Skip to main content

Baltimore City College ephemera collection

Identifier: MS 3131


The collection consists of documents and ephemera relating to Baltimore City College High School. BCC is Baltimore’s oldest serving high school and 3rd oldest in the country.


  • 1867 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1900 - 1960

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

Baltimore City College, commonly referred to as City, is the nation’s third oldest active public secondary institution. The school opened in 1839 to an all male, all white student population with a curriculum centered on the liberal arts. As the number of accepted students increased, City continued to move to new buildings around downtown Baltimore until a permanent location for the school was found in the city’s northeast suburbs in 1927. The gothic structure, aptly nicknamed “the Castle on the Hill,” sits atop the highest point within the city limits. With a singular tower that stands exactly 130 feet high, the building and campus hold scenic views of the surrounding region.

Since its inception, City has remained a college preparatory institution with a liberal arts focus. Courses at the school mimicked those of higher learning, with classes meeting for prolonged periods of time only two or three times a week. However in 2006, the school switched to a more conventional high school schedule, hosting classes on a daily basis. In 1998, the school became and remains the only Baltimore City Public School to offer the International Baccalaureate Program in addition to its college prep and Advanced Placement courses.

In addition to its strong academic tradition, City has a storied athletic history, particularly in regards to its football program. The Black Knights of City and the Engineers of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute formed the oldest active athletic rivalry in the nation beginning in 1889, when the first City-Poly football game was held. While recent years have seen the strength of both programs fluctuate, the City-Poly game remains a highly anticipated annual event.

Famous graduates of the school include local politicians such as Representative Dutch Ruppersburger, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Senator Ben Cardin, former Governor William Donald Schaefer, and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Other notable graduates include David T. Abercrombie, founder of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Charles P. McCormick, of McCormick Spices, and Robert Embry president of the Abell Foundation.

The school colors of City are black and orange and the school motto is “Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat” which translates to “Honor to he who earns it.” The school song is “The Castle on the Hill” and the more common fight song is “City Forever.”


3.33 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials


Related Materials

PP278, Baltimore City College photograph collection, 1864-1988

Scope and Contents

This collection is broken into four series based on content and order of acquisition.

Series I: Academic Functions (Box 1) consists of one box containing all ephemera related to commencements, graduations, and farewell programs held on behalf of the students.

Series II: Extracurricular Activities (Boxes 2 – 6) contains five boxes of materials related to student life outside of the classroom including clubs, sports, dances, plays, etc.

Series III: Alumni (Box 7) contains all items related to BCC graduates such as class reunions, hall of fame assemblies, and memorials.

Series IV: Miscellaneous (Box 8) contains materials such as handbooks, school ring patterns, reference materials, articles related to the school building, etc.

Guide to the Baltimore City College ephemera collection
Under Revision
Ben Koshland
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-07: 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