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Sesquicentennial of Baltimore collection

Identifier: MS-0139

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one series: correspondence. The letters are from out-of-town guests regarding their attendance, and Baltimoreans with ideas for the festivities. There are also a few outgoing letters from the Committee addressing points of protocol.

The material includes petitions from citizens regarding the parade route, lists of subscribers and additional appointees to the Committee, and suggestions from anonymous Baltimoreans.


  • Creation: 1880


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from the Special Collections department. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.

Biographical / Historical

On November 10, 1879, Daniel Coit Gilman, President of The Johns Hopkins University, proposed to members of the Maryland Historical Society that an official celebration of the 150th anniversary of Baltimore be undertaken. Two committies were formed, but little was planned until the German patriotic societies breathed new enthusiasm into the project. In September, a Municipal Committee was appointed which, along with the German committies, planned the celebration. Colonel J. Thomas Scharf served as Secretary of the Municipal Executive Committee and historical consultant. The cumbersome name, "Municipal Executive Committee for the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the City of Baltimore," was shortened to the popularly used "Sesquicentennial Committee."

The festivities began on October 11, 1880 and continued until October 15. Many out-of-town dignitaries were invited, and a great number were able to attend. A complete account of the celebration was published the following year: Spencer, Edward, ed. An Account of the Municipal Celebration of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Baltimore October 11th-19th, 1880, with a Sketch of the History, and Summary of the Resources of the City. (Baltimore: 1881).


0.47 Cubic Feet (1 legal size document box)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of letters from out-of-town guests as well as Baltimoreans regarding attendance at the sesquicentennial celebration.


Some of the correspondence was earlier grouped under the heading "Baltimore." This has been left as is. All files have been arranged in alphabetical order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

We believe the collection was donated by Colonel J. Thomas Scharf who served as Secretary of the "Municipal Executive Committee for the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Founding of the City of Baltimore."

Related Materials

Additional material from the Municipal Committee is held by the Baltimore City Archives.

Processing Information

Processed in June 1988 by Margaret N. Burri. Liz Beckman revised the folder inventory in this finding aid in November 2023 to bring them into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Sesquicentennial of Baltimore collection
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA