Posted on October 30th, 2013 by Rachel
Within the first five minutes of my internship at the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I found myself in the midst of an intimidating board meeting. Over the course of the next two months, I realized that I had joined a dynamic staff and a group of enthusiastic Collections interns. So far, I have worked with a wide range of collections including photographs, oral histories, scrapbooks, rare books, invitations, and Bar Mitzvah cards. The most exciting evening of my internship was the day Jobi Zink entrusted me with the condition reports for two swords and a rifle for the Passages through Fire: Jews and the Civil War exhibit. You can find photographic evidence of my excitement at handling these objects on the JMM Facebook album or by clicking these links: Civil War Sword and Full Sword and Scabbard.
While most of the other collections are not as thrilling as swords and rifles, I gained valuable insight about Jewish culture in Baltimore and the rest of Maryland by processing multimedia collections. As an out-of-state undergraduate at UMBC, learning about Jewish life in all aspects of Baltimore’s history has helped me feel at home. I particularly enjoyed processing an affectionate oral testimony about Camps Louise and Airy. Growing up, I never attended Jewish summer camps, so I was intrigued to learn about this important aspect in the history of Baltimore’s Jewish youth. This record is now available in the JMM’s digital collections (Oral History #170).
Most of my work is in the form of paper documents – ranging from Hebrew diplomas, High Holy Day Cards and Bar Mitzvah invitations to family photos and newspaper clippings from Jewish businesses. I am especially intrigued by the sheer extent of the collections donors such as Linda Lapides saw fit to donate to the JMM collections. Within her file, I found a vibrant story of Jewish life evolving and changing within the city of Baltimore. Perusing her donations helped me realize that Jewish life extended far beyond the walls of the synagogue in Baltimore City. My favorite piece of the collection was a German-language book representing the early Zionist movement, encouraging Jewish people to migrate to what was then British Palestine (Palästina). This was an exciting opportunity to practice my German language skills! In the next file, I stumbled upon two scrapbooks and a large collection of photographs detailing the development of the family-owned Greenberg’s Jewelers – yet another reminder of Jewish life outside of the synagogue. I can’t wait to find out what else lies in store for me to process in the library closed stacks!
A blog post by Collections Intern Jen Wachtel. To read more posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Rachel
For my first project as an intern with the Jewish Museum of Maryland, I have been processing the Ladies Auxiliary of Levindale collection. In working with this collection I have learned a lot about the history of the Levindale Ladies Auxiliary and its members. Some of the most interesting pieces that I have gotten to work with are the issues of the Levindale Light which were released seasonally. Since it is fall, I thought I would take a look back at what the Ladies’ Auxiliary was doing this time of year in 1976.
Levindale Light- Fall 1976 Issue
In the Fall of 1976, Carole Fradkin had just completed her first year of being the President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. Within that year the auxiliary had achieved several goals including the move of the Volunteer Gift Shop from the Kahn Levy Building into the Goldenberg Building off the main lobby and the necessary installment of sixty air conditioners for the bedrooms of all the residents. This achievement led to new goals for membership and future programs.
Carole Fradkin, President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Levindale in 1976
With the membership drive taking place, this issue highlighted the “Mother & Daughter Teams” of the Ladies’ Auxiliary. One of those mother daughter teams was the Fradkin family who were a third generation volunteer family. While Carole Fradkin was the president, her mother in law Mrs. I. A. Fradkin was in charge of keeping track of volunteers’ hours, and her daughter was close behind working as a Junior volunteer for several years. Family was an important aspect of the Auxiliary as the issue states “Throughout the almost 50 years of the Auxiliary’s existence, our volunteers have developed a warm feeling towards the residents- which has generated among members of the volunteer families” (6). In reading through this particular issue and looking at the photographs from the collection, I can definitely say that the Ladies Auxiliary promoted a strong sense of community and family through their volunteer efforts and programs.
Two other mother-daughter teams are photographed volunteering and spending time with Mr. Bain. The mother-daughter teams from left to right are Gail Feinberg, Mrs. Henry Lesser, Jackie Lesser, and Mrs. Gilbert Feinberg.
A blog post by Fall Collections Intern Meg Davis. To read additional blog posts by JMM interns, click here.
Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Rachel
While going through the boxes of artifacts collected from the 1996 expansions, Carlyn and I have gone through a huge variety of glass and ceramic fragments. Some are very small and plain and it seems like there is not much to be said about them, or some fragments only contain small parts of words or designs that we are unable to decode even if we dig through all the resources available to us on the internet. However, when we find bottles or fragments that can provide a lot of interesting information, it’s very exciting!
Cheesebrough Manufacturing Company, Vaseline jar
One of the types of artifacts that I think are the most interesting is nineteenth century apothecary and medicine bottles. Because at this time it was common to have names of products or other propriety information embossed on the glass bottles themselves (as opposed to using paper labels), the designs and words on the glass bottles often contain a lot of information that can allow us to date the bottles very accurately. A small glass jar embossed with “Cheesebrough Mfc Co” and “Vaseline,” for example, obviously contained Vaseline, but we were able compare the exact design that the words are in and the style of the jar (which would have had a cork closure) to databases of other antique Vaseline jars that have been accurately dated, and we found that this exact jar was probably from the late 1880s.
E. W. Hoyt & Co.’s Rubifoam, “teeth cologne”
Another interesting apothecary bottle we found in our collection was a small flat bottle that would have held E. W. Hoyt & Co.’s Rubifoam (pronounced “ruby-foam;” it was a bright red liquid) for the teeth. This was a “cologne” for the teeth, first introduced in 1887.
My favorite apothecary bottle in the collection is one from the pharmacy of Howard C. Silver, which was just down the street from JMM at the corner of Central Ave. and Fayette St. This bottle was initially difficult to research, since I could not find much information about the pharmacy, but once I tried researching Howard himself, I was able to find loads of information about him and his career in Baltimore. Howard C. Silver was an alumni (class of 1888) of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and apparently operated a pharmacy at N. Central Ave. and E. Fayette St. He is referenced multiple times in “hospital bulletins” from the UMD School of Medicine, which include lists of alumni. He was born in 1861, possibly in West Virginia, and was living in Baltimore by 1910. His wife was Mary M. Silver. He died Oct 22, 1933 of coronary thrombosis at the age of 72. Several memorial funds, fellowships, and scholarships at the School of Medicine exist in his memory or from his donations to the school, including the “Dr. Howard C. Silver Loan Fund” and the “Dr. Howard C. Silver Memorial Student Fellowship in Family Medicine.” It is amazing that a few pieces of a glass bottle found during some construction allow us to find out so much about one man’s life.
bottle fragments from Howard Silver’s pharmacy.
close up of upper fragment
close up of lower right fragment
A blog post from Collections Intern Molly Greenhouse. To read more posts from JMM interns, click here.
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