Civil War Book Discussion at The Ivy

IMG_4365Last night’s event at The Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore was unique and wonderful—four authors and historians gathered to talk briefly about their books, followed by a Q and A period with the audience and book signing. I snapped this photo from my seat at the far left of the table.

Next to me sat Michael C.C. Adams, author of Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War. He’s followed by Lawrence M. Denton, an authority on secession crisis, Claudia Floyd, author of Union-Occupied Maryland, and (standing) Ed Berlin, co-owner of The Ivy.

My thanks to Ed, my fellow authors, the audience for making my visit thoroughly enjoyable. Special thanks to Robin Noonan of Hopkins Press, who arranged my appearance.

New to the Collection: The Celebrated Demoiselles of Baltimore

bendann-brothers-backmarkI’ve recently added this carte de visite by the noted Bendann Bro. of Baltimore, Md., to my collection. A clue to the identity of this group of women and a lone male is written in pencil on the back of the mount of this card photograph: “Carte de Visite of the celebrated demoiselles of Balto taken for Mr. Bueno of Cuba.” The surnames of the individuals are written in pencil along the bottom of the image, and are difficult to read: “Modle, Dr. Conick, Gegans, Alricks, Modle, Cary, Kempson, Meals, Deval, Alricks.”

A cancelled internal revenue service stamp on the back of the mount dates this image between September 1864 and September 1866. The federal government taxed photographs and other items during this time to pay for the Civil War.

The previous owner of this image speculated that they may have been prostitutes from a Baltimore brothel.

This portrait is now available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
The Celebrated Demoiselles of Baltimore

Book Talk at The Johns Hopkins Club

hopkins-clubYesterday I spent a delightful afternoon at the Hopkins Club, which is located on the picturesque Homewood Campus in Baltimore. The Club has a lunch lecture series, and in this first event of the academic year I was honored to talk about African American Faces of the Civil War.

We enjoyed an excellent buffet lunch which featured Maryland seafood, and the Hopkins Sundae—ice cream topped with fudge and caramel, which mimics the black and gold university colors. (Wondering if my alma mater has a desert. Is their a UGA Sundae?)

The room was packed, including several friends from Hopkins Press: Acquisitions Editor Bob Brugger, Publicist Robin Noonan, and Development and Publicity Officer Jack Holmes. Also in attendance was Fred Rasmussen, a well-respected columnist at the Baltimore Sun. Turns out Fred and I grew up about a mile-and-half from each other in New Jersey—Fred in Dunellen and I in Middlesex. Fred’s passion for his work and interest in history was clear from the moment we met.

The event was not without its drama on the roads. A car accident on the Beltway doubled a normally hour long trip. Road construction further slowed my progress. With less than 15 minutes before lunch began, I gave up my attempts to bypass the construction, hastily found a parking space across from the campus, and set out on foot. I made it with a few minutes to spare!

Appearance on WYPR Baltimore

wyprThoroughly enjoyed talking about African American Faces of the Civil War on “Midday with Dan Rodricks” at Baltimore’s NPR affiliate today. Dan is an engaging host and one of the city’s most popular. He has an interest in the Civil War (and World War I). Dan’s team deserves a round of applause, especially producer Sean Yoes. He and I had an excellent conversation before the program started. Prior to the show, Dan’s Facebook page featured images from the book—a smart way to highlight a few of the compelling portraits of the African American men who participated in the Civil War.

Listen to the podcast.