New Digital Material: Historic Campus Maps Added to AlbUM

In recent weeks, nearly 100 maps of campus from throughout our 160-year history have been added to the University Archives’ online image repository, University AlbUM.

Have you ever wanted to see how our lovely old campus has changed since 1856? Now you can! Even if you just want to see what might’ve changed during your own years as a student, or since your parents’ day, or whatever – it’s all here!

Let’s take a look at the two oldest maps. Trust us, it’ll blow your mind.


For some perspective, the “Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station” is the Rossborough Inn. It stands on the map exactly where it exists today. Campus was centered south of that location, right about where Morrill Hall and LeFrak stand today. Did you notice there were only 10 buildings on campus?


This map, dated circa 1916, features the same center area of campus. It explains which buildings burned in the Great Fire of 1912, and outlines the new building locations. That circle with all the lines coming from it? That’s the point of failure – yes, THAT point of failure between Shoemaker and LeFrak – and marks where the fire started. The mechanical engineering building and annex are now called Taliaferro Hall.


In the late 1930s-early 1940s, campus started to take its more familiar shape. This map, dated 1941, is the first time we see the full extent and beauty of what would come to be known as McKeldin Mall. Originally the mall extended from Main Administration all the way up to Anne Arundel Hall. The Armory still isn’t in the right place yet, but we’re getting closer!

Check out the slideshow of other fun campus maps below. If you’re interested in seeing them all, head over to University AlbUM! Feel free to look around, and see what else we have while you’re there. (We’ve got some awesome old football film online too!)

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UMD123: 92

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. For the last 92 years, University of Maryland has been screaming.

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photo 4

Maryland Dairy began production in Turner Hall on Route 1 aroundDairy 1930s 1924. Almost 20 years later production would soar under the help from esteemed ice cream connoisseur, Wendell Arbuckle, a professor at Maryland for 23 years, better known as “Mr. Ice Cream”. He developed many exotic flavors such as bubble gum, cantaloupe, sweet potato and cinnamon zig-zag throughout his time at the university.

Twelve years ago, manufacturing of the ice cream transferred departments from the photo 1Animal Science Department to Dining Services but the great taste remains the same. When visiting the ice cream shop, be prepared to make a hard decision. Flavors are always changing with current concoctions including Brenda’s Peanut Butter Frese, Fear the Turtle, Midnight Madness, and 1856, in addition to long-standing favorites like vanilla, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip. Special limited edition flavors also appear on the menu, including ‘Speare the Turtle, created to commemorate William Shakespeare.

logoStudents and visitors should stop by the ice cream shop in The Stamp Student Union for a cone, cup, sundae or milkshake of the delicious, creamy treat! If you can’t get enough, there are half-gallons available to take home!

For more information take a look at the letter “I” in the “ABC’s of UMD” blog post series from last semester!



This is a post in our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series last 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 throughout the semester; 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.

Terps’ World Record Attempts

Who doesn’t relish a good pillow fight? Back in 2009, University of Maryland students sought to break the Guinness World Record for Largest Pillow Fight! On April 17, 2009, the Senior Council organized 1,834 students on McKeldin Mall to beat the British Broadcasting Corporation’s 2008 record.

Gazette_Pillow Fight
Pillow Fight on McKeldin Mall, April 17, 2009. Brenda Ahearn/The Gazette


Although the Senior Council’s effort failed to break the record of 3,706 people, the event successfully raised $6,000 for Dream Village Inc., a nonprofit children’s book publisher.[1] Two days later, columnist Rob Gindes lamented in The Diamondback that fewer people participated in the pillow fight than in the SGA elections.[2] You can read more about the pillow fight on the University Archives MAC to Millennium site under “P.”

We should try to set a goofy world record every Friday. Who cares if we don’t succeed? – Rob Gindes, The Diamondback

It turns out that the University of Maryland has a track record for failed Guinness World Record attempts. In 1981, students assembled on McKeldin Mall for a very different purpose than the protests only ten years earlier (see the UMD123: 3 post).  On April 29, 1981, students gathered on the Mall to break the Guinness World Record for Unsupported Lap Sitting. According to The Diamondback, the student body had already failed to eclipse the record the previous year, and the Guinness Book of World Records did not even list lap sitting as a category! Nevertheless, the University Commuters Association amassed 2,768 students and garnered local media attention from WRC-TV and WTTG in Washington and WBAL in Baltimore for their “sit-in.” While the lap-sitting event broke no records, students reportedly enjoyed an afternoon of camaraderie on that beautiful Friday in April.

Sittin' Pretty

Have you ever participated in a Guinness World Record attempt on campus?  Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!

The Diamondback’s reporting, including humorous perspectives on failed efforts to break world records, provides an invaluable perspective on the history of the university. As the University of Maryland’s primary student newspaper, The Diamondback records the voice of the student body. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper. The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016 and in the meantime, it is currently available on microfilm.

This post is the ninth 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 the Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts, and look for her posts every other Monday and monthly during the summer session.   

[1] http://www.gazette.net/stories/04232009/largnew172537_32529.shtml

[2] http://www.dbknews.com/archives/article_07954fbc-1d70-5392-931c-9f4dafde66e9.html

Ruth Finzel’s May Day Folly

Ruth Finzel-cropThe University of Maryland Archives recently received the 1930 handwritten diary of Ruth M. Finzel (Class of 1931), of Mt. Savage, MD. In it, she shares her experiences as a co-ed in the College of Education, living in the newly constructed Alpha Omega Pi house on College Avenue and as an active participant in the Y.W.C.A. and women’s non-varsity sports, such as tennis, basketball, bowling at College Park lanes, and soccer. The University Archives staff has transcribed the diary and will be sharing excerpts from Ruth’s chronicles in future blog posts.

We begin with May Day, a popular spring tradition that played an important role on campus during Ruth’s era.  May Day festivities (1923-1961) were first established by Dean of Women Adele Stamp.  They included an elaborate pageant with costumes, a theme such as “Nursery Rhymes, “Neptune, Ruler of the Sea,” “Rip Van Winkle,” and “Famous Lovers,” dancing around the Maypole, and the crowning of a queen and her court. The junior women worked many months creating the handmade invitations and costumes to honor the seniors.

Ruth and her AOPi sorority sisters attended numerous rehearsals on the lawn starting in April to prepare for the occasion.  Their heightened interest was inspired by the fact that her sorority sister, Evalyn Ridout (Arts & Sciences, Annapolis, MD), was to be crowned May Day Queen. All the junior women spent many hours creating the handmade invitations and festive costumes that captured the Zingaree, the Gypsy theme for the year.

1930 May Day invitation and program


The morning of May Day began with rain but fortunately cleared in time for the ceremony. Pictured here, Queen Evalyn Ridout  is accompanied by her four attendants:

univarch-055040-0001Left to Right:=
Alice (Curry) Nourse, Educ., Davidsonville, MD, Kappa Kappa Gamma
Isabel Dynes, Home Economics, Chevy Chase, MD, Alpha Ypsilon Chi
Isabel (Izzy) Bewick, Education, Cumberland, MD, Kappa Delta
Roberta Harrison, Education, Washington, DC, Chi Omega

 Ruth writes:

“Rained off & on but finally cleared up so we had May Day.  It was a gypsy theme and fairly good.  Evalyn Ridout was May Queen with Izzy Bewick, Isabel Dynes, Curry Nourse, & Roberta Harrison as maids.

Went to the Chorus recital with Marguerite & Helen & nearly had hysterics over a woman who sang.”

We post this today, on the 86th anniversary of this special day in Ruth’s life, and encourage you to check back for future snapshots of this era in UMD history! Enjoy these additional photos of Zingaree and the gypsies.

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Need some help for finals?

Thought you might appreciate this little prayer left among many offerings for Testudo at finals time in the late 1990s. We found this again recently while looking for the answer to another reference questions related to our beloved mascot.Enjoy, and good luck on exams!

A Prayer to Testudo

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of exams

I shall fear no question, for thou art with me

Thy shell and thy nose, they comfort me

Thou preparest a pen for me in the face of mine professors

Thou anointest my head with knowledge, my cup runneth over

Surely good grades and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the Terrapin forever

Help us in our hour of need, Testudo!

Offerings at Testudo statue

Panty Raids!

Panty Pirates Headline

How do you plan to spend your summer session?

On vacation?


Hitting the books?


On May 21, 1952, twenty-one male students decided to start their summers with a panty raid on sorority houses and women’s dormitories. A week later,  Dean of Men Geary Eppley stated in The Diamondback that he found several men admiring their nylon and silk “trophies” in Calvert Hall. Eppley claimed that one woman in the Margaret Brent dormitory “had her evening gown torn to pieces… At the Kappa Kappa Gamma house one coed lost $56 worth of underclothing, and other lost $122 in underwear.”

As punishment for stealing the ladies’ lingerie, three men were suspended for one year, and one could not return until June 1953. The rest of the raiders were suspended for one semester and permitted to return the following February.

These raids were not unique. In response to the wave of panty raids overtaking college campuses that summer, The Baltimore Sun  reported on May 28, 1952, that the U.S. Senate received demands that “panty raiders,” including those at the University of Maryland, lose their draft deferment and be sent “to do some raiding in Korea!”

The students did not learn their lesson. On May 8, 1956, male students carried out yet another panty raid.

Tumultuous mobs of underwear seekers thronged to the women’s dorms, crawled through windows and emerged later wearing step-ins, slips and other items of personal apparel. – The Diamondback, May 17, 1956

One student who had already broken into the women’s dorm egged on his fellow students, shouting “You’re chicken if you don’t come in!” The women responded by pouring water and throwing housecoats and blankets on their assailants. One woman reported, “You couldn’t stop them! I pulled his ears off — you just couldn’t stop them!” The raiders progressed through Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s Halls before speeding along to the sorority houses. Dean Eppley speculated that the raid was spontaneous and started after students on the upper floors of men’s dorms started bombarding a Spring Week sound truck with water bags.

They’ve taken everything from one of the girls except her socks. – coed quoted in The Diamondback, May 17, 1956

We hope you enjoy this  brief editorial in which the Diamondback staff lamented the unfavorable publicity caused by the 1956 panty raid!

Page 3
One student’s response to the 1956 Panty Raid.

You can find more information about the 1950s panty raids in the correspondence of UMD President Harry “Curley” Clifton Byrd.

The Diamondback provides a crucial student perspective on student activities on campus, including these two infamous panty raids. As the university’s primary student newspaper, Diamondback reporting is essential to the history of the University of Maryland. The University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is now currently available on microfilm.Thanks to generous donors and our successful Launch UMD campaign, The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016.

This post is the eighth 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 the blog for previous posts, and look for her posts every other Monday.



Many colleges and universities across the United States experienced an extended and often violent period of student unrest during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, memorialized in an iconic photograph from the Kent State shootings by John Filo. Student outrage here at Maryland against U.S. military involvement in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia  peaked between 1970 and 1972. These protests prompted Governor Marvin Mandel to declare a state of emergency and send the National Guard to maintain order. That brings us to the next post in our UMD123 series: 3 is the number of times Governor Mandel dispatched the National Guard to campus.

May 4, 1970

In response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, thousands of students across the country protested. Here in College Park, on May 1, 1970, after a noon rally on McKeldin Mall, student protesters vandalized the ROTC and AFROTC offices and proceeded to block traffic on Route 1. Prince George’s County police could not contain the students, who returned to campus to throw bricks, rocks, and bottles and slash tires. Over the next two days, students continued to block traffic on Route 1. The Washington Post reported on May 4, 1970, that the protest had grown to the “largest and most violent in the university’s history,” involving 1,000 -2,000 students and 250 police officers. Later that day, after students set fire to the Main Administration building, Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel declared a state of emergency. He sent 600 National Guardsmen to campus and placed Adjutant Major General Edwin Warfield III in command of operations on campus.

Student protesters gathered in the rain outside McKeldin library with a banner reading “Pigs Out of Cambodia, Pigs Off Campus,” spring 1970. (From University AlbUM).
1970_Route 1
Crowd of protesters block Route 1 at the South Gate of the University of Maryland, 1970. (From University AlbUM)

Protests continued even after the governor declared a state of emergency. When students attempted to overtake the ROTC armory, they were met with National Guardsmen armed with M16 rifles. The Guardsmen never loaded their weapons and students left peacefully, but the administration cancelled classes indefinitely. Students continued  occupying and damaging buildings on campus, and the National Guardsmen remained on campus for nearly five weeks.

Continue reading “UMD123:3”

A Nostalgic Walk through McKeldin Library

Testudo checking out books at McKeldin Library, c.2003.

Can you remember the last time you checked out a book from McKeldin Library?  Like the red stamps on your call slip, each trip to McKeldin marks a moment in time. As a campus institution, McKeldin Library witnesses the individual growth of so many Terps in one way or another.

Most of us come to the library out of necessity: cramming for finals together on sleepless nights or grabbing that quick coffee minutes before lecture. In the rush of our busy lives as students and educators, how often do we connect these moments to our university’s broader legacy?

McKeldin Library service desk, c. March 1958.

The University officially dedicated McKeldin Library 58 years ago today. In celebration of this formative moment, we invite you to turn the pages of the building’s history in a nostalgic look at its origins.  As you flip through the slideshow below and the official dedication program, we encourage you to think about how these spaces have grown into your own vision of McKeldin Library. Enjoy!


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Testudo dedication 1933

UMD123: 37

37 is for the number of sections on (the original) Testudo’s shell

sorority testudo
(I hope I brought enough flowers…)

Testudo, we all know him. Whether as the mascot who tirelessly cheers our sports teams to victory, or the subject of statues and artwork throughout the campus and the College Park area, or maybe even as  the dapper guy on the right asking out three sorority sisters at once, he is a constant presence in our lives at the University of Maryland. But did you know that the University Archives at Hornbake Library has the preserved remains of the real-life diamondback terrapin who served as the model for the Testudo statues, like the one in front of McKeldin? This treasure is the subject of today’s post!

HCByrd at desk
Harry Clifton Byrd in the President’s Office, ca. 1945-1953.

Our story begins in January 1933, when Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, then an assistant to University President Raymond A. Pearson, wrote a letter to the Holland Sea Food Company in Crisfield, Maryland, his hometown. Byrd instructs Mr. Holland to send:

“one big diamondback terrapin of Maryland variety, and not one of those that come from North Carolina. I want it to use as a model for a sculpture.”

The impetus behind acquiring this turtle originated with the Senior Class of 1933, which wished to leave behind a terrapin statue as a class gift. Consequently Dr. Byrd purchased “Archbishop,” aka “Archie,” (soon to be re-christened Testudo) and sent him on to Providence, Rhode Island, to be modeled in bronze by the Gorham Manufacturing Company under the direct supervision of Maryland Agricultural College Class of 1904 alum — and former quarterback — Edmund C. Mayo. “Archbishop” traveled overnight on the train in the company of Senior Class President Ralph Williams, who was also responsible for bringing “Archie” back alive to participate in the statue’s dedication.

Mayo 1906
2nd Lieut. Edmund C. Mayo from 1904 Reveille

According to the May 27, 1933, issue of the Old Line student magazine, Mr. Mayo, now president of Gorham Manufacturing, produced the statue at cost, after Aristide Cianifarani made a model of the live terrapin in clay, based on designs by Joseph Himmelheber. The base of the statue was a separate gift from the Student Government Association, and was likewise produced at cost by Bunt Watkins based on designs by Major Howard Cutler, who had previously designed Ritchie Coliseum, where the statue was to reside.

As to the reasoning behind the gift-giving, the unsigned article continues:

“The memorial has been erected for two purposes. First, it will perpetuate the symbol that the University has adopted, and second, it is to serve as an award to the class winning the annual Freshman-Sophomore struggle. The name of each victorious class is to be engraved each year on a bronze plaque on the base of the memorial, for ten years. After that, bronze plates will be placed around the top of the base, to perpetuate the conquering classes in name at least.

The bronze Terrapin is five feet long, twenty inches high and three feet wide. The original, who measures ten inches, will help unveil his own image on June 2.”

Testudo dedication 1933_2
University President Raymond Pearson shakes hands with Ralph Williams, president of the senior class, at the dedication of the Testudo statue in front of Ritchie Coliseum on June 2, 1933. Also pictured at left is assistant to the president, Harry C. Byrd.

On the day of the big reveal, “Archie” was again called into service. As reported by the Diamondback, “with a string attached to the cloth covering the bronze image and tied about his neck, he ambled off at the precise moment and unveiled his image.”

Unfortunately, the strain of his duties and a particularly hot summer proved too much for Testudo née Archbishop, and he died shortly thereafter. Again, the Diamondback reported, “Dr. R.V. Truitt, head of the Zoology Department, has kept ‘Archie’s’ remains in a state of preservation and now the S.G.A. has essayed to finance the mounting of the terrapin so that he may repose in the Coliseum to arrest the curious gaze of future generations of Maryland students.”

“Archbishop” no longer lives at Ritchie Coliseum, but instead enjoys a quieter after-life, preserved in a humidity-controlled case in a vault in the University Archives at Hornbake Library.

Real Testudo head on
The “real deal” housed in the University Archives at Hornbake Library

Many classes that tour the Archives and all visitors to Hornbake on Maryland Day have the chance to count the number of sections on his shell and take selfies with the university’s most famous diamondback terrapin! The campus community is forever grateful for his brave sacrifice. Happy Maryland Day, everyone! Don’t forget to stop by Hornbake and visit the real Testudo!

This is a post in our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series last 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 Wednesdays, throughout the semester; search “UMD123” or check out Twitter #UMD123to see the rest. 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.


JFK’s Challenge to UMD Students

Uncle Sam Says - jfk wants you to get involved in politics

On March 14th, we left a teaser for you about a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who delivered the 1958 convocation address. We hope you were able to guess the name of this illustrious campus visitor: none other than John F. Kennedy! In the spirit of primary season, we thought we would share Kennedy’s message leading up to the primaries for the 1960 election.

First of all, The Diamondback reported that Kennedy claimed to his audience of 5,500 at Ritchie Coliseum on April 28, 1958, that “he has no plans to enter the Maryland primaries, or any other primary.” Ironically, “[h]e stated that he is not to be considered a candidate for the presidency.”

Instead, Kennedy specifically directed his message to the students in the audience. He encouraged them to apply their talents to political life. He described politics as “a most neglected and abused profession” and stressed that it was the duty of the American people to commit their talents to solving world crises. “Every man sent out from a university today should be a man of his nation,” he claimed, in reference to concerns about the loyalty of college students in the midst of the Red Scare.

Applause for JFK at convocation 1958
Kennedy delivered his commencement speech 58 years ago this Thursday. #tbt

Kennedy, who did not officially announce his presidential campaign until 1960, returned to the Ritchie Coliseum one year after his convocation address. On May 17, 1959, the University of Maryland presented Kennedy with a stuffed Terrapin in gratitude for his return visit.

JFK with stuffed Terrapin 1959

The Diamondback’s reporting on famous visitors to campus, including these two historic visits by a future president, is essential to the history of the University of Maryland. As the university’s primary student newspaper, The Diamondback provides a critical student voice. For this reason, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper; it is currently on microfilm in the Special Collections and University Archives. Thanks to generous donors and our successful Launch UMD campaign, The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016.

In the meantime, keep checking our blog every other Monday for updates from graduate student assistant Jen Wachtel, who is compiling the metadata for this digitization project. This post is the seventh in a series; follow the #digiDBK hashtag on Twitter and check the DigiDBK tag on Terrapin Tales for updates and previous posts.

UMD123: 13

While many people consider the number 13 to be unlucky, in this case, it was a pretty fortuitous number for one UMD track star…

Thirteen stands for the 13-second barrier broken by Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah in the 110 meter hurdles, setting a world record in 1981. 

Nehemiah color

Widely considered the greatest high hurdler in the world during his collegiate years (1977-1981), Nehemiah broke numerous records in both indoor and outdoor hurdling events.

Skeets was a star even before arriving at UMD, setting New Jersey State high school records in hurdles, long jump, and short-distance running events. During his freshman year at Maryland, he broke the 60 yard high hurdles world record at the Millrose Games in New York (7.07 seconds). Sophomore year, he would break his own record in the 60 yard event (7.04) on home turf in Cole Field House.

Nehemiah signedNehemiah’s success grew in 1979. He set two world records in two weeks for the 110 meter hurdles, first a 13.16 second record at the Jenner Invitational in California, then a 13.00 race at the UCLA Invitation. He broke seven indoor hurdles records during the season. This set him up for international wins over the summer, including a gold medal at the 1979 Pan-American Games and a gold at the IAAF World Cup.

In 1980, Nehemiah’s best opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal vanished when the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow. He won the 110 meter hurdles event at the U.S. Olympic Trials with a time well above his standing world record. Without the promise of Olympic competition, however, the trials felt like an ordinary track meet.

Then came the most significant world record of his track career.

In August of 1981 after graduating from the University of Maryland, Nehemiah participated in Weltklasse Zurich, an annual invitation-only international track and field event for world-class athletes. Competing in the 110 meter hurdles against his college rival, Greg Foster of UCLA, Nehemiah held off the rest of the field and bested his own world record of 13.00 seconds with a time of 12.93  — becoming the first hurdler to run the event at a sub-13 second pace.

[This record lasted for eight years, until another American hurdler – two-time gold medalist Roger Kingdom – beat Nehemiah’s time at the Weltklasse Zurich meet in 1989. The current world record for the 110 meter hurdles is 12.80 seconds, set by Aries Merritt (the 2012 Olympics gold medalist) in Brussels on September 7, 2012.]

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After such a highly-decorated track career, Nehemiah took on a new athletic challenge. He joined the San Francisco 49ers and played three years of football as a wide receiver. Skeets returned to track in 1985 and was again ranked among the top 10 hurdlers in the world. Only 8 people have topped Nehemiah’s sub-13-second 110 meter hurdle record since he set the mark in 1981. We’re certainly proud to call him a Terp!

This post is part of our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series last 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 Wednesdays, throughout the semester; search “UMD123” or check out Twitter #UMD123 to see the rest. 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.