The Genealogy of Privilege

I’ve been a fan of Henry Louis Gates’s programming since he launched African American Lives in 2006. In Gates’s programs, he introduces celebrities to their past through various documents and photographs. I find the most compelling work to explore lesser … Continue reading

Samuel Adams’s Mother Was a Fifield

Back in the early aughts, I was a Collection Care Specialist in Textiles and Fashion Arts (TFA) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I was working on a National Endowment for the Arts grant to photograph and perform condition … Continue reading

Postpartum Depression and Witchcraft

If you have had a baby, you know the months afterward can be tough, and memorable. There are numerous explanations as to what lunacy gripped Salem Village (now Danvers) in 1692. Ergot poisoning. Adolescent girls seeking power. Class inequality. Disputes over … Continue reading

On Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the descendant of Decoration Day, when the graves of Civil War casualties would be marked in memory. Today, we use the holiday to remember all veterans’ service, letting the day encroach on Veterans Day, where all US … Continue reading

Vanishing History: Recording African-American Burial Grounds

On a Sunday afternoon in 1992, I was collecting fallen autumn leaves along Chapel Road outside Havre de Grace, Maryland where my grandparents lived. I no longer remember what the leaves were for. My boyfriend lifted me on his shoulders … Continue reading

A Maryland Breakfast: Fried Red Tomatoes in Cream Gravy

I recently visited my great uncle, Uncle B, in Arizona. Having left our ancestral seat for a life of western adventure in 1947, we don’t have all that much in common. However, as conversations meander in and out of the … Continue reading

Connecting the Dots: Convict Servants in Maryland

Eddie Izzard puns on the Church of England: “Cake or Death?” For people found guilty of committing small crimes in England, transportation to the American colonies for seven to fourteen years of bound servitude was the cake option. Overcrowding in England’s … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Maryland State Archives in 2013

For a building built in 1984, I think the Maryland State Archives inspires. Maybe it strikes a chord with me akin to the library buildings of my childhood. Unlike it’s colonial and colonial revival ancestors further down Rowe Blvd in … Continue reading

Communities Past: Former Commerce in Rock Run, Harford County, MD

Driving through the countryside anywhere in America, you may pass any number of signs proclaiming towns that no longer exist. My grandfather was in the car  sometime in the 1990s, when we were driving on Rock Run Road toward the … Continue reading

Westward Ho! My Third Great Grandfather Travels, in 1851

Ancestry.com, as a genealogical tool, is a start for many doing genealogy. I see it as a way to sketch and share only. There are a lot of problems with it, but it’s certainly quicker than cranking through all those … Continue reading