Woods’ Baltimore City Directory – 1864

A simple but whimsical cover using different typographic conventions – Printed and published by John W. Woods, 202 Baltimore Street – 1864

I get asked all the time from collectors, especially in my collecting area of Bitters; “so what is happening?”, “heard about any new bottles?, “anything in the upcoming auction interest you?” or “are you going to the so and so show?” I’m sure we all talk this way with others in the hobby. Well it is December, finally getting cold like it should be. It was in the low 80’s this weekend at Peach Ridge. This morning it was 28 degrees! There are no shows, I am not a digger, there are no auctions so to speak and I have not heard about any great bottles (I take that back) this past week.

So what do you do with a fire in the fireplace, the dogs asleep at your feet and the Texan’s getting slammed by the Patriots? You go read a Directory! In this case the Woods’ 1864 Baltimore City Directory. It sure makes a losing game and commercials easier to take when you have your laptop open and keep one eye on each screen.

Baltimore Inner Harbor looking at Baltimore City – 1860’s

Last night I was really intrigued with the following random advertisements and observations within the directory from my home town Baltimore in this tumultuous Civil War and bustling time. A few milestones of special interest to set the stage occurred in 1864:

1864 in United States

February 17– American Civil War: The tiny Confederate submarine Hunley torpedoes the USS Housatonic, becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy ship (the sub and her crew of 8 are also lost). Read: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

March 9 – American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln appoints Ulysses S. Grant commander in chief of all Union armies.

April 22 – The U.S. Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 which mandates that the inscription “In God We Trust” be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.

May 5 – American Civil War: The Battle of the Wilderness begins in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

May 28 – Montana is organized as a United States territory out of parts of Washington Territory and Dakota Territory, and is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

June 15 – Arlington National Cemetery is established when 200 acres of the grounds of Robert E. Lee’s home Arlington House are officially set-aside as a military cemetery by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

August 5 – American Civil War – Battle of Mobile Bay: At Mobile Bay near Mobile, Alabama, Admiral David Farragut leads a Union flotilla through Confederate defenses and seals one of the last major Southern ports.

August 31 – American Civil War: Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta, Georgia.

October 31 – Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.

November 8 – U.S. presidential election, 1864: Abraham Lincoln is reelected in an overwhelming victory over George B. McClellan.

December 21 – American Civil War – Sherman’s March to the Sea: The campaign ends as Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman captures the port of Savannah, Georgia.

1864 in Baltimore

The 1864 National Union Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the National Union Party of the United States, took place from June 7 to June 8, 1864 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore Harbor from Fells Point – 1864

1864 Woods’ Directory – Baltimore City (select page overview)

Gorgeous color advertising for A. Hoen & Co., Lithographic Establishment

More advertising showing the excellent engraving work for A. Hoen, Lithographers & Engravers

Many of the advertisements spelled ‘Cigar” as ‘Segar’ as in this advertisement for B. G. Tubman & Co. Tobacco advertising was very prominent and widespread in the directory.

This fantastic full-page advertisement for the University of Maryland, School of Medicine was strategically placed in the front advertising pages of the directory. Established in 1807, The School of Medicine is the first public and the fifth oldest medical school in the United States, and the first to institute a residency training program. The School of Medicine was the founding school of the University of Maryland and today is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland.

I really like this advertisement for The Baltimore Infirmary. “Board from THREE to TEN DOLLARS per week”. This ad was placed next to the University of Maryland, School of Medicine ad. A little smaller then the present University of Maryland Medical Center.

These advertisements caught my eye for two reasons. The first was the wide variety of typestyles designers were using in 1864. The second was the advertisement for John Boyd (see BOYD torpedo soda below) on Eutaw Street.

BOYD Baltimore torpedo soda in olive green on left. These three bottles were photographed in Baltimore – Rowell Collection

Great full-page steamer and barge inland transport advertisement for commerce between Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. “For the transportation of merchandise, produce, packages, horses, carriages, furniture and goods of all sorts” Early FedEx.

Advertisements for Oysters and Brewing dominate the commercial sections of the directory. Still true in Baltimore today.

As a train fanatic and rail fan, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is my favorite. This railroad was competing with the inland steamer and barge transportation in the advertisement above. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which would have connected Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. At first this railroad was located entirely in the state of Maryland with an original line from the port of Baltimore west to Sandy Hook. At this point to continue westward, it had to cross into Virginia (now West Virginia) over the Potomac River, adjacent to the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. From there it passed through Virginia from Harpers Ferry to a point just west of the junction of Patterson Creek and the North Branch Potomac River where it crossed back into Maryland to reach Cumberland. From there it was extended to the Ohio River at Wheeling and a few years later also to Parkersburg, West Virginia.

This GREAT and I mean great advertisement for Baker, Bros & Co. is important because this firm is a wholesaler and was getting their glass and wares from their Baltimore Glass Works on Hughes Street. Notice the “Jars, Vials, Wine, Porter & Mineral Water Bottles, Flasks, Demijohns, & c.”. The building illustration reminds me of the Edward Wilder Bitters bottle with the embossed building.

Wonderful illustrations and advertisements of a steamer for ‘Steamed Fresh Cove Oysters”, “P.M. Quinn, Dealer in Foreign and Domestic Liquors” and Purvis & Co. Bankers”. The typography is ‘off-the chart’ crazy. Love it!

Obviouslly, as a Bitters collector, I am looking for Bitters advertisements in the style represented in the advertising pages above. This is still somewhat early for a Baltimore bitters like the Brown’s Iron Bitters and Dr. Petzold’s. I feel like I am getting warmer! Uh. guess what?…that is my great, great grandfather, Ferdinand Meyer (see picture below) listed on the same page!!

(see listing above in 1864) Ferdinand Meyer (the 1st). Born 31 May 1813 in Baden-Baden, Germany, Died 15 November 1895 in Baltimore City, Maryland – Ferdinand Meyer V archives – my great-great grandfather

BINGO !!! Here she is folks. A listing for Bogg’s, Cottman & Co., makers of the great BOGG’S COTTMAN GERMAN TONIC BITTERS. Though we now know this IS NOT a western bitters and have in the past few years known it was a Baltimore brand, it is still great to see this name representing the finest bitters product from Baltimore, certainly in 1864 (see picture below).

A killer, perfect and most likely best example of the extremely rare, G 28, BOGGS COTTMAN GERMAN TONIC BITTERS. Proud, aqua, full of character, pontil, sloppy top and striations in olive – Meyer Collection

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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2 Responses to Woods’ Baltimore City Directory – 1864

  1. sandchip says:

    Way cool stuff, Ferd. Cool picture of your great, great!

  2. tigue710 says:

    that is really cool Ferdinand, finding your great great Grandfather in there! I love old directories, I have one for Placerville CA from 1862 which has been a wealth of information, and the adds are just great.

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