Digital Maryland celebrates local history by adding a letter from George Washington and other items to its CONTENTdm collections

Digital Maryland is a collaborative, statewide digitization program headquartered at the Enoch Pratt Free Library/State Library Resource Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Its participants have used CONTENTdm since 2005 to bring their digital collections to life. Digital Maryland has shared approximately 50,000 historical and cultural documents, photographs, and audio and video files from individuals, museums, public libraries, higher education facilities and private institutions.

“Our goal really is to not only provide information but to provide inroads to people to do research and to provide inroads for them to get excited about history,” said Mary Mannix, Maryland Room Manager at the C. Burr Artz Library.

Recently, the Frederick County Public Libraries (FCPL) partnered with Digital Maryland to share three collections online: The Thomas Johnson letters, Frederick County (Agricultural) Extension Office Photographs and Reports and the Myer Kaplon Photographs.

The Thomas Johnson letters were donated to the C. Burr Artz Trust by descendants of Maryland’s first governor. Thomas Johnson was Maryland’s first elected governor and a close friend of George Washington. The 36 letters in this collection include a communication from Marquis de Lafayette after his visit to Frederick County and 1800 correspondence from 1800 between Johnson and then-President John Adams. Perhaps the most exciting piece in this collection is the 1791 Presidential Commission of George Washington appointing Thomas Johnson to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Frederick County Extension Office Photographs and Reports collection features some 200 reports, each several hundred pages long. The reports contain various media, including hand-drawn maps, newspaper clippings and photographs. These documents offer a wealth of information about rural life in Frederick County during the first half of the twentieth century. This collection also includes pictures showing the activities of extension agents and demonstrators of the region’s 4-H clubs and of several of the county’s women’s clubs.

The Myer Kaplon Photograph Collection consists of more than 2,200 photographs taken by Myer Kaplon between 1940 and his death in 1978. These photographs include people, animals, businesses, buildings and town events, such as the Potomac River Festival and the long-standing Veterans Day parade, which continues today. Many of the photographs were taken inside the Kaplon Department Store, a family-owned business run by Mr. Kaplon until it closed in 1967. Upon Kaplon’s death in 1978, his family donated all of his community photographs to the Brunswick Public Library, as he was very active in establishing a public library in Brunswick.

Learn more about this Digital Maryland’s collaboration with the Frederick County Public Libraries in this The Frederick News-Post article.

Digitized item from Digital Maryland's collection