ABC’s of UMD: Letter U

U is for UNIFORMS!

Your first thought was probably U is for Under Armour and all our cool sports uniforms these days, but we are going to take you back to the 19th and early 20th century with this post, to uniforms of a much different nature.

As a land grant institution, the Maryland Agricultural College was required by law to conduct mandatory military training for its students, and the young men had to wear military-style uniforms initially only for Sabbath services and dress parade, but eventually wherever they went on campus, whether they were in the classroom, the dining hall, or just spending time with friends. The college sent the students to a specific tailor in Baltimore, and in the late 1800s, the required dress cost approximately $25.00 for the year.

Compulsory wearing of uniforms seems to have ended between 1915 and 1916. By the 1916-17 academic year, students were only required to appear in uniform in military formation.

The University Archives has several examples of the uniform styles in its collections, including dress versions and everyday wear. We also have a Maryland Agricultural College sword that would have been carried by the captain of one of the companies of cadets during dress parade. Stop by the University Archives to take a look!

This is the 21st 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 13, for Letter V!

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