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Baird Montgomery County photograph collection

Identifier: PP 0094


This collection contains photographs taken of and by Baird family members in Montgomery County, Maryland.


  • 1907-1912

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

Montgomery County, Maryland was formed as a political unit in 1776, having formerly been a district of Frederick County, which had grown unmanageably large in the face of increasing war activity in the region. Named for General Richard Montgomery, the county originally encompassed lands (including Georgetown) that later became part of the District of Columbia. The county seat was established at what later became Rockville, which took its name from Rock Creek.

It was at Brookville in Montgomery County that President Madison and members of his cabinet took refuge when the British captured Washington and burned public buildings in 1814. It was also near Brookville that gold was reportedly discovered in 1849 on Samuel Ellicott's farm. Gold was believed to be present in the Potomac area, and was discovered again during the Civil War by troops camped in the vicinity of Great Falls.

In 1828, construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was begun with President John Quincy Adams breaking ground in Georgetown. The canal's purpose was to provide a trade route over the Appalachian Mountains to the Ohio River Valley and the mid-west, since the Potomac was the only river in the East to bisect the Appalachian mountain barrier. By 1850, the canal reached its conclusion in Cumberland, Md.

Great Falls is a natural landmark where the Potomac River holds a series of rapids interspersed with 20 foot waterfalls, falling a total of 76 feet over a 3500 feet distance. It has long been a popular destination site for visitors from near and far, viewable from Maryland or Virginia. The head of Great Falls is the site of the Aqueduct Dam which is the intake for the District of Columbia's water supply system, for which construction was begun in 1853. Designed and overseen by Montgomery Meigs, the system called for diversion of Potomac River water into a 12-mile brick conduit, with gravity and pumping stations conveying the water to reservoirs for pumping into city pipelines. The complex infrastructure needed to support this endeavor included 11 tunnels and 6 bridges in addition to the conduit, pump stations, reservoirs and pipelines. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was an important route for bringing to the construction sites the large quantities of materials needed: cast iron, sand, concrete, brick, and sandstone.

By the mid-1800s, Montgomery County became a prosperous farming area. The success of farming in the region is attributed to the use of Peruvian guano, imported by the Quakers of Sandy Spring in 1844, as a fertilizing material. The area remained predominantly agricultural until about 1940. In 1874, the Montgomery County Agricultural Society was formed, holding annual Fairs in Rockville which featured agricultural achievement and home arts competitions, and horse races.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



Album pages are arranged so that Baird's numbering system runs consecutively.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 1985.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 album with 46 photoprints. The subjects are primarily in the vicinity of Montgomery County, Maryland, taken in years 1907-1912 by Baird family members. Most photographs are dated and captioned, and were numbered by the album's creator. There are scenes of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal at Great Falls with locks and boats, the Rockville Fair, an air field in College Park, and a hotel and race track in Marlborough. Some scenes include identified people, and there is a photo of an African American family in Montgomery County. There are also photographs of people on holiday at Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Guide to the Baird Montgomery County photograph collection
Under Revision
Katherine Cowan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-01-27: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States