In 1840, a 27-year-old Baltimore lawyer named George William Brown took it upon himself to organize a legal library open to the city’s attorneys. The Library Company of the Baltimore Bar, better known as the Bar Library, was born the same year as Mr. Brown and 43 other Baltimore attorneys opened the library in a room at the old courthouse at Calvert and Lexington Streets. (Mr. Brown, it seems, came from a line of innovators: one grandfather was Rev. Patrick Allison, founder of the First and Franklin Church, and another grandfather was Dr. George Brown, a founding member of the first medical society of Baltimore. Both grandfathers were among the men who founded Baltimore’s first circulating library, the Library Company of Baltimore.)
The Bar Library is one of the oldest dues-supported libraries in the country and contains cases, treatises and other legal material dating back hundreds of years. It also is occupies a fantastic historic space inside the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. The Main Reading Room is 35 feet by 125 feet and is crowned with a soaring barrel vault ceiling. Rich oak wainscot rises fifteen feet around the room, complemented by carved English oak shelves and wall paneling. Please join us in this wonderful historic space starting at 5:30pm for wine and cheese and a tour with Joe Bennett, Director of the Baltimore Bar Library, will begin at 6:00pm.