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This profile was last updated on 12/14/11  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.
Email: e***@***.us

Employment History

  • Director, Cultural Conservation Program
    Maryland Historical Trust
  • Staff Member
    Maryland Historical Trust
  • President
    Painted Screen Society of Baltimore
  • President
    Painted Screen Society
  • Traditions Co-Director
    Maryland State Arts Council
  • Maryland Traditions Partner
    Maryland State Arts Council

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Maryland Historical Trust
  • Board Member
    Maryland Traditions
  • Co-Founder
    Painted Screen Society of Baltimore
  • Founder
    Painted Screen Society


  • doctorate , Folklore and Folklife
    University of Pennsylvania
90 Total References
Web References
Museum: Crisfield & Smith Island Cultural Alliance, Inc. Page, 14 Dec 2011 [cached]
Directed by Dr. Elaine Eff, Maryland Historical Trust.
Baltimore City Paper: Kitsch and Tell (April 15 - April 21, 1998) [cached]
Elaine Eff, director of the Cultural Conservation Program for the Maryland Historical Trust, explains: "Folk art was originally a functional commodity, art made within a community for use in the community.Certainly painted screens are that."Eff characterizes Baltimoreans as practical people with a penchant for personalizing fads.Case in point: "Window decorations.People who live in rowhouses live in a finite space, yet they have this staging area.The statements are never boring, and highly personal."
But Eff and other Baltimore-philes are starting to get nervous about the creeping edge of modernization, especially in old but increasingly upscale neighborhoods such as Canton, South Baltimore, Fells Point, and Hampden.The Wal-Marting of America could hit even a city as slow-changing as this one.
"The John Waters quirkiness that made things so special is being bought out or appropriated as people die or get out of town," Eff, formerly the city's official folklorist, says.
Maryland Historical Trust, 31 Oct 2007 [cached]
In 1993, MHT staff member Dr. Elaine Eff completed an oral history project in which family members of former lighthouse keepers recorded their memories of life on the lights.
Preservation Maryland - What's New, 16 Jan 2007 [cached]
Elaine Eff to Receive 2007 Pogue Award for Lifetime Achievement in Oral History
The 2007 Forrest C. Pogue award for outstanding and continuing contributions to oral history will be presented to Dr. Elaine Eff of the Maryland Historical Trust at the OHMAR (Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region) spring conference, Saturday, March 3, 2007 at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.The award committee composed of OHMAR past-presidents recognized Eff for her substantial contributions as a folklorist and oral historian, her service as a board member and former president, and her mentoring of many substantial oral history projects through her position at the Trust.
Elaine Eff received a doctorate in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984, after completing graduate work in museum studies at Cooperstown and coordinating exhibitions at the Winterthur Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.Her graduate work focused on the painted screens of Baltimore and resulted in a documentary film that she produced and directed, numerous exhibitions, and the creation of an organization devoted to preservation of this unique urban folk art.At the Maryland Historical Trust, Eff authored a book, You Should Have Been Here Yesterday: A Guide to Cultural Documentation in Maryland, that has served as a handbook for those who want to learn how to use oral history and other methods to record the history of their communities.She contributed oral histories of a now-vanished generation of lighthouse keepers to Ross Holland's Maryland Lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay.As the contact person for Marylanders seeking grants to support oral history and community history, Eff has guided dozens of projects.She also serves as co-Director of Maryland Traditions, a partnership of the Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland State Arts Council that discovers and sustains traditional arts and culture.
Eff's selection fits especially well with the theme of OHMAR's spring conference, "Voices of the Chesapeake."She has advised, funded, or directed many projects documenting the living culture and history of that region.Among her contributions was developing the Delmarva Folklife Project, a multi-year initiative to preserve the history and folkways of this region.When it came time to create a public product that could incorporate the project's results, a steering committee on which Eff served crafted the innovative publication, "From Bridge to Boardwalk: An Audio Journey Along Maryland's Eastern Shore."The packet includes CDs with interviews, historical recordings and music, along with a 76-page book containing a pull-out map, essays, photographs, and tips to finding local arts and cultural treasures.The recordings allow travelers interested in hearing the authentic voices of the region to listen and learn as they drive the shore's byways.
Eff will reflect on her work in a speech at noon on March 3 during OHMAR's spring conference.An interview with her will appear in the OHMAR summer newsletter.
Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists - Anthropology News, 1 Dec 2010 [cached]
Presented by Elaine Eff, University of Maryland
Eff is co-Director of Maryland Traditions, the statewide folklife program based at the Maryland State Arts Council and Folklorist-in-Residence in the American Studies Department at University of Maryland Baltimore County. She can be reached at
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