1912 Baltimore: ‘He Drove A Wagon of Fire’

In August 1912, Frank O’Rourke was driving a Salvation Army wagon filled with old newspapers on Ostend Street in Baltimore when he heard people shouting “Fire!” He didn’t think much of it. And he didn’t pay much mind when “[s]ome one ran to the corner and turned in the alarm.” Little did he know what... Continue Reading →

Oh, Baby

The Social Security Administration just released Maryland’s 2016 Top 100 baby names based on Social Security card application data. For boys, the top five names were Noah, Mason, Liam, Ethan and Daniel. For girls, Ava, Olivia, Emma, Charlotte. and Sophia made Maryland's top five. In 1912, one of The Baltimore Sun’s Sunday contests tackled the... Continue Reading →

Children’s Easter Memories

The Baltimore Sun ran weekly writing contests that would solicit submissions surrounding a specific theme from children ages 15 and younger, with the top entries winning $5 and select runners-up receiving $1. In April 1912, one of the topics was to describe “The Most Memorable Easter in My Life.” It’s fascinating to see how the... Continue Reading →

Special Santa Requests

Throughout December, I’ve been sharing children’s letters to Santa that were printed in Maryland newspapers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Some have been funny, highlighting the innocence and bluntness of children. The three letters below were also printed in Maryland newspapers, but these contain more poignant requests for St. Nick:  A Thoughtful... Continue Reading →

Dear Santa Claus

Do you remember your little friend Ellen Measell? I hope you do and will you please bring me a new doll, a very large one, with light hair and blue eyes, some books, some games, a pair of kid gloves, a pair of ice skates, a little house for my dolls and a baby brother,... Continue Reading →

Flies: ‘More Dangerous than Rattlesnakes’

Today, we generally think of flies as more of a nuisance than a health hazard. But in the early 20th century, flies spreading typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis and other diseases was a true public safety concern. In 1912, government officials encouraged farmers to keep stables clean, use screens in doors and windows and fly-catching devices to protect... Continue Reading →

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