations this summer, including Rob Schoeberlein on mental health care reform, Dr. Edward Papenfuse on mapping Maryland and the new Atlas of Historical Maps, and Dr. Kate Larsen on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. 

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Underground Railroad Project
by Kenneth Bechtel, Christine Cohn, Steven Colmus, LaTasha Gatling, Sandra Harney, Owen Lourie, Amanda Miracle, Leslie Parker, and Adam Tavel

Interns working on the Underground Railroad Project were quite busy and productive this summer. The overall goals of this project are to gain a deeper understanding of flights to freedom throughout Maryland by studying runaway slave advertisements and examining demographic statistics of the antebellum era. Phase II expanded the study outside of Baltimore City and Baltimore County. 

A team of nine interns examined newspapers and reviewed census schedules. Most of the newspaper research centered around ads placed by slave owners and committal notices placed by sheriffs. This information will help plot the patterns of slave flight and identify possible individuals for further study. The ads provided insight into when and where slaves ran, whom they ran with, and who may have helped them flee. We discovered, for example, that very often slaves would run away with others in the area, suggesting the existence of an intricate network extending beyond plantation boundaries. 

The team extracted data from the census records, dating from 1830 through 1860, for Anne Arundel, Cecil, Charles, and Dorchester counties. We were looking at free Black households and gathering statistics for enslaved Blacks in order to identify demographic patterns of both populations. These patterns will help track the paths of runaways on the Underground Railroad. 

Case studies were attempted on several runaways and their accomplices. This difficult but interesting part of the project involved solid original research using the Archives' primary sources. One notable discovery was the finding that persons imprisoned for "enticing a slave to runaway" or "assisting a slave to run away" were not necessarily acting on altruistic principles, or even actually helping the slave. 

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Files Management and Publications
by Louis Malick 

File management and publications turned out to be at least three projects rolled into one: entering summaries of research files into a database; organizing stock and taking inventory of publications sold at the Archives, and assisting the librarian and her intern in processing government publications and miscellaneous materials. 

Database control over the research files of the State Archivist occupied most of the summer. It entailed organizing the files and summarizing their content. The database now includes over 3200 files, one-third of which were entered this summer. 

The organization of stocks of publications occupied less time, but involved more physical labor. The publications were consolidated within the stacks storage area and rearranged by inventory number. Care was taken to make sure that two security copies of each publication were set aside for archival retention. 

The reorganization of unaccessioned government publications and miscellaneous materials was the most daunting task at its onset, perhaps because the interns involved were not really sure how many boxes needed to be organized. They just kept showing up.  About two weeks was spent going through the boxes and sorting the contents which ranged from myriad copies of old Maryland Manuals to file copies of governors' correspondence, and from numerous annual reports of government agencies to an original copy of a nuclear agreement between the federal government and the state, complete with signatures and seals. 

None of the projects really reached a conclusion, but some achieved good stopping points. The activities will continue indefinitely 

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Top Nine Reasons
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No. 5. Flexible Hours. The Archives can arrange work time around a school schedule.

No. 4. Field Trips. Beyond the tours of the State House, Government House, and Court of Appeals, I augmented my navigational prowess in the downtown area through numerous walking trips to Nimitz Library at the U.S. Naval Academy and the State Law Library. 

No. 3. Lectures. Listen to smart people talk about interesting things. It's better than listening to dumb people talk about boring things, and you get paid for it. 

No. 2. Unaccessioned Materials. The Archives occasionally receives books and publications retired from other libraries, both public and private. The major focus this summer was to get basic bibliographic control over a backlog of 350 cubic feet of such material. Publications needing conservation were set aside for next summer, as were boxes that also contained office files. The contents and location of each box were described in a database, and placed in the stacks. This was my favorite activity because there is something exciting about being the first person to know the contents of a box.

No. 1. Experience. The best way to learn something is to explain it to someone else, and in order to explain it, you must do the work. It was a good summer. 

Accessing History in Special Collections
by Andrew Brethauer and Lauren Miller 

As the Special Collections interns this summer, we dealt with a variety of materials. Our primary task was the creation of item level inventories of particular collections, to be made available on the Archives web site.

The three collections receiving the most attention were the James E. Moss Collection (SC1779), the Francus Collection of Stevens Family Papers (SC1377), and the Guy Weatherly Collection of McParlin Family Papers (SC595). The Moss Collection contained an interesting assortment of items: papers relating to the American Revolution, War of 1812, and Civil War, as well as seventeenth century legal documents and reproductions of election editions of The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Stevens Family collection concerned the family of Samuel Stevens, Jr., Governor of Maryland from 1822 to 1825. The bulk of the papers consisted of correspondence among family members about life in Maryland and Pennsylvania during the nineteenth century. 

Thomas Andrew McParlin (1825-1897) was a surgeon in the U. S. Army from the time of the Mexican War to after the Civil War. His frequent letters to his family and wife in Annapolis described life as an army surgeon in the mid nineteenth century. By the end of the Civil War, McParlin had become Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac and was present during the siege at Petersburg. 

Two other collections worked on were the Charles H. Steffey, Inc. Real Estate Collection (SC5485) and the Anne Mae Driscoll Collection (SC5355). The Steffey Collection comprised six scrapbooks of correspondence, advertising material, and newspaper clippings about housing developments brokered during the 1930s and 1940s. The Driscoll Collection consisted of three scrapbooks of newspaper articles from 1968 through 1971, many discussing desegregation measures in the Anne Arundel County school system. 

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Interning in Reference Services 
By Emily Willard 

I guess I could be considered this summer's do-it-all reference person. Activities ranged from counting 18th century wills to filing modern autopsy reports to scanning documents for copy orders. Along the way I have started to learn the great art of archival management and the delivery of reference services. 

I learned the basics of how the Archives is organized, mostly through use of the guide to government records web pages while trying to determine where returned files and new filings for retired cases should be placed. I handled autopsy reports, criminal papers, and civil case files. 

Some activities involved data collection to help the Archives plan for making some record series available online. I obtained image counts from reels of microfilm and original books of the heavily used series, mostly probate records and indexes. Some documents were quite interesting. Estate inventories from the early 18th century included such entries as "3 wash basins" and "1 oak table, damaged". The militia appointments contained lists of soldiers, showing their names, ages, and residences. It was fascinating to see the actual papers that we learn about at school. 

The card indices in the search room were examined, and counted, as potential candidates for online access. Luckily it was already known that there are one hundred index cards in an inch. So I was able to measure each drawer instead of counting each card. 

After receiving instruction in the use of scanners and the copy order tracking system, I was often recruited to help the reference staff fill work orders on busy days in the search room. 

I started off not knowing anything about the Archives; now I have gained an understanding of how the Archives serves the people of the past, present, and future. 

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Mike Miller, Director of the Maryland State Law Library, gave the interns a presentation on legal research and a tour of the library, which ended with a special look at the Court of Appeals courtroom. Another favorite was the tour of Government House and the State House, led by Artistic Properties staff Mimi Calver and Sasha Lourie. The tour was highlighted by a trip into the State House dome, where everyone enjoyed a panoramic view of Annapolis. State House intern Ellen Loll lead part of the tour and talked about the research she was doing. 

The Archives thanks the interns for their hard work and wishes them the best in their future endeavors.