Research in the records of the Public History of Baltimore for the period prior to the late 1930s should begin with the archival efforts of the Works Progress Administration, and the previous transcription/collation publications of the City Librarian, Wilbur Coyle.
In order to combat unemployment during the depression of 1929-1941, the Federal government, through the Works Progress Administration, Historical Records Survey, hired more people to be archivists and catalogers of America’s record heritage than at any other time in the history of the United States including the present.
For a discussion of the Maryland project which produced two pioneering archivists and local historians, Dr. Radoff, an unemployed assistant professor of Romance Languages who would later become Maryland’s second State Archivist, and Dr.
Papenfuse, “A Modicum of Commitment: The Present and Future Importance of the Historical Records Survey.” April 1974.
The Baltimore City Historical Records Survey chronologically arranged and inventoried all the surviving public records it could find relating to the City, resuming the work begun and published between 19 by Wilbur F. As the 1984 In 1874, the municipality made a significant move toward better record keeping practices by establishing a city library.
This office had, among other duties, responsibility for maintenance and preservation of the city’s records.
While little was accomplished during the library’s first few years, it had by the 1890s done some limited collecting of material judged to be of historical value.
The work of the library reached a zenith in 1903 when Wilbur F. Coyle gathered historical records, arranged and indexed them, and published a collection of significant eighteenth and nineteenth century documents.
His resignation in 1920, however, effectively ended this kind of work. 7) Between 19, Wilbur Coyle published five volumes of records relating to Baltimore City, the originals of which were then in the custody of the City Library.
Four of those volumes are currently on line at scans by Microsoft. Generally the quality of the scanning is better on Google Books which means that the indexing is better.
The printed transcriptions as edited by Wilbur Coyle with links to indexed pdfs and the on-line versions, are as follows: does not correlate the volumes published by Wilbur Coyle with the reorganization of the City Records into record groups, the originals of the transcripts published by Coyle, as they survived to 1984, are encompassed in Record Groups BRG1 , BRG2 , and BRG3.
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