Paul Henderson Photograph Collection

N.A.A.C.P. Meeting, 1948. Photograph by Paul Henderson
[HEN.00.A2-147] NAACP Meeting. October, 1948. Photograph by Paul Henderson.

Browse digital images in Collections Online (click and scroll down)
Paul Henderson Photograph Collection page (with inventory lists)
Paul Henderson Photographs blog (with images, videos, and exhibit information)
See also: Paul Henderson Manuscript and Ephemera Collection 
Note: All Henderson negatives (6,000+) are available as reference photographs in the Special Collections Department of the Library. For more information, please email the department

Paul Samuel Henderson (1899–1988) was born in Springfield, Tennessee and graduated from the School for Professional Photography in Gary, Indiana. Before moving to Baltimore in 1929, Henderson worked for a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. In 1930, Henderson married grade school teacher Elizabeth Johnson and the couple took an apartment at 1536 McCulloh Street, within walking distance of Pennsylvania Avenue, the black community’s district for entertainment and shopping in Baltimore. Along with education, church, sports, NAACP, and politics, Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the major subjects of Henderson’s photographs.

Henderson worked as staff photographer and occasional writer for the Baltimore Afro-American, operated a freelance photography business and participated in civic organizations. He retired from the Afro for medical reasons in the mid-1940s. However, the MdHS Henderson Collection covers ca. 1935 through ca. 1965. Henderson passed away in 1988.

The Henderson Photograph Collection contains over six thousand negatives and several hundred prints, of which only a small fraction have been identified. The Maryland Historical Society (MdHS) acquired the photographs after the Baltimore City Life Museum (also known as the Peale Museum) closed its doors in 1997. The collection came to MdHS unprocessed and with little useful description. In 2010, Towson University’s Historic Preservation class began reprocessing and over the past two years interns, volunteers, and staff completed the project. However, a majority of the people and places in Henderson's photographs remain unidentified. 

If you or your family have a personal connection to Paul Henderson and you would like to help with identification, please browse through the inventory lists on the Henderson Photograph Collection page and contact Joe Tropea, MdHS Curator of Films & Photographs, at [email protected]

To help with the identification online, please visit the online identification form if you are able to identify persons or places in Henderson's photographs. 

Photography exhibition, Paul Henderson: Baltimore's Civil Rights Era in Photographs, ca. 1940-1960 is now on view at MdHS. View the accompanying blog, Paul Henderson Photogaphs blog, which contains more of Henderson's work and videos. 

Use #Henderson hashtag on Twitter for all related tweets.

See also: McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project
Paul Henderson Manuscript and Ephemera Collection