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. For African-Americans whose family heritage has been obscured by … 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. There are numerous explanations as to what lunacy gripped Salem Village )┬áin 1692. Ergot poisoning. Adolescent girls seeking power. Class inequality. Disputes over property lines. My … Continue reading

Maryland Preparations for the Sick, 1881

‘Tis the season for illness. Cooking tomes of the past often included a chapter of recipes to be made for the ill and infirm. Certainly, our need for something comforting remains, but general folklore shared today mentions chicken soup, ginger … Continue reading

Book: The Public Library by Robert Dawson

Last night I read The Public Library, A Photographic Essay by Robert Dawson. I didn’t borrow it from my public library, which is the Carnegie-built Webster branch of the New York Public Library. It’s at the end of my street … Continue reading

Doors Open Baltimore – This Saturday, October 25

After my last post about the decay of Baltimore progressive civic icons from the 19th century, Doors Open Baltimore celebrates the industrial past that made it possible this Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 10am-4pm. Fascinating physical industrial heritage spanning from … Continue reading

The Zoo, the Park, and a Baltimore Befuddlement

I’m not an expert on Baltimore, by any means. I’ve never lived there. I was born in Towson and grew up in Carroll County. But Baltimore was my first exposure to City and all that big “C” entails. The redeveloped … Continue reading

Transportation Tuesday – B&O Centenary Pageant, 1927

Ladies in nymph-like attire twirling and leaping through fields – sounds like the turn of the century pageantry movement to me. The Centenary Pageant in 1927 for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is a rather late occurrence of this type … Continue reading

18th Century Convicts Marched from Newgate to the Port

Convicts made up one of the significant immigrant populations to the American colonies in the eighteenth century. But try locating an image that says “convict” if you are preparing a presentation. This image from The Newgate Calendar, a tabloid-like publication … Continue reading

It’s An “R” Month: Maryland Oyster Pie

Though a chilled oyster sliding down your throat and followed with cold white wine seems perfectly apropos for the summer months, it was only recently that the old tradition “only eat oysters in a month with “R” in it” has … Continue reading