Extra! Extra! See all about "Herblock"

The Hays-Heighe House will host a traveling exhibit on the works of Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block.

Our opening reception will take place during the Constitution Day events, on September 16, from 1-6 pm at the House. This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be provided.

You can read more about the exhibit here:

The exhibit runs until December 13 and is a great inspiration for student projects. Stop by the House during our open hours, Tuesdays 1-3pm and Fridays 10-12!

Research: Part 3 - Libraries

My most recent research trip was to the Enoch Pratt Free Library at 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore. The Central Library was built in 1931 and is a beautiful building by itself; the Pratt Library system dates back to 1882.

It has databases for genealogy, African-American heritage, auto repair reference, small business and much more! The Pratt also has many digital collections, including ephemera such as maps, currency, and postcards, as well as collections on individuals such as Poe and H. L. Mencken. You can access the historical archives of The Baltimore Sun from 1837 and digital Sanborn fire insurance maps of Maryland from 1867.

The Pratt is no doubt an incredible resource center and it is located less than an hour away from our campus! But wait! Don't you have to live in Baltimore to be a member of the Free Library?

No! Anyone who lives in Maryland can apply for a library card from the Enoch Pratt Free Library!

It is a simple process and well worth your time in order to be able to access their resources, many of them remotely.

1. Fill out the online form. 

     (I'll admit  - I didn't do this ahead of time and it still worked out fine.)

2. Within 2 weeks, go to any Pratt location to complete the registration process
     a. Be sure to bring a photo ID with your current address on it.
     b. Bring your current county library card with you.  - This is important - it will allow you to enjoy full  privileges right away. You can check out up to 30 books on your first visit!

It's that simple!

I hope you take advantage of this opportunity and make a trip to the Pratt. Happy reading!

Ann S. Persson, House coordinator


Research: Part 2 - Online Searches

In between trips to the historical society and other institutions, I have been searching online for documents and photographs to add to information I am collecting on the Hays family, the Maryland militia, and Harford County during the first quarter of the 19th century.

There are many steps in the research process, and with many repositories offering collections online and digitized books, there are more ways than ever to find sources for your research topic. Although being in the stacks at the library or handling historic documents at the historic society is sometimes the only way to go to complete your project, there are options to explore without leaving your computer!

1. Learn to use your tools more effectively. 
Most people use Google as their default search engine, and there is nothing wrong with that. But take advantage of other options within the search engine you are already familiar with using. If you go to the ‘more’ section of Google, you’ll find Books and Scholar.

Google Books is a free search engine through books that have been digitized. Sometimes you’ll be able to see the entire book, other times you only will be allowed to see a preview of the book – usually the title page plus a few more pages. Google Scholar will find articles written in journals and other scholarly publications. This is a great way to narrow down your search to credible sources.

2. Expand your library catalog search. 
You’ve already explored your local library’s catalog and are familiar with its holdings. But did you know you can search catalogs of libraries across the nation or across the world? WorldCat allows you to search for books, articles, and even DVDs and CDs. With more than 10,000 libraries participating, there are 1.5 billion + items for you to search. Who knows? That survey book on the history of Harford County or an analysis of the newest isotope technology just might be sitting on the shelf at a library not more than 20 miles away from you! Even if the library that has your book might be located across the nation, remember, it might be possible to obtain it through InterLibrary Loan! WorldCat is even available as a mobile app.

3. Target accurate and scholarly websites.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the backlash against Wikipedia as a legitimate source for your research project. Like I mentioned in my first research blog, Wikipedia can be a great starting point on a topic you know nothing about, but it is limited.
If you are doing a straight Google search:
·          scan the results to weed out potentially harmful sites or hits that don’t include all of the terms you have entered.
·         Focus on sites that end in .net, .org or .gov. Many historical societies and state websites will end in these locators.
·         Choose what’s familiar. Often, magazines and television shows will have an online component to complement their programming. It is usually a better bet to read something posted by the History Channel than by www.history-o-rama.com (I made that up, but if you register that website you have to give me credit :) 

4. Search local public and academic libraries to see what digital collections are posted.
There are quite a few libraries around Baltimore that have posted part of their collections online, and it’s a good idea to get familiar with the strengths of their collections. You might not need any information on early 20th century child labor laws for your current project, but keep it in the back of your mind that UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library has the Lewis Hine photograph collection digitized.

Many institutions are also using content management systems to post collections digitally. You can search sites like CONTENTdm for other collections available online.

Hope this is enough to keep you going! I’ll post more soon!

Ann S. Persson, Hays-Heighe House coordinator