BALTIMORE CITY ARCHIVES
(The Baltimore Monumental Subscription Book)
This is the record of the subscribers for the construction fund of the Battle Monument. The volume was originally located in the library of the Baltimore City Department of Legislative Reference and was transferred to the Baltimore City Archives in 1978 (Note: In 1912, it was "discovered" in the attic of City Hall by Wilbur F. Coyle, the City Librarian.)
The Battle Monument (or Baltimore Monument) was constructed in 1815-1816 as a memorial to the thirty-nine Baltimoreans who died in September 1814 defending the city against British attack. The fund for the monument was collected by the Committee of Vigilance and Safety, a citizen's group that had mobilized the city for defense. The municipal government completed the monument when the private subscriptions were completely exhausted. The monument was the first American-made war memorial and was designed by the French architect Maximilian Godefroy. The monument also was selected for use in the municipal government's official seal in 1827 and official flag in 1915.
For further information refer to Proceedings Relative to the Erection of a Monument to the Memory of Those Who Fell at the Battle of North Point: Including the Prayer of Bishop Kemp, and the Address of the Rev. Doctor Inglis (Baltimore: Neal, Wills, and Cole, 1815); Robert L. Alexander, "The Public Memorial and Godefroys's Battle Monument" Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 17 (March 1958): 19-24; Robert L. Alexander, The Architecture of Maximilian Godefroy, Johns Hopkins Studies in Nineteenth-Century Architecture, ed. Phoebe B. Stanton (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974); "A Treasure Hidden Under the Battle Monument" Baltimore Municipal Journal 10 (August 11, 1922): 1-2; and the Battle Monument Papers, MS 1198, Maryland Historical Society.
The subscription book contains the signatures of approximately fifteen hundred Baltimoreans who subscribed to the monument's construction fund and the proceedings of the Committee of Vigilance and Safety relative to this. The volume is a copy of the original subscription paper deposited in the corner stone on September 12, 1815 filed with the City Register. The volume is 9 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches, was originally bound by Neal, Wills, and Cole of Baltimore, and has been partially rebound in the twentieth century.