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Famous Marylanders
Maryland has many people who played
a role in the history of the state.
  • William Paca (1740-99) of Annapolis – Signer of the Declaration of Independence

  • Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) of Annapolis - Signer of the Declaration of Independence

  • Samuel Chase (1743-1811) of Annapolis - Signer of the Declaration of Independence

  • Thomas Stone (1743-87) of Port Tobacco- Signer of the Declaration of Independence

  • Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) of Ellicott City was a surveyor, astronomer, watch repairer, and almanac printer. In 1791 he and Major Andrew Ellicott were appointed by President George Washington to survey the District of Columbia, which became the capital of the United States.

  • Tench Tilghman (1744-86), born near Easton, was aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The sword that he wore at the battles of Valley Forge and Yorktown, and when delivering news of the War’s end, is on display at the State House in Annapolis.

  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) founded the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg. She was the first native-born North American to be canonized by the Catholic Church.

  • Thomas Kennedy (1776-1832) served as a member of the House of Delegates representing Hagerstown. He believed in religious freedom for all people.

  • Lt. Colonel George Armistead (1780-1818) defended Fort McHenry during the battle in 1814 when the “Star-Spangled Banner” was written. He is buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Baltimore.

  • Francis Scott Key (1780-1843), born in Frederick, wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner”, our National Anthem, during the bombardment of Baltimore in 1814. He also penned the phrase “In God We Trust” which is used on the United States currency.

  • Johns Hopkins (1795-1873) born in Anne Arundel County was a philanthropist and financier. Before his death he bequeathed $7 million to found a free hospital, now Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins University, both located in Baltimore.

  • George Peabody (1795-1869) was a financier and philanthropist. He established the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. He also lived in London and was only one of two Americans to have been honored with the “Freedom of the City of London” medal.

  • Enoch Pratt (1808-96) founded and was president of the Maryland School for the Deaf and Dumb in Frederick. He later established a free circulating library, the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, in 1886.

  • Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), a famous abolitionist (against slavery) and author, was born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. At age eight he was sent to Baltimore where he learned to read and write. He spoke out against slavery in the United States and Europe. After the Civil War he fought for the rights of African-Americans and women.

  • Harriet Tubman (1819?-1913) was born into slavery in Dorchester County. When she was thirty she escaped to freedom to Philadelphia where she learned about the Underground Railroad. After receiving her freedom she helped over 300 slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War she worked as a spy, soldier and nurse. In 1995 the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in her honor.

  • John Wilkes Booth (1838-65) was born near Bel Air. He began his acting career in Baltimore. Mr. Booth assassinated President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington in 1865.

  • Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), born in Baltimore, became the first African-American Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed him United States Solicitor General. Two years later he was appointed to the Supreme Court. The Baltimore Washington International; Airport was renamed “Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington International Airport” by Governor Robert Ehrlich in 2005.

  • Spiro Agnew (1918-96), the 39th Vice-President of the United States and fifth Republican governor of Maryland, was born in Towson. He was the first person of Greek descent to serve as Vice President and Governor of a state.

  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) lived in Baltimore. He was a well-known author of poems and short fiction. Among his notable works are The Raven and The Fall of the House of Usher.

  • H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) of Baltimore was a newspaper writer, political commentator, and author of A New Dictionary of Quotations.

  • Eubie Blake (1883-1983), born in Baltimore, was a ragtime composer and performer.

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was a well-known author who lived in Baltimore while his wife was a patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He wrote The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and several other popular novels.

  • Billie Holiday (1915-59) born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and spent her early years in Baltimore made her name as a jazz singer in New York City. Her statue is located at the corner of Lafayette and Pennsylvania Avenues.

  • Jim Henson (1936-1990) grew up outside Washington and attended the University of Maryland. He is best known for the children’s show “Sesame Street.” In 2003 the University of Maryland unveiled a statue of Kermit the Frog and Mr. Henson on a marble bench.

  • Charles Joseph Bonaparte, (June 9, 1851 – June 28, 1921) former Attorney General of the United States, founder of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, grand nephew of French emperor Napoleon I.

  • John Hanson (April 14, 1721 – November 15, 1783) was a merchant and public official from Maryland during the era of the American Revolution. After serving in a variety of roles for the Patriot cause in Maryland, in 1779 Hanson was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He signed the Articles of Confederation in 1781 after Maryland finally joined the other states in ratifying them.

  • Roger Brooke Taney (March 17, 1777 – October 12, 1864) Chief Justice of the United States