Museum of Baltimore Legal History

Museum of Baltimore Legal History The Museum of Baltimore Legal History was established for the purpose of collecting, displaying and preserving Baltimore's legal history. For information, tours, or to volunteer contact Kim Goodwin at [email protected].
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Now that jury trials have resumed, the Museum of Baltimore Legal History has re-opened. If you would like to donate 1 ho...
05/07/2021

Now that jury trials have resumed, the Museum of Baltimore Legal History has re-opened. If you would like to donate 1 hour a month to be a docent, please sign up to be trained. We would love to have more docents so we can open more days.

Now that jury trials have resumed, the Museum of Baltimore Legal History has re-opened. If you would like to donate 1 hour a month to be a docent, please sign up to be trained. We would love to have more docents so we can open more days.

03/18/2021
On this date in 1904 the Great Baltimore Fire started. As you can see from the far left of this picture, The Clarence Mi...
02/07/2021

On this date in 1904 the Great Baltimore Fire started. As you can see from the far left of this picture, The Clarence Mitchell Courthouse (which had only been completed for 4 years at the time) survived the devastation with little damage. The fire burned for 30 hours, destroying 1,545 buildings over a 70 block radius.

On this date in 1904 the Great Baltimore Fire started. As you can see from the far left of this picture, The Clarence Mitchell Courthouse (which had only been completed for 4 years at the time) survived the devastation with little damage. The fire burned for 30 hours, destroying 1,545 buildings over a 70 block radius.

On February 1, 1865, the day after the House of Representatives passed the 13th amendment, John Swett Rock of Boston bec...
02/01/2021

On February 1, 1865, the day after the House of Representatives passed the 13th amendment, John Swett Rock of Boston became the first African American ever admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

On February 1, 1865, the day after the House of Representatives passed the 13th amendment, John Swett Rock of Boston became the first African American ever admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Who remembers the Municipal Traffic Court at 211 E. Madison Street? Here are a few photographs from the ground-breaking ...
01/28/2021

Who remembers the Municipal Traffic Court at 211 E. Madison Street? Here are a few photographs from the ground-breaking and opening.

Today, Barbara Baer Waxman stepped down as the Administrative Judge of the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City...
01/23/2021

Today, Barbara Baer Waxman stepped down as the Administrative Judge of the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City. She has served in that capacity since 2013. The Museum thanks Judge Waxman for her dedication and leadership, and we wish her well in her upcoming retirement.

244 years ago, Baltimore was the home of our federal government, albeit only for about two months. As the British forces...
01/15/2021

244 years ago, Baltimore was the home of our federal government, albeit only for about two months. As the British forces advanced on Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress moved to Congress Hall from December, 1776 - February, 1777. Originally built as a tavern and inn around 1770 by Henry Fite (1722-1789), the building was simply known as the "Henry Fite House." After the American Revolutionary War, the building was referred to as "Old Congress Hall." The building was located on West Baltimore Street (previously known as Market Street), between South Sharp and North Liberty Streets (also later known as Hopkins Place). It was destroyed in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, and has been replaced by the Baltimore Arena.

On this date in 1990, the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse opened to the public. A brief, but intriguing, description of the...
01/09/2021
Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse | Explore Baltimore Heritage

On this date in 1990, the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse opened to the public. A brief, but intriguing, description of the building written by Judge Dunn can be found on the Baltimore Heritage website.
https://explore.baltimoreheritage.org/items/show/215

In 1885, Baltimore City set out to build the most beautiful Courthouse in the country. Fifteen years, and $2.2 million later ($56 million adjusted for inflation), that goal was realized. On January 6, 1900, the Baltimore Sun reported that the City of Baltimore had built a “temple of justice, secon...

Why was Maryland one of the first states to impose a license fee on its attorneys? The reason may surprise you. Hon. Lut...
01/08/2021

Why was Maryland one of the first states to impose a license fee on its attorneys? The reason may surprise you.

Hon. Luther Martin had a very distinguished career as a Maryland Representative to the Confederation Congress, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, defender of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase in his impeachment trial in 1805, Defense counsel to Aaron Burr in his trial for treason in 1807, 30 years as the State’s Attorney General, Chief Judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer for the City and County of Baltimore, and the attorney who argued Maryland's position in the landmark Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland. However, at the turn on the 19th century, Hon. Luther Martin found himself in poverty. The Legislature established a $10 fee for lawyers to support Luther through his old age, alcoholism, illness, and poverty. Luther eventually went to live with the disgraced ex-Vice-President Burr until he died at the age of 78 on July 8, 1826.

Luther’s portrait (seen below) can be found in the historic Bar Library on the 6th floor of the Clarence Mitchell Courthouse

The Museum wants to document the practice of law during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send photos of how you are practic...
08/11/2020

The Museum wants to document the practice of law during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please send photos of how you are practicing law during this unusual time. Masks, gloves and social distancing might seem normal today, but it will look quite unusual to future generations. Send full resolution photos to [email protected]

04/07/2020

Gone, but certainly never forgotten...

The Museum of Baltimore Legal History is saddened by the passing of our staunchest supporter, Judge James Schneider. He ...
04/07/2020

The Museum of Baltimore Legal History is saddened by the passing of our staunchest supporter, Judge James Schneider. He was a legend in both the legal and history community. He will be missed at the Museum. RIP, our dear friend.

02/04/2020

Black History Program – “Race, Gender and the Law”
On Feb. 18 at noon, we will be hosting a tribute to the Honorable Solomon Baylor, the first African-American member of the Bar Association of Baltimore City. Also, a panel featuring prominent African-American Lawyers will discuss “Race, Gender and the Law”.
Do you have a question you would like to pose to the panel? Feel free to leave a comment, or IM us, and we will be glad to pose your question, and post the resopnse after the event.

BAR ASSOCIATION OF BALTIMORE CITY
01/29/2020

BAR ASSOCIATION OF BALTIMORE CITY

Pathways to Leadership for Women: The 19th Amendment - another phenomenal program presented by the BABC’s Historical Committee chaired by Elva Tillman. Special thanks to our guest speaker, Elaine Weiss, author of “The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.”

01/27/2020
Baltimore Legal Museum -- Intro

Here’s a sample of one of our new interactive display exhibits. Come by for a visit soon.
www.vimeo.com/368096388/8ee658df65

Housed in the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse, the Museum of Baltimore Legal History boasts artifacts dating back to the early 1800s. It has been called "one…

Three new exhibits, two of which are interactive, have now been installed in the Museum. A new exhibit on African-Americ...
11/15/2019

Three new exhibits, two of which are interactive, have now been installed in the Museum. A new exhibit on African-American Legal Leaders will be installed within the next couple of weeks. Come by and check out the new and improved Museum of Baltimore Legal History.

The Museum is looking forward to revealing our new displays tomorrow. Special thanks goes out to all who have generously...
10/29/2019

The Museum is looking forward to revealing our new displays tomorrow. Special thanks goes out to all who have generously donated to this important renovation:

SUPREME DONORS: Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation
APPELLATE DONORS: Maryland Bar Foundation, Inc., Venable Foundation
CIRCUIT DONORS: Baltimore Bar Foundation, Inc., Bar Association of Baltimore City, Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann, LLP, The Miles and Stockbridge Foundation, Monumental City Bar Foundation, Inc., Hon. Thomas J. S. Waxter, Jr.
DISTRICT DONORS: Hon. Sherrie R. Bailey & Andrew G. Bailey, Esq., Diane C. Bristow, Esq., Hon. William M. Dunn, Sally B. Gold, Esq., Hon. Marcella A. Holland, Hon. Joseph H. H. Kaplan, William Bollinger King, Esq., Kramon & Graham, P.A., David C. M. Ledyard, Douglass Wm. List, Esq., Hon. Lynn Stewart Mays. M. Natalie McSherry, Esq., Hon. John Philip Miller, Michael T. Pedone, Esq., Joel Larkin Perrell, Jr., Esq, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP, Sheila K. Sachs, Esq., Elva E. Tillman, Esq. & Professor James Edward Jones, Turnbull, Nicholson & Sanders, P.A., Hon. Pamela J. White, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP, Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP
MAGISTRATE DONORS: Robert D. Anbinder, Esq., Josh Bradley and Hon. Catherine Chen, Herbert Burgunder, III, Esq., Hon. John Carroll Byrnes, Joshua L. Caplan, Esq., Aaron DeGraffenreidt, Esq., Theresa A. Furnari, Magistrate, Michael I. Gordon, Esq., Glenn M. Grossman, Esq., Elizabeth A. Hafey, Esq., Rosalind Nester Heid, Hon. Geoffrey G. Hengerer, Yosef Kuperman, Esq., W. Edward Leon, Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff, Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, Neuberger, Quinn, Gielen, Rubin & Gibber, P.A., Hon. W. Michel Pierson, Katherine T. Sanzone, Wayne R. Schaumburg, Hon. Mark F. Scurti, Hon. Halee F. Weinstein, Carmen Williams, Esq., Wright, Constable & Skeen, LLP

The Museum will be closed until the end of the month due to the installation of our new exhibits. We look forward to sha...
10/20/2019

The Museum will be closed until the end of the month due to the installation of our new exhibits. We look forward to sharing a new experience with you in November.

Happy Constitution Day: Adopted, September 17, 1787The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law o...
09/17/2019

Happy Constitution Day: Adopted, September 17, 1787

The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. It is the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of the United States of America and the Federal Government of the United States. It provides the framework for the organization of the United States Government. The document defines the three main branches of the government: The legislative branch with a bicameral Congress, an executive branch led by the President, and a judicial branch headed by the Supreme Court. Besides providing for the organization of these branches, the Constitution outlines obligations of each office, as well as provides what powers each branch may exercise. It also reserves numerous rights for the individual states, thereby establishing the United States' federal system of government.

On this day, in 1902, Etta Maddox became the first women admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland. Below is a c...
09/11/2019

On this day, in 1902, Etta Maddox became the first women admitted to practice law in the State of Maryland. Below is a copy of the Baltimore Sun describing the ceremony which admitted Maddox to practice in front of the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City

The Courthouse & Law Museum Foundation recently had two small tears on the 1914 painting of Francis Scott Key repaired. ...
09/10/2019

The Courthouse & Law Museum Foundation recently had two small tears on the 1914 painting of Francis Scott Key repaired. The painting was also professionally cleaned and relined. Key wrote a poem entitled The Defense of Fort McHenry (which was later adopted as the U.S. National Anthem on March 3, 1931, and is now known as the Star Spangled Banner). Key appeared regularly before the Maryland Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. His recently restored portrait can be seen in Room 438 of the Mitchell Courthouse. The painting was donated to the Court by the Avalon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

LAST CHANCE: We are so close to our fundraising goal. With off-line donations included, we are only $4,800 away from our...
08/27/2019
Click here to support Museum of Baltimore Legal History organized by Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation

LAST CHANCE: We are so close to our fundraising goal. With off-line donations included, we are only $4,800 away from our goal. Please consider helping us so we can keep our Museum open and relevant. Every dollar helps, but if anyone (or any law firm) wants to join the 29 others who have donated at least $500 or more, you will get your name (or firm/company name) engraved on our future Donors' Wall outside of the museum. Engravings will be done in September, so please donate today so you don't miss this great opportunity! THANK YOU!
https://www.gofundme.com/baltimore-city-legal-museum

Be a part of the next generation for the Law Museum. Funds are being raised to build new interactive displays that will provide guests with a more in depth experience when visiting the museum. The new exhibits will enable the Museum to update some of the most popular exhibits such as those deal...

Most know Venable as one of Baltimore's largest and top-ranking law firms in business transactions and corporate law, ba...
07/24/2019

Most know Venable as one of Baltimore's largest and top-ranking law firms in business transactions and corporate law, bankruptcy and creditors' rights, commercial litigation, labor and employment law and tax law, as well as the country's foremost practice in the area of real estate investment trusts. However, we at the Law Museum know them best for their generousity and support of our renovation project. Thank you, Venable, for all of the support you give the Baltimore community!

The Baltimore Courthouse and Museum Foundation just completed the restoration of the John H.B. Latrobe Portrait, origina...
07/22/2019

The Baltimore Courthouse and Museum Foundation just completed the restoration of the John H.B. Latrobe Portrait, originally painted in 1840. This was our third portrait restoration in the past year! To support the on-going efforts of the Foundation (including our Museum Renovation coming this Fall), donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/baltimore-city-legal-museum

REPAIR PROCESS: This painting was previously “lined” (adhering the original canvas on to a new textile for extra support) about 30 years ago. The adhesive used was either a paste glue or animal hide glue which tends to get brittle over time and lose their bonding properties. Also, the original canvas began delaminating from its mount, and buckling in its textile. It was feared that in time, the binding deterioration would cause further buckling and the original canvas would eventually pull away entirely from its mount. Also, because these adhesives’ were water-based, the viscous nature of their substances wept out through the weave of the canvas during installation and blemished the canvas’s painted surface. As such, yellowish-brown specks were prevalent on the painted surface, especially on the face of the portrait. The surface also had irregularities in its varnish, appearing as “dry” or matte patches in the otherwise glossy surface. The paint also had indications of craquelure (fissures and cracks in the paint medium) that needed to be addressed as well.

The Baltimore Courthouse and Museum Foundation hired a company to remove the canvas from its frame. Next, the original canvas was seperated from the old lining mount. The old liner was removed from the stretcher bar supports and discarded. The verso (back) of the canvas was sanded and vacuumed to remove all indications of old adhesive. After glue removal, the lining process was performed by securing new Belgian linen to the verso of the artwork using a beeswax/resin adhesive thus reinforcing the original textile’s strength. During the mounting of the canvas to the new fabric, the deformities and cracks were flattened out by the use of pressure. Next, the old varnish was removed, exposing the painting’s original colors and hues as well as a few structural flaws that were addressed. The glue specks were removed. The fissures and cracks were mended by applying Conservators’ Putty into the cavities. When the putty had set, in-painting technique were used on the repairs to match the texture, colors and hues of the original painting. The lined painting was then remounted back onto its original stretcher bars. In the final step, several coats of UV balanced painting varnish were applied to the restored painting’s surface. Finally, the artwork was mounted back into its frame.
You will once again be able to see the restored John Latrobe portrait in Room 438 soon!

07/10/2019

SHORT WEB-FILM PRODUCER WANTED: The Museum wants to produce a short (less than 3 minute) social media video. Does anyone know someone who might want to volunteer their services to help our great non-profit complete this public service? The video will be on the history of the Courthouse.

On this date in 1935, the trial of Donald G. Murray v. University of Maryland began. This was the precurser to Brown v. ...
06/18/2019

On this date in 1935, the trial of Donald G. Murray v. University of Maryland began. This was the precurser to Brown v. Bd. of Education. In Murray, the plaintiff was a highly qualified Amherst graduate who had been denied entry to the University of Maryland Law School. In 1935, Thurgood Marshall argued the case in the Baltimore City Court before Judge Eugene O'Dunne. Judge O'Dunne ruled that Murray had been rejected solely on the basis of race and ordered the University to admit him. Murray became the first black graduate of the University's law school in 1938.

This is a wonderful interview about Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court process, Washington D.C., and the Supreme Court as...
06/17/2019
Supreme Court Historical Society Annual Lecture: Justice Clarence Thomas

This is a wonderful interview about Justice Thomas, the Supreme Court process, Washington D.C., and the Supreme Court as an institution. More people should watch it to get an unadulterated view of our highest Court and the individuals who make it work.

Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Supreme Court Historical Society's annual lecture.

The Museum remembers Judge Shirley B. Jones who passed away yesterday of pneumonia. She was the first woman to be named ...
05/30/2019

The Museum remembers Judge Shirley B. Jones who passed away yesterday of pneumonia. She was the first woman to be named a federal judge in the State of Maryland. Prior to that, she was the first female judge elected to the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City, and before that, the state’s first female assistant attorney general. Her portrait hangs in Courtroom 400 in memory of her great accomplishments. The portrait is an oil on canvas by Henry Cooper. It is 49 ½” H x 40 ½” W, and it was presented to the Court in 1990 by the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland.

Ms. Sachs was a true friend and supporter of the Museum of Baltimore Legal History. The Baltimore legal community has lo...
04/22/2019

Ms. Sachs was a true friend and supporter of the Museum of Baltimore Legal History. The Baltimore legal community has lost a legend, and we share in the Bar's deepest sympathy.

Sheila Kleinman Sachs
January 21, 1941 – April 21, 2019

It is with deepest sympathy that we report the passing of Sheila Kleinman Sachs. Sheila served as President of the Bar Association of Baltimore City in 1987-88. She was the first woman to serve as BABC President. In 2011, Sheila was among 11 members of the Bench and Bar recognized by the Bar Association of Baltimore City as Baltimore City’s Living Legal Legends.

Sheila is the beloved wife of Steve Sachs; cherished mother of Elisabeth Sachs (David Sheehy) and Leon Sachs II (Pearl James); devoted sister of Theodore Kleinman (Marsha Cohen); loving grandmother of Jack Sachs Sheehy, Liza Sachs Sheehy, and Chloe James Sachs; dear daughter of the late Fay and Alexander Kleinman. Funeral services are private. Friends may call at 5 Roland Mews (Cross Keys), Baltimore, MD 21210, on Tuesday, April 23, from 5-8pm. All are invited to a memorial celebration of Sheila's life that will be held at Westminster Hall, 519 W. Fayette Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, from 4-6pm on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Please omit flowers. Contributions in her memory may be sent to Death with Dignity, 520 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1220, Portland, OR 97204 or Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, c/o Dr. Deborah Armstrong, P.O. Box 17029, Baltimore, MD 21297-1029.

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110 N Calvert St
Baltimore, MD
21202

Telephone

(410) 962-3252

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Keep me posted on upcoming events. I am happy to post them on my webpage -- www.waynesguidetobaltimore.com