Welcome Our New Deputy Director!

The Maryland Historical Trust is pleased to announce that Anne Raines will be our new Deputy Director.  Anne is no stranger to our partners and constituents, since she has served as our Capital Grants and Loans Administrator since 2010.  Her duties have taken her around the state for workshops, site visits, and outreach for the African American Heritage Preservation Program, the MHT Capital Grant and Loan Programs, and the National Park Service Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Grants.

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Anne Raines in Hamburg

Hailing from a small textile town in North Carolina, Anne studied architecture at the College of Design at NC State.  During undergrad, she enjoyed designing projects set in a strong existing context; once, she proposed creating a spa in the old E.B. Bain Water Treatment Plant in Raleigh – an interesting if questionably sanitary adaptive reuse proposal.  Outside of studio, she particularly enjoyed “North Carolina Architecture,” an elective taught by Catherine Bishir, the state’s foremost architectural historian.  This class led to an internship as a research assistant to Catherine and co-author Michael Southern for A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina.  Anne readied maps and documents in preparation for long, lovely days driving the back roads, learning from the two experts while vetting houses, mills, country stores, and churches.  It’s hard to imagine a better first job in the field!  During this time, Anne also reviewed rehabilitation tax credit applications for the North Carolina SHPO, which took her further afield into eastern and western parts of the state and gave her a strong foundation in technical preservation issues.

In 2002 Anne relocated to Baltimore to join Klaus Philipsen, FAIA, at ArchPlan Inc. / Philipsen Architects, a small architecture, urban design, and planning firm, where she worked on both new construction and rehabilitation projects, including Printer’s Square Apartments and the Professional Building in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon.  Her duties ranged from feasibility studies through construction administration, and she could often be found on job sites proudly wearing her bright pink hard hat.

In 2007 Anne and her husband, Eric Leland – also a “recovering architect” – moved to Cornwall, England, to satisfy a lifelong yearning to live abroad.  Eric earned an MA in Illustration while Anne commuted on a charming branch line train to work at Barlow Stott Architects in Truro.  The following year they moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, where Anne pursued the MSc in Architectural Conservation from Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh), the oldest historic preservation degree program in the UK.  While absorbing new vocabulary such as “harling,” “rendering,” and “pinning,” she also learned to appreciate preservation challenges as diverse as ancient stone buildings and modern public housing.  Her thesis, undertaken with the guidance of program leader Dr. Miles Glendinning, focused on the conservation of industrial heritage sites in the Ruhrgebiet area of western Germany.

Upon returning to the US, Anne made it her mission to find a public-sector job in historic preservation, remembering fondly her first job in the field.  Her design school training as a creative problem-solver, as well as her desire to put her skills and education to work for the good of her community, have been the hallmarks of her work at MHT.  Please join us in welcoming Anne to her new post!

Interpretation at Sotterley Plantation: The Road to Relevance

By Jeanne Pirtle, Education Director, Historic Sotterley, Inc.

Historic Sotterley Plantation has a long history, to be sure. It has also been open to the public as a museum since 1960.  Let’s see, what was happening in the 1960’s? Schools were still segregated. Jim Crow was still alive.  And in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, Sotterley’s last private owner had decided to open Sotterley and create a non-profit so that it could be preserved.  As with most house museums at that time, the early tours focused on the furnishings and lives of the owners with a little legend, lore and myth mixed in.  After the owner’s death in 1993, ownership went to the Sotterley Foundation, which is now Historic Sotterley, Inc.

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In the early 1970’s, a visitor and her father came to the museum.  They paid their two dollars for a tour.  They noticed a slave cabin on the property, but on their tour of the house nothing was mentioned about the slave cabin.  The visitor was Agnes Kane Callum.

Agnes was born in Baltimore in 1925.  She had raised her family while working for the post office. After retirement she earned two degrees from Morgan State University.  She continued to research her family and found a connection to Sotterley.  Her ancestors, Hillary and Elsa Cane, were enslaved there in the 19th century. Agnes made it her passion and mission to have the story of her family told in Sotterley’s narrative. She kept visiting Sotterley with research in hand, bringing large groups of her family and friends with her.  Eventually, Agnes became a trustee on Sotterley’s board and developed an education program for middle school students that is still taught today, Slavery to Freedom.

In 1996, Sotterley was on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered” list.  Agnes joined forces with owner descendants to save Sotterley. It was rescued and grant money was used to help restore the house and cabin. For some years, tours focused on this restoration with a few stories of the enslaved, but still it was not a complete and inclusive narrative.

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Sotterley’s slave cabin

In 2010, with grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Sotterley began work on a re-interpretation and developed research-based tours that moved past the romanticism to reveal a realistic view of the plantation’s story seen through different perspectives.  An exhibit in the slave cabin, as well as other projects focused on changing perspectives in interpretation at Sotterley, were assisted by grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.  In 2012, Sotterley was recognized as a port site through the Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project (MPCPMP).  In 2014, Land, Lives and Labor became Historic Sotterley Plantation’s first permanent exhibit created to focus on the people who lived and labored for the owners from 1699 into the mid 20th century.  It is housed in the Corn Crib, which was restored using funding from the African American Heritage Preservation Program, administered by MHT and the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

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“Land, Lives, and Labor” exhibit, housed in the Corn Crib

Agnes Kane Callum passed away in 2015.  Sotterley will remember her life and legacy as we dedicate the new Slave Cabin exhibit to her memory this April.  This exhibit will focus on the lives of her ancestors, Hillary and Alice Elsa Cane and their children and allow visitors to experience a window into their lives.

At Historic Sotterley, we continue to tell the stories of all who lived and worked here, as we remember our roots and the people who helped us along the way, not just in February, but every day. We welcome every visitor who anticipates a new discovery and finds relevance in our collective past.

A Black History of America in 110 Buttons

By Albert Feldstein, Trustee of the Maryland Historical Trust

In honor of Black History Month, I want to share with you “A BLACK HISTORY OF AMERICA IN 110 BUTTONS: The Events, The Issues, The Organizations, The People.” Derived from my 11,000+ button collection, this poster consists of original buttons related to Black history, from the Scottsboro Boys in 1931 to Black Lives Matter today. Many of buttons stem from advocacy campaigns; a few are controversial and most are self-explanatory. However, historical footnotes describe basic information, relevant dates, names, and when the various organizations were founded

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A special effort was made to incorporate Maryland and Baltimore subject matter. Among these buttons is one from the Maryland Freedom Workers Union which was formed in 1966. Assisted by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Union’s initial purpose was to help organize nurse’s aids, housekeepers, and kitchen staff at a Baltimore nursing home. It spread to other venues, such as small retail establishments, resulting in the sncc-we-shall-overcomeformation of Maryland Freedom Local #1. Another button commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Baltimore based Afro-American Newspaper which was founded by John Henry Murphy Sr., a former slave. It is the oldest African-American family-owned newspaper in the nation. The button depicted here, from 1992, was issued in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the newspaper, which is also popularly known as “The Afro”. Along with its coverage of news and current events, the Afro-American newspaper remains a strong advocate of equal rights, and economic opportunity. All three buttons from the 2015 Maryland History Day Program depicting Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall are also portrayed.

I began collecting buttons almost fifty years ago, as a student at the University of Maryland. I was attracted to the graphics and the colorful way these buttons depicted the people and issues that were front-page news at the time. The collection goes all the way back to 1896, when buttons as we know them today were first introduced. In recent years, I realized that, while some of what is portrayed on these buttons is still part of our popular culture, important people and events were being forgotten about by each new generation. Projects like the Black History of America poster represent my attempt to share this knowledge for the future.

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The poster has sold nationwide and has been accepted for exhibit and sale at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, please visit http://www.blackhistorybuttons.com.

Harriet Elizabeth Brown: “The Quiet Heroine of 1937”

By Michael Gayhart Kent, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture

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Harriet Elizabeth Brown

1937 was an explosive year in history.  On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg airship ignited over New Jersey and crashed to the ground in flames.  The June 3, 1937 wedding of Wallis Simpson to the former King of England also shook the world, dominating the news until the shock of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific on July 2, 1937.  The most earth-shaking event for the black community in Maryland came on November 11, 1937, when Harriet Elizabeth Brown, a Black teacher at Mt. Hope Elementary School, filed a lawsuit against the Calvert County Board of Education.

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An Uncertain Future for America’s Cultural Heritage

By Elizabeth Hughes, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Maryland Historical Trust and President, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO)

As we celebrate Preservation Month and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal funding for historic preservation hangs in the balance.  Since 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund has supported state and local efforts to identify, protect, and enhance historic places that matter to Marylanders. In addition to special competitive grants, the Maryland Historical Trust receives approximately 20 percent of its annual budget from this fund.  Yet the fund’s authorization, supported by a small percentage of offshore drilling revenue, was allowed to expire on September 30, 2015.

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Maryland State Historic Preservation Officer and NCSHPO President Elizabeth Hughes gives testimony before the House Federal Lands Subcommittee in support of the Historic Preservation Fund in February 2015.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has positioned itself as a strong champion for preservation.  On April 11, Governor Hogan wrote to Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which is responsible for the fund’s reauthorization. The governor expressed his support, noting “Reauthorization and extension of the Fund until 2024 will support states and tribes as they carry out the work of the national historic preservation program and would provide certainty for states and communities with historic preservation projects.” Local governments, developers, and private citizens depend on this support to document historic places for the National Register of Historic Places, to take advantage of federal tax credits, and to support local planning, among other critical preservation efforts.

Congress is moving slowly to ensure that there is a future for the Historic Preservation Fund.  The National Historic Preservation Amendments Act of 2015 (H.R. 2817), a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Fund for 10 years, has been introduced by Historic Preservation Caucus Co-Chairs Mike Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D – OR).  A subcommittee hearing on the bill was held in February and co-sponsors on the bill are actively being sought.

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Evergreen in Allegany County was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a program supported at the state level by the Historic Preservation Fund.

Despite this forward movement, Governor Hogan’s support for reauthorization could not have come at a more critical juncture. Only last month, the House Rules Subcommittee proposed exploring limits on appropriations for programs and agencies whose legal authorizations have expired. The loss of federal preservation funding would be catastrophic to state, tribal, and local programs all across the country.  We hope that with the support of the governor and others, we will still be able to celebrate 50 years of preservation success in 2016, and not mourn a step backward for our nation’s irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Mark your calendar for the 45th Annual Field Session in Maryland Archeology!

By Charlie Hall, State Terrestrial Archeologist

Every year we invite the public to help us investigate a significant archeological site in Maryland. Held in partnership with the Archeological Society of Maryland, this year’s Field Session will be the 45th such opportunity to work side-by-side with some of Maryland’s most prominent archeologists, who guide participants in the use of the most up-to-date archeological methods. In exchange, these volunteers provide the support we need to conduct these important investigations.

River Farm site

River Farm site. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

This year’s Field Session will take us to the River Farm site along the upper Patuxent River in Anne Arundel County. Located at Jug Bay, the River Farm site is at least partially within the flood plain of the river that was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Jane Cox, Chief of Cultural Resources for Anne Arundel County and this Field Session’s Principal Investigator, has been investigating the site for evidence of storm damage and to devise the means to mitigate future damage. The results of her work indicate that Native Americans occupied this beautiful location for at least 8,000 years, throughout the Archaic and Woodland periods. Over 1,000 ceramic sherds and dozens of projectile points were recovered from a limited investigation involving 131 small shovel test pits and a few larger excavation units. Non-local lithic material may connect River Farm to the near-by Pig Point site, where evidence of ritual mortuary behavior with links to the Ohio River valley has been found.

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Excavation at River Farm. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

During the upcoming Field Session, at least three areas of the site will be investigated, including:
• a Late Woodland midden that yielded a C-141 date of 1010 AD;
• an area with a Late Woodland concentration that yielded evidence for numerous intact features, including hearths; and
• an Early Woodland concentration with a transitional Late Archaic component.
This will allow veterans of recent Field Sessions to contrast the Late Woodland of the Monocacy River valley with that of the Coastal Plain.

The Field Session will run for 11 consecutive days beginning on Friday, May 27th and ending on Monday, June 6th, inclusive of weekends and the Memorial Day holiday. You are invited to participate for as little as a few hours to as much as the entire 11-days. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required (from the home page, click on “Field Session”).

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River Farm artifacts. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

A full schedule of lectures and events will also be offered. Among them will be a lunchtime talk by Al Luckenbach on the latest Pig Point discoveries (Sunday, May 29th), and an afternoon guided tour of the Glendening Nature Preserve (Friday, June 3rd). The traditional end-of-session feast will be held on Saturday, June 4th, following the day’s digging. Camping is available on the site, and motel accommodations are available in nearby towns. Watch the Archeological Society of Maryland’s website for developing schedule and details, and we’ll see you in the field!

Memory Mapping in the Bottom and Hammond Town

By Jen Sparenberg, Hazard Mitigation Program Officer

Easton’s Bottom and Hammond Town neighborhoods served vibrant African American communities in the decades after the Civil War.  Located adjacent to “the Hill,” an early free African-American settlement, both neighborhoods have suffered a slow decline over decades. As Easton considers the redevelopment of nearby Easton Point, the Port Street Master Plan presents an opportunity to revitalize the Bottom and to record and interpret the history of the Bottom and Hammond Town.

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Old Moton, a Rosenwald School in Easton. Credit: Michelle Zachs

As a first step towards documenting the history of both communities, the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center and Port Street Matters/the NAACP-Talbot County sponsored a community outreach meeting to record existing and vanished important places in the communities. Residents, ex-residents, and community elders met at the American Legion Blake-Blackston Post #77 in Easton to participate.

Large aerial maps of the Bottom, Hammond Town, Easton Point, and the Hill were set up as different stations with markers, pens and notepads so that residents could move between stations and record the location of important places on the maps and share their memories of those places.  The mapping led to a lively discussion among residents as they shared their memories of growing up and living in the Bottom and Hammond Town.

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Former and current residents record important places in the Bottom and Hammond Town.

What emerged from the memory mapping was a portrait of lively communities that were eroded over time by forces beyond the residents’ control.  There were ballfields, pastures, schools, markets that sold fresh produce and seafood, retail establishments, places to eat and drink, a doctor’s office, a funeral home, a filling station and houses of worship – all owned and run by African Americans.  Residents had few needs that could not be within the communities.  Today, only a handful of the places remain and fewer still are African-American owned.

With further outreach and consideration of the Bottom and Hammond Town communities, the Port Street Master Plan has the potential to help rejuvenate the neighborhoods and bring businesses back in a way that benefits current residents.  The project also offers an opportunity to conduct a historical investigation of the Bottom and Hammond Town: two communities that have been overlooked due to the prominence of the Hill, but which are no less important in telling the history of Easton.