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“Residents asked to share stories of Washington Monument” (Feb. 16, 2016, Baltimore Sun)

March 5th, 2016

CaptureIf memories of the Washington Monument had been collected well over
a century and a half ago and Mary Smith had recorded hers, Baltimoreans
would be treated to the impressions of one of its youngest citizens
(“Residents asked to share stories of Washington Monument” Feb. 16[, 2016, Baltimore Sun]).

Approximately a decade after the monument’s completion in 1829, the
publisher William Raine, a recent arrival from Germany, showed civic pride
when he featured the monument and the surrounding square in color on the
front cover of one of his composition books. Raine allotted space on the
cover for the important printed words. “This Book Is The Property Of” under
which the name “M.H. Smith” has been inscribed in blue ink. Inside the
incomplete notebook an instructress has written words at the top of each
page for her student to copy, the last ones being “mind your teacher Mary
Smith”.

Every time I see the monument, I recall Mary and marvel how despite
our being generations apart, the monument connects us and how each of us in
our own time share a vision of this now historic landmark.

Over one thousand people, including Mayor Latrobe attended the
funeral of William Raine in 1879 celebrating him as “the oldest German
journalist in the United States.” But I will always celebrate him as the
publisher of charming books for young people and children for which he
received scant recognition and especially for his copy book with the
Washington Monument on its cover belonging to Mary Smith.

Linda F. Lapides
[Memory also published in the Baltimore Sun, Feb. 24, 2016.]

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