Photograph courtesy : History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men by Duane Hamilton Hurd, published 1884
Our mother was born and raised in Baltimore City, Maryland. One of her favorite places to visit was the Enoch Pratt Free Library. She talked about many hours spent among the stacks in search of the perfect book. Those were the days of the card catalogue and voices not raised above a whisper. No talking books, music and movie DVD's, or even the selection of books we have become accustomed. Just the pure pleasure of finding the right book, or the librarian weaving a magical story.
Visiting the central branch as an adult I can understand my mother's feelings of awe and enchantment. I believe one reason she developed such a passion for reading is this wonderful institution. A love that has been passed down many generations.
Wikipedia states the following about Enoch Pratt Free Library :
The Enoch Pratt Free Library, located in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, is one of the oldest free public libraries in the United States. Established in 1882 (first opened to the public in 1886) after a grant from philanthropist Enoch Pratt, the library now includes twenty branches in Baltimore, plus the Central Library. Pratt intended his gift to establish a library that "shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them". The Central Library was designated the "State Library Resource Center for the State of Maryland" by the Maryland General Assembly in 1971.
Several years ago our local community college offered genealogy courses. One such class was a trip to learn about resources available at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Though a lifelong resident of the state I was not aware of the many tools available for genealogists.
On the libraries website you will find "A Guide to Genealogical Research in the Maryland Department." Listed are resources ranging from books, newspapers, maps, and web sites. This page is the best place to start when researching genealogy in Maryland.
Further information about Enoch Pratt and his library :
Appleton's cyclopedia of American biography, vol. 5 : edited by James Grant Wilson & John Fiske, published 1888
Enoch Pratt Free Library Facebook
Enoch Pratt Free Library photostream on Flickr
History of the Pratt - Enoch Free Pratt Library site
In this age of libraries closing and cutting back services, remember when you fell in love. With that favorite book or children's librarian. My earliest memory is the librarian reading "Winnie the Pooh" by A. A. Milne. What is yours?