The Mystery of the Missing Frat House: Research Questions at UMD Archives

The University Archives at Hornbake Library is home to a wealth of information about the history of our school, campus, and the College Park area. One of the frequent tasks that we perform is researching questions that people have about the university. Some of the most commonly requested information has been gathered together on the University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium website, but there are also questions that aren’t so easily answered and require a bit of detective work on our part.


One such question arrived in our inbox recently from an alumnus who wanted to know if we had any photos of his old frat house. He said he had graduated in 1955, and during his junior and senior years, he lived in the Alpha Chi Sigma house on campus, which he remembered as being an old farm house with a metal roof and a water pump on the front lawn. According to the gentleman, the house was demolished during the construction of Cole Field House. With this information in hand, I began my investigation to uncover what I could find about the AXE fraternity house.

Continue reading “The Mystery of the Missing Frat House: Research Questions at UMD Archives”


UMD123: 24

Twenty-four represents the number of years Millard Tydings served in the United States Senate

Mechanical engineering students at Maryland Agricultural College pose with hammers, circa 1910. Millard Tydings is at right. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/8458

Millard Tydings (1890-1961) was a native of Havre de Grace, Maryland, a 1910 alumnus of the Maryland Agricultural College, and one of just two Terps to serve in the upper house of the federal legislature, a surprisingly low total given all of the Maryland grads that have graced the House of Representatives.

Tydings began his public service shortly after leaving school; he was elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 1916 and became speaker of the House of Delegates in 1920. By 1922, he had moved up to the state senate, but that same year, he was elected to Congress as the Representative of Maryland’s 2nd District. He remained in the House of Representatives until 1927, when he became one of Maryland’s senators, a job he would hold for the next quarter century. Continue reading “UMD123: 24”

The Diamondback’s First Sports Section

In honor of this month’s Summer Olympiad in Rio, we  are excited to feature the first Diamondback Sports section! While The Diamondback and its predecessors discussed our student athletes’ prowess from the inception of the student newspaper in 1910, the first section specifically marked Sports did not appear until February 10, 1936.

Did you know UMD once had a boxing team (now it’s a club sport)? The first sports section mentioned relay, tumbling acrobatics, basketball, boxing, volleyball, and other intramural activities. We hope you enjoy the words “cageman,” “ringster” (both meaning boxer), “hardwooder” and “basketer” (both meaning basketball player).

Now, back to the Olympics!

team usa celebrate
Our level of excitement for Team USA!  [Pictured:Team USA after the 2008 Beijing Gold Medal soccer match vs. Brazil (Source)]
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of athletics provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the twelfth in a series by graduate student assistant Jen Wachtel, who is collecting data for the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look for regular posts again in the fall!

UMD123: 5

Thousands of athletes have graced this campus and led UMD athletics to new heights throughout the years. Among these thousands, 46 individuals proudly represented not only the University of Maryland, but their home countries in the Olympic Games. Out of those 46, FIVE athletes achieved the prized gold medal!

Arthur Cook

In 1948, the kingpin rifle shooter of the world was none other than Arthur E. Cook, Class of 1950, better known as “Cookie.” As the “baby” of the shooting team representing the U.S. at the Olympics in London, Cookie was found astonishing for his age and his performance was a great upset to the competition. He won the 50-meter competition with an unbelievable score of 599 out of a possible 600, earning him the gold medal!  He was the rifle team captain while attending the University of Maryland’s College of Engineering.

Steve Sheppard with medal 2

A dominate force on the basketball court, Steve “Bear” Sheppard jumped at the opportunity to play with the USA men’s basketball team in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Sheppard would help Team USA go undefeated through the tournament and crush Yugoslavia, 95-74, for the gold medal! Returning to UMD, Sheppard finished out his collegiate career with many highlights before becoming the second round pick for the Chicago Bulls in 1977-78.

universityofmar1988univ_0_001As a tremendous, aggressive defensive star, Victoria “Vicky” Bullett was the youngest member (age 20) of the U.S women’s basketball team at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.  Vicky scored four points to help Team USA defeat Yugoslavia (77-70) for the gold medal! On her return from South Korea, Vicky stated that, “I’m in a daze, it still hasn’t really hit me yet. It was a great experience, very exciting.”¹ Vicky Bullett graduated from Maryland in 1989 with a degree in General Studies.

Andrew Valmon

The current head coach of Maryland Track and Field, Andrew Valmon, is no stranger to the Olympics. As a young runner, Andrew attended the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In his first appearance at the Olympics, he assisted in winning the gold medal for the Men’s 4 x 400 meter relay with a final time of 2:56.17 just missing the 1968 Olympic and World Record.  At the next Summer Games (1992), Andrew once again assisted the Men’s 4 x 400 meter relay in capturing the gold and setting a new world record of 22:55.74.  In 2003, Andrew was named head coach of Maryland’s Track and Field team. He reached the highest level of his coaching career when he was named the head coach of the U.S Track & Field Team for the 2012 London Olympics.

fpo-dominique-dawesAt the young age of six, Dominique Dawes began a long and successful career as a gymnast.  Twelve years later after numerous competitions and already an Olympic veteran (competing in the 1992 Olympics), she once again proved her ability by gaining a position on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for the 1996  Summer Olympics in Atlanta. By the end of the games, the team earned the nickname “Magnificent Seven” and became the first U.S. women’s gymnastics team in Olympic history to win a gold medal. Dawes would later graduate from University of Maryland (though never a member of UMD Gymnastics) in 2002 and is currently a co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition while working for Yahoo Weekend News.²

This is a post in our on-going series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in the fall 2015 semester, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month; on the Terrapin Tales blog search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter #UMD123. If you want to learn more about campus history, you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

¹ Quote taken from UMD Diamondback article in September 1988 issue.

² Information sourced from Dominique Dawes Wikipedia page. Photo used from Bio section on President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition website.


Army ROTC at UMD: 100 Years of Leadership — Special Collections and University Archives at UMD

Check out the exhibit we did in collaboration with Special Collections about the history of Army ROTC at the University of Maryland! The exhibit is on display in the Maryland Room until the end of August.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Army ROTC, the University Archives, in collaboration with the Terrapin Battalion, present an exhibit tracing the history of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) on campus. On June 3, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense Act, creating the Army ROTC. Instruction in Military Science at […]

via Army ROTC at UMD: 100 Years of Leadership — Special Collections and University Archives at UMD

Mystery of the Stolen Silver

Memorial Chapel

Between the evening of June 19 and the morning of June 20, 1969, thieves stole into the Memorial Chapel on the University of Maryland campus. They made it past the new lock system and found their way into Room 13. Why this particular spot? Room 13 happened to be where the Chapel’s silver was housed, including the communion set donated to the Chapel by its architect, Henry Powell Hopkins.

The thieves got quite a haul from their break-in. They stole the Episcopal Foundation’s complete communion silver service. The thieves also grabbed a silver flagon that was part of the Hopkins set. Once they had taken what they wanted, the thieves disappeared into the night. No one was ever arrested for the robbery, and the silver was never recovered.

Unfortunately, this theft was not the first crime committed at the Memorial Chapel. Earlier that spring, in fact, the same piece from the Hopkins set had been taken. The flagon was stolen before classes let out in May, but was found in the grass on campus. The piece was then turned in to theDiamondback, and the newspaper staff returned it to the Chapel. Again, no one was ever charged with the theft.

Family members of Chapel architect Henry Powell Hopkins created two flagons as part of a silver communion set presented to the University of Maryland at the building’s dedication. The Hopkinses are well-known Baltimore silvermiths and still have a family business in the city today. The inscription on the remaining flagon reads, “Presented To The University of Maryland By Henry Powell Hopkins, Architect for This Chapel, October 5, 1952.” The flagons were estimated to be worth $548 each when they were given to the Memorial Chapel.

Although the silver from the June 1969 robbery was never recovered, the remaining communion service pieces are now housed in Hornbake Library as part of the University Archives’ holdings. These pieces are still used by the Chapel on special occasions. Below is the companion piece to the silver flagon stolen in the June 1969 robbery.

Chapel silver flagon


Prodigies at UMD

Were you ready for college at age 14? Age 16?

One of the university’s youngest graduates, William Bridges Smith, enrolled at the University of Maryland in 1958 at age 14. He graduated in 1962 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering at age 18– the age when many students start college! His photograph in  Biographical Photographs – Print File Collection is nearly identical to his yearbook portrait, enabling us to identify him.

William Bridges Smith_Bio Print File
William Bridges Smith in the University Archives Biographical Print File Collection

William enrolled alongside his 16-year-old brother, Harry Leroy Smith, Jr., who graduated in 3.5 semesters at age 20. Both William and Harry made their marks on the university in spite of concerns over their relative youth. The 1962 Terrapin Yearbook lists William under Who’s Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities in the United States. He is pictured next to Harry under the Omicron Delta Kappa national men’s honor society and among the members of Aiee-Ire (Joint Student Branch of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and Institute of Radio Engineers). The Terrapin also records the two young students’ membership in Phi Kappa Phi, an honor society for the upper ten percent of the graduating class and from all schools at the university.

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The Baltimore Sun, interested in the story of one of Maryland’s youngest graduates, printed a brief biography of William “Bill” Smith on June 10, 1962. William, who graduated with a 3.02 GPA, was advised by elders (other than his parents) not to start college too early. He commented on their advice, “You’re supposed to get socially maladjusted or something.” Clearly, he did not take their recommendations to heart, as he became involved in Aiee-Ire, AFROTC, the chess team, and the chess club, dated college freshmen, and took 20-23 credits per semester. In his second semester, he dropped out of a social fraternity because he earned B’s instead of A’s. Answering questions about his extensive extracurricular involvements and high academic achievements, he responded, “Some kids will sharpen pencils or play the radio, and wonder at the end of an hour why they haven’t accomplished anything.” Upon graduation, William planned to work at the Bell Labs location in Holmdel, NJ, to pursue his master’s and Ph.D. research.  [1]

Continue reading “Prodigies at UMD”


UMD123: 7

Seven represents the number of consecutive national championships won by the Women’s Lacrosse team between 1995-2001

The inaugural 1974 Women’s Lacrosse team, from the Terrapin yearbook

Varsity Women’s Lacrosse at Maryland debuted in the fall of 1974 as a member of the now-defunct Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Led by Coach Sue Tyler, the program quickly rose to spectacular levels; of the five AIAW Division I championship games held between 1977-1982, Maryland appeared in four, and won its first title in 1981.

After 1982, women’s sports were integrated into the NCAA, and the Lady Terps continued their dominant level of play. The team competed in three straight national championships starting in 1984 and won their second title on home turf, defeating Penn State at Byrd Stadium in 1986.

Terrapin #39 in action against Harvard during 1986, from the 1987 Terrapin yearbook

Cindy Timchal took over the coaching duties from Sue Tyler in 1991, and during this period, Maryland would evolve from one of the better teams in the country into the best women’s lacrosse program in NCAA history. Starting in 1990, the Lady Terps would be involved in all but one national championship game until 2001, missing out only in 1993. The team won its third national title in 1992, but the march to truly astronomical levels of success commenced three years later. Beginning in 1995, Maryland would win every single national championship in women’s lacrosse until 2001, seven in all, making them back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back champions. During that monster run, the teams lost a total of only five games, compiling an overall record of 140-5 over seven seasons. The Lady Terps took home 6 ACC titles during that span and recorded four perfect seasons.

Current head coach Cathy Reese took over the women’s program in 2007 and helped perpetuate its storied tradition. In 2010, Maryland prevented Northwestern from assembling its own unbroken string of national championships by defeating the Wildcats at nearby Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson. Even more recently, the Lady Terps won back-to-back national titles in 2014 and 2015. Now the dominant power in the Big 10 Conference, Maryland has won the conference title every year since leaving the ACC and should continue its dominance this spring. You can catch the action yourself at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex located at the northeastern end of campus, near the Xfinity Center!

Terrapin midfielder Taylor Cummings (21), cradles the ball as midfielder Erin Collins (12) and defender Casey Pepperman (13) look on during the national championship game at St. Joseph’s against North Carolina, May 24, 2015; Greg Fiume and TJ Root for Maryland Athletics

This is a post in our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in fall 2015, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month throughout the summer; on the Terrapin Tales blog, search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter#UMD123. If you want to learn more about campus history, you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

(The featured image in this post is from the cover of the 2002 Women’s Lacrosse Media Guide.)

What in the heck is a minikin?

There’s a fascinating new post on the Hornbake Special Collections blog today about minikins and their connection to the University of Maryland College of Home Economics? Find out what in the heck a minikin is and the full story at https://hornbakelibrary.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/minikins-miss-dot-sr-and-miss-dot-jr-return-to-campus-after-a-half-century/


LGBTQ+ Activism in The Diamondback

In conjunction with the ongoing University Archives exhibit of pivotal moments in the history of LGBTQ+ activism at the University of Maryland, this installment in our #digiDBK series features Diamondback coverage of LGBTQ+ issues and achievements. Campus activism for LBGTQ+ rights began with the Student Homophile Association’s fight for funding and recognition in the 1960s and 1970s. Students fought to add sexual orientation to the university’s 1976 Human Relations Code, which was modified in 1998. Due to the tireless work of community advocates, the University of Maryland is now considered one of the most welcoming campuses in the United States.[1]

2.17.92 Queer Nation Kiss-InDiamondback coverage of LGBTQ+ issues includes reporting on student activism such as the Queer Nation Kiss-In in 1992. On Valentine’s Day, one week after the Human Relations Committee of the University Senate unanimously voted to amend the Human Relations Code to include the term “sexual orientation,” Queer Nation staged a “kiss-in.” [2] Ten couples from the activist group announced the formation of their organization by kissing in front of the Student Union and Hardee’s. Twenty other LGBTQ+ couples supported them by blowing whistles and cheering.  Although the University Senate committee had already unanimously adopted the inclusive amendment, The Diamondback’s documentation of the variety of student reactions to the demonstration the following Monday demonstrated the campus climate at the time.  Some students described the kiss-in as a slap in the face and “totally gross and distasteful,” while others claimed that “[Non-heterosexual people] have just as much right to love as anyone else does.” Members of Queer Nation such as Meaghan O’Keefe responded in The Diamondback that now was the time for activism because they had been “apologetic far too long.”

“We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it!” – Queer Nation motto, chanted by student members at the Valentine’s Day Kiss-In

Continue reading “LGBTQ+ Activism in The Diamondback”