MD -- Baltimore -- Maryland Historical Society:
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- MDHS_191103_01.JPG: Maryland Historical Society
The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) is the state's oldest continuously operating cultural institution. Founded in 1844, it was first located in the Athenaeum at St. Paul and Saratoga Streets. In 1919 it moved to its current location on W. Monument St. in the Mount Vernon Cultural District.
Over 350 years of Maryland history comes to life through the MdHS's renowned collections and dynamic educational offerings. The permanent collection includes Francis Scott Key's original manuscript of the poem that became the National Anthem as well as one of the most extensive collections of Americana in the country. In addition to diverse permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions are open throughout the year in the galleries of the museum and the library.
- MDHS_191103_06.JPG: Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
In Full Glory
At home in the city credited with helping to turn the tide for Americans in the War of 1812, the collections of the Maryland Historical Society preserve evidence of the people who live this history. The Center for Maryland History has the nation's largest collection representing the war in the Chesapeake and the 1814 Battle for Baltimore. Featured among the treasured artifacts is the original "Star-Spangled Banner" manuscript penned by Francis Scott Key.
Quirk of History:
Both the original Star-Spangled Banner flag and manuscript spent time in residences on West Monument Street. Major George Armistead's heirs retained the flag, heirs of Judge Joseph Nicholson (Key's brother-in-law) retained the manuscript -- each in family ownership for 93 years
"Just a look at his manuscript should make better Americans of all who behold it. May it ever be a reminder of the heroism and patriotism of the defenders of Fort McHenry in 1814."
-- Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro at the rededication of Key's manuscript, Maryland Historical Society, September 14 1954.
Assembly of Troops Before the Battle of Baltimore, painted by North Point defender Thomas Ruckle, ca. 1814. Image/Courtesy Maryland Historical Society.
"Old Defenders of the Battle of Baltimore," gathering in 1876 for the nation's centennial. Image/Courtesy Maryland Historical Society Founded in 1844, the Maryland Historical Society displays artifacts and documents acquired from War of 1812 veterans.
Maryland Historical Society holds the earliest known manuscript for what became the national anthem of the United States, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. Image/Courtesy Maryland Historical Society.
- MDHS_191103_16.JPG: Creation and History:
"A Monument for Baltimore's 1814 Defenders"
On September 12, 1815, the cornerstone of America's first true war memorial was laid with a solemn ceremony in Baltimore's Courthouse Square. The historic Battle Monument, completed by 1825 with $40,000 in private donations, was dedicated to the 39 citizen soldiers killed in the 1814 battles at North Point and Fort McHenry. Architect Maximilian Godefroy (1765-1840) designed the neo-classical 39 foot tall structure, covered with symbols, and Italian sculptor Antonio Capellano (1780-1840) created the griffins and the figure later known as Lady Baltimore. In 1827, the image of the Battle Monument became the official symbol of the city and remains in use today.
- MDHS_191103_25.JPG: Symbolism:
"A Laurel Wreath and a Rudder for a Victorious Port City"
The Battle Monument contains many symbols:
(A) Classical Lady Baltimore presents a laurel victory wreath to the city.
(B) She faces the harbor, source of Baltimore's prosperity, with a rudder in her left hand.
(C) She wears the ancient crown of cities on her head.
(D) The monument base, an Egyptian tomb, represents immortality.
(E) Four fierce griffins guard the tomb's corners.
(F) The column is a Roman fasces, or bundle of rods, symbolizing unity.
(G) The names of the fallen defenders grace the column and the urns represent grief.
(H) Three steps to the tomb's door evoke three years of war.
(I) Eighteen stars signify the eighteen states then in the union.
- MDHS_191103_29.JPG: Conservation:
"Before the Sculpture loses all of its Visual Clarity"
Even a marble monument needs careful attention after almost two centuries of exposure to the elements. Lady Baltimore, atop the Battle Monument, lost her right arm in a 1938 windstorm and local sculptor Hans Shuler replaced both the arm and the wreath clutched in her hand. In 1975, artist Reuben Kramer replaced the Lady's left arm holding a rudder. Occasional cleaning and repair kept the monument's decay in check until 2010 when conservator Steven Tatti recommended a complete overhaul. During extensive repair to stone, mortar, and bronze, Lady Baltimore, a priceless early American icon, was moved to the Maryland Historical Society on October 5, 2013, for her preservation and protection.
A reproduction of Lady Baltimore now stands atop the monument, cast form the original, but made of materials that will better withstand the threats posed by exposure to the weather and pollution.
- MDHS_191103_35.JPG: Baltimore's Defenders:
"The Association of Old Defenders of Baltimore in 1814"
The citizen soldiers who defended Baltimore from the British during the War of 1812 became honored veterans in middle age. Their names scroll down the side of the monument and represent the first example of commemoration for citizen soldiers rather than famous military figures. Over 1,000 of those "defenders" formed an official "association" in 1842. They met on Defenders' Day every September and gained increasing public attention for their contributions to the nation. As they grew older, their tales of military heroics at North Point and Fort McHenry became legendary. In 1884, the dwindling number of Old Defenders disbanded an in 1892 their descendants organized the Society of the War of 1812. Cecil County native and North Point veteran Elijah Bouldin Glenn may have been the last defender when he died in 1898 at 102 years of age.
- MDHS_191103_43.JPG: Thank You
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- Description of Subject Matter: The collections include the original copy of Francis Scott Key's writing of the Star-Spangled Banner.
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