Life of a Collections Intern

Posted on August 6th, 2013 by

Clare RobbinsA blog post by Collections Intern Clare Robbins. Clare works under the supervision of Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts by Clare and other JMM interns, click here.

I cannot believe that this is my last week here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  The summer has gone by so quickly!  I’ve learned so much, and am incredibly grateful for the experience.  One of my primary tasks for the summer was to process the objects from the 2012-2013 collections.  So for my last blog post, I decided to highlight some of the interesting new additions to the museum’s collection.

One of the first objects I catalogued was a thin brown rope. This rope was worn around Susie Williams Gaumer’s waist when she was a nursing student at Sinai in the 1950s.  The Sinai nursing students spent three months at Sheppard Pratt Hospital for their psychiatric training where all of the doors were locked and needed keys for entry. They wore this rope with the keys around our waist under their uniform. The rope came out of a designated space in their uniform at the waist. By keeping the keys inside their uniforms the nurses could ensure that the patients did not get the keys

Rope used by Sinai nursing students to keep the hospital keys safe, 2012.117.1

Rope used by Sinai nursing students to keep the hospital keys safe, 2012.117.1

Edmart, a Jewish Deli in the Baltimore area, also donated several items this past year, including this cigar box wrapped in red tin foil.  The cigar box came from the cigar shop across the street from Edmart.  Marty Lev wrapped the cigar box in red foil to be used as a display stand

Cigar box used as a display case at Edmart, 2012.121.2

Cigar box used as a display case at Edmart, 2012.121.2

Edmart also donated several signs like this one that advertises Edmart sandwiches at Camden Yards

Edmart sign, 2012.121.11

Edmart sign, 2012.121.11

Another fun item is this t-shirt worn by our very own Deborah Cardin when her father, Ben Cardin, ran for Maryland House of Delegates in 1974

Cardin’s t-shirt, 2013.5.1

Cardin’s t-shirt, 2013.5.1

We also received a set of six Mah Jong button covers  that was purchased at a Senior Expo in Montgomery County

Mah Jong button covers, 2012.127.1

Mah Jong button covers, 2012.127.1

And in anticipation for the upcoming football season, I leave you with this Baltimore Ravens t-shirt that says “Wacko for Flacco” in Hebrew

Go Ravens! 2013.24.1

Go Ravens! 2013.24.1

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Dr. Ruth Finkelstein: a Pioneer in Women’s Health

Posted on July 9th, 2013 by

Clare RobbinsA blog post from Collections Intern Clare Robbins. Clare works with senior collections manager Jobi Zink. To read more posts by Clare and other JMM interns, click here.

This summer I’ve had a wonderful time working with Jobi in the Collections Department at the JMM.  I’ve worked on a variety of projects including processing the 2012-2013 collections, creating a condition report notebook for the “Voices of Lombard Street” exhibit, and even writing the catalogue numbers on surface of several objects.

After practicing writing 1984.16.1 for thirty minutes, I finally wrote it on the bottle.

After practicing writing 1984.16.1 for thirty minutes, I finally wrote it on the bottle.

Last week, I started transcribing an oral history with Dr. Ruth Finkelstein that will be used in the upcoming “Jews, Health and Healing” exhibit.  Dr. Finkelstein was a Baltimorean obstetrician and gynecologist beginning in the late 1930s through the 1980s who worked for better health care and family planning for women.   Listening to Dr. Finkelstein discuss her experiences has definitely been one of the highlights from my summer.  While I haven’t finished the interview, I thought I would share what I have found so far.

I’m busy transcribing Dr. Ruth Finkelstein’s interview.

I’m busy transcribing Dr. Ruth Finkelstein’s interview.

Dr. Finkelstein grew up in New York City with her parents and four siblings. Her father decided early in her life that she would become a doctor.  When she was twelve years old, Finkelstein’s father wrote to the Johns Hopkins Medical School for a catalogue that outlined how to get into medical school and she planned her life accordingly.  After finishing high school, she attended Johns Hopkins for both undergraduate and medical school.

In medical school, Finkelstein worked and lived at the first birth control clinic in Baltimore, officially called the Bureau for Contraceptive Advice because, as Finkelstein recalls, “birth control was a dirty word.”  Dr. Bessie Moses, a Baltimorean gynecologist, (you can read more about Dr. Moses here and here) opened this clinic on Broadway after she was denied space in the hospital.  Moses used the first floor as a birth control clinic and rented the upstairs to medical students.  While it was not illegal to open a privately funded birth control clinic at this time, Finkelstein recounted  the difficulties that early gynecologist like herself and Dr. Moses faced.  The Comstock law deemed birth control to be pornographic, thus making it illegal to import diaphragms (the only form of birth control at the time) from Europe.  Margaret Sanger, an early birth control activist and nurse, smuggled the diaphragms into the United States and distributed them to Moses.  Further, the only way a woman could go to the clinic was if she was referred by her physicians.  Women, however, were only referred if they had a heart, lung, or kidney disease.

Finkelstein also discussed the difficulties female doctors experienced in the early twentieth century.  Not only was Finkelstein the only Jewish woman at Johns Hopkins Medical School, she was also the only woman from her undergraduate class to pursue medicine.  As a doctor, she found that her opinion was not respected by her male colleagues.  The male doctors, she described, were “belittling” and overall dismissive of her opinions and diagnoses.  Because of these attitudes, Finkelstein could only work with a small group of physicians.

Despite the many hardships Finkelstein faced, she worked in the largely male-dominated medical field as an obstetrician and gynecologist in order to help women.  The best way that I can conclude this post is with a short quotations from Dr. Ruth Finkelstein describing her basic philosophy.  “I’m a champion of the underdog. I’m a softy. My philosophy is to help people, I guess.”

 

Posted in jewish museum of maryland




Help Us Build Our Collections!

Posted on June 24th, 2013 by

Clare RobbinsFrom Collections Intern Clare Robbins. Clare is working with Senior Collections Manager Jobi Zink.

Here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, we recently received two souvenir plates that were part of the Historic Baltimore series from Hutzler Brothers Company, and we would like to complete the set.  If you have a plate that is a part of this series, please let us know.

2012.099.001

2012.099.001

2012.099.002

2012.099.002

2012.099.001 reverse

2012.099.001 reverse

The Historic Baltimore series of eight plates in sepia, blue, or maroon print was made exclusively for Hutzler Brothers Company. The plates in the series depict the following: 1. Carroll Mansion,  Homewood; 2.  Baltimore Harbor; 3. University of Maryland School of Medicine; 4. Johns Hopkins University; 5. Fort McHenry; 6. Court House and Battle Monument; 7. Washington Monument; 8 Old Shot Tower.

We currently have #1, the Carroll Mansion, Homewood and #6, the Court House and Battle Monument plates. We wish to complete the set.  If you have any and would like to donate them to the Museum, please let us know! Email jzink@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x226!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland