Maryland Day Explores the Unique Legacy of W. D. Schaefer

Reception to Hear “Roast” with Colorful Schaefer Stories

See his World War II Dog Tags, Uniform and Famous Bathing Suit

Hear How his Legacy Lives Within the New MD Center for History Education


Baltimore, Maryland (March 9, 2012) – The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) will celebrate Maryland Day on Thursday, March 22 at 6 pm with a look at the meaning of the holiday as well as “The Legacy of William Donald Schaefer”. The reception will include an exhibition of Schaefer memorabilia including his World War ll dog tags, his city council gavel, several well-known cartoons and his famous swimsuit including the rubber ducky. Many people loved him …others, not so much. Some of those who knew him well will offer their thoughts reminiscent of “stoop stories”. Some of the speakers were allies and others, at times, were perceived enemies. The group includes political cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher, retired State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and former Baltimore Sun reporter Barry Rascovar. The Maryland Center for History Education at MdHS will be set in motion. The reception will be held at the Maryland Historical Society, 201 W. Monument St. Tickets are $30 with an open bar reception following the “roast”. For reservations or more information, contact (410)-685-3750 or mdhs.org.

Burt Kummerow, MDHS president said, “Hizzoner had a “do it now” philosophy that worked so well for the betterment of Baltimore and Maryland. We are emulating his drive with our Maryland Center for History Education initiative. It’s time to “do it now” to strengthen history education in our state.”

The complete list of “roasters” includes Sheilah Kast – Host of Maryland Morning on WYPR- FM as the Mistress of Ceremonies, Ed Papenfuse - State Archivist, Fraser Smith - WYPR commentator, former State Senator and Chair of MdHS - Bobby Neall and Joseph Stern – former Baltimore Sun editor.

The Maryland Historical Society will announce the creation of the Maryland Center for History Education (MDCHE). The center will be housed on the Society’s campus and its first programs will be held this summer. Baltimore city teachers will receive training on the early years of the Civil Rights Movement in Maryland beginning in the 1930’s. The purpose of the Center is to strengthen the teaching of history in Maryland’s K-12 schools and to promote lifelong interest in Maryland history. 

Maryland Day commemorates March 25, 1634. On that day, settlers disembarked from two small sailing ships - the Ark and the Dove - on to Maryland soil. At St. Clement's Island, they landed in what is now St. Mary's County, Maryland. The Maryland settlement was authorized by Charles I of England to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore. Traveling on the Ark to the new colony, Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore's brother, led the Maryland settlers. The purpose of their voyage was not to discover new lands but to settle them. The formal observance of Maryland Day began in 1903 when the State Board of Education chose one day in the school year to be devoted to Maryland history. March 25th was named Maryland Day by the Board. In 1916, the General Assembly authorized Maryland Day as a legal holiday.

The Maryland Historical Society was founded in 1844 and is the world’s largest museum and library dedicated to the history of Maryland. Occupying an entire city block in the Mount Vernon district of Baltimore, the society’s mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the objects and materials that reflect Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage.” The Society is home to the original manuscript of the Star-Spangled Banner and publishes a quarterly titled “Maryland Historical Magazine.” More information about the Maryland Historical Society can be found online at http://www.mdhs.org. 

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Photo cut line: This famous image of William Donald Schaefer from August 8, 1981 making good on a bet at the opening of the National Aquarium in Baltimore will be part of the Maryland Historical Societies Maryland Day Reception on Thursday March 22 at 6 pm.

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