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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 477k   View pdf image (33K)
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Preface

Publication of this second volume of the Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature,
1635-1789, occurs in Maryland's 350th year. The Hall of Records Commission is particularly
pleased to contribute to the state's commemoration of its long and distinguished history by
presenting these biographical profiles of men who in large measure, for more than a century
and a half, shaped Maryland's government. The stalwart adventurers who braved the seas
on the Ark and the Dove found in Maryland a "fruitful and delightsome land." The climate,
soil, bountiful bay and rivers, and cooperative Indians proved auspicious omens for Lord
Baltimore's colony in the New World. But despite these favorable aspects, many challenges
and travails would have to be met before the colony's success would be assured.

That Maryland did grow and prosper was owing to the toil and dedication of its citizens—
gentry and servants, slaves and freemen, men and women. But the ones most directly
responsible for the development of a public policy for the new colony and for shaping its
course through good times and bad are the men described here and in the preceding volume.
The individual characteristics and accomplishments of these men varied considerably and
changed substantially over time. What they all shared was their desire to serve their con-
stituents and their state as well and as responsibly as possible. These biographies, it is hoped,
will provide a better appreciation of the nature of political participation and leadership
during the formative years of Maryland's history.

When the authors of this project defined the rationale and developed a research design
for what became known as the Maryland Legislative History Project, their implicit goal was
to create the best dictionary of its type. Most of all they wanted a balanced presentation,
where the same kinds of information in a dozen different categories would be sought for
each man who served in the General Assembly. The political history of colonial America
has too often focused on the lives and actions of a few prominent men for whom salient
information is readily available. The authors were convinced that providing comparable data
on each of the nearly fifteen hundred men who served in the General Assembly in the time
period covered was the only way to achieve a full and accurate understanding of the political
process in early Maryland.

Fully cognizant of the ambitiousness of the undertaking, the project directors assembled
a team of part-time researchers to undertake the exacting work required to complete the
project. The composition of the research team changed over time, but the expertise gained
in the early stages of research was perpetuated and perfected as new members were added
to the team. The accumulated knowledge of primary sources and the sensitivity and creativity
in their use developed by the research team cannot be overemphasized. Furthermore, the
printed biographical profiles are but a condensation of the research conducted on each
legislator. The materials in the legislators' research files are fully documented and contain
invaluable information for anyone investigating any particular legislator or group of men
who served in the General Assembly. All of these research files are available to the public,
either in the Hall of Records search room or on microform through interlibrary loan. In


 

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A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 by Edward C. Papenfuse, et. al.
Volume 426, Page 477k   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  
  << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>


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