In October 2016, the University Archives acquired nearly 750 photographs from university alumnus Dick Byer, Class of 1967. Mr. Byer spent much of his time on campus working for various student publications like the Diamondback and the Terrapin yearbook. He took photos all around campus of various scenes of student life, and he was usually in prime locations to take photographs at sporting events, including football, basketball, and lacrosse games from the 1964, 1965, and 1966 seasons. Photographs of theater productions and Greek life events are also featured in his collection.
The 1960s were a time of rapid change on university campuses across the country, and campus life at Maryland changed dramatically late in the decade, as Mr. Byer’s photographs document. His collection features photographs of Billy Jones, a Maryland Terrapin noted for being the first African American men’s basketball player in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), as well as a handful of pictures from inside Town Hall, a College Park landmark that just recently underwent renovations. The Dairy is also featured in its former home, Turner Hall. In addition, Mr. Byer documented George Wallace’s visit to Cole Field House in May 1964.
George Wallace in Cole
Eating ice cream at the Dairy
Billy Jones at practice
Mr. Byer’s images also record how the campus has physically changed over the years. Some photos feature simple changes, like shrubbery in front of McKeldin Library, while others exhibit how dramatically the landscape around Maryland Stadium and North Campus has been transformed. One photo even shows some of the campus sheep grazing on the land where the Xfinity Center now stands!
The University of Maryland Archives is delighted to have this extensive collection of images from the 1960s to add to its holdings and looks forward to sharing Mr. Byer’s photographs with researchers interested in what life was like at UMD over 50 years ago. Please stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to take a trip down memory lane!
The University of Maryland Archives is pleased to announce the availability of 197 digitized recordings from the university’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble via the UMD Libraries’ Digital Collections, http://digital.lib.umd.edu/. These pieces represent the contents of 15 CD’s assembled by John Wakefield, UMD’s Assistant and Associate Director of Bands, 1965-1968, and Director of Bands, 1968-2005, consisting of the ensemble’s best performances under Wakefield’s baton. The selections have been divided into six groupings: Chamber Winds, Wind Band, Transcriptions, Best of “Pops,” Solo (Solo/Group) with Band, and Fanfares/Marches/Encores. To accompany the CD’s, Mr. Wakefield provided brief program notes, which are available in the Archives, in addition to the metadata that accompanies the tracks on the Digital Collections site.
To access this collection and enjoy hours of listening to outstanding performances, enter the search term “Wakefield” on the Advanced Search page in the Digital Collections: http://digital.lib.umd.edu/search, then check off “Digital Collections” under “Limit Search By Collection,” and click on “Search.” You should come up with 197 hits. Once you choose an individual piece, click on the arrow on the black screen to begin to play the recording.
The University Archives is honored to have collaborated with Director of Bands Emeritus John Wakefield on this very special project, and we hope you will enjoy these wonderful recordings!
Students now enjoy the privilege of instant calculations on their phone or handheld calculator, but when the university was still growing in the 1890s, things weren’t so easy.
Our new acquisition, this “Millionaire Calculator” from the late 19th century, was donated to the Archives from UMD’s Institute of Physical Science and Technology (IPST).
It was discovered in the Institute of Physical Science and Technology building during renovations a couple years ago and was transferred by Dr. Larry Lauer, Director of Administration, on April 17.
While the aforementioned calculators fit in our pockets, this one is much larger. The calculator is made of solid metal and is the size of a piece of luggage, weighing around 50 pounds. According to Wikipedia, only 4,655 Millionaire Calculators were manufactured, and ours is no. 1320!
This contraption was the first calculator able to compute multiplication, a huge leap of technological innovation in the field. It could process 8-digit numbers, far more than previous versions.
The Millionaire works by selecting a number 0-9 from the the crank on the left. You then put in your 8-digit number using the slides seen in the middle of the board. Finally, you crank the handle on the far right, and your calculation is complete. Voilá!
This piece of memorabilia has a tag on it indicating that it is possible that it was used by the US Oceanographic Office, the predecessor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Unfortunately, there’s no other clue to why The Millionaire ended up at UMD, so the reason it ended up in the IPST building will probably remain a mystery!
If you’re interested in learning more, here is a short video of how the calculator functions:
The University of Maryland Archives is excited to add this amazing object to its memorabilia collection, and we look forward to sharing this unusual piece with visitors. Stop by the Archives in Hornbake Library soon to take a peek!
At the end of March, 20th Century Fox released a trailer for a movie that’s a new take on an old favorite: “The Story of Ferdinand.” The popular children’s book was originally published in 1936, and Disney released a short film about the timid bull in 1938, which won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) that year.
But what does this have to do with UMD history?
Well, the author of the original children’s book, “The Story of Ferdinand,” is an alumnus
of UMD! Munro Leaf graduated with a B.A. in 1927. Upon its release, his short story was considered
anti-war propaganda and was banned in many countries. Leaf defended his work, saying that the story of Ferdinand was simply “a happy ending story about being yourself.” You can read more about Leaf and his infamous book here.
Be on the lookout for the new version of this charming story about the bull who loved to smell the flowers, coming to a theater near you in December 2017!
Only six months before he would become President in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was in Cole Field House delivering a commencement address to the 1963 graduating class.
More than 12,500 people were expected to attend the ceremony on the morning of June 8. While the paper wasn’t running when he gave his speech due to summer break, the May 21, 1963, Diamondback carried the announcement of Johnson’s upcoming visit and explained the circumstances surrounding the appearance by the vice president. One factor noted in the report was that both LBJ and UMD President Wilson Elkins were native Texans.
At the time Johnson was simply the vice president under Kennedy after he had lost to the President in the 1960 Democratic Primary. As President, Johnson would play a large role in advancing Civil Rights and social services while also getting America entangled in the Vietnam War.
Johnson’s future vice president, Hubert Humphrey, would come to campus to speak only two years later.
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events 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 part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts, and watch for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!
A few months ago, the University Archives received a very special addition to our collections: a copy of the original song, the “MAC Cadet Two Step.” It is the oldest published UMD song, dating from 1897! The only other copy of it that’s known to exist is at the Library of Congress, and the song is among the oldest pieces of copyrighted music in its collections.
The song was written by Ira E. Whitehill, an accomplished Maryland Agricultural College student and member of the Mandolin Ensemble. The student-run club was created in the 1896-1897 school year, but it really didn’t hit its stride until Whitehill, the only member of the original group who returned to campus the following year, assumed his role as director that fall. His “quick musical insight” allowed him to assemble the highest quality musical talent from among the cadets, aiming to create a group that would be an “honor to the college and to themselves.” That year, the ensemble was lauded by the Reveille (the MAC yearbook) as a “remarkable advancement” from the previous year’s attempt.
Whitehill went on to compose many other songs, including the comedic “College Hash” and the “Reveille March and Two-Step,” which was written to honor The Reveille yearbook. Both songs were featured in the commencement exercises of 1899.
The most recent performance of the “MAC Cadet Two-Step” took place in 2015 at L. Richmond Sparks’ retirement concert. You can listen to the lively tune here. Another very special rendition was part of the half-time show at Homecoming in 2008, celebrating the band’s 100th anniversary; you can find this on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/0UWZcm_LGBs.
Ira Whitehill’s dedication to his craft and his school set a precedent for future student-run organizations. He not only built a lasting example for future installments of the Mandolin Ensemble, but he also created a wonderful piece of University of Maryland history that will now remain on campus for many years to come.
When Charles Benedict Calvert died on May 12, 1864, the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) lost its founder and one of its strongest supporters. As an advocate for the college, Calvert played a key role in obtaining MAC’s charter from the Maryland General Assembly, canvassing in support of the institution and fundraising to launch it. As a result, his death shook the MAC community.
Upon his death, the Mercer Literary Society, one of the college’s earliest student groups, honored him at its regular meeting. The meeting minutes pictured below show the society’s Resolution on the Death of Charles Benedict Calvert, dated May 14, 1864. The society expresses “warmest feelings of respect and sympathy to his bereaved family” and writes that Calvert was a “neighbor, benefactor and friend.” The meeting then adjourned immediately out of respect for Calvert and his family. These minutes offer a unique perspective into how the student body reacted to Calvert’s death.
To learn more about the Mercer Literary Society or Charles Benedict Calvert, visit the websites below, or stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see these historical items for yourself.
This is the tenth and last entry in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions. They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check back frequently for more of the HIST 429F student projects.
In early 1951, the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland met in a special session to determine what to do about the application of African American Hiram Whittle to the College of Engineering at the still-segregated College Park campus. Whittle would not be the first black student at Maryland – Parren J. Mitchell received a court-ordered admission to the graduate school the year before – but he would be the first undergraduate. In Mitchell’s case, University President Harry Clifton Byrd had issued an urgent telegram to the regents compelling them to admit him to the university with the understanding that Mitchell could take classes in Baltimore, “where equal facilities and quality of work can and will be provided.”
While this statement hardly sounds like a paragon of Progressivism today, four years before Brown v. Board of Education Byrd needed to balance the principle of separate and equal accommodations, an increasingly litigious NAACP that was winning court victories across the country, and a loud segment of white Maryland citizens and parents that did not have the appetite for black students at their children’s schools. Byrd had hoped his proactive measure would ward off a court order, but he was mistaken, and Mitchell arrived on campus in the fall.
Board of Regents minutes noting Whittle’s admission.
In early 1951, with the color wall having already been breached, the Board of Regents again attempted to take action before being told to do so. They ordered the admission of Hiram Whittle to the College of Engineering and issued a parting shot at the Maryland Legislature in the form of a written statement, essentially blaming that body for forcing the regents’ hands:
The question naturally arises as to whether the State is willing, or the people wish to appropriate sufficient funds to establish additional substantially equal facilities for Negroes to the facilities that are now available for white people. This will be necessary in order to continue the bi-racial system of education. If the State does not wish to do this, then the Board regards it as impossible to continue the bi-racial system now presumably in effect. The facts show that the Board has made repeated requests over many years of State authorities for adequate funds to meet this need. If these funds had been granted, this action of the Board today would not have been necessary.
In their decision, the Board made specific reference to the absence of adequate engineering facilities at the all-black Princess Anne campus – now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore – a fact to which President Byrd personally attested, having been a frequent advocate for increased funding there to maintain the separate facilities.
The Board of Regents concluded their statement on Mr. Whittle’s admission by imploring the state to make a final decision on integration, noting, “What has been done heretofore neither gives the Negro what he is entitled to nor prevents him entering the University of Maryland. It is inconsistent to say that the bi-racial system should be continued and then not make adequate provision for its continuance.”
Much has been made in recent years, of the failure of past administrations of the university, and Harry Clifton Byrd in particular, to adequately and equitably provide for the needs of black students and faculty. Yet in their zeal to scrub Byrd’s name from the public edifices of the university, his detractors risk painting Byrd with the same broad racist brush as a George Wallace – who famously stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama in 1963 to physically block the admission of black students until removed by the National Guard. Byrd and his colleagues were products of their time and place, which is to neither excuse nor condone their beliefs, but merely to contextualize their comfort with and normalization of segregation in public services as it existed in Maryland.
From the evidence in the available records, one could conjecture that President Byrd and the Board of Regents understood the hypocrisy of the doctrine of “separate but equal” in practice. Byrd frequently pushed the legislature for increased funding at Princess Anne, and was keenly aware of the inadequacies of the facilities of that institution compared with his beloved alma mater in College Park. Could Byrd have worked even harder to obtain money earmarked for black students on the Eastern Shore or moved to integrate higher learning in Maryland before being sued to do so? Almost certainly. However, it should be recognized that the university did not fight integration to the bitter end, like in many other southern states. The university was placed in an untenable position by the state legislature, which both mandated segregated schools and refused to provide the adequate funds to provide equal accommodations for black students. When forced to make a decision on the matter, the Board of Regents correctly chose to integrate the University of Maryland.
This is the ninth in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions. They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check later this week for the final post in the series, and look for previous historical item analysis posts elsewhere on Terrapin Tales.
In the 1920s, the Maryland women’s intramural basketball team wore a uniform consisting of a woven white cotton shirt and knee-length woven linen pants that would be unthinkable for today’s athletes. The bloomer-style pants appeared to offer some freedom of movement, but the straight sleeves of the shirts must have interfered with dribbling, passes, and shooting hoops. Woven cotton and linen are highly regarded today for classic, upscale apparel, but definitely not for fitness activities and team sports. By comparison, the men’s basketball uniform was a sleeveless top and shorts very similar in style to what basketball players wear today.
A photograph of the women’s team in 1927 teams shows them looking fit, mostly smiling, and ready to play. However, silk stockings rolled tightly around their knees look constricting and uncomfortable, and the thin-soled shoes did not seem like they offered very much of an assist in running, jumping, and generally moving around the court. The best part of the uniform must have been the bloomer pants—loose, comfortable, and not restrictive.
Women’s basketball team, 1927
Men’s basketball team, 1905
Lacking the high-tech gear with which sports teams are outfitted today, the intra-collegiate teams of the 1920s performed admirably and contributed to the growth of women’s basketball at the University of Maryland, which became a varsity sport in 1971. Within a few years, the Lady Terrapins won their first state championship in 1973, and they reached the Women’s Final Four in 1978, 1982, 1989, 2006, 2014, and 2015, winning the national championship in 2006.
women’s basketball team, c. 1078
women’s basketball, NCAA champions, 2006
Hats off to white cotton shirts, black linen bloomers, silk stockings and the women’s teams of the 1920s!!
This is the eighth in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions . They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check back frequently for more of the HIST 429F student projects.