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About “The Baltimore Collection” & Curating Hidden Collections

In 2001 Neil, Reba and Jessica Porter donated an assortment of photographs of uncertain provenance and in need of conservation to the University of Delaware, known for its outstanding photographs conservation program. Found in Maryland, the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century photographs include tintypes, albumen prints, matte collodion prints, silver gelatin printing-out prints (POP), silver gelatin developing-out prints (DOP) and one halftone. Among the 53 objects are studio portraits taken by photographers in the Baltimore area; the donated photographs became known as “The Baltimore Collection,” and entered the Museums Collections. The collection contains photographs from other areas, including Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Washington, D.C. Most individual sitters have yet to be fully identified; many appear to be Black or African American.

This site complements the digital archive for “The Baltimore Collection” and the metadata developed for its Artstor presentation. This foundational research on the collection was undertaken during the Fall 2017 graduate-level course Curating Hidden Collections & the Black Archive. The collaborative endeavor has and will continue to engage librarians, curators, faculty, and guest scholars, in the responsibility for the afterlife of this collection, the individuals portrayed therein and the potential of this archive to inform and enhance our world and that of others.


Project Team

Simone Austin, Master’s Student, History and Museum Studies Certificate, Class of 2018
Ethan Barnett, Doctoral Student, African American Public Humanities Initiative and Museum Studies Certificate
Kelli Coles, Master’s Student, History and Museum Studies Certificate, Class of 2018
Dorothy Fisher, Doctoral Student, Art History
Katharine Fitzgerald, Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Class of 2019
Carrie Greif, Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Class of 2019
Bridget Killian, Master’s Student, Art History and Museum Studies Certificate, Class of 2018
Kira Lyle, Undergraduate Student, Major: Anthropology, Minors: History and Museum Studies, Class of 2017
Sara McNamara, Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Class of 2018
Allison Robinson, Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Class of 2018
Ida Zago, Post-Baccalaureate Student

Curating Hidden Collections & the Black Archive (Fall 2017)

A University of Delaware, College of Arts & Sciences cross-listed Museum Studies and Africana Studies course, created by Julie L. McGee, Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Art History and Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center

Visiting scholars & teaching cohort include:

Gregg Silvis, Associate University Librarian for Systems and Metadata Services
Molly Olney-Zide, Senior Assistant Librarian and Discovery Services Librarian and Interim Head, Center for Digital Collections Department. Library Information Technology User Support Department
Natalia Lopez, Assistant Librarian and Digital Scholarship Librarian
Jaime Margalotti, Associate Librarian, Archival Description Librarian, Special Collections, Department
Jennifer MacDonald, Associate Librarian and Coordinator, Special Collections Cataloging Unit Metadata Services Department
Theresa Hessey, Assistant Librarian, Center for Digital Collections
Mark Grabowski, Head, Library Data and Server Management Department
Thomas Pulhamus, Library Assistant III, Center for Digital Collections
Amanda Zehnder, Chief Curator, Special Collections and Museums
Janet Broske, Collections Manager, University Museums
Ashley Rye-Kopec, Curator of Education and Outreach, Univeristy Museums
Carol Rudisell, Librarian, Reference and Instructional Services Department
Laura E. Helton, Assistant Professor, University of Delaware, Department of English
Jesse Ryan Erickson, University of Delaware Postdoctoral Researcher in Special Collections and Digital Humanities and Department of English
Debbie Hess Norris, UNIDEL Henry F. duPont Professor and Chair, Art Conservation
Amber Kehoe, Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation (WUDPAC)
Erika Piola, Associate Curator of Prints and Photographs and Co-Director of the Visual Culture Program, The Library Company, Philadelphia
Ross J, Kelbaugh, Pikesville, Maryland, historian, collector and author. Founder,


Curating Hidden Collections convened as a class throughout the semester at the library. The teaching and research was undertaken with the full support of Trevor A. Dawes, Vice Provost for Libraries and Museums and May Morris University Librarian with particular support from Special Collections and Museums. The class extends a special thanks to all of our library and museums colleagues.

For images from The Baltimore Collection, credit: The Baltimore Collection, University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press.
Repository: Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Museums, and Press. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library

Julie L. McGee, University of Delaware

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