The Woman’s Industrial Exchange in Baltimore City began shortly after the Civil War in the home of Mrs. G. Harmon Brown, where women brought their handwork to be sold to local citizens and visitors. The Maryland State Legislator incorporated the organization in 1882 “For the purpose of endeavoring by sympathy and practical aid to encourage and help needy women to help themselves by procuring for them and establishing a sales room for the sale of Women’s Work.”

In 1887, The Exchange moved to its current location at 333 N. Charles Street. The Exchange sold Women’s handwork, operated a Tea Room which provided afternoon teas and suppers and gave instructions in needlework and cooking. Consignors sent goods from all over the country to be sold in the shop, a practice still carried on today.