Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Introduction & Background

Our Project
In the spring of 2011, student groups from the UMBC History Department partnered with the Albin O. Kuhn Library's Special Collections Department. Our group chose to create an online exhibit of images from the Hughes Company Glass Negative collection. Using the 1918 annexation as a significant catalyst for expansion and development in Baltimore City during the interwar period (1918-1939), our group selected and contextualized photographs from the Hughes Collection along six major themes: transit, residential development, city schools, water systems, industry, and municipal parks.

The Hughes Company
The Hughes Company was founded in 1878 by James F. Hughes. According to a collection note at the Maryland Historical Society, "Hughes advertised his services as a 'practical photographer' in the Daily News and operated from quarters at 1414 Patterson Ave."  The company was sold [in 1901 or 1903] to a former employee, James W. Scott, and the business flourished. Clients included the Baltimore Sun, Westinghouse Company, government agencies, church and school groups, and individual clients. James Scott eventually passed the photo studio to his son, Gaither Scott, who closed the business upon retirement in the 1970s.

1918 Annexation
The 1918 annexation of land from Baltimore County to Baltimore City was the last in a series of geographical acquisitions by the city, which began in 1745. At stake in these annexations were issues of tax revenue, public services, and political power at both local and state levels.

1918's annexation tripled the physical size of the city, from 30 square miles to 92 square miles. This gain led to the dispersion of both residents and businesses outward toward the city’s new boundaries. The wealthy, in particular, began to migrate out of elite neighborhoods in the central city and towards  suburban settings in the newly annexed areas and beyond, into Baltimore County.

In 1947, Maryland State Senator William Bolton introduced an amendment to the state’s constitution specifically banning Baltimore City from annexing territory without the consent of the residents who would be annexed. This legislation effectively barred the city from increasing its physical boundaries through annexation ever again, profoundly influencing the course of the city’s evolution through the second half of the twentieth century and the present day.

Team Members
Aiden Faust is an archivist and digital collections librarian. His interests include oral history and 20th century American urban history.

Ryan McCormick

Trisha Okine is a graduate student in Historical Studies. Her research interests are African American athletes and music.

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