The Archivist's Bulldog

Vol. 10 No. 6, Newsletter of the Maryland State Archives, March 25, 1996

HALL OF RECORDS COMMISSION MEETING by Pat Melville

The Hall of Records Commission met at the Archives on Thursday, March 14. Ed noted that the Commission was meeting in a conference room that is equipped as an electronic classroom which is part of a cooperative project with the Anne Arundel County Board of Education to train teachers in the use of archival materials available on the Internet at the Archives and elsewhere. The Archives has provided the expertise in computer networks and document presentation. Anne Arundel County furnished the computers and software for the project.

In the past few months there have been four ceremonial meetings of the Commission. These include the presentation of the model of the Thurgood Marshall Memorial in Annapolis, the First Citizen Award given by the Senate to Judge Robert C. Murphy and Judge Robert F. Sweeney, the Speaker's Medallion given by the House of Delegates to the same two judges and the Thomas Kennedy Award given by the House to former State Treasurer Lucille Maurer, and the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Hall of Records Commission approved a resolution of gratitude to Mrs. Maurer for her years of service on the Commission.

Ed told the Commission about the biographical work that the Archives has undertaken to document the lives of First Ladies and Official Hostesses. Mary Digges Lee, wife of Governor Thomas Sim Lee and recently accepted into the Women's Hall of Fame, was a remarkable individual. She was a correspondent of George Washington, raised money for supplies for the army during the Revolution, and insisted that her slaves be instructed in Catholicism. Emily Oland, an Archives intern working on the First Ladies Biographical Project, suggested the nomination of Mrs. Lee. For her efforts, Emily was presented with a silver bowl which she then gave to Mrs. Glendening for display in Government House.

Among the staff activities, mention was made of the Archives' efforts to manage the electronic records of state government. As a part of this effort, our staff has worked with the Department of General Services to link offices in the Annapolis Complex on a fiber optic communications network for Internet access. The Archives has installed a computer with 'firewall' software that permits secure internal communications within the Complex and permits outbound traffic to other agencies and the Internet. The network will also serve as a means to transfer permanently valuable electronic records to the Archives for preservation and retrieval.

A new service of the Archives is maintaining Internet sites for the Governor's Office, Secretary of State, and State Administrative Board of Election Laws. Cooperative efforts are also underway to link the Comptroller of the Treasury and Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning to the Internet through the facilities of the Archives.

Commission members reviewed recent acquisitions of government records and special collections. Ed highlighted the 1st Fidelity Collection which included records of the Savings Bank of Baltimore. This bank was established in 1818 and was notable for handling accounts of the working poor regardless of race. The processing of the collection, described previously in the Bulldog, was an example of a cooperative venture with private industry. Funds for the project were provided by 1st Union Bank and the Maryland Historical Trust. The finding aid is available on the Archives' web site and contains descriptions at both the series and box or volume levels.

The ongoing appraisal work with the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund (MDIF) records was discussed. The Archives is assisting MDIF with the management of more than 19,000 cubic feet of records at an adjunct archival facility. The remaining receiverships are being closed except for Old Court which will continue for some time. As audits are completed on closed receiverships, the non-permanent records are destroyed. The Commission approved a motion to continue this work with the financial support of the receiverships.

Other appraisal presentations involved electronic records, imaging projects, and vital records legislation. Rules and regulations concerning electronic records, including CD ROM, are available on the Archives' web site. Chris Allan has been asked by the Comptroller's Office to participate in the technical evaluation of bids received to establish an image management program for the Registers of Wills offices throughout the state. In cooperation with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, departmental legislation, House Bill 1246, has been introduced to amend the vital records law that governs access to these records at the Archives. The bill removes restrictions on marriage and divorce records filed with the Division of Vital records, reduces the restriction on death records from twenty to ten years, and reduces the amount of information made available on an extract of a restricted record. The hearing before the House Environmental Matters Committee went well. [Since then the Committee has reported the bill to the floor of the House where it received unanimous approval.]

Ed described the processing and preservation work being done with plats from the circuit courts of Allegany and Baltimore counties, and illustrated his remarks with a scanned image of the facade of the courthouse in Cumberland.

The Maryland Manual will be published in book form in June so that substantive changes in state government now being considered by the legislature can be incorporated into the finished product. The paper publication will be a limited edition to cover mandated distributions and sales. The reference edition for libraries, schools, and other users will be available on CD ROM. State Treasurer Dixon suggested an enhancement to the "Maryland Historical Chronology" section, concerning the importance of the meeting of the General Assembly in Frederick on April 29, 1861 for keeping the state in the Union.

Discussion of educational and public outreach activities, besides the electronic classroom, centered around the summer internship program and biographical research. The announcement for the internship program appears on the Archives' web site. The summer project will continue the research of African-American Civil War soldiers. Also continuing will be the First Ladies biographical project. Ed reported on research on the office of the State Treasurer. It includes a history of the office, list of officeholders, and biographies of Dixon, Maurer, and William James. Biographies and illustrations of other treasurers will be added in the near future. Comptroller Goldstein requested that a similar project be done with the Comptroller's office; the Commission approved the idea.

The Archives will take custody of the Peabody art collection on behalf of the state in June. Most of the collection will stay with participating institutions. Some pieces will come to the Archives and others will be placed on display at other museums in the state. The Commission on Artistic Properties was reorganized last year to include representation from the institutions that have cared for the Peabody collection.

Other business considered by the Commission included plans to develop a facility for the care and preservation of electronic records, management of an adjunct archival facility for the records of the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund, publication of the Civil Office List and Documents for the Classroom as part of the Archives of Maryland, and work with the Department of General Services to address long term maintenance for the Hall of Records building. Chris discussed the endowment fund, highlighting contributions from Comptroller Goldstein, the genealogy workshops, and 1st Union Bank. The Comptroller and Treasurer offered their assistance in work to clarify the tax exempt status of donations received for the Archives' Endowment Fund. The Commission approved plans for a celebration on September 11, 1996, the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Hall of Records building.

STAFF NEWS

Don Williams has been appointed Archival Assistant Supervisor.

NEW SPECIAL COLLECTIONS by Nancy Bramucci

MSA SC4557: Annapolis City Directory Collection, 1910-1925. Classified Buyer's Guide of Annapolis, Maryland, 1924-1925; Annapolis City Directory, 1910. Microfilm. Purchased.
MSA SC4558: Riversdale Collection, 1853. Map of Riversdale Demesnes, Rosburg Farm, Prince George's Co., belonging to Charles B. Calvert. Photographs. Curtesy of Riversdale Historical Society.
MSA SC4559: Voorhees Collection, var.d. Materials relating to Jacob Leslier, a New York merchant trading in Maryland. Copies. Gift, David Voorhees.
MSA SC4561: Keyworth Collection, var.d. Documents relating to the Keyworth family. Includes decorative metal compote.
MSA SC4562: Lloyd Family Collection, 1681-1798. Materials relating to the Lloyd family, including: receipt, Federal Direct Tax, Elizabeth Lloyd, 1798; letter, unsigned, attributed to Jefferson Davis, n.d.; indenture, Richard and Rachel Bruff to Richard Bennett, Crouches Choyce and Bruffs Island, 1720; plats, Wye House and surrounding grounds, c. 1705; plat, tracts on Wye River, Henrietta Maria Lloyd, 1695; plat, town of Donkester, 1707; plat, Henrietta Marias Discovery and surrounding tracts, 1695; patent, William Jones and Solomon Jones, Widdows Chance, 1681. Gift, Mrs. R. Carmichael Tilghman.
MSA SC4563: Mehlinger Evidence Collection, 1895. Photographs, used a exhibits in Mehlinger vs. Mehlinger from Baltimore City Circuit Court 2 (Equity Papers B, Divorces and Foreclosures) 2411B [MSA T57]. Original.
MSA SC4564: Owens Collection, 1744-1760. Patent, William Wheatley, Purchase, 1759; patent, Daniel Shehy, Daniels Beginning, 1760; patent, Thomas Heyward, Hopewell, 1744. Original. Deposit, George Owens.
MSA SC4565: Thurgood Marshall Model Collection, 1995. Thurgood Marshall Memorial, Lawyer's Mall, Annapolis. Photographs.
MSA SC4566: Sarah Bell Williams Collection, 1880-1960. Photo album, loose photographs, newspaper clippings, and Christmas cards belonging to Sarah Bell Williams, an early 20th century society woman in Baltimore and Annapolis. Original. Gift, Mame Warren.
MSA SC4568: Hurst Collection, 1865. Discharge paper, Denis Smith, 1865. Deposit, Nancy P. Hurst.
MSA SC4569: Maryland State Law Library Map Collection, 1902- 1983. Miscellaneous county maps, Maryland Geological Survey, Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources, State Roads Commission, and State Highway Administration. Includes legislative district maps, PG and MO, 1982. Original. Gift, Maryland State Law Library.
MSA SC4570: St. Peter's Church Collection, 1799-1966. St. Peter's Church, Protestant Episcopal, Diocese of Washington, MO, Poolesville: register, 1799-1919; vestry minutes, 1799-1966; papers, 1836-1936. Microfilm.
MSA SC4571: St. Paul's Church Collection, 1711-1959. St. Paul's Church, Rock Creek Parish, Protestant Episcopal, Diocese of Washington, Washington, DC: vestry minutes and registers, 1695- 1892; vestry minutes, 1882-1959; register, 1831-1889; record of parish families, 1886-1897. Microfilm.
MSA SC4572: Forged by Fire Map Collection, 1904. Map, burned district of Baltimore during the 1904 fire. Map appeared in Dean Yates, Forged by Fire, 1992. Photograph. Gift, Dean Yates.
MSA SC4573: "Best of Bodine" Collection, 1970. Portfolio, A. Aubrey Bodine's work, published by the Baltimore Sun on his death. Original newspaper. Gift, anonymous.
MSA SC4574: St. John's College Photographic Collection, 1894- 1930. Photographs, St. John's College, including class panoramics, sports teams, and debating societies. Original. Deposit, St. John's College.
MSA SC4575: St. Mark's Church Collection, 1872-1898. St. Mark's Church, Protestant Episcopal, HO, Highland: vestry minutes, index. Original.
MSA SC4577: Washington County War Casualty Collection, 1995. List, combat war casualties, WA, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War. Includes only personnel who were either killed through enemy action, died as a result of combat wounds, died while a POW, and MIAs declared dead by the Department of Defense. Copy. Gift, Joint Veterans Council of Washington County.
MSA SC4578: O'Donnell Collection, 1786. Petition, John O'Donnell to the President and members of Congress. Original at National Archives. Copy. Gift, NARA.
MSA SC4579: Historic St. Mary's City Collection, n.d. Paintings, Charles Calvert, third Lord Baltimore; George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore by Daniel Mytens; Cecilius Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore. Oil paintings. Deposit, St. Mary's City Commission.
MSA SC4580: Charles Ridgely and Company Collection, 1793. Certificate of purchase, Nottingham Company to Charles Ridgely and Co. Original. Gift, Stephen Goldman.
MSA SC4581: Maryland Newspaper Project Slide Collection, 1990. Graphics. 35mm slides.
MSA SC4583: Governor William Donald Schaefer Photographic Collection. Photographs of bill signings and other events during Governor Schaefer's administration. Negatives. Gift, Executive Office.

REFERENCE REPORT by Pat Melville

In February local history was a popular research topic. Areas of interest included Prince George's County, Harford County in the 19th century, Annapolis in the 1950s, New Market, St. Michaels, Frederick, Indian Head, and Monocacy settlements. Institutional studies concerned Crownsville Hospital Center and the Baltimore City Circuit Court and its judges. Groups of people being investigated included meetings of Friends, Catholics in the Civil War, indentured servants, and Piscataway Indians.

Several students were working on a project to determine the appearance of home interiors in the 1840s. Other topics included crab fisheries, poor relief in the colonial period, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, early Maryland rail systems, and election of judges.

After a slow January research activity in the search room picked up in February. Total record circulation rose 2.8%, 10,450 compared to 10,164 in February 1995. Use of original materials climbed 25.3%, 3467 compared to 1768. The heaviest circulation in this category occurred on three successive days - 20th, 21st, and 22nd - with usage figures of 503, 509, and 683 respectively. Library circulation increased 21.8%, 1279 compared to 1050. Microfilm use, on the other hand, decreased 10.1%, 5704 compared to 6346.

The total number of researchers in February changed very little, down 2%, 1144 compared to 1167 last year. New patrons rose 6.6%, 321 compared to 301, while returnees fell 5%, 823 compared to 866. The amount of photoduplication orders taken in the search room in February dropped 10.5%, $1335.50 compared to $1492.50. Reader printer income rose 28.9%, $1379.00 compared to $1070.00.

Also picking up in February were phone calls, rising 19.6%, 1252 compared to 1047 last year. There was an average of 63 calls per day, setting a new record. Mail handled by the mail program declined in February by 4.1%, 885 letters compared to 923. The amount of administrative and staff correspondence fell 6%, 579 compared to 616. Research and turnaround mail remained unchanged. Both last year and this year there were 63 research letters. Turnaround letters numbered 243 last month and 244 in February 1995.

METAPHYSICAL ROOTS by Lee Evans

Genealogists are staring
at odd bits of paper,
trying to recycle ancient fibers
into a Tree that yields
its documented fruit
to all who trace
the lineal descent from Grace
of our first Parents
into the clockwork of Time
and the apathy of Space.

The murderers!
Their letters of the Law
stab the Human Heart
like Aztec blades;
and their visions provide
for erring mankind
a tree that shelters
no one's despair,
nor refuge affords
any fowl of the air.

They dream they unearth
their family's roots;
but that Tree which ever recedes
never grew from an acorn,
or cast its oracular leaves
upon the perishing waves
of a mortal sea
that divides revealing only
the valley of dry ancestors,
whose descendents' failing vision
blurs and twitches in
the overloaded circuits
of their flesh-enshrouded skulls:
Memento mori.

In spite of this,
there is a bit of stump
here in this wilderness,
to sit and reminisce upon
concerning all the roots of Life
that feed upon the Heavens' Forms
and flow down to the Earth,
their branches burgeoning
with the fruits of Immortality:
One's Family Tree
so long sought after,
growing upside down
within the Soul!

VOLUNTEER NEWS by Pat Melville

Sarah Schmidt, previously at the Archives as a paid intern, has returned as a volunteer intern for her library science program at UMBC. She has been assigned to the church records project, under Nancy's supervision, and is creating/revising the catalog descriptions and reviewing materials that should be refilmed.

Dianne Feldman has begun a project to place the information in the Genealogist's Wish List file in a database which upon completion will be available on the computers in the search room. This project was developed at the suggestion of the Search Room Advisory Committee.


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