Edward Carl Papenfuse, Jr. (1943-)

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Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse (born in Toledo Ohio on October 15, 1943) is the retired Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents.

Papenfuse received his undergraduate degree from the American University (1965), spent an academic year abroad at Bristol University (1963-1964), received an M.A. from the University of Colorado (1967), and his Ph.D. in history from The Johns Hopkins University (1973). He holds an honorary doctorate of letters from Washington College.[1] He and his wife Sallie have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.


At the helm off Ipswich, Spring 1964

Ecp techy.jpg

Looking to the Future


Papenfuse held the positions of Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents from 1975 until 2013. As director of the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Papenfuse was responsible for the Archives' collection of government and private materials which are described and inventoried in detail at mdsa.net, Guide to Government Records and the Guide Special Collections. In 2003 he conceptualized and initiated the design of mdlandrec.net, which now contains over 200,000,000 indexed images of permanent archival records and is accessed daily by several hundred users. In addition he has created an interactive editorial website for archival documents which currently accesses over 500,000 pages of original source material on the experimental web sites, editonline.us, mdhistory.net, and virtual archive.us. From June 2010 until October 2013, he was also the acting City Archivist for the Baltimore City Archives, becoming a catalyst for change in an archives in disrepair.[2]

He played a major role in the design of the present Archives building which was completed in 1986 and bears his name, initiated the creation of the Maryland State Archives web site, writes extensively on Maryland history, and has taught history at the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland Law School, and the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution (1975), with Joseph M. Coale, The Hammond-Harwood House Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland, 1608-1908 (1982) and The Maryland State Archives Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland 1608-1908 (2003). He has also developed an approach to providing reference services and teaching courses on the World Wide Web of the Internet (see http://www.mdhistory.net, http://marylandarchivist.blogspot.com/, http://poplargroveproject.blogspot.com/, and http://1814baltimore.blogspot.com/). A recent website for which he designed the organizational framework and wrote most of the introductory text is devoted to preserving and accessing the public records of the Baltimore City Archives (http://baltimorecityhistory.net). He has published numerous articles on archives and archival related matters including a report on access to government records in the OAH Newsletter for May 2005.[3]. In April 2011, he was designated a digital pioneer and interviewed by the Library of Congress about his career. In 2000, the senior staff of the Maryland State Archives on the occasion of Dr. Papenfuse's 25th anniversary as State Archivist, prepared a brief history of the Maryland Hall of Records which Dr. Papenfuse transformed into the Maryland State Archives which is on line at: The Papenfuse Years: A Work in Progress

As Commissioner of Land Patents, he administered the land patent law of Maryland, granting patents (i.e. original title) to land for which no title could be found (known as vacant land). Patents issued included one to the Boy Scouts in Harford County. The most contentious case reached the Supreme Court in which his opinion was sustained. In that opinion he explained the land patent process, presented his own in depth research on the property in question, and denied Mr. Marquardt's application for a patent. As was reported by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, "Commissioner Edward C. Papenfuse, has rendered an opinion that is absolutely clear in its findings and conclusively determines that appellants' claim to title is completely spurious (http://law.justia.com/cases/maryland/court-of-special-appeals/1992/1468-september-term-1991-0.html Marquardt v. Papenfuse]) He also addressed the intriguing question of whether a man-made island in the Chesapeake could be considered 'vacant' and subject to private ownership through acquiring a land grant (patent) (see:69_opinion.pdf and 71_opinion.pdf). His work as the administrative judge responsible for land patents led to his involvement in the research related to Maryland's defense of its rights and title to the Potomac River, an argument he lost for the sake of a map he later found. See: Who 'owns' the waters of the Potomac River?


He is currently developing a research and writing web site, http://virtualarchive.us, as a repository for sources and reflections on the history of Maryland and Baltimore derived from his collection of notes and work on the lost neighborhoods and neglected residents of Baltimore. For an example of his work on the lost neighborhoods of Baltimore, see: Recreating Lost Neighborhoods: The House on Ann Street, Fells Point, Baltimore City, Maryland, and for biography see his study of the Baltimore sojourn of Eliza and Maximilian Godefroy The Mystery of the Mahogany Box.

Wikipedia projects

His editorial interest with regard to Wikipedia centers on biography, Baltimore, George Washington's bow to civil authority in 1783[4], Maryland place names (such as Maryland), Maryland related themes such as the articles on the Civil War era including Cipriano Ferrandini, and major national law cases that had their origins in Maryland such as Barron v. Baltimore.


  • In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975).
  • Maryland: A New Guide to the Old Line State. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976). With Gregory A. Stiverson, Susan A. Collins, Lois Green Carr.
  • Law, Society & Politics. The Proceedings of the First Conference on Maryland History. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977). With Aubrey C. Land and Lois Green Carr.
  • An Inventory of Maryland State Papers, Part I, The Revolutionary War Era, 1775-1789. (Annapolis: Maryland Hall of Records, 1977). With Gregory A. Stiverson and Mary D. Donaldson.
  • A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979, 1985). With David Jordan, Alan Day, Gregory A. Stiverson.
  • A Guide to the Maryland Hall of Records: Local, Judicial, and Administrative Records on Microform. (Annapolis: Maryland Hall of Records, 1978). With Susan A. Collins and Christopher Allan.
  • The Maryland State Archives Atlas of Historical Maps of Maryland. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003). With Joseph M. Coale III.
  • Magna Charta For America. (Philadelphia; The American Philosophical Society, 1986). With Jack P. Greene and Charles F. Mullett.
  • Outline, Notes and Documents Concerning Barron v Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243, Maryland State Archives, 2006, and revised, 2016, http://virtualarchive.us/barron/index.html.
  • Doing good to posterity : the move of the capital of Maryland from St. Mary's City to Ann Arundell Towne, now called Annapolis.Maryland State Archives, 1995.
  • Lincoln in Annapolis, February 1865 by Toews, Rockford E. (Introduction and sidebar biographies by Edward C. Papenfuse), [Annapolis] Maryland State Archives 2009


  • Elected fellow of the Society of American Archivists, 1978
  • Marylander of the Year award of the Maryland Colonial Society, 1985
  • Distinguished Service to State Government Award, The National Governor's Association, 1985
  • Elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society in 1987
  • Awarded the Calvert Prize of the Maryland Historical Trust, 1988
  • FGS Directors Award for distinguished public service in support of Genealogy, 1989
  • Speakers Medallion awarded by the Maryland House of Delegates, 2014



2)http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-ar-archives-20120102,0,6687009.story?page=1 Retrieved 2012/01/06




External links