It’s only 2.25 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall, but the information this jewel contains is unique to the holdings of the University of Maryland Archives. The Archives recently purchased the 1865 diary of Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) cadet Charles Berry who enrolled in the college on September 12, 1864, at the age of 16. Berry’s journal is the oldest account of daily life at the MAC that the Archives possesses, so this was a very special acquisition.
Unfortunately there’s no account of his first semester, but you can learn quite a bit about his second term from Berry’s little journal. Beginning with the January 1, 1865, record of his demerits for bad behavior, Berry lists weather observations, books he read from the library, his grades, guard duty stints, student chores, and various events at the college, among many other topics. Of particular interest to Terrapin sports fans are the earliest known mentions of the cadets playing football (March 13) and baseball (March 18) at the college. Berry’s diary ends dramatically with six entries commenting on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and its effect on the Washington and Baltimore area.
Berry’s tiny journal is a rare find and a true treasure! Stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library and ask to see this gem when you get a chance! We’re very excited to share this special piece of UMD history with the research community!