Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives
Vol. 18, No. 8
August 16, 2004
Seated (left to right): Christopher J. Kintzel, Tricia McMaster, Jennifer Wheeler, Alyssa Mack, Camille Manganello, Jaffa Panken, Emily Willard, Katherine Demedis, Camille DiMarco, and Lora Koehler. Standing (left to right): Christopher Schini, LaTasha Gatling, Leslie Parker, Owen Lourie, Damika Baker, Paula Riccobono, Austen Patterson, Lucie Kyrova, Kevin Allor, Dorothy Davis, Amy Hobbs, Lopez Matthews, Jr., and Louis Malick. Not pictured: Ryan Anderson, Dhruv Bhatt, Christine Cohn, Matthew Cole, Lauren Cramer, Matt Davis, Aylin Guven, Sarah Lande, and Kyle McLean
worked on sixteen diverse projects throughout the agency. The following articles, authored by the students, describe their work which  ranged from digitizing indexes and preserving collections electronically to online mapping, 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. 

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War of 1812 Papers and Martenet Quality Control
by Louis Malick

My first project involved transcribing papers from the Baltimore City Archives, a collection that was indexed by the Historical Records Survey, a WPA project of the 1930s, and transferred to the Archives. The papers included receipts, vouchers, letters, military and committee reports, and other items related to the defense of Baltimore during the War of 1812. Most pertained to the Committee of Public Supply, its successor, the Committee of Vigilance and Safety, (agencies set up by the mayor to coordinate defense efforts), and the Maryland Militia (called out to help with defense preparations and ultimately to defend the city militarily). 

The collection has been turned into an electronic book and contains 3475 pages of documents, over 1000 of which were transcribed this summer. The only real problem encountered was the transcriber's lack of fluency in early 19th century script, though this did improve as time went on. The transcriptions will benefit research on Fort McHenry being done by the National Park Service. 

The second project concerned MSA SC 5087, records of S. J. Martenet & Co., a major Baltimore surveying firm opened in 1849. The collection includes plats, descriptions of surveyed land, and surveyors' notes, all relating to work done by the company in and around Baltimore during its 155 year history. The Archives has been involved for several years in a program with the company whereby the records are scanned and the originals transferred to the Archives. The imaged collection now includes over 76,000 packets, each containing from one to several hundred images. My part of the project involved checking the images against the originals to identify problems that may have occurred during the scanning process, such as missed pages or poor quality scans. 


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Martenet Project(continued from Page 2)

This job gave us a new sense of accountability. We were all a bit unprepared about telling our boss when we had to leave early, come in late, etc. And, we enjoyed the experience from working on the Martenet project.

Appraisal and Acquisition
by Christopher Schini

As an intern for Appraisal and Acquisition, I have spent time on several projects. The first task involved data entry of Baltimore County criminal cases in order to determine the existence of files for specific periods of time and to help appraise those worthy of permanent retention. Next, I began a project to accession Court of Appeals (Records and Briefs) into series S1733 as part of a program to make these legally valuable records more readily available. The work involved an inventory of each volume regarding dates and case numbers. The earliest ones were the most difficult because of the haphazard arrangement of the documents within each book. 

The most recent task was one of research for future Bulldog articles on roads. This was what I was really looking forward to - reading old records, in this case court minutes from the late colonial and early republic periods. I compiled notes on the maintenance and establishment of roads and activities of the overseers. Hopefully, I can to use this experience in a future career, possibly historical research.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Art Inventory
by Chris Kintzel

There are over 100 works of art and portrait paintings that have been cataloged from the collection of the Baltimore City Circuit Court and the Baltimore City Bar Library. The first phase of the project involved visiting all the courtrooms to verify the locations of paintings, previously inventoried in 1982 and 1999/2000. Due to 

building and courtroom renovations as well as judges personal decisions, several paintings had been moved to different locations. 

The second phase of the inventory included three major steps. The first one involved biographical research on the judges and attorneys featured in the portraits' paintings. The main resources came from the Archives, published histories of the court and bar associations, newsletters, and displays at the Baltimore Museum of Legal History.

The second step involved digitally photographing the artworks. Several of the paintings were difficult to photograph due to glass coverings and lighting constraints of the courtrooms. Digital photographs were also taken of the views/walls of individual courtrooms containing artwork. 

Finally, a detailed condition report was created for each piece of artwork. The reports contain inspections of frames and canvases, frame measurements, digital photographs of any damaged areas, assessment of environmental conditions in the courtrooms, and recommendations for preservation. The majority of the portrait paintings are in good condition. Damage to others is primarily due to fluctuations in lighting, temperature, and relative humidity in the display areas. Some frames in the collection have become discolored, chipped, or scratched over time. 

Conducting and preparing the inventory was difficult at times, as access to the courtrooms was determined by the judges schedules and court proceedings. Many of the paintings have been on display for many years and were not held to the same standards of care and preservation as those in museums or galleries. Now, with a complete inventory, the court can track and monitor the status of its paintings and help ensure their preservation.

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Colonial Counties Research Project
by Lucie Kyrova, Dorothy Davis, Lora Koehler, and Owen Lourie

Our project focused on scanning and transcribing certificates of survey from old Somerset County, which once included Wicomico and Worcester counties, as well as parts of Sussex County, Delaware. The certificates are records of surveys made in preparation for the issuance of a land patent. 

The records provide a valuable insight into patterns of settlement and land ownership in Colonial Maryland, specifically the relatively remote Somerset County, as well as legal proceedings and the operations of the Land Office. In addition, the documents contribute to a greater knowledge and understanding of the socio-economic structure of the community.

Our work comprises part of an effort which, in its final form, will allow greater web access to Maryland's land records, including plats. By scanning and then transcribing certificates of survey, we laid the ground work for a searchable database of text and images, with links to biographical information about the land owners.

Transcription presents a myriad of challenges related to visibility, legibility, and durability. We were forced to learn new methods of spelling and grammar, as the bulk of these records were from the mid-eighteenth century, and consequently lacked standardized spelling. Chesapeake was one word that seemed to have many variant forms, such as "Chasepack" and "Chesepick" among others.

Our job did provide us with some lighter moments, in the form of noteworthy remarks by the surveyors. One, from the early 1700s, described the land being surveyed:

        The Land is Indifferent one half being 
        Swamp the Other Loe & Broken land, 

     there is but five Acres of Cultivated Land 
     with Eighteen Apple trees planted About 
     one year fifty three peach trees planted Last 
     Spring, Inclosed with an indifferent fence..

Another surveyor, in the twentieth century, added an analysis of a predecessor:

     However, it is apparent that Mr. Hall did not 
     lay down on his plat what he had actually 
     surveyed. (I have been having trouble with 
     Hall's surveys for the past 20 years.) It is 
     also apparent that he was using some type 
     of measuring devise which was too long, or 
     stretched, or that his chainmen were placing 
     stakes beyond the end of the chain. His 
     survey was "sloppy", and does not close.

These two passages, seemly of marginal importance, contribute to a deeper understanding of the past, by giving it a more personal viewpoint. In addition, they enlivened the somewhat tedious job of transcription, while at the same time turning the dry text of land records into valuable primary sources.

The Camilles in Conservation
by Camille DiMarco and Camille Manganello

Walking into the Conservation Department, we the Camilles had a relatively clear idea of the task before us; repairing books. The ravaged state of some of the publications did surprise us. The books ranged in date from the relative past (i.e. within the past decade) to as far back as circa 1799. Some of the formats in which the publishers chose to print and distribute their volumes were simply impractical. They were so awkwardly constructed that improper storage would cause them to fall apart. Some were so unbelievably thick that they had more depth than width, making it impossible to open the tomes without splitting the seams. 

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The Camilles
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Much damage can only be blamed on the insidiously baleful nature of time, such as the gradual disintegration of leather into pervading red rot. Humans have left their own fairly flagrant marks, such as broken off corners of pages and tears at the top of spines that resulted in folding corners to find a place again and pulling books from the shelf by using the tab of the spine. Both actions, under normal circumstances, are quite common and, to be honest, logical. 

Remedies ranged from simple tip-ins and paper repairs to more complicated spine replacements and re-casings. A tip-in consisted of gluing in a page that has separated from the binding by using PVA (an archivally approved glue). Paper repairs involved tears mended with wheat starch paste and Japanese tissue paper. Torn and tattered spine fabrics were replaced with new material. Re-casing meant removal of the damaged cover and placement of the pages in a new case. 

All this gluing and mending may sound tedious, but there is a profound sense of satisfaction to holding a fully functional and, hopefully, attractive book that had once seemed irredeemable.

Mapping History 
by Alyssa Mack and Jaffa Panken

We worked on the mapping component of the Underground Railroad project. It was based on maps of Maryland counties dating from the 1850s and the 1860s. Unlike other purely geographical and topological maps, this particular collection featured the names of property owners. Images of the maps can now be found on the "Beneath the Underground: The Flight to Freedom" site ( under the Interactive Maps heading. Names of property owners can be found through the search function. Eventually 

individual case studies will provide biographical information on these individuals. The Underground Railroad staff will be able to locate slave owners on the maps and determine purported departure sites and possible escape routes for fleeing slaves.

The second aspect of the project involved the individual case studies. Existing biographical compilations were edited and linked off the mdslavery web site. Our efforts added 140 more case studies to the site. 

We spent the final weeks of the summer researching and writing case studies on some of the slave owners mentioned on the maps. By reading through census records, wills, inventories, assessment records, and family histories, we compiled a considerable amount of information on the slave owners and their family members, slaves, and property holdings. Some were linked to case studies of fugitive slaves already on the Underground Railroad site. Furthermore, the studies were linked to names on the maps. 

All of this mapping and research work make the Interactive Maps an invaluable resource for historians and genealogists studying slavery and family history in Maryland.

Appraisal and Description
by Emily Willard

This summer has proved to be a mix of different experiences. I started working on the Maryland land records project by editing spreadsheets of the lists of reels of microfilm which were to be scanned and put in a web based environment. Next came quality control assessment of the land record films for several counties, looking for properties that would affect the scanning of the images. I noted the size of the film, orientation of images, and filming qualities. After looking at hundreds of reels, I was assigned to a task that thankfully did not involve microfilm. 

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Appraisal and Description
(continued from Page 5)

I joined the project to accession (Records and Briefs) of the Court of Appeals in S1733, a series with 2621 volumes. It was interesting to note the change in style of the books. The earlier ones left black dirt on ones hands. The the later ones did get progressively cleaner, and more stylish. In the 1930s and 1940s each court term had a different pattern on the covers, ranging from two-toned swirly designs to majestic woodland forest scenes. Also, the card stock dividers between cases in the books displayed a rainbow of colors, including bright salmon, yellow, deep plum, and cocoa brown.

A few cases caught my attention, usually those with photographs attached as an exhibit. One in particular was a case from 1921 about a man who was hit by a train at Kelly's Crossing, the Naval Academy Junction located at what is now Manresa, the assisted living home. After hearing the attorneys' briefs, reading the transcript of the testimony of witnesses, and viewing the accident reconstruction, the court decided that the party at fault was the man himself, not the railroad. 

Interspersed with accessioning were a trip to the warehouse to inventory materials for the updating of record databases and examination of land record film databases to determine the completeness of the collections. 

The variety of tasks increased my understanding of the organization of the Archives. On the surface, it may look like the job of keeping records is quite easy; you get something new and stick it on an empty shelf and it's been preserved. Not quite. Preserving public records and providing access are immense responsibilities. Working at the archives did not help me learn about a career I want to pursue, but it has taught me the importance of preserving the past for the future.

What is a Plat Anyway?
by: Katherine Demedis and Paula Riccobono

Our assignment to the plats project initially left us wondering what plats actually were. We soon found out, and spent the rest of the summer inventorying subdivision plats and recording them in a database so that the digital images can eventually be placed on We also physically reordered the plats already in storage in order to facilitate access to the hard copies. 

The environment, guest speakers, and staff of the Archives made our internship a valuable experience. We were exposed to the inner workings of a state archives on a daily basis, as well as having contact with the helpful and interesting staff. The guest speakers and field trips showed us the different types of projects being pursued at the Archives. Whether interns want to become archivists, historians, researchers, or work in some branch of information technology or library science, the opportunity to intern at the Archives is an invaluable experience for any career minded person. 

Our summer at the Archives also taught us the importance of merging computer technology with archival efforts. While it is definitely worthwhile to create and preserve digital images, it is equally important to maintain a hard copy of the information in the event that the data is damaged or lost. An institution should neither rely solely on the hard drive of a computer nor the preservation of the written and printed word; both are necessary. 


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Taking a Ride on the Freedom Train
by Jennifer Wheeler, Leslie Parker, Lopez Matthews, Kevin Allor, Damika Baker, LaTasha Gatling, and Tricia McMaster

Imagine that it is your birthday, and you have just turned twenty-one years old. You might be thinking of your favorite restaurant or perhaps a small gathering at home with family and friends. Now add this facet to the dream: you are a rider on the Underground Railroad. This should abruptly change the scenery. By now, most of your friends have disappeared, their company replaced by unfamiliar terrain and the eager eyes of runaway "watchers" - some of them mere children. Almost all odds are against you, even down to the system of laws that govern the land, and slave catchers abound, preparing plans of action for what to do with newly acquired "fugitives."

As interns working on the Underground Railroad project, we found exactly this story in the tale of James Pennington, a runaway from Washington County. With the help of a grant from the U. S. Department of Education, we continued the fifth phase of work on the multiyear project, stripping valuable information, including the names, ages, and occupations of former slaves, from relevant Maryland newspapers and census records. With this data, supplemented by materials from secondary sources and original documents, we created case studies for those individuals who followed or helped lay the foundations of the road to freedom in Maryland.

This year a digital component was added to the project. Documents were printed from microfilm and internet sources and then scanned. Original documents, such as runaway and domestic traffic advertisements from newspapers, were photographed with digital cameras, and then edited for online accessibility. 

This new feature along with the traditional components of the project will greatly aid future researchers in discovering more about the depth and scope of the Underground Railroad. Beyond this, the use of digital images provides an invaluable resource to genealogists - often 

attempting to bridge gaps and fill the "missing links" in family histories that occurred when a family was separated at the auction block or attained freedom. Each newspaper clipping and census entry helps one more unsung hero keep their deserved spot in history. 

In addition, to discussing the already well known Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman, this project aimed to illuminate contributions of the everyday, ordinary individuals who through their hardships gave a glimmer of hope to thousands of slaves. Through our efforts, these stories can be preserved and retold.

Maryland Women's Hall of Fame
by Amy Hobbs

Strong. Feisty. Independent. Pioneering. Successful. Vivacious. These are just a few words describing the women researched this summer for the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, started by the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland in 1985, honors an impressive group of women who have made a real difference in the state. It has been a privilege to learn about their lives and weave all their accomplishments into the Archives' biographical series.

Through the process of writing nine biographies this summer, I have learned about the resources available for such studies, discovered primary sources, scrolled through lots of microfilm, and had a little fun along the way. My internship also took me to the Maryland Commission for Women once a week, where, I learned a bit about starting a new museum by helping with the Maryland Women's Heritage Center. The center, to be located in Baltimore, will be the first of its kind in the country. In addition to museum exhibits and a library, the center will house performance space and host a series of lectures. I created a donor database to help organize fundraising efforts and visited the Furness House in Baltimore, the proposed site for the Center.

All in all, my internship was an excellent introduction to women's history in Maryland and the workings of a state archives. The biographies on the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame site are wonderful resources for children, educators, and scholars, and a great way to draw attention to the materials about women at the Archives.

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Visit to Roedown
by Emily Willard

As part of the Underground Railroad project, staff member John Gartrell has been working on a case study of a slave named William Parker who is best known for his involvement in the Christiana resistance and as a founder of an organization in Christiana, Pennsylvania, that attempted to prevent the return of runaway slaves to the south. 

Parker was born in 1822 at Roedown, a tobacco plantation owned by David Brogden and his family, that is nestled in the rolling hills of what is now Davidsonville. Parker lived there for 17 years and often hid in the woods with a friend to escape sale south. Finally in 1839 he ran away to Baltimore and then crossed into Pennsylvania and settled in Christiana where he formed his organization to protect runaway slaves like himself. 

In 1851, a slave owner from Baltimore County, Edward Gorsuch, heard from friends that his runaway slaves were staying in a house in Christiana and decided to try to retrieve his property. With his two sons, a federal marshall, and a few other men, he not only found his missing slaves, but also William Parker. At the sound of a warning bell, Gorsuch and his men were surrounded by armed abolitionists, members of the organization formed by Parker. In the fight that ensued, Edward Gorsuch was shot and killed and the rest of the group returned to Maryland without the runaway slaves. Parker then escaped further north to Canada, as 40 members of his organization were being tried for treason in Pennsylvania. The individuals who killed Gorsuch were never found guilty of treason, and the slaves were never returned to the owners. Parker wrote a narrative about his life that was published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1866

In order, to bring history to life, a group of about 30 interns and staff members took a field trip to Roedown Farm, currently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Hal Clagett. Mr. Clagett greeted us from the back porch of his home and related what he knew about the history of the house, dated back to the early 1830s, and the plantation. The farm was part of a 

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Senator Lapides Collection
by Christine Cohn 

During his career in the State Senate, Senator Julian L. Lapides focused on issues concerning political ethics, financial disclosure, death with dignity/living will, and sport stadiums. His papers in MSA SC 5533 reveal insight into the operations of a state senator's office including the drafting and passage of bills, interactions with constituents, and political campaigns. The collection also provides insight into a major mayoral campaign.

This summer the political papers of Senator Lapides were processed in order to make the records more accessible. An initial overview was obtained by a general examination in order to understand the scope and content of the collection. 

Next came a more detailed inventory of the contents of each folder, notes on conservation needs, and placement of the files into acid free folders and boxes. The provenance of the collection was maintained and the title of each folder remained as originally labeled by Senator Lapides' office. The newly processed collection now resides in sixty-five clamshell boxes. Some materials are restricted from circulation due to the sensitive nature of their contents.

The collection provides a clear understanding and appreciation of Senator Lapides commitment to public service and his deep sense of responsibility as an advocate for his constituents. The most significant amount of legislative paperwork and information in the collection involves his work on the disclosure bill for elected officials. He was unwavering in his 

conviction that elected officials should be financially accountable.

Senator Lapides was also passionate about passage of the Death With Dignity or Right To Die legislation. This bill allowed an individual to complete a Living Will that would state personal choices in the event of a terminal health crisis. 

The third most significant volume of work involved his position against the Stadium Authority Commission and the building of two new sport stadiums in the 1980s and 1990s. In this area of the collection, as with all the important legislative campaigns of the Senator, overwhelming constituent support is well documented in the papers. 

The campaign files provide information pertaining to his Senate campaigns, queries about other offices, and campaigns of colleagues and opponents. Senator Lapides considered runs for mayor of Baltimore City and city and state comptroller. Interactions between state and federal politicians are revealed in the requests for support and appreciation of help on specific legislation.

The Lapides Collection is invaluable for political research and can provide a better understanding to the inner workings of a state senator's office as well as the career of the senator himself.


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