Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Rachel
Since my last update, I have learned so much more about Baltimore Jewish history by processing a wide variety of collections. Entering the library closed stacks, I am never quite sure what lies in store for me within the mysterious archival boxes. In the case of the library closed stacks, no two collections are alike!
Over the past month, I accessioned photographs, cookbooks, invoices, holiday cards, invitations, financial documents, and all manner of fascinating manuscript materials for the archives. I strongly encourage anyone interested in Baltimore history to conduct research in our archives. I recently processed original documents pertaining to the career of Lun (Licien) Harris, a fashion illustrator who was an active preservationist and founding member of Baltimore Heritage. Lun Harris was appointed to the Baltimore City Planning Commission and voted against interstate highways through Baltimore. This month, I accessioned several of Harris’ photographs as well as original diplomas and awards for the JMM archives.
Here is a photograph of Lun Harris in a three-way mirror. The scan is available in the JMM’s digital records, but we also have the original in our extensive photograph collection.
Beyond Lun Harris’ photographs, we also have various documents pertaining to this remarkable woman’s lifetime achievements courtesy of Linda Lapides. For example, here we have Harris’ gorgeous certificate commemorating her service with the Baltimore City Planning Commission:
Although this scan is available for research most of the JMM’s twenty thousand catalog records are not digitized. Anyone interested in Baltimore history would benefit from the materials available in our archival collections. As much as I enjoy digitizing new accession materials, I am amazed by the sheer volume of physical manuscripts, books, paintings, maps, blueprints, and other original documents in the archives. As a history student at UMBC, I am pleased that such a wealth of local history is readily available.
Another compelling collection from this past month, donated by Morton Esterson, includes more recent records. JMM archives include not only faded original manuscripts but also recent records of Jewish life in Baltimore. These resources, preserved in the permanent collection, will be readily available for future generations. My interest in these recent documents in particular sprang from my personal contact with the Baltimore Jewish Council’s Holocaust Speakers Bureau as a UMBC Jewish student leader. While I was directly in touch with the Holocaust Speakers Bureau, I added original documents about their resources to the JMM archives. This coincidence speaks to the continuing relevance of the archives for Jewish life in Baltimore. The archives include resources with enduring meaning beyond the realm of academia. Other “modern” documents I added in the past few weeks include Rosh Hashana greeting cards – yet another surprising find in the library closed stacks! Although some of the collections I processed are more mundane than others, just by sheer exposure to this variety of documents I have learned so much about Jewish life in Baltimore. Once again, I look forward to the next collection!
After my last blog post, my classmates at UMBC pleasantly surprised me by mentioning that they follow the Jewish Museum of Maryland on social media. Please continue following the JMM on Twitter and Facebook!
A blog post by Collections Intern Jen Wachtel. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on November 19th, 2013 by Rachel
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 Jobi Zink, Senior Collections Manager and Registrar at 410.732.6400 x226 or email@example.com.
Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: This photo actually wasn’t run in the JT! It was helpfully identified when someone saw it on our website!
PastPerfect Accession #: 2009.040.076
Status: Mingling at the Baltimore Hebrew College commencement exercises, 1975.
Left to Right: Unidentified woman, Dr. George Berlin, Mr. Aaron Leibtag, Rabbi Levi Smolar, and Dr. Barry Gittlen
Special Thanks To: Susan Liebtag
Posted on November 18th, 2013 by Rachel
It’s our second installment in the “Dear Abby” series!
My long-time friend from New York City—let’s call her “Flo”—is coming to visit, and I really want to show her a good time! I’m always hearing about life in the Big City, so this is my chance to show her that Baltimore has great things too. My very first thought was that the JMM would be the perfect place to take her! Flo volunteers at the Tenement Museum, so I think she’ll really enjoy seeing the synagogues and the exhibits. Flo can also be a bit of a snob when it comes to food—everything, it seems, tastes better in New York. I’d like to have the time to see the museum and also take her to a nice place for lunch. How long does it take to go through the whole museum, and are there any good places to eat that are nearby? Later on, we will meet up with her daughter, “Sarah,” who keeps kosher. Is there a kosher Starbucks nearby where we can meet her?
“Tired of hearing about the Big Apple”
Your friend probably talks so much about how great New York is because she’s jealous that you get to live in “Charm City.” This visit is your chance to show her a true Baltimore experience, so she can have that memory to take home with her and shout her love for Baltimore from the top of the Empire State Building. You are absolutely correct that the best way to do this is to take her to the JMM!
I would say you should allow yourself about 20-30 minutes in each exhibit—so that’s 60-90 minutes total for all three exhibits. Of course, a lot of it depends on the individual visitor. For example, I’m a compulsive reader, so I drive my friends and family nuts by making them wait for me as I take over an hour to go through one exhibit! However, I’ve seen that most visitor find that 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to absorb what the exhibit is trying to say without experiencing the dreaded “museum fatigue.” The synagogue tour takes between 45 minutes to an hour—it depends on how many questions you ask the docent! The docents try to aim for 45 minutes, but if you get them started on their favorite topic within Jewish-American history, we can’t be held accountable for how long your tour will take! I can, however, promise that it will be enlightening.
Exploring “Voices of Lombard Street”
And, of course, you have to make time for the gift shop! What better way to impress your friend then by showing her the many wonderful things she can buy as a keepsake or as a thoughtful gift for a loved one at our museum shop? All together, I’d allow 2.5 to 3 hours for your visit.
To answer your question about feeding your friend, I will tell you that you are in luck! We happen to be located within easy walking distance of a great number of excellent eateries. Just on the block of Lombard Street that is diagonally across from the museum, there are not one, not two, but three delicatessens—Attman’s, Weiss’s, and Lenny’s—and, if you walk a few blocks south from us on Exeter St. or High St., you will find yourself in the heart of Baltimore’s charming Little Italy (which, I might add, is larger than what is left of NYC’s Little Italy). If you walk a little further south from there, you will enter the trendy Harbor East neighborhood, where there is everything from high quality fast food to fancy, white-cloth restaurants.
As for kosher food, that’s a little more difficult to find in downtown Baltimore. The only kosher restaurant downtown is a cute little café (dairy) called the Van Gough Café. It’s about a half-mile to three-quarters of a mile from the museum, on the corner of Ann St. and—you guessed it—Gough St.
Have a question of your own for Abby? Click HERE to email her! Make sure to put “Dear Abby” in the subject line!