Baltimore History Evenings

Baltimore History Evenings, presented in partnership with the Baltimore City Historical Society, is a monthly series of presentations and discussions on Baltimore’s history.

Baltimore History Evenings run from January to June, and are held on the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Talks start at 7:00pm.

Baltimore History Evenings 2019 Schedule

January 17, 2019

Patrick Whang, an independent scholar working on post-Civil War Baltimore.

The Freedman’s Bank in Baltimore: From Model Branch to Collapsed Dreams

The Baltimore branch of the Freedman’s Bank was one of the larger and more successful branches of a national bank created to benefit free blacks and newly freed slaves after the Civil War. The branch opened on May 3, 1866 with a Board comprised of some of the top leaders of Baltimore’s black society. Less than eight years later, the national bank collapsed, and along with its demise went the hard-earned dreams of thousands of depositors.

February 21, 2019

Antero Pietila, Journalist and historian, author of Not in My Neighborhood and The Ghosts of Johns Hopkins.

Johns Hopkins, Pragmatic Opportunist

Johns Hopkins was opposed to slavery, but slavery was central to the economy within which he made his fortune. Some of that fortune came from the whiskey trade—“Hopkins’ Best” bottles are the holy grail of Baltimore bottle collectors—despite Quaker objections to the trade. A generous philanthropist, he was also a hard bargainer.

March 21, 2019

Ida Jones, University archivist, Morgan State University, and author of Baltimore Civil Rights Leader Victorine Q. Adams: The Power of the Ballot (January 2019).

Victorine Adams, Pioneer on the City Council

Victorine Q. Adams was the first African-American woman elected to the Baltimore City Council. Her story has been overshadowed by that of her imposing husband, William “Little Willie” Adams. A self-assured woman aware of the distortion that surrounded her race, gender and class in Baltimore, she: created two organizations, educated and registered potential voters, held politicians accountable to their constituencies, participated in philanthropic endeavors, mentored young women, all while she maintained an impeccable reputation and social life.

April 18, 2019

A program featuring documentary footage, live music, and commentary.

Hazel Dickens: The Voice of Appalachian Baltimore

Hazel Dickens was part of the post-World War II southern migration to Baltimore. She represents important themes in Baltimore women’s, labor, migration, and music history; from the low-paid factory jobs open to women and migrants and her pioneering role as a woman playing country music, to national recognition for her contribution to the folk and traditional arts in American life.

May 16, 2019

Ross Jones, Retired Johns Hopkins University Administrator and author of Elisabeth Gilman: Crusader for Justice

Elisabeth Gilman: Crusader for Social Justice

A genuine Baltimore blue blood and the daughter of Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president of The Johns Hopkins University, Elisabeth Gilman had a long career as a reformer. Her career included a run as the Socialist Party candidate for Maryland governor in 1930. She was an advocate of civil liberties and racial equality, and a founder of The Maryland Civil Liberties Committee.

 June 20, 2019

Garrett Power, Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland School of Law

 Samuel Smith: Patriotism, Profits, and the Panic of 1819

Samuel Smith is widely remembered as a U.S. Senator, a patriot, and veteran of the Revolution and the War of 1812. However, he was also a merchant, and his firm was intimately involved in the first great financial disaster of the new republic. How much did he know?