More Prohibition stories

Posted on March 1st, 2012 by

The sooner prohibition is done away with the better it will be for the people of theUnited States. All the wickedness existing now among Americans is indirectly traceable to prohibition. I always have been an opponent of the Volstead act and, I may add, a militant opponent.  — The Rev. Dr. William Rosenau, rabbi of the Eutaw PlaceTemple, The Baltimore Sun, January 6, 1930

As the archivist at the Jewish Museum of Maryland the man quoted above was very familiar to me.  We have many items in our collection related to Rosenau including a small manuscript collection (MS 44) and this picture taken only a few years before his statement against Prohibition.

As you might imagine a lot of the local Baltimorearticles about Prohibition center on police raids and the violation of the Volstead Act (the act that outlined what Prohibition would be).  A January 14, 1922 article in The Baltimore Sun, describes five raids that took place here in the very neighborhood where the JMM stands (which was at that time a predominantly Jewish neighborhood).  The article details many dramatic moments including an attack on law enforcement.  “Sergeant Ferguson, Central district, was struck over the head by an alarm clock thrown by a woman supposed to be Mrs. Levine.” (pg. 16)  A few paragraphs later the article describes the discovery of an unfortunate bootlegger operating out of his bakery a few blocks away.  He might have escaped the raids except that a fire broke out in his business drawing attention to two hidden stills.  Stories like this occurred throughout Baltimore and the rest of theUnited States during the 1920s and early 1930s.  Like Rosenau many people opposed Prohibition.  He spoke out against it while other citizens put their protest into action by continuing to buy or even make alcoholic drinks.

Unidentified woman, 1920s. Unconnected with any of the idividuals in the article described above, but still a fabulous period image. 1988.46.12

And now for a little costume inspiration.  Just because the theme is the Speakeasy doesn’t mean that you have to go for the typical fringed flapper.  You don’t even have to go for accurate historical duds.

Consider modern fashions inspired by the 1920s and 1930s





Or maybe put a little Steampunk in your costume:


Aaron Cohen (left) and Sol Freedman c.1925. I love their hats! 1989.211.023

Fictional characters can add some interest and make you stand out:

Do you have a foundness for Indiana Jones or maybe Nancy Drew http:///

Or be a 1920s icon:

Bonnie and Clyde http:///

Women’s tuxedo – http:///

And in case you need a little more here are pictures from our collection

Rose Shapiro Freedman in her bridal gown and veil, c. 1925. Wearing a 1920s era wedding dress to Purim Pandemonium might seem a little strange, but it would certainly make a statement! 1989.211.6.26

Unidentified people, c. 1925. Check out the bathing garb! And the light colored suit. 2003.94.5.39


Unidentified woman, c. 1925. As with the tuxedo this look can work for men or women. 2003.94.5.31.


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Once Upon a Time…06.24.2011

Posted on February 21st, 2012 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. Click here to see the most recent photo on their website. 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

Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times: June 24, 2011

PastPerfect Accession #: 2003.090.009

Status: Unidentified. Two men dressed in checkered suits, four men dressed in chef or waiter uniforms.  Sign “Some Ship.”


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Purim Pandemonium 2011

Posted on March 24th, 2011 by

The party just keeps getting better!

Purim Pandemonium 2011 (this past Saturday) hit a new high this year with over 160 attendees (closer to 170 when you count in the staff, and since we had as much fun as anyone, I say we count.)

The lead up to Purim Pandemonium took a lot out of us.  With a theme like “Heroes & Villains” it’s impossible to do anything in a subtle way.  We went big with the décor, filling our event space with scenic flats depicting the places where heroes and villains could do their best….or their worst.

That’s me, painting sets a couple of weeks before the event.

But the work was worth it.  The JMM was transformed.

A few hours before the event — the decorations are mostly in place.

The decorations looked great on their own (I might be a little biased on that account, but some unbiased observers agreed, so I’m sticking to ‘looked great.’) but they looked better when the heroes and villains actually arrived.

Jobi shivering in front of the amazingly realistic frozen tundra!

We started with a few guests here and there, but before too long the few became a crowd.

Every kind of hero and villain showed up:

a couple of Batmans to take care of the abundance of villains. Photo by Will Kirk

A visitor from a galaxy far, far away. Photo by Will Kirk

And less obvious characters. Notice the football jerseys on the women in the middle of the crowd — which one’s your hero and which one’s your villain? Photo by Will Kirk 


The JMM hosted cowboys and devils, Quailman and numerous masked robbers, Ms. Frizzle and “Innocent Bystanders,” not to mention Daria and Abby Sciuto.

Me as Abby Sciuto

If the endless dancing was any indication everyone had a good time.  At one point the crowd even broke into a coordinated dance routine….well mostly coordinated….

Spontaneous (somewhat) dance routine. Photo by Will Kirk

Everyone also had the opportunity to see our current art exhibition “Loring Cornish: In Each Other’s Shoes.” Photo by Will Kirk

We took the groans of despair when we turned off the music at the end of the night as another indication that everyone had a good time.

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