Maryland’s 19th century African American community has a rich visual legacy that extends beyond Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. This program will introduce original print and photographic portraits from the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection of Black enslaved and free Marylanders, the largest collection in the state, discovered through 50+ years of search and research. From the earliest identified portrait of an enslaved Marylander in 1750, the program then focuses on photographic images of these largely forgotten people from the 1845-1870s including rare daguerreotypes and wet-plate photographs accompanied by their recently discovered stories. Most of the photographs in this presentation from The Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection were just acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. through the generous support of the Ford Foundation to now make these images a permanent part of the American memory.
Mr. Kelbaugh served as a teacher for 30 years in the Baltimore County Public School System and currently is the President of Historic Graphics & Research Services, LLC. He is the author of many books, including the most recent publication: Shadows Secured: Early American Photographs from the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection (2023). He has served as a historical consultant and appraiser to major public and private institutions that include the National Park Service, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Art, Getty Museum, Maryland Center for History and Culture, and the Maryland Department of Parks.