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Mary Ellen Hayward Papers

Identifier: R0175-MEH

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Scope and Contents Note

The Mary Ellen Hayward Papers include textual records and photographic materials documenting the work and activities of Mary Ellen Hayward (1947-2020), a public historian and preservationist who advocated for Baltimore historical neighborhoods. Throughout her career as a public historian, Hayward studied Baltimore City architecture including the history of row houses and alley houses, architecture, and neighborhood histories.

The collection materials include textual and photographic items including rowhouse and alley house preservation documentation, architectural preservation research, exhibit plans, genealogical research, facsimiles of newspapers and advertisements, photographs, photographic negatives, film strips, books, and ephemera.

The Biographical Materials series includes items related to Hayward's personal and professional life such as awards, certificates, diplomas, resumes, and materials related to her home.

The Exhibits, Museum Work, Preservation Surveys and Projects series documents Hayward's Alley House Project, her museum and exhibit work such as the Patchwork Quilt exhibit and Row House Exhibit at the Peale Museum, in addition to her work at the Maryland Historical Society. The series also includes materials documenting Hayward's work with Irish Railroad Workers Museum on Lemmon Street, and her other preservation projects and surveys in Baltimore.

The Writings, Publications, and Related Activities Files series includes records related to Hayward's books and other publications. Materials are related to the editorial process, and also include drafts and manuscripts, and correspondence related to books and other publications. The series also includes materials related to Hayward's talks, walking tours, and other scholarly activities related to her publications and research.

The Research Files series includes textual and visual materials collected, used, and created by Hayward as a part of her preservation surveys in Baltimore, writings and publications, museum and exhibit work, and her other projects related to Baltimore architectural history. Also present are digital files used by Hayward during her research. These materials date approximately circa 1975-2010.

The Prints and Photographs series includes visual materials such as photographs, negatives, maps, and slides. Many of these were created during preservation projects and surveys, and they document architecture and neighborhoods. Items may have been created by Hayward or other photographers who she collaborated with during her projects. Other photographic materials include facsimiles collected by Hayward and used in various projects. The visual materials were used for research and publications in addition to exhibit work.


  • circa 1975-2010


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Gloves are recommended when handling fragile and photographic material.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that they own copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright of this collection to the University Foundation. However, copyright for a number of items in this collection such as photographs and prints are likely held by their respective creators.

Biographical Note

Mary Ellen "Mimi" Hayward (1947-2020) was a historian, preservationist, researcher, museum curator, and one of the founders of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She was also the author of numerous books that ranged in topics from the Civil War in Maryland to Baltimore architecture.

Dr. Hayward was born in Baltimore City and raised in Lutherville, Baltimore County. She graduated from Roland Park Country School in 1965 and earned her bachelor’s degree from Smith College. She obtained a master’s degree in early American culture from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture and her Ph.D. from Boston University. Throughout her 30 year career, Dr. Hayward was known as an advocate of Baltimore architecture and row houses and as an accomplished researcher and Maryland historian. In 1980, she was the architectural historian for the "Baltimore: A Patchwork Quilt of Neighborhoods" exhibition that opened at City Hall. She also served as the exhibition curator for the Baltimore City Life Museum's and Peale Museum’s “The Baltimore Rowhouse — A Baltimore Style of Living,” which debuted in 1981.

From the early 1980s until 1996, Dr. Hayward worked at the Maryland Historical Society (renamed the Maryland Center for History and Culture as of 2020) where she was maritime curator and general history curator. At MHS in 1984, Hayward curated “Maryland’s Maritime Heritage,” an exhibit that traced the history of the port from the era of sailing ships to modern container ships. After leaving the Maryland Historical Society, Dr. Hayward provided Historic District National Register nominations and completed historic preservation survey projects for Baltimore neighborhoods while pursuing her work as researcher and author. Hayward's work chronicling Baltimore City alley houses led her to collaborate with Judge Thomas H. Ward (1927-2016) in establishing the Irish Railroad Workers Museum, which opened in 2002. Notable books authored or coauthored by Hayward include: "Maryland in the Civil War: A House Divided," "The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History," "The Baltimore Rowhouse," and "Baltimore's Alley Houses: Homes for Working People since the 1780s."

Dr. Hayward's reputation for her historical preservation work and Baltimore history research was well known. She died in 2020 at the age of 72.

[Information for this Biographical note was gathered from a Baltimore Sun obituary dated August 11, 2020]


10.71 Linear feet (12 containers)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized in five series.

  • Biographical Materials, circa 1977-2008
  • Exhibits, Museum Work, Preservation Surveys and Projects
  • Writings, Publications, and Related Activities Files
  • Research Files
  • Prints and Photographs
The Exhibits, Museum Work, Preservation Surveys and Projects series is arranged in 4 subseries:
  • Exhibits and Museum Work
  • Alley House and Preservation Projects
  • Irish Railroad Workers Museum and Lemmon Street
  • Preservation Surveys and Projects

Custodial History

The collection was donated to the University of Baltimore Foundation by Milly Brugger in December 2020. Records were conveyed to the University of Baltimore by Robert Brugger and received by Aiden Faust in December 2020. A second accession was transferred from Hayward's former residence in May 2021.


The collection was assessed before and during processing. Items damaged, materials containing personally identifiable information, and personal financial records were removed from the collection. Sampling was used to select a representation of facsimiles removed from the collection. Books related to Baltimore history, architecture, neighborhoods, Irish immigration, monuments and Baltimore's Port were removed from the collection and cataloged by RLB Library in the local history book collection.

Separated Materials

Seperated materials include collected books about Baltimore architecture and history that were donated as part of the collection. These books have been separated from the physical collection and cataloged by RLB Library and located with the local Baltimore history books collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Laura Bell in 2021-2022.

Finding aid for the Mary Ellen Hayward Papers
Finding aid prepared by Laura Bell (2022)
December 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Studies Archives Repository

H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA