Baltimore & The Environment:

The History of the City in providing a Sustainable Habitat for Humanity


The objectives of this course are to examine how a major American City came to be situated on the banks of the Patapsco (Boles) River, assess the most important factors related to its pattern of growth, decline, and re-invention since its founding, and explore its impact on the ecological history of the surrounding countryside and the Chesapeake Bay.
All students are required to read and analyze one general history, Baltimore by Sherry Olson., writing a 5 page critique of the ways on how well she addresses the ecological impact of  Baltimore,  and participate in class discussions about the reading.  The paper will be due electronically by email attachment  to as explained below in the Class Schedule.   Each student will be expected to partially transcribe, annotate, and introduce an assigned collection of original court documents of a court case that relates to environmental issues  of which Baltimore was a party.  That will be the final paper due at the end of the semester, and is not expected to be longer thant the equivalent of 20-25 pages of double spaced typescript with footnotes. The final paper will include a biographical sketch of an individual associated with the court case that is suitable for Wikipedia and may be posted there as part of the class requirements.  Students will be provided with all required reading and the basic court documents on a USB flash drive on loan from the instructor, and from the instructor's research web site accessible by a user name and password that will be provided in class.


All students are expected to purchase the revised edition of Sherry H. Olson, Baltimore (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997),  if available at a reasonable cost.  Web based sources for purchase of these books includes Because much of the reading material for this course is out of print and/or is protected by copyright, electronic copies of all texts will be supplied on loan for the semester to students for personal use only on media supplied and owned by the Instructor. Some reading and resources may also be supplied on line.  In order to access files on line a user name and password may be needed and  will be given out in class. Use of the user name and password, and any materials supplied on loan on USB or CD,  constitutes acceptance of the personal/educational use guidelines of copyrighted material, exonerating the instructor from any concerns regarding violation of copyright.

The flash drive from the instructor's library may also include the following works which may prove helpful in the writing of the introduction to the  Court Case and the accompanying biography destined for Wikipedia. ON LINE RESOURCES

This course is intended to be an introduction to the resources and tools for reading, writing,  and presenting the environmental history of Baltimore on the World Wide Web. Students are expected to carefully read all assignments in advance of class and  to present their writing requirements in electronic form  to the instructor, and as class presentations scheduled for the last weeks of the semester, the usb flash drive supplied by the Instructor.  Students are advised to regularly back up their work on their own computers.   Discussion of the assigned reading for each class noted on the syllabus will be led by one or more students during the first hour, depending upon class size, followed by a topical lecture given by the instructor or guest, related to the period covered in that class.  Students will be assigned class leadership roles for class discussion of readings and their written assignments by lot and may be asked to lead discussions more than once in a semester.  For example,  the student or students assigned to lead the reading discussion for a given class will have been expected to have read the assignments, present a a summary of what was learned about the history of the city's impact on the environment, and provide questions about the reading designed to evoke discussion about what the reading did not reveal, and/or that should have been covered in greater depth or with greater clarity. In addition to the reading discussions early in the semester, students will present their research to the class at the end of the semester.  


All students are to read, annotate and introduce an assigned packet of original court documents, images of which will be made available on line to be downloaded to the USB flash drive provided.  An oral presentation of the project will be given to the class as assigned and shown on the class schedule.  

All  students are to submit a web ready,  20-25 page research paper on an assigned court case at the end of the semester containing a biography suitable for Wikipedia of an individual associated with the case that the student believes deserves recognition..  All papers should be properly footnoted and contain a bibliography of sources consulted.

The syllabus is available on line at Required readings are available on  a USB Flash drive loaned by the instructor. Web based research materials often will be accessible by password only and, with any materials loaned on the Flash drive,  are intended for the personal reference use of registered students. Copying or further distribution in any form of this material is at the risk of the student and constitutes violation of copyright on the part of the user.


MLA program, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Discussion leadership, along with class participation generally, will constitute up to 20 points of the final grade.

The written and oral critique of the Olson text book will constitute up to 20 points of the final grade

The edited, annotated, and introduced court documents with biography  will constitute up to 60 points  of the final grade and will include a class presentation in the final class or classes (depending upon class size).

A=90-100 points; B=80-89 points; C=70-79 points; D=60-69 points; F= anything less than 60 points.

NOTE: The direct quoting of someone else's work (anything more than a phrase or two) without using quotation marks and citing the specific source of the quote (author, title, edition, and page) will not be tolerated and will result in an automatic 'F' on the assignment. Adopting an author's point of view is not considered plagiarism as long as the source is identified by some form of annotation of your text (i.e. footnotes, Turabian short form; note on sources at the end of your essay or review, or some other format approved in advance by the instructor). 

ęDr. Edward C. Papenfuse (instructor)
State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents

Office Hours:
by appointment in person,  interactively through email and Blackboard
Phone: (w) 410-260-6401; (h) 410-467-6137

Internet Address:

Last update: 2009/09/10