The Archivist's Bulldog

Vol. 10 No. 8, Newsletter of the Maryland State Archives, April 22, 1996


INSPECTION WORK OF THE GRAND JURY
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].]

In addition to investigations and considerations of criminal charges, grand juries in Maryland inspected public facilities in their respective counties. The definition of public buildings falling under the purview of a grand jury evolved over time. Always included, at least in the 20th century, were county and municipal jails, state prisons, state hospitals, county almshouses, police stations, courthouses, and schools. Included at other times were municipal government offices, fire stations, theaters, and other places considered public. The jurors did not confine themselves just to the physical plants. They also looked at the administrations of the systems and the operations of individual departments within the facilities.

The Anne Arundel County grand jury inspected a large number of building complexes because of the many state facilities in the county. In 1935 the jury was charged with looking "into conditions at the House of Correction, Crownsville Hospital for Insane, Anne Arundel County Home, Maryland Training School for Colored Girls, and City Jail, and all school buildings, theaters and other public buildings where hazards to the general public are possible." Usually the foreman of the jury assigned specific inspections to individual committees in order to divide the workload. Instructions from a judge in 1963 illustrate the expansion from physical examinations. He told the jury to consider county jail conditions, possible replacement of the magistrates court with a peoples court, need for qualified sanitary commission employees, need for conflict of interest law, regulation of trailer parks, need for additional men on the police force, and viability of the county civil defense board.

The inspection reports contained details about the shortcomings, and sometimes the strengths, of the buildings and the operations within them. In addition, the grand juries made recommendations to rectify the problems they encountered. The procedures lacked a mechanism to enforce the recommendations or to obtain responses from the administrators of the facilities under consideration. This problem persisted throughout the period of 1933 to 1981.

One of the 1948 juries examined past reports "and noted a very inefficient and discouraging practice of having no carryover from one Grand Jury to the other. The recommendations made by the retiring Jury have been filed and nothing ever happens to them by way of correcting the deficiencies...." A 1955 jury suggested that department heads be required to acknowledge receipt of reports and respond on actions to be taken regarding recommendations and suggestions. Three years later a report noted the following: "The general attitude of the public is that recommendations made by a Grand Jury amount to nothing and rarely is action taken to comply with..." them. The jury advocated publication of the reports and called for less frequent inspections, annually instead of semi-annually, since conditions were not likely to change that much within a year. In 1964 Anne Arundel County implemented the idea of splitting inspections between the two grand juries impaneled each year.

Some grand juries questioned the value of the inspection process. A 1961 jury wanted these duties eliminated. Because trained inspectors already examined many buildings the "trooping of Grand Jury committees through seventy or eighty schools, the Court House, the penal institutions, offices, and garages becomes a largely meaningless duplication of effort." It was recommended that juries limit themselves to periodically checking the quality of the professional inspections. A 1975 report called routine inspections "senseless" because they reviewed the blatantly obvious problems and failed to perceive the situations only a trained person would see.

By 1978 the grand jury was confining its major inspections to facilities and institutions concerned with law enforcement and administration of justice.

The next installment will concern the findings and recommendations resulting from inspections of penal institutions.

TWO GROUPS VISIT THE ARCHIVES

The Archives recently hosted visits from two important groups. On April 2, 40 records managers and administrators from ARMA were here for an evening event which included a demonstration of our Internet presence by Ed and a tour of the building. Everyone enjoyed the evening and was extremely interested in what we are doing and how we can be accessed on the Web. As records administrators, they were especially interested in the Archives' management of electronic information as well as our presentation of documents on the Internet.

On Sunday, April 21, 55 members of the American Antiquarian Society visited us as part of their meeting which was taking place in Washington. They had a tour of the building and a demonstration of our Web site, especially the Maryland Newspaper Project. Their visit here was followed by a tour of the State House conducted by Ed, who is a member of the Society. This group has taken the lead in the preservation of paper records and newspapers. The visit to the Archives was arranged by former Senator Jack Lapides and his wife, Linda.

Thanks very much to the many staff members who volunteered their time to be here for both of these visits.

STAFF NEWS

Leanda Phillips has transferred from the GIS project to State and Local Records where she is now an Archival Assistant.

Welcome to George Ramer who will be working with Lynne on computers and to Marilyn Cramer who has joined State and Local Records as an Archival Assistant.

REFERENCE REPORT
by Pat Melville

As usual in March many students visited the Archives to conduct research for papers and theses. Some were seeking information for institutional studies including Crownsville Hospital Center, Jerusalem Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, Carvel Hall in Annapolis, Quiet Waters Park in Anne Arundel County, Annapolis High School, Strayer College, and Baltimore City Health Department. Local topics concerned Hyattsville, Snow Hill, housing in Salisbury, and Arundel-on-the-Bay in Anne Arundel County for 1890 through 1960.

Military subjects involved the 2nd Maryland Infantry in the Civil War, Confederate artillerymen, and Maryland Regiment battle flag at Cowpens in the Revolution. A related topic was the Maryland statue at Gettysburg. Population groups being studied included Native Americans in Maryland and African-Americans in Annapolis. Colonial topics centered around 17th century Maryland, prostitution in America, architecture, and slavery. Womens' studies concerned Etta H. Maddox who was the first woman lawyer admitted to practice in Maryland, suffrage in Maryland, and autobiographical writings of immigrant women during the Revolution.

Economic topics included ferries in Maryland, shipbuilding, and savings and loan associations. A historian is conducting a biographical study of the life and political career of Governor Theodore R. McKeldin. Other research involved the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, French immigration to Maryland between 1760 and 1799, and Maryland in the Civil War.

Total record circulation in March reached an all-time high of 16,039. The previous high was 14,623, set in August 1990. Compared to March 1995 when the total was 14,298, circulation rose 12.2%. Much of the increase came from the use of Maryland State Papers by one researcher, resulting in two record-setting daily totals of 1909 on the 30th and 2529 on the 29th. All circulation categories show increases. Library usage climbed 49.8%, 2199 compared to 1468. Use of original materials rose 15.6%, 6069 compared to 5250. Film circulation increased 2.5%, 7771 compared to 7580.

Despite high circulation the total number of patrons in the search room fell 2.9% in March, 1488 compared to 1533 last year. For the only the seventh time in five years over ninety researchers visited in one day. On the 19th ninety-three people used the search room. The number of new researchers overall decreased 13.3%, 370 compared to 427. Returning patrons rose slightly by 1.1%, 1118 compared to 1106.

As patrons continue to make their own copies of records from film, income from photoduplication orders declines. In March it went down 30.4%, $2015.25 compared to $2896.75. Reader printer income remained relatively unchanged, $1485.75 compared to $1493.50.

In ever increasing numbers calls come into the phone reference office. In March there was a 13.1% increase in the number of calls, 1448 compared to 1280 in 1995. The daily total reached 69, compared to 56 one year ago.

Maryland State Archives Web Site Update
by Lynne MacAdam

Visitor statistics to the Maryland State Archives Web site continue to rise from month to month as more people get on-line and hear about the quality and reliability of our site. The following table lays out the breakdown of visitors to our pages. Peak hours were from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. with visits from countries as far ranging as Thailand and South Africa.

Visitors to the Archives' Web site, March 1996
Homepage 4,044
All About the Archives Page 657
Maryland & Its Government Page 2,582
Reference Services Page 1,762
Geographical Services Page 569
Education & Outreach Page 561
Preservation Page 121
What's New at the Archives Page 248
Total number of
hits (htmls/images) on the entire Web site
74,174

During the month of March the Web site was upgraded in a number of areas.

EDUCATION & OUTREACH received a whole new section on Maryland Day, 1996 including the Governor teaching 1st graders from Prince George's County on the meaning of Maryland Day; the Maryland History Coloring Book for primary school; Ed's Maryland Day speech; and, the Maryland Colonial Society Maryland History Essay Contest winner for 1996. Also added were connections to the celebrations at Historic St. Mary's City and Maryland Public Television's electronic field trip for Maryland Day.

A new photo for Mrs. Glendening on was added on her biography page and First Ladies exhibit page.

Under GEOGRAPHICAL SERVICES information about the Allegany County and Baltimore County Plat projects was added.

REFERENCE SERVICES was reorganized slightly to facilitate use. A Research Topics category has been added with sources for African American Research at the Archives the first topic. Under Special Collections there is a new connection and new look for the Newspaper Guide as well as a new Church Records Guide. New special collections accessions have been cross-linked to information provided in the Bulldogs and can be accessed from either source.

MARYLAND AND ITS GOVERNMENT Executive Branch, Governor's staff has been updated. Two new biographical files have been added under the Historical List, one for William James, treasurer and one for former governor William Donald Schaefer.

RECORD TRANSFERS
by Kevin Swanson

BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS (Proceedings, Tape Recordings) 1995 [MSA T1925]
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE, MARYLAND HEALTH RESOURCES PLANNING COMMISSION (Minutes) 1987-1991 [MSA T2693]
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE MARYLAND, HEALTH RESOURCES PLANNING COMMISSION (Local Health Planning Agency File) 1987-1992 [MSA T2694]
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE, MARYLAND HEALTH RESOURCES PLANNING COMMISSION (Administrative File) 1987-1992 [MSA T2695]
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE, MEDICAL CARE FINANCE AND COMPLIANCE ADMINISTRATION (General File) 1991-1993 [MSA T2692]
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SERVICES (Tax Maps, Georeferenced Raster Files) 1995-1996 [MSA T2697]
HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION (School File) 1985-1993 [MSA T1748]
STATE ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF ELECTION LAWS, AL SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS (Voter Registration Record) 1986-1987 [MSA T2649]
STATE ADMINISTRATIVE BOARD OF ELECTION LAWS, WO SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS (Voter Registration Record) 1974-1988 [MSA T284]
TASK FORCE TO STUDY HEALTH PROFESSIONAL-CLIENT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (General File) 1993-1995 [MSA T2696]
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Small Estate Papers) 1989-1991 [MSA T856]
BALTIMORE CITY REGISTER OF WILLS (Estate Papers) 1974-1983 [MSA T1018]
HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Land Records) 1929 MSA T2381]


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