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Louise Kerr Hines ephemera collection

Identifier: MS 3092


The collection consists of two boxes of miscellaneous print ephemera that documents African American civic, political, and religious life in twentieth-century Maryland. This material is organized thematically. The majority of items are publications from Baltimore churches, institutions, schools and colleges, and civic organizations and programs from the funerals of prominent African Americans, including Clarence M. Mitchell and Justice Thurgood Marshall. The political material primarily relates to the Democratic Party and African American politicians in Baltimore.


  • 1942 - 1993

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical / Historical

Louise Kerr Hines was born in Baltimore in 1916 and raised on Division Street. Her father, Dr. T. Henderson Kerr, was a pharmacist who owned Kerr’s Drug Store at 723 George Street. Her mother, Geneva Louise Lyles, was a trained seamstress. A lifelong Baltimorean, Hines graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1934 and Coppin Normal School, now Coppin State University, in 1937. On February 28, 1946, she married Morsell Hines, a former classmate.

Hines spent most of her professional life as a civil servant working for the Maryland Department of Human Resources from 1951 to 1978. Her prior work experience included 5 years of teaching in the segregated Baltimore City Public Schools, reporting for the Baltimore Afro American during World War II, and employment with the NAACP’s Baltimore office.

Hines is best remembered for her contributions to the local Civil Rights Movement. In 1943, Hines responded to a job posting for trainees with the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Pratt rejected her application on account of her race. The institution had a longstanding policy of not employing African Americans as library assistants that would be within public view. Encouraged by Carl Murphy, the editor of the Afro American, and Lillie Mae Jackson, president of the Baltimore NAACP, Hines filed a federal lawsuit against the Pratt for denying her equal employment rights; Hines sought $4,500 in damages. In 1944, U.S. District Judge W. Calvin Chestnut dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that the Enoch Pratt Free Library was not a government institution and was therefore not beholden to equal employment legislation. Hines’ attorney appealed the ruling in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, arguing that the Pratt was indeed a public institution because of the $500,000 in operating funds it received annually from the city of Baltimore. On April 17, 1945, the court ruled that the Pratt was an "instrumentality of the State of Maryland" and that it had discriminated against Hines because of her race. During the trial, the court also discovered that Hines was one of approximately 200 African American applicants whom the Pratt denied access to the training course. The Pratt appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Court declined to accept the case. The Pratt’s Board of Trustees abolished the discriminatory policy and determined that "further action of this board and the library with respect to the training class and the recruiting of the library staff will be in accordance with the language and spirit of that opinion." Although Hines never replied for employment with the Pratt, her resistance to the Pratt’s discriminatory practices secured greater employment opportunities for African Americans and marked an important milestone in the struggle for Civil Rights in Baltimore.

Hines remained civically active throughout her life, particularly in education and African American and Civil Rights organizations. Notably, she was a longtime volunteer at the Maryland Historical Society, where she served as a tour guide in the education department and conducted several oral history interviews for the institution's oral history office. Hines also contributed to MdHS’s McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project as an interviewee (1976; OH 8117) and later conducted a self interview for MdHS’s oral history collection (1980; OH 8298). Individuals seeking additional biographical information on Ms. Hines should access the aforementioned oral histories.


0.83 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Louise Kerr Hines.

Scope and Contents

Summary Box 1: Folder 1: Pamphlets from various organizations around Baltimore City such as the “Baltimore Urban League” and “The Council for Cultural Progress.” Folders 2, 3: Consists of historic churches throughout Baltimore City such as the Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church founded in 1802 and the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church founded in 1848. Folder 4: Community events and local advertising of the 1980s. Folders 5, 6: Concerts and Entertainment: “The Arena Players” and “The Vocal Arts Ensemble” performance October, 1982. “The Lois J. Wright Memorial Concert Series” of 1983- 1985, and the 1984 “National Black Music Symposium Program.” Folders 7, 8: The Fine Art of local composer, painter, and writer Virginia Jackson Kiah and the program of the ceremonial dedication of the Thurgood Marshall Sculpture, May 1980. Folders 9-13: Funeral programs for Lillie May Jackson, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Mitchell, Carl Murphy, and Verda M. Freeman Welcome.

Summary Box 2: Folder 1-3: Funeral programs. Folder 4: Journal of Black Church History and Thought, vol. 2, no. 4, 1984. Folder 5: 1982 report from Annapolis by Delegate Howard Rawlings of Baltimore City, also a lineup of the 1982 Maryland General Assembly. Folder 6: Features a reprint of The Crisis A record of the Darker Races from November 1911- October 1912. The Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum and The Herbert M. Frisby Historical Society, Inc. publication. Folders 7: Programs of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the “DuBois Circle” and the 1978 Maryland State Poetry Society Annual Banquet. Folder 8: Political ephemera, campaign flyers of Kurt Schmoke, Howard Rawlings, Otis Lee, Tony Fulton, Ralph Hughes and others. Folders 9, 10: Commencement programs and events literature from Maryland high schools and colleges.

Guide to the Louise Kerr Hines ephemera collection
Under Revision
Dustin Meeker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-31: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States