Meet the Historians

A group of noted, local historians first met in September 2006 to begin what would be a one and one-half year of historical and technical work to identify and collect the images to be portrayed on all the tapestry panels. Their work included several sessions to vet the final designs and drawings for historical accuracy.

While we did document their work, we did not tabulate the hours they dedicated to this process.  Their contributions are the foundation of the entire Tapestry Project.  They continue to be a part of, and guide, this project as we work to produce the remaining 19th and 20th century tapestry panels.  Historian Work Group members also participate in our special events.

I am pleased to share with you a bit about the background of each of these knowledgeable historians (shown in random order):



Fred Hecklinger

Fred Hecklinger’s adult life has been directly and consistently involved with the building, maintenance and operation of a great variety of sailing vessels. Fred’s significant knowledge of the sailing rigs of traditional sailing vessels has been instrumental with construction and operation of several several well known recreations of historical vessels such as Pride of Baltimore, Lady Maryland, Lynx, Californian and Federalist.




Jean Russo

With a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University specializing in American Colonial History, Jean Russo is Associate General Editor of the Archives of Maryland Online, a publication of the Maryland State Archives, and Historian for Historic Annapolis Foundation.   Her published work includes Free Workers in a Plantation Economy, a study of artisans in colonial Talbot County, and co-editorship of Colonial Chesapeake Society, a collection of essays.




Matt Grubbs

Former Board member of Historic London Town & Gardens, Matt Grubbs currently serves as Vice Chair of the Four Rivers Heritage Area.  He is the recipient of the Four Rivers Heritage Area’s  “Heritage Professional Award” in 2008 “for outstanding contributions and extraordinary dedication to heritage tourism and the Four Rivers Heritage Area”.  He is the founder and owner of Discover Annapolis Tours, a drive-by city tour conducted on small red trolleys.




Jane McWilliams

Former member of the Maryland State Archives research staff for 17 years, Jane McWilliams left in 1990 to concentrate on free-lance editorial and research projects. She is author of several works on Annapolis history, including The First Ninety Years, a History of Anne Arundel Medical Center (1992), and co-author of Bay Ridge on the Chesapeake.  Her most recent book, Annapolis, City on the Severn: A History, was published in 2011.




Janice Hayes-Williams

Janice Hayes-Williams is an Annapolis native and descendent of slaves and free blacks in the region prior to the American Revolution.  She has contributed to numerous publications as well as local interpretive history performances and an African American walking tour.  She is the first columnist to the Capital newspaper to write about the African American experience in Annapolis on a regular basis.






Greg Stiverson

Gregg Stiverson is an historian specializing in Maryland during the colonial and early national periods. Now retired, he formerly was the Assistant State Archivist at the Maryland Hall of Records; Executive Director of Historic Londontown and Gardens; and President and CEO of Historic Annapolis Foundation.




John Wing

John Wing is a naval architect and maritime historian whose research and publications focus on colonial Maryland’s ships and trade.  His publication “Bound by God for Merryland” recounted the voyage of the tobacco ship Constant Friendship on her voyage in 1671-1672 from England to the Severn River and return based on the rediscovered ship’s log.




Vince Leggett

Vince Leggett founded the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation dedicated to preserving the history of African American watermen on the bay. He has been featured in a number of documentaries emphasizing how the Chesapeake Bay was utilized as a part of the Underground Railroad, the secretive network. He has authored two books, Blacks of the Chesapeake:  An Integral Part of Maritime History (1997)  and The Chesapeake Bay Through Ebony Eyes(1998).



Jim Cheevers

James Cheevers is Associate Director and Senior Curator at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. He helps manage an extensive collection of art and artifacts related to the history of both the U.S. Navy and the Naval Academy.  He has added thousands of items to the collection and developed numerous exhibitions over the past 43 years. Board memberships include Historic Annapolis, Maryland Commission on Afro-American History and Culture, and Anne Arundel Trust for Historic Preservation.




Orlando Ridout V (no photo)

Orlando is on the staff of Maryland Historical Trust. He also is the author of works on Chesapeake region architecture and landscape. He has participated in historic structure investigations, restorations and reconstructions at historic sites in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.

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