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News and Highlights: From the Vault (February 2006)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Omenhausser Sketchbook

While a Confederate prisoner at Point Lookout Prison Camp, John Jacob Omenhausser sketched scenes of prison life, as well as cartoons to entertain others in the camp. It is part of a our Maryland Manuscripts Collection.

Witter Hearts

J. Franklin Witter and Frances LaRue King corresponded for many years, including the time that Witter was attending the University of Maryland. In letters from the late 1920s, Witter doodles hearts and arrows. The couple parted in 1931. From the Papers of J. Franklin Witter


Lt. John E. Rastall was adjutant of the First Maryland Eastern Shore Volunteers during the Civil War. He was something of a ladies' man, and his letters to his family in Wisconsin often describe women he met while on leave in Baltimore or Salisbury. He also often refers to a "Miss B." who he knew quite well in Milwaukee. In this letter of October, 1863, Rastall shows his ambivalence about "Miss B." He says, "She is a bully girl, and I think a heap of her." However, "Miss B. is not open and free and until she is otherwise, 'Johnny'[Rastall] is mum!" From the Papers of John E. Rastall


John and Margaret Hood Zug spent most of their lives in southern Pennsylvania. In 1840, John moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he helped establish a private school and served as instructor. In July, 1841, Margaret married John and joined him in Baltimore. John Zug had a sickly constitution, and died in 1843. In a letter dated July 23, 1841, John wrote to his bride-to-be that he is thankful that during their three-year engagement, “nothing has occurred in the least to dampen the ardor of our young love.” They did not write again until August, 1842. As Margaret recovered from the birth of their son Edgar, John departed for several months of travel to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. He wrote that his heart was “ten fold warmer now than ever” towards his wife. From the Papers of John and Margaret Hood Zug

Additional Resources

See previous From the Vault entries.