Manuscript Collection 3: Kraus Family Papers

Posted on September 3rd, 2015 by

Kraus Family Papers, n.d., 1836-1971 

MS 3 


The Kraus Family Papers were found in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in May 2003 without an accession number.  Unable to reconcile the collection with an existing accession, it has been assigned accession number 2003.053.  Erin Titter processed the collection in May 2003.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.  Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures. 

lack and white photograph of members of the Kraus Family on a lawn swing, n.d.

JMM 2003.053.161


The Kraus family and its ancestors lived in the Fells Point section of Baltimore in the mid to late nineteenth century.  In 1851, William Floss purchased property near the corner of Bank and Bethel Streets in Fells Point.  William Floss married Sarah (d. c.1873) and they had two children, Simon W. and Hellen.  Simon W. Floss married a woman named Emma.  Hellen (d. c.1895) married Henry Adler.  Hellen and Henry are buried in Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Cemetery.  Simon and Emma did not have children as of March 26, 1887.  Henry and Hellen had at least two children, Sara F. and Gertrude B., although they may have had a third, Mattie, who died as a child.  Gertrude B. Adler married George W. Kraus and they had at least three daughters, Hellen, Edna, and Mabel.  It remains unclear how the Korte family is related to the Kraus family, but it appears that Matilda and Frederick Korte were at least good friends of Henry and Hellen Adler.  

Black and white photograph of four young men leaning on one another in a back yard, n.d.

JMM 2003.053.414


The Kraus Family Papers contain documents from three generations of the Kraus family, which lived in the Fells Point section of Baltimore.  The bulk of the records are deeds, mortgages, wills, and other probate records, however personal letters, certificates, and report cards from Western High School are also included in the collection.  Through these records, one can piece together a general family tree of the three generations included in this collection.  Also of interest are the personal letters written to Matilda Korte from her husband Frederick while fighting with the Union Army near Bermuda Hundreds during a failed attempt to march on Richmond in 1864.

couple with their three children seated on rocks, most likely in a state park

JMM 2003.053.068

This collection is divided into two series:

Series I.  Personal Papers, n.d., 1836-1971 includes all letters, certificates, wills, mortgages, deeds, report cards, and citations.  Folders are organized alphabetically by the last name of the individual.

Man and woman with baby, posing outside.

JMM 2003.053.100

Series II.  Photographs, n.d. includes all photographs previously known as PC 7, Reverend Leopold Kraus Family Photographs.  Like the papers, these photographs were found in the collection without an accession number.  Recognizing that the photographs are an extension of the papers, they received the same accession number as the papers.  Most of the photographs are unidentified. Folder titles were left the same as was the order.   I have added the generic title “Family Photographs” whenever another title was not provided.  Dates, where given, were estimates provided on the previous folder headings.

Black and white photograph of a group of school age girls standing in front of a brick wall, n.d.

JMM 2003.053.372

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Once Upon a Time…01.02.2015

Posted on September 1st, 2015 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email

1998047031001Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  January 2, 2015


PastPerfect Accession #:  1998.047.031.001


Status:  Hendler Creamery employees, c.1925 – Unidentified!





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A Museum for Everyone

Posted on August 31st, 2015 by

Did you know that more than 56 million Americans (about 1 in 5) have some kind of disability? This month’s issue of the American Alliance of Museum’s (AAM) magazine focuses on Museums and Accessibility and got me thinking how the Jewish Museum of Maryland can better engage with our visitors. I was excited to read about new partnerships between museums and organizations that serve individuals who have autism and Alzheimer’s and efforts that have already been made in other institutions to increase access. For people with visual disabilities, museums are using audio guides, large-print labels as well as tactile tours. For those who are hard of hearing, institutions offer sign-language interpreted tours or assistive listening devices. I agreed with many of the points in Beth Bienvenu’s article such as the importance of incorporating universal design principles throughout the Museum, partnering with local disability organizations to develop new audiences, training all staff on how to provide proper accommodations and taking steps to recruit staff and volunteers with disabilities.

Cover of this month's AAM Museum magazine.

Cover of this month’s AAM Museum magazine.

Another article in the AAM magazine discusses how museums need to include a wider range of narratives in their exhibitions and programs to reflect a more diverse community of ethnic minorities as well as individuals with disabilities.  For instance, at the NPS’s Lowndes Interpretive Center located along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, there is a statue of Jim Letherer, a one-legged Jewish man who marched with Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery. The exhibit is about the march and voting rights, but also includes disability as part of the story.

NPS’s Lowndes Interpretive Center

NPS’s Lowndes Interpretive Center

I learned that accessibility does not have to be limited to those with disabilities. In Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance worked with local teens to form Students at Museums in Philly (STAMP), which provides free museum admission to Philadelphia teens. This program aims to increase access to all the arts and culture Philadelphia has to offer while removing any financial barriers that may prevent teens from visiting a museum.

At JMM, we have recently made some progress on accessibility issues such as adding automatic doors to our front entrance and by developing Braille program materials. Robyn Hughes has done an amazing job trying to make the Museum more inviting to those with special needs, such as by arranging a visit for the National Federation of the Blind’s Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning. We also have a wheelchair available for those who have mobility issues, can offer a closed-captioning video of the Synagogue tour for those who are unable to climb the steps of Lloyd Street or B’nai Israel Synagogues and have tactile elements within our exhibits.

Museum Educator and Docent Robyn Hughes hard at work.

Museum Educator and Docent Robyn Hughes hard at work.

We are about to bring on a consultant to conduct an accessibility assessment at the Museum to determine how we can enhance accessibility on multiple levels including physical and programmatic access. Other possible improvements include developing new tours for people with learning disabilities and improving Museum signage. We are committed to ensuring that JMM remains a place where all feel welcomed and that everyone is able to find a part of themselves here. We are eager to begin this dialogue. Please stay tuned for updates!

GrahamA blog post by Graham Humphrey, Visitor Services Coordinator. To read more posts by Graham click HERE.

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