Mendes Cohen and the Battle of North Point

Posted on September 11th, 2014 by

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The City of Baltimore is abuzz this week gearing up for the 200th anniversary celebration of the historic Battle of Baltimore in 1814, the scene where Francis Scott Key got his inspiration for the words of our nation’s anthem, the Star Spangled Banner.   We have been gearing up for our own celebration of the Jewish presence during that battle and the opening of the A-Mazing Mendes Cohen exhibit.  This past weekend, our own amazing living history character, the “ghost” of Mendes Cohen had his first performance at The Defender’s Day Celebration at North Point located at Fort Howard Park.

The beautiful view at Fort Howard Park!

The beautiful view at Fort Howard Park!

Mendes Cohen takes the stage!

Mendes Cohen takes the stage.

North Point is situated at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay just east of the Patapsco River leading to Fort McHenry.  The Battle of North Point occurred a few days prior to the strike on Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814.  On September 12, 1814 over 4,000 British troops landed at North Point, Maryland. The plan devised by the British was to march towards the City of Baltimore and to capture the port city.  The British had already captured and devastatingly burned the nation’s capital, Washington D. C. in late August.  The British were hoping to repeat their success with a similar attack on Baltimore.

The audience is enraptured!

The audience is enraptured!

Under the command of Major General Robert Ross, troops and supplies were unloaded upon the Maryland shore at North Point. A rather small force of just over 250 Maryland volunteers, led by Brig. Gen. John Stricker, commander of the 3d Brigade of the Maryland militia met the marching British troops at North Point in an attempt to delay the British advance towards Baltimore. Ultimately, the British failed in capturing Baltimore.  The land attack failed and  Fort McHenry withstood the heavy British bombardment by sea.  Francis Scott Key watched the proceedings at the fort and wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, which eventually became the U.S. National Anthem.

Re-enactors walk along the water's edge.

Children in period wear walk along the water’s edge.

The Defenders Day celebration was complete with re-enactors both from the British company- The Wellington Fencibles led by Major General Robert Ross and the Maryland militia led by General John Stricker.   Re-enactors helped stage the actual battle that occurred at North Point, but also highlighted how people lived during the early 19th century.  Women and children were present in period clothes, showing teaching visitors about daily life during the time.

Mendes introduces himself.

Mendes introduces himself.

The highlight of the morning was our own “ghost” of Mendes Cohen, taking stage and sharing with the audience his recollections of the Battle of Baltimore in 1814.  This was the first performance “on the road” for professional actor, Grant Cloyd, and he did an amazing job!

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More pint-size re-enactors!

Be sure to check out the Amazing Mendes Cohen exhibition that opens this weekend at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Check the website often to learn about all of the amazing programming and the upcoming performances of the living history character, the “ghost” of Mendes Cohen that will take place in connection with the exhibit.

Don't miss the opening, THIS SUNDAY, September 13th, 10am - 5pm!

Don’t miss the opening, THIS SUNDAY, September 13th, 10am – 5pm!

ileneA blog post by Education Director Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Once Upon a Time…02.07.2014

Posted on September 9th, 2014 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email


2006013249Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  February 7, 2014


PastPerfect Accession #:  2006.013.249


Status:  Unidentified – can you name anyone in this home economics class, held at the JCC in April, 1973?




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Volunteer Spotlight on Marty Buckman

Posted on September 8th, 2014 by

Marty Buckman has been volunteering at the JMM for almost 2 years.  His perseverance is admirable—he has been working on one project the entire time!  He is building a database of birth announcements from the Baltimore Jewish Times dating from 1929 to present.  To date, he has reached the issue dated June 6, 1952 and has entered 9,500 births.  An important factor is that he is not only including the baby’s names but the parent’s too.  He averages data entries of just over one year for each month he volunteers, he jokes that he hopes the project doesn’t outlive him!  He has observed that the birth announcements used to average 10 per week, in comparison with today’s Baltimore Jewish Times, where there might only be 1 or 2.  The most exciting aspect of this project is that he now recognizes Bar Mitzvah, engagement and wedding announcements for the names he entered as births!   He also enjoys reading the old advertisements – it creates a sense of nostalgia.  One of the most surprising announcements he came across was a wedding announcement for his wife’s first marriage!

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A little surprise history!

Marty joined the volunteer corps at the JMM after a 28 year career in advertising.  In particular, he was the Advertising Director in charge of packaging development in the food service industry.  He now likes to spend time on the golf course with a foursome of players who are all 25 years younger than him, and with his 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.  He also works on a photo history project for the Buckman family, which includes working with over 3,000 family photos he came across 5 years ago.

Marty in the JMM library

Marty in the JMM library

Marty says that he likes the experience of volunteering at the JMM. He feels it gives him something worthwhile to do and that it is important to perpetuate Jewish identities.  We are in total agreement and appreciate his hard work.


ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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