You never know what you'll find in a box.
Across the Atlantic
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, Part 2
This is part 2 of a series on the history of midwifery in the U.S. and Sweden. Click here to read part 1.
In Baltimore city, over 150 midwives delivered over 4,000 babies a year, and in every city and town in the U.S., you could find a woman delivering a baby, calling herself a midwife. But just like there were no regulations for doctors, there were no regulations for midwives. Why didn't the U.S. regulate the medical profession? And what did that mean for the health and safety of babies and mothers?
Maryland Emancipation Day
Belair Aug 25th 1864
Today, Maryland is thought of as the Mid-Atlantic, with barely any relationship to the south. But the fact is that the state is south of the Mason-Dixon line, and before Washington, D.C. brought transplants from all over the United States, I've seen references to suburbs like Kensington and Silver Spring as being "sleepy southern towns." More importantly in the context of today, Maryland Emancipation Day, this was a slave-holding state, a fact that many people seem to forget when talking about Frederick Douglass, a fierce abolitionist who was enslaved and worked in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore City, or Harriet Tubman, a heroic Underground Railroad worker born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. During the Civil War, the state also had
many southern sympathizers, including the man who shot Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth (like Annie Davis, a resident of Bel Air, Maryland).
"Slave Statistics," a record of the enslaved people in Maryland and their owners at the time of emancipation exists for some counties in Maryland, but not for Harford. I haven't been able to find anything else about Annie Davis in a brief search. I want to thank Mr. C.R. Gibbs and the Reginald F. Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture for the Maryland Emancipation Day Lecture, where Mr. Gibbs shared this powerful letter.
Votes for Women!
Friday is Women's Equality Day, and given Hillary's nomination, now seems about as good a time as any to see some images from the women's suffrage movement.
Peace activist and priest Daniel Berrigan passed away this past week at the age of 94.
He came into my consciousness as a member of the Catonsville Nine, burning draft cards with homemade Napalm in Catonsville, Maryland in 1968. I wrote a piece for UMBC Magazine on the documentary Hit & Stay by Joe Tropea and Skizz Cyzyk in 2013 (Joe and I are both UMBC grads, and UMBC is in Catonsville) -- check them both out.
At this year's 19th Century Banjo Gathering (Banjo Collector's Gathering), Pete Ross and I presented on Levi Brown.
Our research uncovered that there was much more to Brown's life than just making banjos, which make sense when you know a little bit about existing Minstrel-Era banjos.
Baltimore Trolley Map
Ahh... the days of public transportation...
In 1910, there were an estimated 500,000 cars in the United States for the 9.2 million people in the country. In 2015, there are over 250 million cars for an estimated 320 million people.
Cities were king, and public transportation was a necessity. Unlike New York and Boston, Baltimore was not developing a system of subways that would never interfere with that car traffic (and therefore never disappear). Instead, we had the trolley/ streetcar/ street railway. This map shows the trolley for the United Railways and Electric Company, which doesn't include any larger railways that had multiple stops within the city and suburbs.
The closest thing we have to the streetcar today is the light-rail, which kind of follows the Halethrope Line into the city and then the Mt. Washington Line out. The light-rail then keeps going north past Lake Roland to Timonium and Cockeysville, while the old Mt. Washington Line went to Pikesville.
Some close-ups are below, and click here for the full version from Johns Hopkins University Libraries.
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.