Recent Acquisition: Adele H. Stamp Papers

Adele Stamp driving
Adele Stamp driving, c. 1915-1920s

Donated by Adele Stamp’s relatives, this collection provides a glimpse into Miss Stamp’s private life beyond her image as Maryland’s strict Dean of Women. Some highlights from the new accession include photographs spanning from Adele’s childhood through her retirement. An album of photos from 1912-1914 captures her life between high school and college and features some great images of Adele having fun with friends and enjoying her youth. We knew that she went on to attend Tulane University, but had never determined the exact year of her matriculation or graduation. However, in this accession, we found programs from the 1921 Tulane graduation ceremony as well as a copy of the yearbook, including Adele’s photo. With some help from the archivists at Tulane, we obtained a copy of her transcript which showed she enrolled in the fall of 1919 and graduated in the spring of 1921.

The accession also contains a letter from Adele’s older sister Emma explaining to her daughter that Adele was born about three years after her, but always pretended to be six years younger. We did some research of our own to confirm her birth year as 1890. Miss Stamp famously lied about her age (for reasons that will probably remain a mystery) and apparently decided she’d rather be a few years younger. Most of her contemporaries never knew about her secret, and even her obituary in the newspapers listed her fictional age!

In addition, we were very excited to find four letters written to Adele by a suitor, Franklin D. Day. It appears Adele and Frank met while working at summer school in College Park and exchanged letters for almost four years. We do not have any of her correspondence to Frank, so the reason behind the end of their courtship is unknown. Frank married Elizabeth Hook, the first woman to graduate from Maryland with a four-year degree, and Adele never married.

Other items of inteAdele with headbandrest in this accession include a sculpted bust of Adele, travel journals from her trips to Europe in 1912 and 1926, several university publications that include articles by Dean Stamp, a poem about her written by students on campus, newspaper clippings about her career, various awards and honors, and programs and photos from the 1983 renaming of the Stamp Student Union.

For more information, please take a look at the newly revised finding aid for the Adele H. Stamp Papers, as well as our online exhibit, Adele Stamp: Uncovered.


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