Maryland State Guide
Folklife in Your State: Maryland
The collections of the American Folklife Center contain rich and varied materials from Maryland that document the diversity of the state's folk traditions. Maryland's Local Legacies projects, an exploration of local traditions and celebrations, is available from the Center's Web page.
America's Library is especially designed for elementary and middle school students.
Explore the States: Maryland
Jump Back in Time
Maryland Day, March 25, 1634
Mathematician and Astronomer Benjamin Banneker Was Born in Ellicott's Mills, November 9, 1731
Commander in Chief George Washington Resigned in Annapolis, Maryland, December 23, 1783
The Continental Congress Ratified the Treaty of Paris in Annapolis, Maryland, January 14, 1784
Reverdy Johnson Was Born in Annapolis, Maryland, May 21, 1796
U.S. Naval Academy Was Formed, October 10, 1845
The Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862
Billie Holiday Was Born in Baltimore, Maryland, April 7, 1915
Meet Amazing Americans
This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1836-1922 from more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Search this collection to find selected newspaper articles that mention events in Maryland.
American Treasures of the Library of Congress
The Baltimore Fire
In 1904 a blaze spread through downtown Baltimore and took thirty hours to extinguish. More than 1500 buildings in eighty-six city blocks were destroyed; $150 million in damages was incurred, but no loss of life.
The Fifteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified and enacted in early spring, 1870, gave male citizens the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. In its central vignette, this historical lithograph records a grand parade held in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 19, 1870.
Perspective for the Gordon
Strong Automobile Objective,
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Maryland,
Issues of mobility and landscape became paramount in Frank Lloyd Wright's concept for the Automobile Objective. It was his first project to explore circular geometries as a means of fully shaping architectural space. Gordon Strong (1869-1954), a Chicago businessman, captivated by Sugarloaf Mountain, met with Wright in 1924 to discuss schemes for the development, of "a structure on the summit" that would "serve as an objective for short motor trips."
A Southern View
During the American Civil War, no artist attacked the Northern war effort more savagely than the satirical printmaker and Southern sympathizer Adalbert J. Volck. A dentist by trade in Baltimore, Maryland, a city which harbored strong secessionist sentiment, Volck covertly published numerous scathing caricatures of Union leaders.
In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," to celebrate America's recent victory over the British.
From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America
Features more than two hundred treasures of American Judaica from the collections of the Library of Congress, including a section on a Maryland law passed in 1826 that extended to Jews rights formerly reserved only for Christians
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Documents the role religion played in the shaping of early American life and in forming the American republic, including a section on Roman Catholics in Maryland.
“With an Even Hand”: Brown v. Board at Fifty
Commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the landmark judicial case, which declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This decision was pivotal to the struggle for racial desegregation in the United States. The exhibit includes photographs of segregated schools in Maryland.
Bibliographies and Guides
U.S. State Poets Laureate
This site provides the names of all current state poets laureate of the United States. It also includes a history of the laureateship in each state, as well the District of Columbia, and attempts to provide a comprehensive listing of all prior state poets laureate. Included is information on the position of State Poet Laureate in Maryland.
The Guide to Law Online
The Guide to Law Online, prepared by the Law Library of Congress Public Services Division, is an annotated guide to sources of information on government and law available online. It includes selected links to useful and reliable sites for legal information on U.S states and territories, including Maryland.
The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (PAE) is a guide to performing arts resources at the Library of Congress. The PAE provides information about the Library's unsurpassed collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials. Search the PAE to find items related to Maryland.
Primary Sources by State
The Library of Congress has rich documents and artifacts from every state, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Click on Maryland to view historic artifacts and cultural materials from the state.
Creating a Primary Source Archive: All History Is Local
Examine the interplay between national,
state, local, and personal history. Students produce a
digital collection of primary sources from their family
or local community based on the collections in American
Exploring Community Through Local History: Oral Stories, Landmarks and Traditions
Students explore the local history of the community in which they live through written and spoken stories; through landmarks such as buildings, parks, restaurants, or businesses; and through traditions such as food, festivals and other events of the community or of individual families.
Local History: Mapping My Spot
Students create their town’s history for coming generations and place themselves on the map in a literal as well as figurative sense, by producing portions of an updated version of an early twentieth century panoramic map from the American Memory collections.
Today in History
The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris in Annapolis, Maryland, on January 14, 1784, officially establishing the United States as an independent and sovereign nation.
On February 28, 1827, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad became the first U.S. railway chartered for commercial transportation of freight and passengers. Investors hoped a railroad would allow Baltimore, the second largest U.S. city at that time, to successfully compete with New York for western trade. New Yorkers were profiting from easy access to the Midwest via the Erie Canal.
On March 25, Marylanders celebrate the 1634 arrival of the first colonists to the land that King Charles I of England had chartered to Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. Named for the king's wife, Henrietta Maria, Maryland was the first proprietary colony in what is now the United States.
Johns Hopkins was born on May 19, 1795, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, to a Quaker family. Hopkins used his fortune to found The Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, incorporating them in 1867.
On May 21, 1796, attorney and statesman Reverdy Johnson was born in Annapolis, Maryland. Johnson represented Maryland, a slaveholding state south of the Mason-Dixon line, as a Whig, in the U.S. Senate from 1845-49 and again following the Civil War as a Democrat from 1863-68. Under President Zachary Taylor, he served as attorney general from 1849 until Taylor's death in 1850. Johnson was considered a brilliant constitutional lawyer and won an 1854 Supreme Court decision in favor of a patent for the McCormick reaper.
On August 15, 1790, John Carroll became the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The son of a wealthy Catholic merchant, Carroll was born in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in 1736 and had significant Revolutionary connections. His cousin, Charles Carroll, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; his brother, Daniel Carroll, signed the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution.
On September 3, 1838, abolitionist, journalist, author, and human rights advocate Frederick Douglass made his dramatic escape from slavery—traveling north by train and boat—from Baltimore, through Delaware, to Philadelphia. That same night, he took a train to New York, where he arrived the following morning. Born into slavery on a plantation in Tuckahoe, Maryland, circa 1817, he was the son of a black mother and an unidentified white father.
As the evening of September 13, 1814, approached, Francis Scott Key was detained in Baltimore harbor on board a British vessel. Throughout the night and into the early hours of the next morning, Key watched as the British bombed nearby Fort McHenry with military rockets. As dawn broke, he was amazed to find the Stars and Stripes, tattered but intact, still flying above the fort. Key's experience during the bombardment of Fort McHenry inspired him to pen the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner." He adapted his lyrics to the tune of a popular drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," and the song soon became the de facto national anthem of the United States of America, although Congress did not officially recognize it as such until 1931.
In the days leading up to the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General Robert E. Lee concentrated his invading army outside Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn on September 17, 1862 the hills of Sharpsburg thundered with artillery and musket fire as the Northern and Southern armies struggled for possession of the Miller farm cornfield.
On October 10, 1850, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was completed and opened for business along its entire 184.5 mile length from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. Sections of the canal opened for navigation as they were completed; from Georgetown in Washington, DC to Seneca, Maryland in 1831; then to Harpers Ferry in 1833; to Hancock in 1839; and finally to Cumberland in 1850.
On October 10, 1845, fifty midshipmen and seven faculty attended the first term of The United States Naval School. Five years later, the school became the United States Naval Academy. From the Mexican War to the Persian Gulf War, officers trained at the Academy served in every major U.S. war. President Jimmy Carter holds the distinction of being the sole Naval Academy graduate elected president and commander in chief.
Mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott's Mills, Maryland. Largely self-taught, Banneker was one of the first African Americans to gain distinction in science. His significant accomplishments and correspondence with prominent political figures profoundly influenced how African Americans were viewed during the Federal period.
George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783, in the senate chamber of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was then meeting.
Veterans History Project Home Page
The Veterans History Project (VHP) collects and preserves the remembrances of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them. Browse the database by state of residence to locate veterans from Maryland.