90 Years Ago in The Diamondback: Sharpshooting Coeds

90 years ago today, The Diamondback reported on the nascent girls’ rifle team, supervised by Adele Stamp herself and taught by Captain Dougherty and Sergeant Simmons of the Military Department. Nearly thirty young women participated in the twice-weekly practices, where they shot 22-caliber army rifles. Standouts included Myrtle Lerton, who had made 49 bull’s eyes out of 50 shots at a recent practice. Because of space and equipment limitations, only six girls could shoot at a time; a planned outdoor range (expected to be completed by the spring) would alleviate the problem. Matches had already been lined up against the University of Vermont and the Michigan Agricultural College for spring of 1923.

Girls' Rifle Team 1924-1925
The 1924-1925 Girls’ Rifle Team, as pictured in the 1925 Reveille yearbook.
Rifle Team members, 1922-1925
Members of both the 1922-1923 and 1924-1925 teams, as pictured in the 1925 Reveille yearbook: Grace Coe, Elizabeth Flenner, and manager Mary Harbaugh.

The fall of 1922 marked the beginning of not only the girls’ rifle team, but also women’s athletics at the University of Maryland in general. By 1931, sports for coeds also included tennis, basketball, swimming, field hockey, and soccer. Furthermore, the Women’s Athletic Association the Girls’ M Club for varsity letter winners were founded in 1924 and 1926, respectively. For its part, the girls’ rifle team was one of the best in the country from 1924 to 1941, producing stars such as two-time (1928 & 1929) national champion Margaret “Peggy” Mitchell and Olympian Irene Knox ’34.

(Additional information in this post from Reveille yearbooks from 1925 to 1931 and University of Maryland by Assistant Archivist Jason Speck)

2 thoughts on “90 Years Ago in The Diamondback: Sharpshooting Coeds

  1. Pingback: Girl Scout messenger of WWI: Eugenia Clement. | American Women in World War I

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