Mar 18, 2012

Cockeysville 'Pest House' on list of endangered historic properties

(Towson Times) An 1872 building in Cockeysville that was built to house poor people who had communicable diseases is now facing an unhealthy future itself, and is on a newly released list of "endangered" or threatened historic properties in Maryland.
The "Pest House," a boarded-up structure that stands behind the Historical Society of Baltimore County, has been vacant since the early 1900s, and its interior has been ruined by vandals.
The site is among 10 locations listed on the 2012 Endangered Maryland list of threatened historic properties, released March 15 by the nonprofit Preservation Maryland.
A panel of preservationists selected the list from nominated properties and assessed the level of threat, historic and architectural significance and community support for preserving the site. Continued

The 2012 Endangered Maryland Sites

Bostwick House—Prince George's County

Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic—Kent County

Cider Barrel—Montgomery County

Covington Store—Kent County

Dameron House—St. Mary's County

Dielman Inn—Carroll County

Maryland Watermen—Multiple counties

The Pest House—Baltimore County

Potomac House—Washington County

Silver Spring Baptist Church—Montgomery County

WestSide Superblock—Baltimore City

Mar 17, 2012

Freedom’s Gardener: James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America

(Andrea Wulf) In August 1827, a 33-year-old slave named James F. Brown ran away from a plantation in Maryland. Before he escaped, he wrote a letter explaining his actions and vowed that once he had earned enough money he would reimburse his owner, Susan Williams, to prove “that I dont mean to be dishonest but wish to pay her every cent that I think my Servaces is worth.” Brown’s letter reveals much about his character. He was orderly and moderate. He hated to do something that was “criminal” but felt he had no choice. His had not been a hasty or unreasonable decision. He was only taking the freedom that had rightfully been given by his previous master, who had promised it before his death. Continued

Mar 15, 2012

Too Soon? Gettysburg gift shop pulls Booth bobbleheads

(Hanover Evening Sun) Bobblehead dolls of Abraham Lincoln's killer have been removed from the bookstore at the Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center.
The bobbleheads of John Wilkes Booth drew criticism last week from some visitors and a distinguished historian who said they felt Lincoln's death should not be trivialized, nor his killer celebrated with such a souvenir. Continued

Mar 11, 2012

That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

(NYTBR) Seventy-five years ago, Edward VIII swapped his kingdom for a divorcée, the American-born Wallis Warfield Simpson. At this advanced date, could there possibly be anything new to add to the mountain of autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, novels and films that have accreted on this subject? The answer, surprisingly, is yes.
In “That Woman,” Anne Sebba boldly recasts the relationship that was once considered the “most romantic love story of the last century” as “a tale of gothic darkness with a Faustian pact at its core.” Continued

Mar 10, 2012

Man in Civil War photo, long unidentified, finally gets his name back

(Washington Post) The old photograph shows a young Confederate soldier posing proudly in an elegant uniform, with a pistol in his belt and a saber in his hand.
It is a well-known 1860s ambrotype worth thousands of dollars, and experts had identified the rare style of his buckle, the make of his English revolver and the cavalry outfit in which he served. But scholars at the Library of Congress, which was given the photo last year, had no idea who he was. Like scores of Civil War portraits, his was listed as “unidentified.” Until this week. Continued

Mar 9, 2012

Survivors of Amistad Mutiny Released

(LoC) The Supreme Court issued a ruling on March 9, 1841, freeing the remaining thirty-five survivors of the Amistad mutiny. Although seven of the nine justices on the court hailed from Southern states, only one dissented from Justice Joseph Story's majority opinion. Private donations ensured the Africans' safe return to Sierra Leone in January 1842.
The events leading up to the decision began on July 2, 1839, when Joseph Cinqué led fifty-two fellow captive Africans, recently abducted from the British protectorate of Sierra Leone by Portuguese slave traders, in a revolt aboard the Spanish schooner Amistad. The ship's navigator, who was spared in order to direct the ship back to western Africa, managed, instead, to steer it northward. When the Amistad was discovered off the coast of Long Island, New York, it was hauled into New London, Connecticut by the U.S. Navy. Continued

Mar 8, 2012

The Top Man at ‘Mad Men’ Isn’t Mad Anymore

(NYTimes) THERE is an almost Sisyphean sensation that comes from navigating the network of hallways, elevators and escalators at the Los Angeles Center Studios here that lead at last to the dimly lighted office of Matthew Weiner and asking him, point blank, what he plans for the new season of “Mad Men.” It is a futile feeling because, as any true acolyte knows, he is not going to give a straight answer to the question.
Even at this stage in the life cycle of his award-winning, television-landscape-reshaping period drama, Mr. Weiner — no mythological figure, just a grinning, 46-year-old mortal in a fleece pullover on a cool California morning — is too protective of his property to give up what he considers spoilers, which is essentially any information about the show at all.
And even though an excruciating 17-month hiatus will have elapsed between the last new “Mad Men” episode and its fifth-season premiere, scheduled for March 25 on AMC, Mr. Weiner, creator, lead producer and animating force, will not disclose any concrete details about the roguish 1960s advertising executive Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and his coterie of frustrated strivers and failed monogamists, or even the year in which the new season is set. Continued

Thief may have sold more historic documents

(Baltimore Sun) Document thief Barry Landau may have sold more of the national treasures he stole from museums — including the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, where his scheme unraveled — than previously thought, according to the National Archives inspector general, who said Wednesday that his investigators have uncovered new evidence.
Members of the agency's Archival Recovery Team are now targeting historic document dealers who illegally, if unknowingly, bought pieces from Landau for $500 to $6,000 apiece, based on the disgraced collector's own sales records, which were found during an FBI search of Landau's Manhattan apartment.
"We're giving them the opportunity now to play right" and return the goods, said Inspector General Paul Brachfeld, urging holders of stolen items to come forward before they're contacted. Continued

Mar 7, 2012

John Cusack on his new film The Raven

( ... Both on screen and in the flesh today, raven-haired Cusack looks much younger than his 45 years, thanks in part to losing 25 pounds to play the drunken, impoverished poet.
"I went on a strict diet to look super-thin for The Raven, because he was underweight," says the actor.
"He was world famous but dirt poor and he once showed up the White House drunk."
Directed by V For Vendetta's James McTeigue, in the gothic-looking film set in old Baltimore, Poe has to track down a serial killer inspired by the crimes in his dark works of fiction, who's kidnapped his fiancee Emily. Continued

A Capitol Dilemma

(NYTimes) By the end of February 1862, construction of the enlarged Capitol building in Washington had been suspended for nine and a half months. The federal government had begun the project 12 years earlier, intending to add new House and Senate wings at either end of the original building, topped by a majestic cast-iron dome above the old central section. But now the country was deep in civil war, and the building was left towering but unfinished. Continued

Mar 6, 2012

OREO Turns 100 Years Young

(BUSINESS WIRE) Magic happened on March 6, 1912 when two decoratively embossed chocolate-flavored biscuits met up with a rich creme filling: OREO was born! In honor of this delicious milestone, the World's Favorite Cookie is on a mission to reignite the spirit of childhood by celebrating the kid inside all of us.
And, it couldn't come at a better time. Continued

Mar 4, 2012

The long, sad death of Harry Gilmor

Harry Gilmor, a partisan ranger in the Confederate army, who was from the Towson Maryland area, is often spoken of in a lighthearted manner. He was a picture-book cavalry officer who loved to have fun, not as much as the next guy, but more. This contrasts strongly with his war record, which was impressive, and his death, years after the war, which was terrible. Here's some of his obit, from the Baltimore Sun:
"Colonel Harry Gilmor, the celebrated Confederate cavalry officer, after a lingering and painful illness, died at five minutes past 8 o’clock last night (March 4, 1883) at his residence, No. 43 First Street, just beyond the city limits. Colonel Gilmor had been suffering acutely for several months past from a cancerous affliction in the left side of his face, which resulted from a diseased jaw-bone. His right side was paralyzed and the left side partially so on last Monday morning, and from that time he gradually sank, until death brought relief. Several years ago the Colonel had a tooth extracted, the roots of which had grown into the bone, and in the course of the operation the jawbone was fractured at a point where it had been weakened by a pistol shot wound received during the war. About two years ago he began suffering intense neuralgic pains, and these continued until last September. A consultation was held at this time between Prof. Alan P. Smith and Dr. G. Halstead Boyland at the office of Dr. T.C. Norton, when an exploring operation was performed, and a malignant disease of the bone was discovered. From that time the tumor began to grow, and assumed large proportions. The growth had extended throughout the left side of the face, and had forced the eye out of position, thus rendering him blind; as he had lost the right eye years ago." Continued

Photos: 1. "Confederate Hill" at Loudon Park Cemetery, where Gilmor is buried. 2. Harry Gilmor.

Mar 3, 2012

Local Photographer Who Captured 'John-John' Dies

(WBAL) Some people may not know Stan Stearns by name, but many know his most famous photo. Stearns died this week at the age of 76. ... Stearns was the photographer who captured John F. Kennedy Jr., then known as "John-John," saluting at his father's funeral procession. The image became one of the most famous images in American history. Continued

Mar 2, 2012

A Movable Feast for the Eyes

(NYTimes) Like the family it chronicles, “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is fragmented and contentious, with flashes of brilliance.
The exhibition, which comes to the Met by way of the Grand Palais in Paris and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, explores the closely intertwined collections of the siblings Leo, Gertrude and Michael Stein (and Michael’s wife, Sarah). It casts these wealthy American expatriates as ahead-of-the-curve art patrons, whose tastes and social networks shaped Modernism as we know it. (They introduced Matisse to Picasso. Enough said.) Continued

Mar 1, 2012

Conservation Fund negotiating with Pasch over Revolutionary War prison camp site

(York Daily Record) The Conservation Fund is negotiating with local developer Timothy Pasch to buy a 65-acre parcel where historians believe a Revolutionary War prison camp once stood, according to presentation made Wednesday.
"We are hoping for a very favorable result very shortly," Carol Tanzola, president of the Friends of Camp Security, told The Rotary Club of York Wednesday afternoon.
An archeological dig in 1979 uncovered between 10,000 and 15,000 artifacts - including pottery shards, buttons and gold coins - on the parcel off Locust Grove Road in Springettsbury Township, Tanzola said. Continued