Camp Woodlands

Posted on March 29th, 2019 by

Blog post by JMM archivist Lorie Rombro. You can read more posts by Lorie HERE.


While searching through the negatives in the Nat Lipsitz photograph collection for images of the opening of Camp Milldale in 1953 on Stevenson Road, I found 1951 images of Camp Woodlands. When I began my research on the Associated I had never heard of Camp Woodlands. Of course I knew what Camp Milldale was, many of my friends had attended camp there and were counselors when we were teenagers (I never attended having gone to Beth Tfiloh Camp as a camper and a counselor), so I was interested to learn more about an unknown Baltimore day camp.

Camp Woodlands was a constituent agency of the Associated Jewish Charities from 1922 to 1952. It began in 1913 when the Hebrew Benevolent Society purchased a 10-acre plot of land on Paradise Avenue in Catonsville Maryland as a summer retreat for mothers and children. The retreat was called “Paradise Home” or the “Jewish Country Home” and the social workers from the Hebrew Benevolent Society would select families who could attend for two week sessions in the country.

Sketch for the Country Home of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, Catonsville, Maryland.  Thomas V. Stars Landscape Architect, April 24, 1910. JMM 1996.063.001.

In 1922 the camp was officially renamed the Woodland Country Home and became an independent constituent of the new Associated Jewish Charities. The 1922 booklet, Some Important Accomplishments of Your Charity Association, said that 246 men, women and children were given a vacation that summer. By 1928 the Woodland Country home is described in campaign material as, “vacations furnished for husbands and wives, parent and children – some 335 in all, at the Woodland Country Home during the exhausting mid-summer days. Pleasant little bungalows scattered through beautiful groves of forest tress. A wonderful way of bringing back health, and renewing courage to the sorely pressed.”

Invitation to dedication of new cottages including directions to the camp. “To reach Woodland Country Home: Follow Frederick Road to Paradise Avenue (six miles from City Hall), then South along well-marked road about three-quarters of a mile.” JMM 2017.068.003.106.

The 1930 Season Report to the board of the Associated Jewish Charities listed that, 460 individuals were served by the camp consisting of 119 mothers, 4 fathers, and 336 children under the age of 14. Of the 336 children, 62 were eight to thirteen-years-old unaccompanied by an adult. Over 900 hundred people had applied for a vacation that summer.

Campaign postcard from 1930, written on the back, “Boys and girls, undernourished babies, and work-worn mothers, each summer obtain relief from the sweltering heat of bricks and concrete, in the green shady surroundings of the Woodland Country Home. Rest, good food, and outdoor recreation soon put color in pale cheeks and ‘pep’ into listless bodies.” JMM 2017.068.004.003.

Another campaign brochure from 1930 showing the children at the Woodland Country home having afternoon milk. JMM 2017.068.004.017.

Woodland Country Home July 25, 1931. JMM 1996.063.128.

In 1948 the camp would once again change its name to Camp Woodlands and would exclusively serve children as a summer day camp. They also provided one week at the end of the summer for Golden Agers Camp, for those young at heart, but over the age of 65. In 1951 the Jewish Educational Alliance (JEA), the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association and Camp Woodlands merged into one new organization, the Jewish Community Center or JCC. Camp Woodlands would continue to operate until the summer of 1953 when Camp Milldale was opened on Stevenson Road. The Catonsville location was purchased by the state for highway development.

Below are the pictures I found in the Nat Lipsitz collection.

They were all taken in July and August of 1951.

These are amazing photographs but because they are negatives no one is identified.

If you recognize anyone please let us know! (Particularly the winner of this turtle race.)

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