The Archivist's Bulldog

Vol. 10 No. 12, Newsletter of the Maryland State Archives, June 22, 1996

by Pat Melville

On June 9-13 the 17th annual National History Day was held at the University of Maryland at College Park. It was the culmination of a series of local, regional, and state contests held through the school year. Each contest and category of presentation was separated into two divisions, junior and senior. The former included grades six through eight, the latter nine through twelve. Students must use primary sources to prepare papers, projects, performances, or media presentations based on a broadly defined historical theme. Except for papers, each category can be done by an individual or a group, with each one being judged separately.

By incorporating history day presentations into the curriculum, individual teachers can lead students to view history as an interesting activity and learning experience.

The 1995-1996 theme for National History Day was "Taking a Stand in History: Individuals, Groups, and Movements." Entries were required to include both a description of the selected topic and analysis and interpretation, accompanied by written, annotated bibliographies. The paper category consisted of a written presentation, between 1,500 and 2,500 words in length, supplemented by footnotes or endnotes. The project category contained a visual representation of research and interpretation, resembling a small museum exhibit accompanied by a 500 word description of the display. The performance category was a dramatic portrayal of the topic's significance in history, developed from an original composition. The media category consisted of the use of one or more media to communicate the significance of the topic.

I participated in National History Day as a judge of individual projects in the junior division. Each group of three judges was assigned fourteen projects to evaluate. Receiving our highest rating was a display on Admiral Nimitz and the Battle of Midway. The student clearly and forcefully showed how Admiral Nimitz took a stand and how and why his actions made a difference in World War II. His research was extensive, including declassified radio messages and oral interviews with several officers serving under Nimitz. This project received our nominations for a special award for best naval history presentation and for best use of oral history.

Another student outlined the importance of a Civil War battle at Mine Creek in Kansas. As a resident of the area, he was able to use the resources of a local museum and take photographs of the battle site. One young girl traced the history of the Boy Scouts and tried to show how the organization develops leadership qualities. She chose the topic because of a lifetime exposure through her father and three older brothers. A project on the Pullman strike in 1894, involving Eugene V. Debs, made extensive use of newspapers. Two projects covered the Battle of Little Bighorn and the stand taken by Indians. Other topics included Gandhi and nonviolent resistance, Frank Lloyd Wright and his influence on modern architecture, the women's temperance movement, and the role of the First Minnesota Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The theme for National History Day 1997 is "Triumph and Tragedy in History." Students should select an individual, idea, or event and show how and why that topic was a triumph and/or a tragedy in history.

by Pat Melville

[Continuation of analysis of ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT(Grand Jury Reports) 1933-1966 [MSA C2137] and ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION (Grand Jury Reports) 1969-1981 [MSA CM1178].]

With great regularity the Anne Arundel County grand juries investigated law enforcement and the criminal justice system and made recommendations for improvement. In 1933, the jury described county law enforcement as inefficient. Officers included the sheriff and his deputies and special officers or constables appointed by the county commissioners. The sheriff appointed one deputy for each election district and could pay them only low salaries. The commissioners appointed three or four special officers for each district and authorized salaries higher than those for deputy sheriffs. The situation was alleviated finally by the establishment of a county police department in 1936, with headquarters at Ferndale.

As one might expect, the grand juries continued to find problems with law enforcement procedures and administration. In 1938, the jury received complaints about officers failing to see that liquor establishments closed by the time prescribed by law. A 1952 grand jury report noted several raids on suspected gambling places where no evidence was found because of tip-offs. The same report called for greater police presence to combat sales of alcoholic beverages to minors in the northern part of the county and at beach resorts. Two years later, "State Police consider that those who control slot machine operations have a better intelligence system than the [County] Police Department."

In 1936, the county commissioners were criticized for requiring all police officers to attend their meetings in Annapolis, thus leaving outlying areas without protection. In 1949, the police board was cited for its failure to meet monthly. In the eight previous years it had met only nine times. By 1954 the grand jury recommended the removal of police matters from the jurisdiction of the county commissioners and the removal of the county manager and coroner from the police board. At the same time, it was revealed that the incumbent coroner also held the offices of police commissioner and police examiner. The jury recommended the separation of these offices.

Periodically, the grand juries commented on hiring and promotion practices. In 1954, the police department hired almost any man who passed a simple examination and then gave him only minimal training. The jury recommended taking advantage of the state police offer to use their training school, which required six months of training. Within one year, the department had upgraded its selection and training procedures. The promotion process continued to be plagued with charges of favoritism, resulting in poor morale in the department by 1962. In addition, some transfers to different stations were treated as punishment for disciplining an officer or failing to drop or reduce charges, especially traffic violations.

Frequently after 1942 the police headquarters were described as inadequate or overcrowded. In 1963, the intelligence unit was operating out of the basement of a magistrates court, where it was damp, flooded periodically, and housed snakes. New headquarters were built in 1966 in Millersville, but were deemed overcrowded by 1978.

Prior to the establishment of the District Court in 1971, the grand jury periodically investigated the lower court system in the county. In 1933, the jury recommended a reduction in the number of magistrates, regular daily court hours, and greater criminal jurisdiction to reduce burdens on the circuit court. In 1937, there were allegations of fixing traffic tickets and suggestions were made for standardized criminal and civil dockets. All these recommendations were incorporated into the trial magistrate system established statewide in 1939. By 1963, the jury found problems with parttime court schedules, delays in hearing cases, and overcrowded court room facilities. In 1965, the Anne Arundel County Peoples Court replaced the trial magistrates.

In the mid-1970s, the grand juries found fault with the handling of criminal cases at the circuit court level. The average time between arrest and trial was 153 days; the highest average was for robbery cases - 440 days or 14 1/2 months. Most recommendations centered around sterner punishments for criminals, such as higher bail and stiffer sentences for repeat offenders, reestablishment of the death penalty, and treatment of repeat juvenile offenders as adults.

by Kevin Swanson

The May total of 1001 reference requests represents a 10.9% increase over the May 1995 total of 903. Surprisingly, this increase in requests was accompanied by a 5.3% decrease in the number of records circulated, from 1523 last year to 1443 in 1996. There were 5 fewer vital records requests in May 1996 (434) than in 1995 (439). Circulation of district court records decreased by 39.3%, 289 compared to 476. Requests for records of the circuit courts and other agencies increased by 18.4%, 720 compared to 608.

Overall, the judiciary continues as the largest single user of SLR reference services. The number of reference requests received from the courts decreased by 2.9% (232 compared to 239), while the number of records requested decreased by 38.8% (370 compared to 605). Court requests accounted for 23.2% of all requests received and 25.6% of total record circulation.

Requests received by phone decreased in May (300 compared to 335) accounting for 30% of total requests. The number of requests faxed to the Archives increased from 52 to 125. Overall, fax requests made up 12.5% of the May 1996 total, while accounting for 5.8% of the May 1995 total. More requests were generated from the search room (124) than had been the case in May 1995 (71). Search room requests accounted for 12.4% of May 1996 reference activity as compared to 7.9% last year, an increase of 4.5%. We also received 17 requests handled in the lobby without requiring the patron to register for the search room.

The number of phone/fax requests (425) fell just short of the number of requests received through the mail (435). Phone/fax requests accounted for 42.5% of total requests, with the mail accounting for 43.5%.

Revenue from reference activity was up 15.2% over last May, $8544 compared to $7419.

by Shashi Thapar

American Clan Gregor Society, 1995 Yearbook containing Proceedings of 1994 Gathering, vol. 79
American Clan Gregor Society, 1996 Yearbook containing Proceedings of 1995 Gathering, vol. 80
Bowden, Thomas A., Guide to Pre-1900 Sources for Economic and Social History in the Delaware State Archives
Butler, Joseph T., Washington Irving's Sunnyside
Calvert County Genealogy Newsletter, Mt. Zion Methodist Church Records 1858-1931
Faust, Drew Gilpin, "A Riddle of Death": Morality and Meaning in the American Civil War
Foster, John W., Forster/Foster: Some Descendants of Hugh and Abigail Forster
Frye, Susan Winter, Archaeological Excavations at Antietam Iron Furnace Complex (18WA288) Washington County, Maryland
Coldham, Peter Wilson, Settlers of Maryland, 1751-1765
Hamilton, Edward P., Village Mill in Early New England
Hynson, Jerry M., Maryland Freedom Papers, vol. 1: Anne Arundel County
Jourdan, Elise Greenup, Land Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, 1733-1739
Kirn, Wayne Robert, The Crocketts of Killylung and Their Kin
Land Design/Research Inc., New Life for Maryland's Old Towns
Malone, Randolph A., Malone and Allied Families, 2nd ed.
Maryland Historical Society, Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society
Maryland Historical Trust, Historic Preservation in Maryland: An Analysis of Its Impact on the State's Tourism Industry
Maryland Historical Trust, Historic Preservation and Affordable Housing in Maryland: A Summary
Miller, Henry M., Discovering Maryland's First City: A Summary Report on 1981-1984 Archaeological Excavations in St. Mary's City, Maryland
Miller, Henry M., A Search for the City of Saint Maries: Report on the 1981 Excavations in St. Mary's City, Maryland, rev. ed.
Morrow, Dale W., Washington County, Maryland Cemetery Records, vol. 7
Morrow, Dale W., Washington County, Maryland Cemetery Records, vol. 6
National Archives and Records Administration, Managing Micrographic Records
National Archives and Records Administration, Agency Recordkeeping Requirements: A Management Guide
National Archives and Records Administration, Record Management: Self-Evaluation Guide
Orrell, Reverdy Lewin, III, Palestine Lodge No. 189: 1891-1991 "The First Hundred Years"
Pogue, Dennis J., King's Reach and 17th-Century Plantation Life
Rogers, Donald W., Voting and the Spirit of American Democracy: Essays on the History of Voting and Voting Rights in America
Savage, R. Blair, Savage is My Name: A History of Thirteen Generations of a Savage Family in America
Scholarly Resources Inc., Manuscripts Collections from Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Shields, Jerry, Gath's Literary Work and Folk and Other Selected Writings of George Alfred Townsend
Skinner, V. L., Jr, Abstracts of the Administration Accounts of Prerogative Court of Maryland, Libers 6-10, 1724-1731
Smolek, Michael A., Historical Archaeology of the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake: A Guide to Sources
Stephens, Waneta, Phoebus, Phebus, Febus, Febes, Pheobus
Stephens, Waneta, Supplement to Febus Book
Wood, Gregory A., Guide to the Acadians in Maryland in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Yewell, Therese C., Women of Achievement in Prince George's County History

by Pat Melville

Among the patrons in May, there was a decided lack of variety in their research topics. Civil War studies included bounties paid for military service and Howard County during the conflict. Other local subjects concerned Deer Creek, Brentwood, Bates High School in Annapolis, historic buildings in Annapolis, and settlements along the Nanticoke River. Other topics involved social party movements in the 19th century, Joshua Johnson, loyalist shipowners and shipping during the Revolution, motion picture censors, mills in Maryland, federal aid and hospital construction, and public housing and African Americans.

Activity in the search room increased moderately in May. Total circulation rose 6.2% , 10,486 compared to 9872 in May 1995, due solely to a 27.1% jump in the use of microfilm, 7566 compared to 5955. Library circulation dropped 19.4%, 1131 compared to 1403. Use of original materials fell 28.8%, 1789 compared to 2514. The total number of researchers increased only 2.7%, 1320 compared to 1285. New registrants grew by 9.8%, 415 compared to 378. Returning patrons remained unchanged, 905 compared to 907.

Income from copy orders taken in the search room rose 4.2% in May, $1775.00 compared to $1703.25 last year. Reader printer income jumped 30.2%, $1498.00 compared to $1150.50.

Patrons continue to find it convenient to pursue reference questions and copy requests via the telephone. In May the number of calls handled by phone reference climbed 13.7%, 1306 compared to 1151. The average per day reached 59 compared to 52 last year.

Founded 1987

Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist
Patricia V. Melville, Editor
Mimi Calver, Assistant Editor
Lynne MacAdam, Production Editor
Rita Molter, Circulation

The Maryland State Archives is an independent agency in the Office of Governor Parris N. Glendening and is advised by the Hall of Records Commission, the Honorable Robert C. Murphy, chairman.

The Archivist's Bulldog is issued bi-monthly to publicize record collections, finding aids, and other activities of the Archives. The Editor welcomes editorial comments and contributions from the public.

Subscription cost is $25.00 per year, and the proceeds go to the State Archives Fund. To subscribe, send your name, address, and remittance to the Maryland State Archives, 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1686. Phone: MD toll free: (800) 235-4045 or(410) 974-3914. FAX: (410) 974-3895.

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Copyright December 08, 1998 Maryland State Archives