ABC’s of UMD: Letter S


We could have picked another S, we suppose, maybe Squirrels (there sure are enough of them on campus) or Soccer (for our outstanding men’s and women’s teams), but since everyone on campus at one time or another spends time in the Student Union, we thought you should know a little more about the special lady for whom the building is named.

Adele Stamp, 1951-1960Adele Hagner Stamp was the university’s first dean of women, serving in that capacity from 1922 to 1960. She was born in Catonsville, MD, in 1890 and attended St. Timothy’s, a private all-girls school in Stevenson, MD, and Western High School, the oldest all-girls public high school in the United States. Stamp taught at a public school in Baltimore after graduating from high school, and was later hired as a social worker by the Y.W.C.A., organizing recreation programs for women factory workers in industrial centers for the Y. . From 1919 to 1920, she directed an industrial service center in New Orleans and received an A.B. in sociology from Tulane University one year later. Immediately before coming to the university, she briefly served as a field representative of the American Red Cross. In 1924, she received a master’s degree in sociology and recreation from the University of Maryland.

May Queen and her Court, 1923
May Queen and her Court, 1923

During her tenure at the University of Maryland, she organized and promoted women’s activities. She initiated the campus celebration of May Day, which began in 1923 and continued annually until 1961, and founded the Women’s Student Government Association, the Women’s Senior Honor Society, which became the Maryland Chapter of the Mortar Board, and the Freshman Honor Society for Women, later a chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta. She also organized the first Women’s Physical Education Club in 1926 and in 1938, founded the Campus Club, an association for women professors and faculty wives. Her activities extended beyond the university to the state and national level as well, where she held leadership positions with various education, women’s, and political organizations.

yearbook_1959_coverIn 1959 the campus yearbook, the Terrapin, was dedicated to her, the first woman ever to receive that honor. When she retired in 1960, Stamp was named Dean Emeritus by university president Wilson H. Elkins.

Adele H. Stamp died on October 17, 1974, after a long illness. In 1983, the university student union was renamed the Adele H. Stamp Union in her honor. Astronaut and UMD alumna Judith Resnik, a member of the space shuttle Challenger crew, participated in the re-naming ceremony.

The University Archives holds Miss Stamp’s personal papers, and you can find the guide to this collection here. Stop in the Maryland Room in Hornbake and read some of her letters to President Byrd advocating for resources for “her girls” or keeping her young charges in line.

This is the 19th post in our series on Terrapin Tales called ABC’s of UMD! Posts will come out twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, throughout the semester. If you want to learn more about campus history, check back weekly to see what we’ve picked to highlight, and you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

Do you have other ABC’s about campus? Let us know in the comments below!

Check back on Friday, November 6, for Letter T!

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