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Climbing the Ladder of Success in a Nineteenth-Century Boomtown: The Cohen Family in Early Baltimore

February 15, 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Sunday, February 15th, 1:00 P.M.


Tina Sheller, Goucher College



When Israel I. Cohen died in Richmond, Virginia in 1803, his wife, Judith, packed up her belongings and moved herself and her children to Baltimore.  Why Baltimore?  That is the question that this talk will explore.  It will examine the eighteenth-century roots of the city as well as the people and events that made Baltimore one of the fastest growing cities in the United States by 1800. Early Baltimore was a bustling port town of merchants, shopkeepers, skilled craftsmen, workers, and slaves.  How did these groups contribute to  the dynamic expansion of the city’s antebellum economy? Who were the people that populated the growing port town, and how did the Cohens and other Jewish families adapt to life in a city soon to be known as “Mobtown?”  All of these questions and more will be answered as we journey back in time to a very different era in the city’s history, the era of the Cohen family and Boomtown Baltimore.



Tina H. Sheller is an assistant professor of History at Goucher College where she teaches courses in American history and Historic Preservation.  She has taught classes on the history of Baltimore for many years, and has published essays on early Baltimore history.   She is currently involved in two research projects with her students at Goucher.  One is focused on the history of Epsom Farm, a nineteenth-century farm situated on the land currently occupied by Goucher College; the second project involves research on a World War II diary written by a Maryland soldier who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.


Image: View of Baltimore by William Henry Bartlett (1809–1854)


February 15, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm