Creating a Collection

Posted on June 27, 2019 by

Blog post by JMM intern Mallory Connaughton. To read more posts from JMM interns, past and present, click here.

At the JMM I’m a collections intern. Collections have always interested me, looking through the various topics they cover, seeing some of the incredible items held within them, being able to see the stories shown there. One of the amazing things that I get to do at the JMM is being able to work with their collections; processing them, working with them, and just getting to see what is there. And so far, even though it’s still the start of my internship, I’ve been able to work with and interact with collections that amaze me.

At the start of my internship I got to work with large artworks and prints, inventorying them. While that may not seem as hands on as fully creating and processing a collection, it still allowed me to interact with the items of the collection. Being able to go through the racks and look at the art, often portraits and certificates but also children’s drawings and photographs, provided glimpses into these lives that I had never interacted with before; being able to look at something and seeing the story connected to it, it provides such a unique look on a situation, and an important one – as we each have out own.

I also was able to work with manuscripts, processing and creating a collection for the Hutzler Brothers company. This process involved me receiving the folders of information, organizing them into a way which made sense then looking through and providing a historical synopsis on the topic at hand. The collection does cover the Hutzler Brothers company, which was a department store run by the Hutzler family. But the collection also holds more personal pieces, with correspondence between family as well as for work.

Hutzler Brothers business card, JMM 1989.14.8.

In the 1840s, Moses Hutzler and his wife and five children (four daughters and a son, Abram) moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Moses worked in retail, having been a peddler and retail shop owner, and he continued his work, opening a successful store on Eutaw Street that thrived until 1875. While in Baltimore, Moses and his wife had two sons, Charles and David.

Hutzler Brothers delivery wagon, c. 1880. JMM 1989.51.1.

Abram, the eldest Hutzler son, established a store on Exeter Street in the 1840s, using his father’s name to obtain credit.  He later moved to Eden Street, near the Lloyd Street Synagogue.  The business then relocated to Howard Street where it grew into a complex of three buildings, Hutzler Brothers Company. The company was run by Abram and his younger brothers, Charles and David. Abram and Charles Hutzler opened a wholesale business on Baltimore Street, leaving the management of the Howard Street retail store to their youngest brother, David.  After the Civil War, the brothers committed all their energies to the enterprise on Howard Street, and generations of Hutzlers (specifically the descendants of David and Charles) were involved in its growth.

Wedding of Albert D. Hutzler and Gretchen Hochschild at the Belvedere Hotel, April 5, 1911. JMM 1991.26.12.

David Hutzler and his wife, Ella, had five children: Cora, Theresa, Mabel, Albert D, Sr., and Joel G.D., Sr. Albert D. Hutzler Sr., was the president and chairman of the Board of Hutzler Brothers Co. department store.  The collection has personal and business correspondence of Albert D. Sr. as well as some of his speeches and radio programs. David’s other children were involved with the company as well, many taking administrative positions. Charles Hutzler and his wife, Henrietta, had six children: Teeye, Flora, Edwin, George H., Morton D., and Louis S. Several of Charles’ children also held administrative position, like Edwin who held an executive position. Charles and David’s grandchildren and great grandchildren also working within the company, mainly holding administrative positions.

This collection was amazing, seeing how the family worked together and was able to create a popular department store for generations. It was also fun to work with, going off the limited documents within the collection, piecing together a family tree and being able to produce a comprehensive history of the family and this company.

As a part of the internship, we take trips to other locations in the area. These have included nearby museums and historical sights. On one trip we visited the Walters Museum and were shown a part of their rare book and manuscript collection and we were directly able to interact with some of the items pulled for us to look at, like this illustrated Ethiopian bible which is wrapped in cloth to preserve the original binding and page ends.

We saw a variety of texts, both religious and non-religious; some dating back to ancient Egypt, others from the past century; and some illuminated, some not. This was an amazing experience, one that I really enjoyed. I have always loved reading, and while that may mainly include recently produced books, looking back to the elaborate bindings and illuminated manuscripts had always caught my attention.

Back at JMM, while working through processing some other items, I found our book collection. I haven’t had the time to properly look through at everything we have, which is something I plan to do later in the summer, but I still loved looking through the start of the collection.

So far, even though it’s been a few weeks, this internship has been an experience I’ll never forget. It’s amazing to be able to look through the collections and experience these stories from the documents they were connected to. It’s provided me with a stronger connection to the community then I’ve ever had before. And I am excited to see what more I can learn throughout the rest of the summer.

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