Celebrating a Pioneer

Elizabeth Hook, second row, center

Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the graduation of Elizabeth Gambrill Hook, the first woman to take all of her classes on campus and receive a four-year degree from the University of Maryland. Two women, Charlotte Vaux and Grace Bruce Holmes, had graduated earlier, Vaux with a two-year degree in agriculture in 1918 and Holmes finishing her four-year, bachelor of science degree in 1919 after transferring to UMD, but Hook deserves special recognition.

Elizabeth Hook matriculated at the Maryland State College of Agriculture, as the University of Maryland was then known, on September 14, 1916, indicating that she planned to pursue a career in “experimental work.” You can find more information about her undergraduate days and her career following graduation in a recent Terrapin Tales.

Upon her graduation on June 16, 1920, with a degree in entomology, she became a teacher. She married Franklin Day, who later became the superintendent of schools for Kent County, Maryland, in August 1921, and was very active in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville.

When Elizabeth Hook Day passed away in 1950 at the age of 54, Dean of Women Adele Stamp prepared a brief obituary for the alumni magazine, recognizing her pioneering role at UMD. She included a quotation from the citation the co-eds presented to Mrs. Day at the 1937 May Day celebration when they honored her contribution to women’s education at Maryland:

“To Elizabeth Hook Day, the first woman graduate to enter the University from high school, and to spend four years on our campus we present this orchid, with grateful appreciation for opening the way for education of women. By her courage, friendliness, dignity, and ability she cleared the path for other women to follow. To her we pay honor and esteem, and time can never erase from our grateful memories the contribution she has made.”

The 1918 Influenza and COVID-19 Pandemics: An Archival Perspective

As we are sure it is for all of you, COVID-19 (commonly known as Coronavirus) is heavy on the minds of all of us at University Archives. This global health crisis has impacted the lives of the University of Maryland community in so many ways, both large and small. In light of this, the University of Maryland Libraries Special Collections and University Archives is launching the “Shell-tering in Place: Terp Stories of COVID-19” project. The goal of this project is to compile the stories of the UMD community’s experiences during the pandemic. We invite all members of the University community to contribute to the collection as we strive to record the ways our lives have been impacted by this historic moment.

As we arranged this collecting project, we also took time to reflect on the current global health crisis from an archival perspective. We reflected on the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and how it impacted the University of Maryland campus community (then called Maryland State College). We hoped that seeing how the Spanish Flu was reflected in our archive might inform our understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic may be remembered. What resulted was an observation on the ways archival collections might obscure the past and the ways we can contextualize archival materials to shed light on the past.

The Origins of the Spanish Flu:

In March 1918 soldiers at an Army base in Kansas fell ill with flu-like In March 1918, soldiers at an Army base in Kansas fell ill with flu-like symptoms. What began as traditional flu symptoms of headache, fever, and nausea rapidly developed into severe pneumonia for these soldiers. Their ailment? The Spanish Flu: an avian flu that caused a pandemic in 1918. Within one week of the infections in Kansas, the number of cases had quintupled and the illness rapidly spread across the globe as soldiers traveled to Europe to fight in World War I. The 1918 flu pandemic unfolded in three waves of illness: the first in spring 1918, followed by a second wave in September 1918, and a third in January 1919. Historians estimate that approximately 500 million people contracted the virus, resulting in 50 million deaths worldwide. The Spanish Flu remains one of the largest pandemics in world history.

Gaps in the Record: Spanish Flu and Maryland State College

The first place we searched for information about the effect of the Spanish Flu on campus was the 1919 yearbook. Given that the influenza did not really take effect until April 1918, we knew that it would mostly appear in the yearbook of the following year. However, we were surprised to find no mention of the pandemic. Even in the sections that served as a reflection on the school year, there was no mention at all of the disease. Knowing that the disease had a widespread effect, we found it unlikely that no one on campus had contracted the flu, so we turned to the student newspaper, the Maryland State Weekly. From this, we discovered a relatively small number of mentions of the Spanish Flu or influenza. The most significant mention was in a published letter by the President of Maryland State College, Dr. Albert F. Woods, who wrote one short paragraph addressing the influenza:

We learned that the administration put classroom instruction on hold for the month of October and students mostly did outdoor coursework, which made sense since we were known as an agricultural school. According to Woods, this measure helped prevent the spread of the illness but other than this short paragraph, we found no other mentions of how the University dealt with the pandemic.

A handful of other mentions of the influenza in the paper seems to have fallen into one of two categories. The first is community updates. There are a smattering of short blurbs across issues of the Maryland State Weekly where they note the illness, recovery, or in a few cases, the passing of Maryland State College community members. From these, it is clear that the campus was significantly affected. Many members of the professoriate seem to have suffered from the flu at one point or another, and one esteemed faculty member, Professor E. F. Stoddard, died as a result of it.

In contrast to these somber accounts, the second type of mentions seem to be more humorous. We found two poems in the student submitted sections that seemed to make light of the effects of the flu. There was also a reference to the flu in an article about the new dining hall that read:

“How can the old mess hall, in which there was no space, where the students had to crowd together like packed sardines; and where the danger of worse diseases than the Spanish Influenza was imminent, be compared with our new and spacious ‘Hotel’?”

Maryland State Weekly, 11/6/1918
A humorous poem about the Spanish Influenza in the February 1919 Maryland State Weekly.

We connected this sort of reference to the lighthearted responses to we are seeing across Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms right now. As people seek to alleviate the stress they are feeling, some are turning to humor in funny memes, tweets, and TikTok videos. In contrast to the huge amount of humorous quarantine related content saturating the internet right now, it was surprising to us that there were only three joking mentions of the Spanish Flu in the Maryland State Weekly.

Asking the Right Questions:

As you can see, the 1918 pandemic has a relatively small presence in our archival collections compared to the magnitude of the event worldwide. However, this seeming lack of sources has the potential to reveal a great deal about the pandemic and its impact on the Maryland State College campus. Historians employ the practice of reading sources “against the grain,” examining limitations, silences, and power dynamics in their sources alongside the information those sources actually contain. Why does our archive contain limited sources on this topic? And why did the College, the students, and the faculty hardly write about the personal impact of the flu, preventative measures, and its global spread? The lack of source material at University Archives relating to the 1918 flu prompts us to ask these questions and place our sources within a broader historical context to help us understand what may have actually been going on.

A lack of a response to a large historical event is a response. By placing our University specific sources within the larger historical context of 1918 and asking the right questions, we are able to gain a clearer understanding of what may have been happening on campus.

A key factor to consider when studying the Spanish Flu pandemic, is the U.S. involvement in World War I. The U.S. entered the global conflict in April 1917 and by June 1917, Congress had passed the Espionage Act which, among other restrictions, allowed censorship of the press. The government censored the information disseminated by large news agencies, and local journalists self-censored in fear of government sanctions. By government decree, the news was not allowed to reflect negatively on the military or hamper the war effort in any way. What does this have to do with Spanish Flu? Well, the very naming of the Spanish Flu was the result of WWI-related censorship of the press. Although historians now present evidence that the virus originated in Kansas, Spain was the first country to report infections in its newspapers. A neutral party during WWI, Spain did not censor its press while the U.S., Britain, Germany, and other warring nations prohibited the spread of news related to infected soldiers. With this information in hand, we can bring new perspective to the Maryland State Weekly’s mentions of the influenza outbreak. Rather than statistics, we find personal notices of illness. Instead of reports of the spread there is lighthearted poetry. What impact did the WWI culture of censorship have on the local campus press? Were mentions of the flu purposefully left out of print?

Asking specific questions about the historical context of WWI and censorship helps us understand the limitations of newspapers as sources during the pandemic. However, censorship does not explain other gaps in our archival record. The archive has almost no photographs, scrapbooks, or other papers describing the impact of the Spanish Flu on campus. Was the massive death toll too difficult to talk about in the wake of the pandemic? Were people embarrassed by the way they treated other people during the outbreak? Was the disease poorly understood and therefore not discussed on campus? These are all questions that beg greater exploration by researchers using our collections.

We also can question what materials made it to preservation in University Archives, examining gaps and silences in the collection of historical records. While individuals at the University of Maryland informally collected records pertaining to the history of the University, University Archives was not professionalized and did not hire an archivist until the early 1970s, over fifty years after the 1918 pandemic had subsided. Most of the earliest records on campus burned in a 1912 fire, and from 1912 until the 1940s materials related to the history of the University were not given collecting priority by the libraries. Collecting priorities shift over time, and it becomes difficult to collect items fifty years after events have passed. According to archival theorist Michel-Rolph Trouillot, silences are written into history at the moment of source creation, when the archives are created, and when researchers select which sources to use. Individuals chose what to record in 1918 about the flu, archivists chose what was important to collect regarding the flu, and researchers will choose what is important to highlight from our collections. All of these factors combine to limit what the archive tells us about the 1918 pandemic.

All of these factors are important to understanding our current situation and the role of archives in remembering the past. The sources highlighted here appear in marked contrast to the reaction now, where the University’s measures to keep staff and students safe are frequently updated and reported by many. The Diamondback has ongoing coverage of news related to COVID-19 and the topic is inescapable in any news source as it has impacted so much of our lives. While understanding the past does not prevent future disasters, there are important lessons we can learn today from studying and comparing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 1918 pandemic. How will future researchers look back at the University of Maryland’s response to COVID-19? How can we account for differences and similarities in the way the campus responds to pandemics in very different historical moments? Are the silly flu poems of 1918 showing a similar response to the darkly funny memes and tweets of today? How have silences already worked their way into the ways we report on and preserve people’s experiences of COVID-19? And how can we work to eliminate these silences in our reporting, collecting, and writing?

Archives contain important tools and sources for understanding the past, but researching in our collections often requires a critical eye and a larger understanding of context. Archival research requires asking the right questions and reading between the gaps and silences in the historical record to gain a greater understanding of the past. At University Archives, we envision an inclusive and diverse collection that paints a broad view of the experiences of the University of Maryland community, including community experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.We invite members of the community to visit the collections landing page to read more about contributing to the COVID-19 collection. We hope to hear your stories soon!

Further Reading

Barry, John M. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.

Benjamin, Walter. “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” 1942. 

Billings, Molly. “The Influenza Pandemic of 1918.” Human Virology at Stanford University. February 2005. https://virus.stanford.edu/uda/

“The Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918.” National Archives and Records Administration. https://www.archives.gov/exhibits/influenza-epidemic/records-list.html.

Stoykovich, Eric. “History of Special Collections and University Archives.” University of Maryland Libraries. January 2019. https://www.lib.umd.edu/special/about/history-of-scua

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. 

“1918 Pandemic (H1N1 Virus).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 20, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-pandemic-h1n1.html.

Hats Off to the Co-Eds: Elizabeth Hook

As the University of Maryland developed over the course of the 20th century, slowly becoming more inclusive, many exceptional women stepped forward as pioneers, leading the way for other women to follow. The next few blog posts will highlight these pioneering women and their experience at the University of Maryland. 

Our first feature is Elizabeth Hook. Elizabeth Hook was the first woman to graduate with a four year degree from MAC. As we noted in the last blog post, she matriculated in the fall of 1916, shortly after the school became Co-educational. During her first semester, she was the only female student, as Charlotte Vaux did not arrive until the spring semester.

Entrance register 1916, entry for Elizabeth Gambrill Hook

Hook studied Entomology, the study of insects, which was under the department of “Plant Industry” as at the time, the university departments were organized by industry. We don’t know much about Hook’s day-to-day experiences, but can imagine the challenges of being the only female student at the institution! 

Elizabeth Hook at a Microscope, 1920

"Miss Hook Accepts Scrubby Jones as a protector on her weekly trip to Berwyn church. They get struck between the Experiment Station and the bridge by an automobile. Cartoon of incident .
Hook appears in the yearbook after a run-in with a car

reveille1919 Review Staff

In spite of being the only women in the Class of 2020, Hook did not shy away from involvement on campus. Throughout her time at Maryland, she was a Class of 1920 officer. She was also involved in the Maryland Review, the school newspaper, and the Baltimore City Club. She was a founding member of Sigma Delta, the first women’s sorority at MAC.


After graduating, Hook worked as a high school teacher at Hyattsville High School, and she later married Franklin D. Day, another UMD alumnus. Their son, Franklin Jr., was the first student to attend the University of Maryland who had two alumni as parents!  

reveille1919 Elizabeth Hook poem
1919 Reveille

reveille1920 Hook Senior Page
Hook’s Senior Page- 1920 Reveille

Class of 1920
Commencement Photo Class of 1920


For our next pioneering woman, we will jump forward to the 50s with Elaine Johnson Coates! Come back next week!

Hats Off to the Co-Eds: Snapshots of Women’s History at the University of Maryland

As we enter Women’s History Month we’re excited to share moments in women’s history and the stories of women who have made an impact on campus. From the first woman to graduate from the University of Maryland to the creation of the Women’s Studies program, women on campus have come a long way, and we’re pleased to showcase their history and accomplishments. Stay tuned for a series of posts over the month of March, focusing on different moments in the history of women at the University.

First up: Maryland goes co-ed!

Before we were the University of Maryland, this institution was called the Maryland Agricultural College (M.A.C.) and later, Maryland State College of Agriculture. From its inception in 1856, it was an all-male institution. However, in the 1916-1917 academic year, the first female students, Charlotte Vaux and Elizabeth Hook, matriculated. As an agriculture college, a large portion of the students studied agriculture-related fields such as agronomy and animal husbandry. The other fields of study Maryland offered were biology, chemistry and engineering. Vaux matriculated into the two-year agriculture program and became the first “co-ed” to ever graduate from Maryland. Hook studied Entomology.

In the 1917 yearbook, the yearbook editors published a welcoming message to the new female students (referred to then as “co-eds”) and expressed their eagerness that more female students come to M.A.C.  The administration shared the sentiment and, in the following years, created new programs and curricula to entice a greater number of female students. By 1920, M.A.C. was home to over twenty-two female students, and had developed Home Economics and Liberal Arts programs. 

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As the Maryland State College of Agriculture began to accept more female students, they found themselves limited by the space they had to house them. While the old President’s house sufficed at first, eventually the school had to rent a house off-campus to house as many students as they could, and the rest were left to find housing of their own. In 1920, college governance requested funding for a women’s dorm. The Home Economics department built a “Practice House” which came to serve as housing for female students, helping assuage that need for a time. But as the percentage of female students grew through the years, the university had to develop to accommodate them. By 1958, there were eight female dorms, and, in 1969, Hagerstown Hall became the first co-ed dorm.

Gerneaux Hall, the first dorm for female students- photo from 1925 Reveille
Gerneaux Hall, the first dorm for female students – photo from 1925 Reveille

The presence and experience of women on Maryland’s campus has changed a lot since 1916, and we have these first women to thank for leading the way. Stay tuned! As March goes on, we will be highlighting several of the university’s pioneering women.

If you are interested in exploring the collections referenced in this post, you can visit our home page here and browse through the digitized yearbook collection found here.


“Your application is complete”: History of Admissions at UMD

As the application deadline for the Class of 2024 rapidly approaches, University Archives explored the history of admissions at the University of Maryland, College Park!

In 1877, prospective students of Maryland Agricultural College were expected to “pass good examinations in Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography, and History of the United States” and applications were submitted directly to the President of the college. The trend of in-house admissions testing continued into the 20th century, as the University continued to require passage of a University administered examination until 1925. 

By 1926, students were given three options for admission to our campus. Students were approved for admission based on completion of a certificate from an approved high school, transfer from another college or university, or passage of the exam administered by the College Entrance Examination Board. The exam was likely the SAT, first administered by the College Entrance Examination Board in 1926 and gaining in popularity for use college admissions in the 1940s. 

Nevertheless, the University continued to not require an examination for students seeking admissions throughout the 1930s and 1940s, even as applications increased dramatically with the implementation of the GI Bill following World War II. 

By 1961, however, the University changed its policy to include three requirements for admissions. Students needed to have graduated from an accredited secondary school, have received a letter of recommendation from the school’s principal, and taken the required high school credits necessary for admission into a particular academic program. Non-Maryland residents were also required to submit exam results from the College Entrance Examination Board. 

It was not until 1962 that our admissions policy first required a standardized test for admission, making students to submit results from the American College Testing Program, also known as the ACT. 

Even as the ACT and SAT became standards for admission to the University of Maryland, students, faculty, and administrators began to question the effectiveness and equity of standardized testing in admissions practices. Student newspapers The Diamondback and Black Explosion reveal growing frustration with UMD’s admissions policies beginning in the 1970s. One article in Black Explosion in January 1980 points to a study conducted by the Office of Minority Student Education (now the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education or OMSE) that revealed the “cultural biases of standardized tests” and their inability to “accurately predict academic success.” 

A more recent 2018 editorial in The Diamondback points to further issues with requiring SAT or ACT scores for admission, highlighting the financial inaccessibility of these expensive tests and the ways the testing requirement disqualifies financially disadvantaged students. 

Despite the continued advocacy of students for test optional admissions policies, the University of Maryland continues to require submission of ACT or SAT scores as a part of the application for admission. 

For more information on the history of undergraduate admissions at the University of Maryland and the debate over standardized testing, take a look at our Course Catalogs  and Student Newspaper Database or visit us in Hornbake Library!

Also, check out these admissions materials from 1970 to 2011!

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“There She Is…Miss Maryland”

miss america crown For many years, the signature song “There She Is, Miss America” concluded the nation’s most well-known beauty pageant, the 93-year-old Miss America competition. Although such contests spotlighting women’s physical appearance have been re-directed to emphasize contestants’ artistic accomplishments, talent, and personal philosophies and have a lower profile in the 21st century, the mystique of the Miss America pageant persists.

As part of a major update to our MAC to Millennium: University of Maryland A to Z website in summer 2019, we have added a list of all the UMD students/alumnae who have been crowned Miss Maryland and represented the state on the national stage to the site. The first Miss Maryland to attend UMD was Marie Lorraine True (Evans), who won the crown in 1959. The most recent was Adrianna David, crowned in 2018. Visit Miss Maryland on the MAC to Millennium site to find the full list.

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Perhaps one day Miss Maryland will reach the pinnacle of the Miss America competition. It could even be tonight! The broadcast begins at 8 PM Eastern Time  on NBC. When it does happen, wouldn’t it be awesome if Miss Maryland was a Terrapin??!!

HIST 429F On Display

MD Day poster_intro panel_071615

At the end of October, the University Archives installed a new display of a selection of the posters created by past HIST 429F students in the Portico Room (Room 2109) in McKeldin Library. University Archives staff has taught HIST 429F, whose formal title is Special Topics in History: MAC to Millennium: History of the University of Maryland, each spring semester since 2014 and will welcome a new crop of Terps interested in learning about their alma mater in January 2020.

Each semester, the students are assigned three major projects, an analysis of an historical item, a poster on a UMD historical topic, prepared as a team effort, and a final research paper documenting a year in the life of the university through the eyes of a senior in that graduating class. Sample blog posts prepared as part of the first assignment can be found here on Terrapin Tales by searching the tag “historical item analysis.”

Examples of the posters from these past student cohorts now on display include:

  • Haunted UMD, Spring 2014, Amanda Laughlin, Nicole Main, and Adina Schulman
  • ACC-ya: 61 years of men’s basketball, Spring 2014, Kelsey Knoche, Sapna Khemka, and Brooke Parker
  • Breaking Barriers, Spring 2015, Jenny Hottle, Talia Richman, and Jamie Weissman
  • The Great Fire of 1912, Spring 2015, Dylan French, Christophe Istsweire, and Tyler North
  • Sights on McKeldin Mall, Spring 2017, Samantha Waldenberg, James Wallenmeyer, and Jay Westreich
  • Where Do I Park?, Spring 2017, Eric Segev and Tim Holzberg
  • “There’s Something Happening Here”: The National Guard at the University of Maryland, 1970-1972, Spring 2017, Ian Bucacink, Alan Wierdak, and Adam Levey
  • History of the University of Maryland Student Government Association, Spring 2018, Chris Keosian and Alex Flum
  • A Royal Visit, Spring 2019, Caralyn Anderson and Wes Brown


The Queen's Game Poster_2019

The posters will remain on view in the Portico Room (Room 2109) in McKeldin until summer 2020.

Stop by to enjoy our students’ creativity and expertise. If you are a Terp looking for a spring course, we hope you will be inspired to join us on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4:30 PM to learn more about the history of the University of Maryland. A general description of the course appears below. Hope to see you in class!




            Through an extensive review of primary documents and secondary literature, lectures, and guest presentations, students will gain an overview of the history of the University of Maryland, from its founding as the Maryland Agricultural College in 1856 to the present day.  This class will frequently require you to visit the University of Maryland Archives in Hornbake Library to review primary sources or to examine sources online that the Archives has digitized and is heavily research-based. The majority of the class sessions will consist of two parts. The instructor will lecture and lead discussion on the assigned topic for the week and the required readings during the first half of the class.  The second portion of most weekly sessions will feature a guest speaker who will present his/her/their perspective on the assigned topic for the week; as of mid-September, speakers who have committed to present include Missy Meharg, head field hockey coach, Marilee Lindemann, director of College Park Scholars, Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, Director of The Stamp, and former USM Chancellor Brit Kirwan.

Assignments consist of:

  • Poster creation and presentation—30%. Students will work in groups to create a poster exploring an event or theme in university history which will be presented in class and displayed on Maryland Day.
  • Historical item analysis assignment—15%. Each student will be assigned an item from the University Archives’ collections to analyze by responding to a series of questions and preparing a brief entry for the Archives’ Terrapin Tales blog.
  • Year in the Life of Maryland—35%. The final paper (10-12 pages) will consist of a series of letters written from the perspective of a senior student in an assigned academic year. Research into the events of that academic year will shape the content of the letters.

The remainder of the grade for the class will consist of points awarded for class participation and attendance and successful completion of weekly reading assignments.

Questions about this class may be directed to the instructor: Anne Turkos, University Archivist Emerita, 301-405-9060 or aturkos@umd.edu

Testudo dedication 1


Honoring UMD Veterans

Today, Veterans Day 2019, we honor all members of the University of Maryland community who have served in the armed forces, past and present, but we also wanted to share some special veterans with you.

Roll of Honor


The names of over 200 brave Terps who lost their lives in service to our country are recorded in the Memorial Chapel’s Roll of Honor, which is preserved in the University Archives. You can view the digital copy of this beautiful ledger in University AlbUM.



The university also counts two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, Florent Groberg and Tom Norris, among its alumni.

U.S. Army Captain Groberg, Class of 2006, was honored for his life-saving actions as the commander of a security detachment in Task Force Mountain Warrior in Afghanistan in 2012; you can read his medal citation here. Forty years earlier, Navy Lt. Tom Norris, Class of 1967, led a five-man patrol in Quang Tri Province in Vietnam to rescue two downed American pilots.; you can find his citation and a video about his military career here. The bravery and courage of both men have been recorded in recently published books, 8 Seconds of Courage and Saving Bravo.


Finally, while working on our forthcoming update to the Alumni of Note list included in MAC to Millennium: University of Maryland A to Z, we found a few additional, very special veterans we wanted to highlight:

Robert Sinclair Booth, Class of 1936, was the first University of Maryland student killed in World War II.  He was aboard the USS Arizona when it was attacked and sunk at Pearl Harbor.  The Navy honored Ensign Booth by naming the USS Booth, a destroyer escort vessel, in his memory.

USS Booth in Truk Lagoon, October 27, 1945


Richard Durkee, Class of 1959, was a highly decorated veteran of Army service in World War II and Korea. One of the few survivors of the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, he also was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, for heroism during an attack near Uijongbu, Korea. You can find more about his military accomplishments in his obituary from the Washington Post.

code girls


Ann White Kurtz, who received her M.A. (1951) and Ph.D. (1956) from Maryland, was an early member of the Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services) who worked as a decoder to intercept and read messages sent by the Nazis during World War II and helped to break the code of the Germans’ Enigma machine. A  2018 article published by Kurtz’s undergraduate alma mater, Wellesley College, details some of her wartime experience, and her story is also included in the 2017 book Code Girls by Liza Mundy.

We thank each of the brave men and women from the University of Maryland for their service and honor them this day and always.




New UMD Story Map Unveiled

Today, in partnership with the University of Maryland Libraries’ GIS and Spatial Data center, we debut a new story map entitled “From MAC to UMD: How the University of Maryland became the campus we know today.” This new online resource visually chronicles the development of the UMD campus from its earliest days as the Maryland Agricultural College to the present. Terrapin Tales welcomes Story Map author and guest blogger Caitlin Burke, a former graduate assistant in the GIS and Spatial Data center, to describes her research process and the technology she used to create this exciting new UMD history resource. We hope you enjoy Caitlin’s post and the extensive story map she created.

story map top pageAs someone who works with and creates maps, I know maps can tell various stories. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Maps can do the same, especially looking at maps of the same location from different decades. In this project, I looked at old campus maps starting from when the University of Maryland (UMD) was Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) to tell the story of how the campus changed since its charter in 1856.

The creation of this story map took up much of my summer. My former supervisor, Dr. Kelley O’Neal, suggested I create a map that all of campus could enjoy. In the GIS library, I am known as the “story map person,” and I helped create story maps for the 2018-2019 Prange Collection exhibit and the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein for the English Department. Kelley told me about University Archives’ digitized campus maps, so I thought that I could create a story map that shows how the UMD campus changed from a small, rural, 19th-century agricultural college to a large public university in the 21st century.

When I first started coming up with ideas for the map, I thought that this project might only show a few maps and could be finished quickly, but I realized that there was much more to this project. The University Archives digital repository, University AlbUM, has a TON of old campus maps, old aerial photos, and landscape scenery images that illustrate how the campus has changed over time.

caitlin first map
Map of the University of Maryland campus, 1934.

This story map was going to be bigger than I initially thought. I included so much material, but there was so much more that could have been added. However, the story map focuses on landscape, architectural and some social change. Because there is so much history for UMD, there could probably be a story map created for each decade since 1856.

I used ArcGIS, a geographic information software owned by Esri, to create the UMD story map.  For this project, I used their online platform, ArcGIS Online. UMD has a partnership with Esri, so students and faculty can get access to free ArcGIS accounts. If you’re interested in using this tool, visit the GIS and Spatial Data Center’s website for more information, instruction and tutorials.

With this story map, I wanted to show that our campus is constantly changing. New buildings and old are updated with modern technology and features, and they are made to be more suitable for students and faculty of the modern era. In the map, I cover monumental events that affected the Maryland Agricultural College, the Maryland State College of Agriculture, as the university was known from 1916 to 1920, and the University of Maryland, from 1920 to the present. Some highlights include the Great Fire of 1912, the construction of some most-recognized buildings in the 1950s, and the building boom in the 2000s.

caitlin second image
Maryland Agricultural College campus prior to the fire of 1912.

As I was creating the map, I was interested to learn about UMD’s affiliation with military training. I have always known that there is a large population of students involved in ROTC, but I didn’t know this predated World War II. The Maryland Agricultural College benefitted greatly from the Morrill Act, signed by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, that required colleges and universities designated as land grant institutions to have mandatory military training to receive federal funding. ROTC wasn’t even established until World War I! To be honest, I am more interested in art history than military history, but it was fascinating to learn how involved my university is with American history.

As a UMD alum and current graduate student, this story map was very fun to create. I learned so many interesting facts about UMD from University Archives librarians Anne Turkos and Kendall Aughenbaugh that I was surprised I had not ever heard in my five years of attending UMD. Also, I could spend a whole week going through University AlbUM, the Archives’ digital repository. There are so many interesting photos of various events and people that you get lost in wondering what it would have been like to be on campus decades ago. After working on this project, I pay more attention to details on older buildings. As I walk through campus, the old architectural features and characteristics of the older campus buildings stand out to me more. After going through the story map, maybe you will notice them too.

To view the new story map, <click here>.


Testudo II: An Amazing Creature

Champions All
“Champions All” in Hornbake Library

All Terps are familiar with the bronze statues of our mascot Testudo that dot the campus, as well as the brown, furry Testudo who entertains the crowds at athletic and other campus events. Then, of course, there’s also the gaily decorated turtles that remain from the university’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2006 sprinkled here and there, including the UMD Archives’ very own “Champions All” here in Hornbake:

Many members of the campus community even know that the real Testudo, the live diamondback terrapin that was used as the model for the original bronze statue, the one that stands in front of McKeldin Library, has been taxidermied and mounted on a board and resides in the University Archives.

Real Testudo head on

But perhaps the most amazing representation of Testudo was the mobile version known as Testudo II.

mechanical testudo_1968 yearbook
Image of Testudo II from the 1968 Terrapin yearbook.

This crazy creature, constructed in 1965, was the brainchild of the Student Government Association. The Executive Committee was looking for ways to increase school spirit on campus and allocated $3400 from SGA’s annual budget to fund the project. Some members of the campus community initially objected to the cost, deeming the project a waste of money, but student leaders pushed ahead, and Testudo II made his debut at a pep rally and bonfire on December 3, 1965, the night before the annual football game with rival Penn State and the home opener for the men’s basketball team vs. Wake Forest.

Testudo II DBK 12 06 1965_crop
Coverage of Testudo II’s debut from the December 6, 1965, Diamondback.

He made his first appearance on national television the following day at the football game, when he rode around the track inside Byrd Stadium at halftime.

Testudo II was 15 feet long and approximately 6 feet high, and his shell measured 10 feet across. The firm Art Designer’s, Inc., in Arlington, VA, constructed the terrapin, which was water-proof, using a Triumph TR-3 roadster as the base. They chose this vehicle since it was lower to the ground than a Volkswagon Beetle or a Fiat, the original possibilities, and had a better frame and acceleration.

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Following his December 1965 debut, Testudo II continued to appear at local events like Homecoming and even traveled on the road with the Terps, appearing, for example, in the Oyster Bowl parade in Norfolk, VA, in 1968 and the Peach Bowl parade in Atlanta, GA, in 1973.

Mechanical Testudo_1973 Peach Bowl_Betsy Turner
Testudo II in the parade for the December 28, 1973, Peach Bowl.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to determine the fate of this fabulous creation, but we assume he disappeared sometime in the 1970s. If any of our readers know what happened to Testudo II, please let us know at umdarchives@umd.edu, or leave us a comment here on Terrapin Tales.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to re-create this amazing Testudo? Come on, students in the Clark School of Engineering, we challenge you to make this happen! We bet you could even get some support from Maryland Athletics…