Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives

Vol. 21, No. 1

mdsa.net

Winter 2007

 

 

Washington’s Resignation Speech Unveiled in the State House

by Mimi Calver

 

On the evening of February 19, 2007, the State House rang with colonial music as George Washington’s original copy of his resignation speech as commander in chief of the Continental Army was unveiled before both houses of the General Assembly, Governor Martin O’Malley and Judge Katie O’Malley with their son William; Treasurer Nancy Kopp; many other dignitaries; and a large public audience. A highlight of the evening was the appearance of General Washington himself, portrayed by Dean Malissa, to read his resignation speech. The General also gave William O’Malley a lesson in 18th century etiquette.

 

The resignation speech, which the Archives recently purchased for the State, is one of the most significant documents in U.S. history. Through his resignation and bow to Congress, Washington established the principle of the power of civilian authority over the military that endures as one of the foundations of American democracy. The purchase was made through the Friends of the Maryland State Archives with a combination of state and privately-raised funds. It had been owned since the day Washington resigned, December 23, 1783, by a family descended from a member of Congress who was present at the ceremony.

 

Dr. Papenfuse joins Senate President Mike Miller, Governor Martin O’Malley, William O’Malley, General Washington and Speaker Mike Busch in unveiling the Washington speech

 

The unveiling ceremony featured the U.S. Army Colonial Color Guard with its Fife and Drum Corps presenting the colors, and David and Ginger Hildebrand playing their gorgeous 18th century music. Governor O’Malley offered some remarks and the main address was given by Dr. Papenfuse.

 

The speech remained on display in the Rotunda for the following week and has now been returned to the Archives until an appropriate case can be made for its permanent display. This is truly a wonderful acquisition for the Archives and for Maryland.

 


 

Hall of Records Commission Meeting, December 2006

by Leslie Frazer

 

The fall meeting of the Hall of Records Commission was held at the Maryland State Archives on December 19, 2006. Chief Judge Robert M. Bell presided and opened the meeting by wishing everyone a happy holiday season.

Friends of the Maryland State Archives. Elaine Rice Bachmann updated her report from the last Hall of Records Commission meeting concerning the portrait of Leonard Calvert that the Friends had received funds to purchase. The portrait was immediately sent for conservation which revealed that, rather than being a late 19th century portrait, it very well could be a 17th century portrait. It has been confirmed that the frame is a 17th century frame. When conservation is complete, this will be a very significant addition to the State’s art collection.

 

The Friends were also involved in the publication of My Unexpected Journey: The Autobiography of Governor Harry Roe Hughes. Profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Archives by the Friends for education and outreach initiatives. Copies of the book are available from the Archives’ Online Book Store at http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/stagser/s1259/151/pubsonline/html/pubspage_online.html.

 

Book Launch, My Unexpected Journey: The Autobiography of Harry Roe Hughes, 15 Oct 2006

 

Dr. Papenfuse mentioned another project that may involve the Friends. The Research Department is working with Judge Lynne A. Battaglia and Judge Deborah Sweet Eyler to create a book about women in the law. The Friends will pay for the production of the book through the research and writing phases, much like Governor Hughes’ autobiography.

 

Ms. Bachmann described her involvement in writing While a Tree Grew: The Story of Maryland’s Wye Oak, a children’s book that tells Maryland’s history through the 460 years that the Wye Oak grew and flourished on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She wrote the book based on remarks that she made at a planting of a Wye Oak sapling at her son’s school. The book, published by Cornell Maritime Press Tidewater Publishers, it is beautifully illustrated by Kim Harrell. Publication of this book was underwritten by the Dorothy L. and Henry A. Rosenberg Foundation. Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit both the Friends of the Maryland State Archives and Wye Oak State Park.

 

Commission on Artistic Property. Ms. Bachmann also reported that the Commission on Artistic Property conducted its semi-annual meeting in September. The Commission is beginning to receive some conservation funds for the collection, and important preservation activities are underway for several high profile paintings in the State House. As there are some vacancies on the Commission, Dr. Papenfuse will submit nominations to the Appointment Secretary.

 

Donations to the Archives. Several years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Ashley Ellefson donated $20,000 to the Archives of Maryland, the interest from which the Archives uses to help support the Internship Program. In November 2006, Dr. Papenfuse received another call from Mr. and Mrs. Ellefson, who wanted to donate another $20,000 and it was received on 5 December.

 

Jim Bready, a former Baltimore Sun reporter who once wrote a wonderful article about the Archives’ efforts to publish Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State, has a collecting sideline that was his passion – whiskey bottles. Mr. Bready had previously written a scholarly article on the Whiskey Industry in Maryland, which was very important to the economy of this state. Maryland Rye Whiskey still has a reputation as some of the best rye whiskey ever made. Christopher Kintzel, Registrar of Special Collections, described the collection as containing approximately 700 bottles dating from the 1870s to the 1940s, almost all unique. He displayed a few of the bottles for the Commission, one of which was distributed by Fleischmann’s on North Avenue. Interestingly, it is believed this bottle was manufactured and distributed after most of the docks in Baltimore burned in 1904. Mr. Kintzel described the process being used to accession and house the collection. Based on a recommendation from the Corning Museum of Glass, special boxes were procured to assist in the transportation and storage of the bottles.

 

Rock and Rye Cordial (1 quart)-The Fleischmann Company-Baltimore, MD; MSA SC 5646-1-469

 

Research Activities. Dr. Papenfuse mentioned the recent interest in the research work of the Governor’s Commission to Study the Implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, especially as it related to same sex marriage. Jennifer Hafner, Deputy Director of Research and Student Outreach, explained that the Commission was created in 1973, one year after the Maryland General Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment. The Commission was established to examine Maryland’s laws and how they would be affected by passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Ms. Hafner located a microfiche of the Commission’s research files at the State Law Library. She then contacted Judge Kathleen O'Ferrall Friedman, who served as Co-Chair of the Commission. Judge Friedman discovered that she had a box of materials from her time with the Commission, such as memoranda and secondary sources. She donated these materials to the Archives. See the finding aid for Judge Friedman’s collection at http://speccol.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/catalog/cfm/dsp_number.cfm?speccol=5723.

 

The Archives scanned the Commission’s microfiche and made it available on CD. The State Archivist then produced a CD of the images from the microfiche with pdfs of the current case’s briefs, as well as an mpeg file of the Maryland Court of Appeals webcast of the case. Copies of these materials were provided to the Commission members.

 

Dr. Papenfuse reported that the Research Department had received inquiries about previous gubernatorial inaugurations. The results of the research were posted online and made available to the Inauguration Committee.

 

Report on State House Master Plan. Mimi Calver reported on the State House Master Plan to improve the visitor’s experience at the State House. After evaluating more than 15 proposals from exhibit design firms from around the country, C&G Partners of New York City was selected. The firm has been working with Artistic Property staff to envision how people will experience the State House, its grounds, and the Old Treasury Building. The exhibit of George Washington’s Resignation Speech is a big part of the project, as well as the development of an orientation film and audio tours. Dr. Papenfuse added that every effort has been made to include all stakeholders, including employees who work in the State House, constituents, and private tour operators. Deputy State Archivist Tim Baker remarked that all of this work is being done hand-in-hand with the Department of General Services, who have been very helpful all along the way.

 

Report on Mdlandrec.net Project. Mr. Baker stated that the Archives met its goal to have all available land records indexes covering the period 1634 to present online with at least 60 years of retrievable land record instruments for each jurisdiction – a total of 160 million images. The Archives is now focusing on records prior to 1945, as well as image improvement and enhancement. In addition, the mdlandrec installation team will complete the roll-out of the system to the remaining jurisdictions by the summer of 2007.

 

Tim Baker related that he was recently contacted by the Treasurer of the Maryland Land Title Association. Because they are so pleased with the mdlandrec.net initiative, their Board of Directors wants to donate money to a charity chosen by the Maryland State Archives. The Archives will recommend that they fund part of the Archives’ Underground Railroad research initiative, which uses the land records to assist in the research effort.

 

Report on the Need for a New Archives Building. Mr. Baker reminded the Commission of the need for a new Archives building, as half of the Archive’s holdings are in substandard rental facilities that do not have adequate temperature and humidity control. The Commission viewed images of a facility built by Johns Hopkins University Library System at the Applied Physics Laboratory in Howard County. The facility is an encapsulated building in which temperature and humidity controls are maintained. The stacks are 32 feet high and extremely stable. The facility is not designed for customer service, but for electronic delivery of records. The JHU facility gets approximately 150 requests for documents each day. Staff retrieve the records, scan them, and forward them to the requestor electronically. A recommendation to approve accelerated funding for a facility will be incorporated in the Archives’ upcoming budget testimony.

 

Johns Hopkins University Library System Facility in Howard County

 

Archives’ Disaster Recovery Plan. Mr. Baker noted that, while the Archives has had a Disaster Recovery Plan for some time, work is in progress to replicate data and load-balance at a separate site. Archives’ IT staff worked with the Department of Budget and Management and evaluated options at the Department of Transportation, University of Maryland College Park, and University of Maryland Baltimore City (UMBC). Based on a number of factors, the site at UMBC was chosen, and an agreement in principle is now in place. Mr. Baker stated that they hope to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed and in place by January 2007 for a five year time period, during which UMBC will house the Archives’ servers and storage array.

 


 

Search for Quote Turns into Interesting Discovery

by John Gartrell

 

In late August 2006, Diane Wilson of the Department of General Services notified the Maryland State Archives of prospective plans to update the memorial oak tree plaque dedicated to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the State House Grounds. With all parties in agreement on a much-needed upgrade, State Archivist Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse desired to incorporate a quote Dr. King made while speaking in Maryland on the new plaque. The Commission on Artistic Property compiled a list of known speeches given by Dr. King. The Archives Research Staff was charged with mining for a quote worthy of inclusion on the plaque for the rededication.

 

The author, a Research Archivist working on the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, went to Soper Library on the campus of Morgan State University in search of an extant transcript of Dr. King’s commencement address to the Class of 1958. Unfortunately, Soper Library Reference staff were unable to identify a known location of any university transcript of the address in question. I then consulted Soper’s microfilmed collection of the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper , in the hope of finding at least a brief description and possible quote recorded by the field reporter present on the day of the commencement, June 2, 1958. Instead of finding a notable quote or two, the Afro printed the speech in its entirety in the June 7th Friday Afternoon Edition. While reading through the words of one of the world’s great historic orators, the conclusion of Dr. King’s speech echoed arguably his most famous speech, “In a few years from now, you will be able to sing with new vim, ‘My Country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty….let freedom ring…”

 

The quest for a quote led to an interesting discovery. In Dr. King’s closing remarks to then Morgan State College’s graduating class of 1958, I discovered an antecedent to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The significance of this find is fascinating. The section begins with the aforementioned quote and ends with “…free at last, free at last thank God almighty I’m free at last!” All words in between follow the “Dream” speech’s text verbatim.

 

I contacted notable author and King historian Taylor Branch about the Afro article for some insight on the genesis of the “I Have A Dream” speech. Branch noted that the “Dream” speech delivered on August 28, 1963, was actually a compilation of speeches. He noted that Dr. King, like all great orators, was known for using the same themes in speeches. However, he said that 1958 was very early in Dr. King’s career as a national figure and his address to Morgan State College was one of only a handful of formal speeches given by Dr. King in his visits to Maryland.

 

After I provided a report on this find to the State Archivist, I continued to research in order to contextualize the significance of the commencement address. My research showed that the speech had been largely overlooked by most novice and academic King scholars. This revelation gave an even greater meaning to this profound oration.

 

Signcraft Annapolis was commissioned to use the speech to create an image for the memorial oak plaque. Artist Sharron Fletcher worked diligently to match a visual representation with the words of the speech that personified the legacy of Dr. King. At a press conference on State House grounds on February 28, 2007, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland sponsored the plaque rededication as a culmination of their Maryland Black History Month celebration. A number of government officials attended the rededication, including Governor Martin J. O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, and State Senator Verna L. Jones, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. The crowd was moved by Ms. Fletcher’s artistic vision: a bronzed mosaic featuring three prominent images of Dr. King, inscribed with the following words:

 

This tree is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968 – Freedom must ring from every mountainside…and when this happens, all…will be able to stand together…and sing a new song…Free at last, free at last, great God Almighty, we are free at last.

Commencement Address, Morgan State College, June 2, 1958

 

A reception followed at Government House on the evening of February 28, 2007. At the reception, Dr. Papenfuse and this author made a special presentation to Governor O’Malley: a framed reproduction of the original June 7, 1958, article that was printed in the Baltimore Afro-American.

 

Although it is difficult to tell whether the ‘58 commencement was the first time Dr. King actually delivered the “Dream” antecedent to a public audience, it is nonetheless exciting to know that Morgan State University, one of Maryland’s great institutions of higher learning, was one of the places Dr. King chose to “test” the impact of such words before delivering them in August of 1963 at the March on Washington. The Afro noted that the audience at Morgan received the speech with thunderous applause. This discovery further binds the State of Maryland with the legacy of Dr. King.

 

To read the full text of Dr. King’s 1958 Commencement Address at Morgan State College, please visit http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/speccol/sc5600/sc5604/pdf/afro_speech.pdf

 


 

Maryland Art Collection Featured in Two Scholarly Journals

by Mimi Calver

 

Elaine Rice Bachmann and Sasha Lourie have published articles relating to the state-owned art collections in two of the most prestigious journals in their fields. Elaine, who is Curator of the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property, had an article on the State’s historic painting of Washington, Lafayette and Tilghman at Yorktown published in the February 2007 issue of Antiques Magazine. Her article, entitled “Charles Willson Peale’s Portrait of George Washington for the Maryland State House: ‘Something better than a mere coppy,’” focused on the research she has done over the past several years on the State’s commission of the painting in 1781 following the victory at Yorktown.

 

Sasha, Assistant Curator of the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property, had his article published in the 2006 edition of American Furniture. His article, entitled “‘To Superintend the Necessary Repairs’: The Careers and Work of Washington and William Tuck,” was based on his prize-winning MA thesis. The article featured the cabinetmakers of Annapolis in the early Federal period and the important role that State commissions, especially for the State House, played in keeping Annapolis artisans busy during this time.

 

These two articles represent unprecedented visibility for the State’s art collections, and for the level of material culture scholarship maintained by the curatorial staff at the Archives. Both Elaine and Sasha are to be congratulated for their achievements.

 


 

Representatives from Maryland State Archives Attend Grand Opening of the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park

by Justin Demski

 

On June 28, 2006, Justin Demski, Deputy Director of Reference Services, and Chris Haley, Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, represented the Maryland State Archives at the grand opening ceremony of the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park, located in Fells Point in Baltimore City. Douglass and Myers, prominent African Americans, were native Marylanders who made their homes and established their legacies in Baltimore. Frederick Douglass is best remembered as a powerful orator and a passionate abolitionist. Isaac Myers, a caulker by trade, established one of the first African-American businesses in Baltimore, founding the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. Both men were honored and their accomplishments celebrated at the formal opening of this museum, which collects and preserves the city’s maritime history. The museum is an educational campus of the Living Classrooms Foundation, which provides hands-on education and job skills training for students from diverse backgrounds, with a special emphasis on serving at-risk youth. The Maritime Park, “a learning facility that celebrates Baltimore’s African-American maritime history and shipbuilding tradition,” combines exhibits with a living classroom in a working shipyard.

 

The day’s program included many speakers and some song. The Frederick Douglass High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Mr. David Burton, opened the ceremony with uplifting music. Rev. Dellyne Hinton, Pastor of Sharp Street United Methodist Church, gave the spiritual invocation. Charles Thompson then sang a stirring rendition of the “The Star Spangled Banner.” Najee Rollins and James Townes, students at Crossroads Middle School, presented an energetic and entertaining welcome. Living Classrooms President and CEO James Piper Bond and Living Classrooms Fresh Start Instructor Reyaud Johnson spoke about the foundation, drawing on their experiences as the founder and former student, respectively. Additional remarks were made by Governor Martin J. O’Malley (then Mayor of Baltimore City); Dr. Patricia L. Schmoke, Chair of the Maritime Park’s governing board; Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon (then President of the Baltimore City Council); Mr. Donn Weinberg of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Mrs. Sylvia Brown of the Eddie C. & C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation; Dr. Dianne Swann-Wright, Director and Curator of the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park; Mr. Sheldon D. Redden, Prince Hall Masons Grand Master; and Mr. Victor Hoskins, then Secretary of the State Department of Housing and Community Development. A ribbon cutting followed the remarks of the speakers. The program concluded with a reception and refreshments, and then tours of the facility.

 

The Maryland State Archives thanks the Living Classrooms Foundation and Dr. Dianne Swann-Wright for extending an invitation to the event and acknowledging the assistance from the Archives during her remarks. The very successful event was greatly appreciated by all who attended.

 

For more information on the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park, please visit their website at http://www.douglassmyers.org/.

 


In Memoriam

by Robert Barnes

 

R. Bernice Leonard, 8 July 1916-30 August 2006, was a longtime patron of the Archives, researcher, and author. Ill health had prevented her from visiting the Archives in recent years, but she will long be remembered for her positive outlook, her pleasant manner, and her indomitable courage. It was a delight to see her in the Search Room. She was the author of 80 books, including many volumes of abstracts of Queen Anne’s County, Talbot County, and Caroline County Land Records.

 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis (Gustave Faure, Requiem).

 

 


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