Late in the fall semester of 2020, we made our first History field trip of the global pandemic--we visited the Historical Society of Baltimore County's agricultural tool collection....
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Public History News
Earlier this semester, before COVID 19 prevented us all from gathering together to engage in service learning, our history majors engaged in a service project at Todd's Inheritance....
On Sunday, February 9th, members of Stevenson's history major visited one of Maryland's cultural jewels, the Fire Museum of Maryland.
CAPTION: History majors Harrison Oliver, Jack Seals, Steff Sommers, Mike van der Vossen, and Alex Reed learned a lot, ate some good food, and learned lessons that would unexpectedly serve them well in just a short time on their Sunday afternoon trip to the Fire Museum.
Catered by Towson Delly North, the lively program commemorated the 116th anniversary of the Great Baltimore Fire and the 100th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote. Speakers included historian Wayne Schaumburg and Baltimore County Fire Chief Joanne Rund.
Caption: Joanne Rund being sworn in as Baltimore County Fire Chief.
Chief Rund addressed the problems women have faced over the last fifty years while trying to attain equality with men in the work place, especially in historically male dominated occupations like firefighting. Of greater importance, and of a more buoying nature, were her comments regarding how problems within the field have been addressed in the past and continue to be addressed today. The greatest example of her talk was the fact that she is now Baltimore County's Fire Chief, a position few thought a woman could ever attain a generation ago.
Caption: Over 1500 buildings and 80 blocks of the city were destroyed by the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904..
Wayne Schaumburg did a masterful job of captivating his audience as he told the story of the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. While many in his audience were aware of the fire in general, his masterful command of the facts of that disaster as well as the lessons learned were compelling. Few of us, even the historians in the audience, were aware of how fast Baltimore snapped back to life in the wake of the fire. The resilience of the community, the commitment of its wealthiest citizens, and the "can do" attitude of its commercial sector were truly amazing to hear about.
Caption: A chart showing statistics of Maryland's crisis-level engagement with COVID 19 in spring 2020.
On that Sunday afternoon in February, none of us could have predicted the current crisis both Baltimore and our nation are undergoing as a result of COVID 19. The same bravery Baltimore's residents saw in its first responders in 1904 we see today. The same destruction of local businesses and widespread unemployment as in 1904 we see today. Similarly, we see the same commitment by our local business people to ensuring businesses re-emerge from the crisis and that unemployment is addressed in the strongest terms possible. Little did our majors realize how the past would serve as a valuable precursor for today.
Our majors learned that knowing our history provides perspective, having perspective provides hope, and with hope we can survive almost anything.
Mortar set up for use in the field in Vietnam.
Photo of 173rd Airborne Brigade on the only combat jump in the Vietnam War
Winged Spur-- the insignia of the 17th Cavalry
The headstone of Pervis B Valentine, Jr in Beverly National Cemetery (NJ)
Pervis Valentine's profile on the Wall of Faces. "We need your help....."
The two photos needed to complete the gallery of honor for Massachusetts.
The last photo found by the Pennsylvania research team made of individuals, organizations, and the Stevenson University history program: MSGT Matthew N. Harris, Jr (USAF) of Philadelphia. Died May 28, 1965. While SU history majors did not find this last photo, they found 116 others in four months' work.
In early-December the State of Pennsylvania announced that it had located photos of all 3,150 Pennsylvanians killed in Vietnam. Posted to the online Vietnam Wall of Faces, people can now see a photo of each Pennsylvanian killed during that war. In its media release commemorating that accomplishment, the State specifically recognized and thanked the Stevenson History Program for helping locate many of the missing photos.
Headstone of Master Sergeant Matthew N. Harris, Jr. (USAF)
“It is incredibly gratifying to know that all 3,150 Pennsylvanians who died in Vietnam are now represented on the virtual Wall Of Faces where they can be honored by anyone, from anywhere around the world,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs who led this effort, along with everyone they partnered with over the past four years, for tenaciously searching until the last photo was found. Completing this project demonstrates just how much pride Pennsylvania has in all of those who have served our great nation, and that no one will ever be forgotten.”
A photo collage of US casualties during the Vietnam War. All of these photos are at the VVMF's Vietnam "Wall of Faces" online.
For the past four years the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) has partnered with the VVMF in Washington, D.C., to find a photo of every Pennsylvanian whose name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall – commonly referred to as The Wall. The VVMF has been posting the photos on a virtual Wall of Faces in order to put a face and a story to every name to help preserve their legacies.
“This was a great and incredibly important project that helps show the families and friends of the Pennsylvanians lost in Vietnam that their loved ones will not be forgotten,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli. “We owe a huge thanks to all of the volunteers from around the country who have been instrumental in locating these photos and spreading the word about the Wall of Faces effort.
“I’d also like to give a few deserved shout-outs to the Pennsylvania media outlets who featured this program, the Public History Program students at Stevenson University in Maryland, members of the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol, and Vietnam veteran John Thomstatter and his team of researchers, who helped get us to the finish line.”
Sixty four of the photos of Maryland Vietnam casualties located by Stevenson history students in 2016.
The Stevenson History Program began helping the State of Pennsylvania find photos of its Vietnam casualties after its history students helped the State of Maryland find its last remaining photos in 2016. An ongoing volunteer project within the program, Stevenson's history majors have located over 160 pictures of Vietnam casualties from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Maine, Virginia, and West Virginia. It takes, on average, about eight hours to locate a missing photo.