Swing Passes and Shoulder Pads: Part I

By: Maureen Jones

In this three part series, we will be reflecting on some of the many uniforms worn by what is now the University of Maryland football team. Changes weren’t made in a bubble: they reflected developing technologies and the growth of one of America’s most beloved sports.

The year is 1892, and the Maryland Agricultural College’s football team has just lost both games of their inaugural season. Though it ended before the team’s success, this season began UMD’s long football tradition. There was a period of silence with regards to Maryland football, but a ragtag team once again emerged in 1889, playing several games a year. It was not until 1893-1894 that a formal football team developed (Media Guide 1940, 6). This was the beginning of modern Maryland football, though they looked a bit different than the team we know today.

Maryland Agricultural College football team, circa 1893-1894

This small band of brothers was seen more frequently in ‘M’ and ‘MAC’ emblazoned sweaters than jerseys. Shin guards were fabric based, and their padding was next to nonexistent. Cleats were in use, but resembled boots more than modern athletic sneakers. At the time, football was little more than a particularly gladiatorial offshoot of rugby, which was a great influence on early uniforms (Oriard 2001, 2).

Notably, these were not University of Maryland Terrapins, but Maryland Agricultural College Old Liners, a name that harkens back to Maryland’s border state status during the Civil War.   

Football team, Maryland Agricultural College, circa 1905

Additional sweaters had entered rotation by the 1905 season, as did striped socks and some small shoulder pads. The lack of uniformity was a visual representation of the growing pains that come along with a relatively young sports program.

Football team, Maryland Agricultural College, 1909

Consistency began to develop as the team grew in size, but there was still great enthusiasm for sweaters. Two additional designs emerged here: a ‘JS’ monogram and a bold ‘F’ with striped sleeves. There is more visible padding, and less variation in the pant designs. Striped socks have also left circulation in favor of socks in a solid color. Exciting design was unnecessary, considering turnout to college football games was still low and this was an era before television.

Football team, Maryland State College of Agriculture, circa 1917

In 1913, the Old Liners were pictured with helmets for the first time. Early helmets were flexible leather, rather than plastic, and the flaps that sat over the players’ ears could be flipped upwards for easier listening. Despite those differences, their design is very similar to the design of contemporary helmets. Also of note is the lack of turtleneck sweaters. As the sport grew in popularity, it began to form its own distinct visual culture that differed from rugby. This particular team was Maryland State College of Agriculture’s second team, as Maryland Agricultural College was renamed and women were granted admission for the first time. 

Maryland Agricultural College defenders stop Johns Hopkins University’s “Turkey” Jones from crossing into the end zone, 1919. Caption reads: “Maryland Stopping Turkey Jones of Hopkins in 1919 Game. Maryland, 13; Hopkins, 0.”

This action shot of the Old Liners in a game against Johns Hopkins is the first instance where players’ numbers are visible. We do not know when the Old Liners began to use them, or if they always have. Player surnames are still absent at this time.

Football team, University of Maryland, 1927

The tides turned again in the 1920’s. Stripes were back, pads were bigger than ever, and Maryland State College of Agriculture was no more. It was the dawn of the University of Maryland, and the beginning of the American football craze. World War I had taught the American people that they were in dire need of a physically fit crop of men from which the military could draft, and this led to an emphasis on the teamwork, athleticism, and endurance that collegiate sports could provide. On top of that, the economy and leisure time were both growing, providing ample time and resources for competitive sports to flourish (Oriard 2001, 3).

Check back next month to explore the rest of the Roaring Twenties through the early 1960’s.


Maureen Jones is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland iSchool. She is a graduate assistant at the University Archives and is interested in museum studies and reparative justice in archives.

Works Cited:

Bachynski, Kathleen. “Your Men Can Smash Through: Designing and Marketing Football Equipment.” In No Game for Boys to Play: The History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis, 48-70. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2019. 

Football Season of 1940 Media Guide. College Park: University of Maryland, 1940. 

Football Season of 1946 Media Guide. College Park: University of Maryland, 1946.

Oriard, Michael. Sport and Spectacle in the Golden Age of Radio and Newsreels, Movies and Magazines, the Weekly and the Daily Press. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. 

REMEMBERING 9/11

By Anne S.K. Turkos

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?” One of country singer Alan Jackson’s biggest hits opens with those poignant words, and undoubtedly everyone at the University of Maryland on September 11, 2001, does remember exactly where they were at the moment they heard the terrible news about the planes hitting the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon and crashing in Shanksville, PA. For those of us old enough to remember another day of unspeakable horror, the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, we were struck by the same sort of indescribable sadness and overwhelming disbelief as we faced the monstrous act of terrorism unfolding before our eyes.

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) staff were hard at work on 9/11 installing a new exhibit in the Maryland Room Gallery highlighting the treasures in all of our collections. We had only moved to Hornbake Library from McKeldin eight months earlier, and this was to be our first big show, part of a year-long celebration of the renovation and enhancement of our new home into a top-notch special collections facility. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the CNN coverage on the television set Library Media Services maintained in the vestibule and almost impossible to ignore the growing crowd of students transfixed by what they were seeing live.

The UMD Archives staff managed to finish installing their portion of the exhibit, as the university remained open and fully operational, despite the fact that the campus is only about 15 miles from the Pentagon. Amazingly, the clouds of black smoke from the fires resulting from the assault of American Airlines Flight 77 on that fortress were not readily visible in College Park, despite the brilliant blue skies and gorgeous fall sunshine of the day.

The university’s chaplains organized a campus-wide memorial service the following day, one of the most memorable UMD events I attended during my working career. The haunting strains of professor of jazz studies Chris Vadala’s saxophone filled the air as a crowd of approximately 8,000 members of the university community silently entered McKeldin Mall, completely covering this beautiful campus landmark. The service was filled with prayers for those who had been lost in the attacks as well as hope for those who may have remained buried alive in the rubble. There was a sense of deep sadness as well as a sense of peace, but what I remember the most is the amazing hush of the crowd, the incredible quiet, despite the number of people present. At the conclusion of the service, each attendee placed the flower he/she/they had been given upon entering the Mall around the ODK Fountain.

Photo by John T. Consoli.

These blooms were later buried at the east end of the Mall in a spot now known as the Peace Garden.

Photo by John T. Consoli.

Among the victims memorialized that day were two members of the UMD community, former faculty members, Charles Falkenberg and his spouse Leslie Whittington, who were on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. The family was traveling to Australia where Leslie was going to work at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Today, on the 20th anniversary of that terrible tragedy, we remember the Falkenbergs and all other victims who perished as well as the incredibly brave first responders who rushed to those horrific scenes to try and save as many lives as they could. The world did seem to stop turning on that September day, and we must never forget those we lost.


Author Bio

Anne S.K. Turkos is the University Archivist Emerita for the University of Maryland. She has been a part of the staff of the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives since January 1985. Before retirement in July 2017, she worked with campus departments and units, student groups, and alumni to transfer, preserve, and make available permanent university records. She continues to support the Archives through her work on special projects and fundraising. Follow Anne on Twitter at @AnneTurkos.

UMD Olympians Blaze Trails

By keondra bills freemyn

The eight Terps competing in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics (postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) join a list of over 50 athletes who have represented their home countries on the global stage. University of Maryland has a long history of producing world-class athletes, including a number of national team members and Olympians. For some UMD Olympians, their athleticism also blazed trails, paving the way for following generations of athletes in their field.

Paula Girven-Pittman (Track & Field)
Paul Girven-Pittman was one of the first Black UMD athletes to receive an athletic scholarship. While at UMD, Gervin set school records for the high jump and 55-meter hurdles. She was a member of the US Olympic track and field teams for the summer games in 1976 (Montreal) and 1980 (Moscow). However, due to Team USA’s boycott of the 1980 games, Gervin and her teammates did not compete. Gervin was inducted into the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999. Gervin-Pittman passed away in November 2020. 

Katie Kauffman Beach (Field Hockey)
Katie Kauffman Beach was the first Terp to be selected for an Olympic field hockey team when she qualified for the 1996 summer games in Atlanta. A student athlete from 1992 to 1996, Kauffman Beach was a first team All-American and an All-ACC honoree twice. She was a member of the 1993 NCAA championship team and played for the US National Team for 10 years before retiring. Kauffman Beach was inducted into the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Desmond Armstrong (Soccer)
In addition to competing in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and the 1992 summer games in Barcelona, Desmond Armstrong was the first U.S.-born Black player to play for the United States team in the FIFA World Cup in 1990. While at UMD, Armstrong played midfielder and defense from 1982 to 1985 and was a three-time All-ACC nominee. Armstrong played professionally for the Baltimore Blast and the Santos club in Brazil. He was inducted into the UMD Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009 and the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012. 

Sources
University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame
https://umterps.com/honors/university-of-maryland-athletics-hall-of-fame

U.S. Soccer
https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2020/09/paving-the-way-desmond-armstrong-on-race-and-his-unlikely-path-to-the-us-mens-national-team

UMD Archives Alumna Honored

By Anne S.K. Turkos

Courtesy of Ohio State University Libraries

The Society of American Archives (SAA) recently announced that Tamar Chute, University Archivist and head of archives at The Ohio State University, has been selected as a Fellow of the Society, the highest honor SAA can bestow. Ms. Chute is a 1998 graduate of the UMD iSchool and worked as a graduate assistant in the UMD Archives during her studies. 

As a GA, Tamar worked on a variety of projects, but the one she remembers the best is helping to gather all the information that became the foundation for University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium, which continues to be an enormously useful resource for UMD Archives staff and researchers interested in a wide range of university history questions. Tamar also created an exhibit entitled “Legacy of a Leader,” celebrating the accomplishments of UMD President William “Brit” Kirwan, maintained the Archives’ university publications collection, answered reference queries, and provided security for Archives’ materials that were to be used outside of McKeldin Library.

In addition to her time as a graduate assistant, Ms. Chute has another UMD Archives connection. She assisted current UMD Archivist, Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, in establishing Project STAND, a national initiative college and university student involvement in social justice activism. 

You can read more about Ms. Chute’s distinguished career and back on the SAA website.

I am extremely proud of all that Tamar has accomplished in her career, and I look forward to seeing what she can achieve in the future. It was my honor and pleasure to serve as her supervisor during her graduate assistantship and to have played a part in setting her on her chosen career path. Congratulations, Tamar!

Author Bio

Anne S.K. Turkos is the University Archivist Emerita for the University of Maryland. She has been a part of the staff of the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives since January 1985. Before retirement in July 2017, she worked with campus departments and units, student groups, and alumni to transfer, preserve, and make available permanent university records. She continues to support the Archives through her work on special projects and fundraising. Follow Anne on Twitter at @AnneTurkos.

Launch of the Diamondback Photos Digital Collection

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new online resource: the Diamondback Photos Digital Collection! https://bit.ly/3vXqTrm

Users are able to search by term via the search box in the upper left corner. Users can also filter the collection by decade via the year range functionality in the left-hand column. 

The Diamondback photographs consist of images taken for UMD’s student newspaper, The Diamondback. Photographs include campus events, athletic games, and general campus life from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. 

The University of Maryland Libraries digitized nearly 17,000 of these images, resulting in an online public resource that provides access to high-resolution digital images of original materials. 

This multi-year project is the result of collaboration between SCUA, Cataloging and Metadata Services, and Digital Services and Technologies (DST) and we are so excited to share it with you all! 

UA wants to take the time to acknowledge the hard work of library personnel who contributed to this project. First and foremost my thanks to University Archivists past and present, Anne Turkos and Lae’l Hughes-Watkins, for their vision and execution of this project. My thanks also in SCUA to Joanne Archer, Liz Carignola, Barbara Angier, former staff member Kendall Aughenbaugh, and innumerable student workers over the years who painstakingly described these images. In DST our thanks go to Kate Dohe, Peter Eichman, Porter Olsen, Robin Pike, Mohamed Abdul Rasheed, Ben Wallberg, and Josh Westgard for all their work in the development of this project.

SCUA will be doing more outward facing publicity over the summer and fall but we hope you take the time to explore and enjoy this wonderful new resource! 

“Beyond the Performative”: Social Justice and Archives, Part 2

Edited by: Casey Hughes and Sara Ludewig

In our post “Challenging the Status Quo”: Social Justice and Archives we explored the role of libraries and archives in working toward social justice and asked three University of Maryland Libraries and SCUA staff members to reflect on what social justice means to them. We’re continuing this series by exploring the perspectives of three more staff members! We asked these questions: 1) what do you do and what are some of your daily responsibilities? and 2) in your position, what does social justice in the archive or library mean to you? Their responses show the different initiatives, mindsets, and projects needed to ensure a more equitable, just, and welcoming future for libraries and archives.

Tahirah Akbar-Williams

Your position in the library – what you do and some of your daily responsibilities.

I am the Librarian for African American Studies and the College of Education. I am also one of the Diversity Officers in the Library and a Co-chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee. My duties as a librarian includes but are not limited to: collection development, reference and one-on-one consultations, instruction/teaching, and research sessions with faculty and students. Additionally, in my capacity as Diversity Officer and IDEA Co-Chair, I do a variety of diversity and inclusion advising and programming for students, faculty and library administrators. One of the career highlights for me is the creation and development of the Diversity Immersion Institute (DII).

In your position, what does social justice in the archive/library mean to you?

Social justice in the library means we create an equitable workspace where all individuals can thrive. We rise to meet the people who use our services at their point of need, whatever that need is. Social justice for me is ensuring that we have representation, equitable and inclusive spaces that embrace and celebrate: race, class, gender, religion, sexual identity, and culture. It means that we have to have equitable pay structures, promotion and retention practices. Thus, social justice means ensuring that we are making pathways for disenfranchised communities to be able to reach full economic, political, and social equity. 

I focus on anti-Black racism, in particular, because of the experience of Blacks in America, which you also can see reflected in libraries. So in the backdrop of what we learned this summer about the overall inequitable treatment of African Americans and Black people in this country, e.g: less earning potential, increased health disparities, shorter life expectancy and the mental and the emotional stress of racism (to name a few). When we look at the statement, “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” I have to think about who is left out of that part of the American Dream. We saw the disparities in full view with the protest this summer (some already knew) that our country has a long way to make those words ring true for African Americans. Libraries can be a model for many other institutions on how to achieve equity. We can lead the way by being active, i.e.: hiring, promotion, leadership, equal pay, creating spaces for disenfranchised communities and minoritized people.

I created and served as co-director of the Diversity Immersion Institute (DII). The DII is a social justice project that introduces African American men at an early stage (in high school) to LIS and the college experience. It simultaneously creates a space for LIS students to work with and collaborate with young African American students, librarians and other faculty of color in order  to learn about anti-racist practices. We facilitated sessions for iSchool students about critical race theory, racism, sexism, and homophobia, and librarians of color shared their experiences in the libraries. It was pretty cool because we had librarians of color in the room to talk about their experience and we had graduate students and professors of color from around campus teaching lectures which added context to their experiences. I believe white librarians were enriched by this experience. The hope is that these experiences: 1) introduce African American men to the LIS field and the college experience, and 2) empower LIS students to be anti-racist and equity advocates and to work harder to embrace social justice and racial equity.

We work with students in the iSchool who volunteered their time to learn about diversity and inclusion in practice in libraries, particularly, issues of racism and why we have so few people of color, i.e.: African American men ( 0.5% African American men). Libraries need to do more. We are behind the eight ball in terms of this issue. It’s been a lot of hot air and empty rhetoric and no action — it’s time to act. We do that by supporting projects like the DII, listening to our African American colleagues about their experiences and needs, and being forward thinking in terms of hiring and promoting with equitable pay African Americans to the highest level of librarianship.

Joni Floyd

Your position in the library – what you do and some of your daily responsibilities.

As the Curator of Maryland and Historical Collections (MDHC), I am responsible for building, interpreting, and providing access to archival and manuscript holdings that span the history and culture of the state of Maryland. I also manage collections relating to women’s history and the historic preservation of cultural resources. My work involves developing the collection with special consideration given to mending its historical and ideological gaps stemming from the systemic marginalization of voices and histories by the myopic and “top-down” collection development practices of the past. My daily responsibilities include mining the collection for reference consultations, instruction, exhibits, and research guides. 

A major MDHC goal is to increase the diversity of its donor profile. Toward this end, I participate in a scholarly agenda that involves engaging in professional, public history, and community development circles. I give workshops on community archives, and I also serve as the MARAC Archivist.

I play a leadership role in the Maryland History and Culture Collaborative, a network of information and heritage stewards interested in sustainable partnership building. As co-chair of The 1856 Project, I am building its infrastructure and outreach strategy. I also have the opportunity to mentor emerging information and heritage professionals both through supervision and by participating in the University Libraries/BIPOC Employee Resource Group’s Career Discovery Internship Program.

In your position, what does social justice in the archive/library mean to you?

To paraphrase Langston Hughes, social justice in MDHC means to support individuals, organizations, and collections that convey, “I Too Sing Maryland.” Social justice in the archives means I must regularly interrogate the politics underlying accessioning collections, the selection and distribution of resources, and the type of partnerships I generate. It means that I must become more aware of my own biases; I must shed light on any invisible labor, and I must measure outcomes to ensure our efforts move beyond the incidental or performative to standard practice. It also means that I must hold myself (and by natural extension University of Maryland Libraries) accountable to those I assist and with those I collaborate. In short, social justice in the archives means that I must not take lightly my role as a driver of systemic transformation.

Lae’l Hughes-Watkins

Your position in the library – what you do and some of your daily responsibilities.

I am the University Archivist for the University of Maryland, College Park. Generally speaking, my job involves archiving, documenting, preserving, and providing access to records related to the institutional memory of the University of Maryland. My day-to-day duties are far-ranging. A typical day could include having conversations about social media campaigns and issues of social justice in archives, mentoring new professionals, helping our amazing student Terp community with archival inquiries – that’s one of the things I get the most joy out of – to meeting with donors and increasing the visibility of University Archives. Everyone loves us when they come in and visit, but they have to know we exist first. I also make people aware of the resources we have in our space, nurture our wonderful students who work for us, giving them space to be their fabulous selves, and helping them to be ready for their first professional gig. I also help with digitization projects; it’s a lot. There’s no such thing as a routine day.

I also work on several exciting projects. The 1856 Project is one of the projects I’m really excited about. It can feel overwhelming when you think about the gravity of the work. The 1856 Project is a branch of Universities Studying Slavery for the University of Maryland. It’s not that our institution hasn’t ventured here before, but this is, to my knowledge, the first formal advisory group that has been created. Our task is to support campus efforts to build an inclusive university community. We want to enhance the collective understanding of the Black experience at UMD within the context of the surrounding community. We also want to bring into the fold and collaborate with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in our University System. It is critical that we do this to ensure we provide a complete story regarding the history of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and more contemporary movements we’ve been witnessing, specifically with the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

In your position, what does social justice in the archive/library mean to you?

Utilizing a social justice lens in the archives has been critical, and it’s the reason I decided to join this profession. It means giving a voice to the invisible, the voiceless, and marginalized communities. When I think of my introduction to archives, it was during my thesis project for my MA in English. I was in graduate school when I first went to an archive. I’m glad I didn’t go through life ignorant of the value of archives and their role in society, in our communities, and our families. The profession itself has its challenges, but it also has fantastic opportunities. I was researching a woman of color, specifically a Black woman named Fay M. Jackson, who had an amazing history of documenting Black Hollywood and the Harlem Renaissance of the West Coast and international affairs such as Hailie Selassie. There was very little in the records at her alma mater. This would have been material from the 1920s through the 1940s. She had a phenomenal career, and there was just surprisingly very little I could utilize in the archives, despite the efforts of the fantastic archivist. I made contact with her granddaughter, who was still living, and I saw that she had all the records in her house because she didn’t trust traditional academic archives. While I didn’t yet have the theory behind me and wasn’t thinking about library school yet, I knew I wanted to address and repair that relationship. I wanted to be part of the efforts to repair that break in the line of trust from the repository to people like the granddaughter. Social justice in archives is a reparative act. Bringing in voices that have been ignored or relationships in disrepair, communities that have been left out of the records and were not seen as whole people. Doing that work is a very radical act. That’s what social justice in archives means to me. 

The march toward social justice is ongoing, that won’t go anywhere. The system of racism, this system of discrimination has always existed, from the systematic attempt to erase indigenous histories/peoples, since the arrival of the first slave, to the silencing of the LGBTQ community, to the dismantling of women’s rights. As much as I know that I’m making a dent, this is not something that will be addressed or completed in my lifetime. I think of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate, and how she says that we are unfinished. This is work that will always be unfinished. Social justice in archives means making sure this work is a priority; you can’t let up. It’s making sure you’re carving out a space to continue addressing anti-Blackness and other anti-oppressive practices, requiring institutional support, financial support, and changing policy. We must ask what our collection development policies say about our priorities, what collections we are processing; we must ask how our commitment to equity and inclusion is reflected in our physical spaces and how we interact with our patrons from the disabled community to the elder a block away from campus. We can’t just have conversations and reading lists; those are just a start, not an endpoint.

I’m excited about the fact that I can work on Project STAND and make that a priority in my work at the University of Maryland. We’re about to hire a Project STAND coordinator. I’m looking forward to seeing what applications come in; we want someone who can embody that work. We’re looking to bring someone in who is ready to be a co-pilot on this project. I’m also excited about the Stamp Your History initiative. We were stopped in our tracks with the pandemic last year. I’m looking forward to gearing up to reaching out to students as campus opens up more, whether that’s in physical or virtual spaces. We’re working to inform students about the importance of archives and saving their stories. We want to make sure they have archivists or historians in their student organizations. Students are thinking about this already. I’m excited to be part of those conversations. I recently had a conversation with the Asian American Student Union, and they are doing amazing work. That’s a community I hadn’t had a chance to build a relationship with yet at UMD. I’m excited to make sure that students who haven’t traditionally been a part of the historical record are getting their voices heard. I’m so grateful to make these connections.

Commencement Al Fresco!

By: Anne S.K. Turkos

For the first time in 66 years, the University of Maryland has scheduled outdoor commencement ceremonies, to be held at 11 AM and 4 PM on May 21, 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the two most recent campus-wide graduation ceremonies have been held virtually, but with the rising vaccination numbers and the easing of restrictions on gatherings, the university decided to proceed with an in-person celebration with limited attendance. To incorporate and abide by social distancing guidelines, the university’s colleges have been divided into two groups, hence the morning and afternoon events. Details about the protocols in place for the ceremonies appear on the commencement website.

Documentation of the location of commencement ceremonies in UMD history is somewhat spotty, particularly in the earliest years of the university, but it is likely that the first commencement celebrations for Maryland Agricultural College graduates, beginning in 1862, took place outdoors. By 1890, the ceremony had moved indoors to the College Chapel or College Hall, both located in the Barracks building which burned to the ground in the great fire of 1912.

Subsequent ceremonies were once again held outdoors. With the dedication of the Skinner Building, then known as Agriculture Hall, in 1918, the college finally had sufficient space once again to host this occasion indoors. Ceremonies were once again held outside on Morrill Quad to accommodate large crowds in the 1920s and early 1930s, notably on June 10, 1922, when World War I hero General John J. Pershing was the featured speaker.

General John J. Pershing at Commencement

The completion of Ritchie Coliseum in 1932 allowed for the expansion of commencement ceremonies to include graduates of both the College Park and Baltimore campuses.

Commencement in Ritchie Colosseum in 1933. The Class of 1933 gifted the University the Testudo statue

Single commencement ceremonies were held each spring until the World War II years, when the desire to send graduates off quickly into combat led to three commencement ceremonies in 1943, four in 1944, and two in 1945.

Following the war, the university returned to a single ceremony for the period from 1947 to 1954, but locations varied between indoors (Ritchie Coliseum and the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore) and an outdoor area called the Quadrangle (known today as McKeldin Mall) to accommodate growth in enrollment. The lower half of McKeldin Mall was filled with graduates and their families, out in the hot late spring/early summer sun, as seen in this image from the June 10, 1950 ceremony.  

Commencement, June 1950

Ceremonies returned indoors, following the completion of Cole Field House, now Jones-Hill House, in 1955.  Graduates from the professional schools on the Baltimore campus continued to come to College Park for commencement until 1969, the year before the establishment of the five-campus University of Maryland System and the institution of the May-December graduation pattern that remains today.

Ceremonies remained indoors, eliminating worries about the weather, even after Cole was decommissioned following the Athletics Department move to the Xfinity Center in 2002. Many famous names have been featured at the celebrations in Xfinity over the last 20 years, including Dr. Dorothy Irene Height, Al Gore, Cal Ripken Jr., Carl Bernstein, and Elijah E. Cummings.

Fingers crossed that Mother Nature cooperates and Commencement al fresco can proceed without a hitch on May 21! Congratulations, Classes of 2020 and 2021!

More information about and images of commencement ceremonies of the past can be found here:

Commencement programs

Featured commencement speakers

Student commencement speakers

Digitized images

Author Bio

Anne S.K. Turkos is the University Archivist Emerita for the University of Maryland. She has been a part of the staff of the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives since January 1985. Before retirement in July 2017, she worked with campus departments and units, student groups, and alumni to transfer, preserve, and make available permanent university records. She continues to support the Archives through her work on special projects and fundraising. Follow Anne on Twitter at @AnneTurkos.

DAWN OF A NEW ERA IN UMD HISTORY

By: Anne S. K. Turkos

Yesterday the University of Maryland celebrated the investiture, or formal inauguration, of President Darryll J. Pines. Dr. Pines has been a member of the UMD community since arriving on the campus in 1995 as an assistant professor of aerospace engineering. He rose through the ranks in the A. James Clark School of Engineering to serve as the chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering for four years before taking a leave of absence to serve as a program manager for the Tactical Technology Office and Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2003 to 2006. Upon his return to campus, Dr. Pines resumed his chairmanship of the department and was promoted to dean of the Clark School in 2009. More information on President Pines’ career and accomplishments is available on his official UMD biography page.

Dr. Pines’ investiture took place in the Dekelboum Concert Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in front of a limited number of invited guests and was live-streamed on YouTube. The ceremony, which begins at minute 19 in the stream, opened with an acknowledgment of the university’s history and heritage and included messages of congratulations from state of Maryland officials, presidents of the schools which form the University System of Maryland and the Big Ten conference, and UMD faculty, staff, and students. The four living previous UMD Presidents, John Brooks Slaughter, William E. Kirwan, C.D. Mote, and Wallace D. Loh, also sent President Pines a special message. Following his investiture, led by Linda Gooden, chair of the USM Board of Regents, and Jay Perman, USM Chancellor, Dr. Pines delivered a formal address thanking those who have been influential in his life and outlining his vision of and for the university and the world, concluding with the announcement of five new, critical initiatives:

  • Accelerate Climate Action: Net Zero Carbon Neutral Campus by 2025
  • Expand Faculty Diversity
  • Honor Trailblazers in Maryland Athletics
  • Invest in Discovery, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
  • Expand Arts Programming Across Campus: Arts for All

Yesterday’s ceremony and other events surrounding Dr. Pines’ investiture are just the latest in a string of inaugural festivities dating back to the surprise announcement of Benjamin Hallowell’s selection as the first Maryland Agricultural College president at the college’s opening day celebration. You can learn more about past inaugurals here.

To find the full list of all 34 men who have served as Maryland Agricultural College/University of Maryland president, visit https://www.umd.edu/history-and-mission/university-presidents

Congratulations, Dr. Pines! We look forward to many years of success under your leadership.

Author Bio

Anne S.K. Turkos is the University Archivist Emerita for the University of Maryland. She has been a part of the staff of the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives since January 1985. Before retirement in July 2017, she worked with campus departments and units, student groups, and alumni to transfer, preserve, and make available permanent university records. She continues to support the Archives through her work on special projects and fundraising. Follow Anne on Twitter at @AnneTurkos.

Instructional Auditing and University History

By: Maureen Jones

Early archives were repositories of official government documents, and their mission was to render procedural records accessible to the public for purposes of transparency and accountability. The modern archive has departed from that rigid definition, and collects any number of things, ranging from three dimensional objects to personal papers to born-digital materials. This change has allowed archival collections to offer scholars a more rounded view of the human experience; no longer is an archive exclusively representative of governance and administration, but of the impact that law and order has on the people. This collection pattern is mimicked in any manner of institution. An archive for a business does not contain only development records for new products, but testimony from consumers who have used those products and newspaper clippings that discuss the product’s release. It is necessary to collect these informal records to gain an understanding of the way an organization operates in, and interacts with, a global society. As such, the University of Maryland University Archives strives to present well-rounded collections with diverse viewpoints.

Alongside this development, the role of the archivist has also changed. Archivists were once stewards of knowledge who oversaw records but played a passive role. The concept of archival neutrality was popular, and archivists were expected to remain entirely impartial. As the field evolved and new collection practices emerged, so did an understanding that neutrality is impossible, rather, it maintains the often-harmful status quo. Contemporary archival practitioners, including those at the University Archives, now play a more active role in framing and shaping their collections. It is our responsibility to ensure that the narrative we create does not perpetuate power imbalances, but challenges them. Part of this responsibility is reflecting on our own practices, including instruction and reference decisions, to ensure that our materials reflect a holistic campus experience and do not contribute to erasure.

In pursuit of archival practices that are both reflective of the broad range of experiences at UMD and of reckoning with the inequality of the community’s past, we have audited our library instruction for the course UNIV 100: The Student in the University. This one credit seminar introduces incoming first-year students to life at the University of Maryland, with particular focus on the founding of the Maryland Agricultural College and other relevant milestones. Our goal in auditing this course was to be more reflective of everything UMD has to offer. A school is more than its important dates and policies: it is a community of diverse individuals and a center for culture, as well as an institution with a complex past.

The original UNIV 100 curriculum provided an excellent overview of the University’s early days, documenting the process of founding MAC, the fires that ravaged the College Park campus, and the first women and Black Americans to enroll. But one thing it neglected was student life, and our audit sought to remedy that. Particular attention is now paid to UMD’s rich athletic history, including the football team’s first bowl game against the Georgia Bulldogs in 1948 and both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams recent national victories.

UNIV 100 now takes a deeper look into the University’s past of inequity. It originally noted that George Calvert came from a wealthy slave-owning family, and used his wealth to found the Maryland Agricultural College, which was established on lands that once belonged to his plantation. The course now shines a light on the University’s history of slavery beyond that, exploring the involvement of multiple former presidents with the Confederate Army. 

In the 20th century, the University of Maryland was initially resistant to integration. UNIV 100 draws attention to the multiple lawsuits that led to the eventual integration of the school, despite the aversion of administrators like Harry “Curley” Byrd.

A black-and-white photograph depicting Thurgood Marshall giving a court address while Donald Gaines Murray and Charles Houston look on.

Thurgood Marshall, Donald Gaines Murray and Charles Houston. Maryland History Slide Collection, MSA SC 1260-129 [D7130b]. Maryland State Archives.

The importance of student activism in shaping life on campus is now at the very center of the UNIV 100 course. We analyzed our database of digitized student newspapers to find a variety of important political activities relating to a variety of causes, including racial and LGBTQ+ justice, war, and immigration. These demonstrations are reflective of the occasions in which Terps joined together to protest injustice and force change, both informally and through official means, such as the 2015 renaming of Byrd Stadium, which was a proposal introduced by Student Government. 

If you are interested in exploring these topics and more, we recommend keeping an eye out for UNIV 100 on the schedule of classes in upcoming semesters. 


Maureen Jones is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland iSchool. She is a graduate assistant at the University Archives and is interested in museum studies and reparative justice in archives.

Cook, Terry. “Macro‐appraisal and Functional Analysis: Documenting Governance Rather than Government.” Journal of the Society of Archivists 25, no. 1 (April 2004): 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/0037981042000199106.

Cook, Terry. “Remembering the Future: Appraisal of Records and the Role of Archives in Constructing Social Memory.” In Archives, Documentation, and Institutions of Social Memory : Essays From the Sawyer Seminar, edited by Francis X. Blouin and William G. Rosenberg, 169-181. Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press; 2007. 

Samuels, Helen Willa. Varsity Letters: Documenting Modern Colleges and Universities. Metuchen, N.J: Society of American Archivists ; Scarecrow Press, 1992. 

Zinn, Howard. “Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest.” The Midwestern Archivist 2, no. 2 (1977): 14–26.

1856 Project Update: Telling Adam Plummer’s Story

By Casey Hughes and Sara Ludewig

In the coming months the 1856 Project, the University of Maryland’s contribution to the Universities Studying Slavery, will be exploring the role that enslaved individuals played in the founding and early history of our institution. UA staff are supporting this project through archival research. In 2009, students in Dr. Ira Berlin’s HIST429 class published Knowing Our History, an exploration of the University of Maryland’s ties to slavery. One person whose story they highlighted was Adam Francis Plummer. UA staff have begun to compile the biographical details of Plummer’s life, based on the Knowing Our History report and other primary and secondary sources. Adam Plummer’s story provides a glimpse into the dynamics of slavery in Maryland in the 1850s, dynamics we know profoundly shaped both the history and present of Prince George’s County.

Adam Plummer. Photo courtesy of the Anacostia Community Museum

Adam Francis Plummer was born enslaved to George Calvert, a descendent of Maryland’s founder Lord Baltimore, in 1819 on the Goodwood plantation in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. When Plummer was ten years old George Calvert took him to Riversdale where he was made the personal servant (still enslaved) to George Calvert’s son, Charles Benedict Calvert. Charles Benedict Calvert would go on to be a founder of the University of Maryland while Adam Plummer was still enslaved by him and acting as his personal servant. 

Riversdale Mansion

As a child, Plummer was taught to read and write in secret by John Bowser, a Black Methodist preacher. This was a dangerous activity as it was illegal to teach enslaved individuals how to read or write. Plummer kept a diary throughout his life, which was donated to the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum and has been made accessible through their website.

In 1841, Adam Plummer married Emily Saunders who was enslaved at Three Sisters Plantation. Three Sisters was eight miles from Riversdale and owned by the Hilleary family. When Plummer and Saunders were married at a church in D.C. they received an official marriage certificate which was rare for enslaved individuals. After their wedding, Emily remained enslaved at Three Sisters and Adam walked to visit her every weekend. The couple would go on to have eight children that lived to adulthood, all of whom were born into slavery. 

In 1845, the Plummers planned their family’s escape to Canada intending to use their marriage certificate as proof of freedom. However, Emily told her aunt about their plans who told the plantation mistress. As a result, their marriage certificate was confiscated and Emily was sent to work in the fields. In 1851, the mistress of Three Sisters, Sarah Ogle Hilleary, died. This resulted in the sale of part of the family to Colonel Gilbert Livingston Thompson of Meridian Hill plantation in Washington, D.C. Two of the couple’s children were separated from the rest of the family at this time, and their oldest daughter Sarah Miranda was sold and sent to New Orleans in 1861.

When D.C. abolished slavery in 1862 some of the older children fled to D.C., while Emily Plummer attempted escape with her youngest children. Emily Plummer and the younger children were caught and imprisoned in Baltimore City. Charles Calvert granted Adam permission to visit his family in prison, and in 1863 Adam secured a court order to release Emily and the children. They all returned to Adam’s Riversdale cabin. In 1865, after the end of the Civil War, the family was freed. 

The Plummer family, Adam Plummer is seating in the center. Photo courtesy of Anacostia Community Museum.

After receiving his freedom, Adam continued to work for Calvert and also pursued other employment. The family was able to retrieve their oldest daughter Sarah Miranda from New Orleans in 1866. The rest of the family also secured paid work and eventually bought an eight acre family homestead in Prince George’s County, which they named Mount Rose, in 1868. Now free, some of the Plummer children pursued education at Wayland Seminary in D.C., and Robert Plummer studied at Howard University. Emily died of pneumonia in 1876. Adam lived to age eighty-six and passed away in 1905 at Mount Rose surrounded by family. In 1927, Plummer’s youngest daughter Nellie published a book entitled Out of the Depths or the Triumph of the Cross. The book recounts the family’s history and their long struggle for freedom based on the oral testimonies of Adam, Emily, Sarah Miranda, and Henry Plummer. 

As research for the 1856 Project continues, we hope to uncover and share the stories of enslaved individuals associated with the University of Maryland and its founding. The traditional narratives surrounding University of Maryland history silence an entire group of people, reproducing structures of white supremacy and oppression. As research continues we hope to begin to undo these structures of silence, giving voice to those who have been excluded from the stories we tell in order to develop a fuller picture of our past and determine new avenues for a reparative future.