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Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association records

Identifier: MS 2652


This collections includes ledgers, cash books, bills and receipts, banking statements, minutes, and correspondence of the Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association, an organization devoted to promoting the social and economic interests of East Baltimore, Maryland.


  • 1884-1980
  • Majority of material found in 1930-1960


Conditions Governing Access

The 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.

Historical Note

The Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association (OTMMA) was formed in 1883 to promote the interests of wholesale and retail merchants located in the Old Town area of East Baltimore, Maryland. It was disbanded in the early 1980s, ending a century of social and civic-oriented activities. Through proposals to the City Council, letters to state and local government officials, and contributions to charities and civic organizations the members of OTMMA fought to prevent the economic stagnation of Old Town.

Members of the Association included individuals as well as businesses, ranging in prominence from Governor Theodore McKeldin (1900-1974) to department stores to shoe repair shops. It is possible to trace the financial climate of the 1930s through the 1960s in Old Town, as members give notice of relocations, bankruptcies, and deaths.


3 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Herman Appel in 1981.

Related Materials

MS 627, Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association minute books, 1883-1933

Separated Materials

Photographs removed to form the collection:

PP 0101, Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association photograph collection, 1956

Scope and Contents

This collection spans the years 1884-1980, with the bulk of material falling between 1930 and 1960. Types of records include minutes, cash books and ledgers, bank statements, membership cards, correspondence, reports, bills, and receipts. The minutes of the Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association (OTMMA) provide the most comprehensive look of the Association's activities, with reports on business-related problems, membership updates, presentations given during meetings, and planned social activities. Financial records such as the ledgers, cash books, bills, and receipts show income from membership dues, savings account interest, and banquet profits; disbursements include officers' salaries, charitable contributions, and meeting expenses. Correspondence includes letters to and from the Maryland House of Delegates, the Maryland Senate, the Baltimore City Council, and various mayors, as well as organizations with similar goals as the OTMMA.

The OTMMA collection is strongest in its representation of a variety of urban problems common in large cities between the 1930s and 1960s. These include abandoned housing, sanitary conditions, shoplifting, juvenile delinquency, taxation, and transportation problems such as parking, road repair, and bus service. Finally, the Depression and World War II were the two landmark events of this period for the OTMMA, and members' responses are revealed through correspondence, the minutes, and in their charitable contributions.

The OTMMA as a social organization is also well-represented. Meetings involved refreshments, films, and presentations as well as discussions about pressing concerns. The Annual Banquet consistently produced a modest profit and was well-attended by Baltimore's business leaders. Finally, the Annual Outing was an opportunity for travel with no other purpose than cameraderie.

Guide to the Old Town Merchants and Manufacturers Association records
Under Revision
Susan Weinandy
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-11: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock

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