MAC Music Returns to Campus

A few months ago, the University Archives received a very special additioncadet2step to our collections: a copy of the original song, the “MAC Cadet Two Step.” It is the oldest published UMD song, dating from 1897! The only other copy of it that’s known to exist is at the Library of Congress, and the song is among the oldest pieces of copyrighted music in its collections.

The song was written by Ira E. Whitehill, an accomplished Maryland Agricultural College student and member of the Mandolin Ensemble.  The student-run club was created in the 1896-1897 school year, but it really didn’t hit its stride until Whitehill,   the only member of the original group who returned to campus the following year, assumed his role as director that fall. His “quick musical insight” allowed him to assemble the highest quality musical talent from among the cadets, aiming to create a group that would be an “honor to the college and to themselves.” That year, the ensemble was lauded by the Reveille (the MAC yearbook) as a “remarkable advancement” from the previous year’s attempt.

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The first Mandolin Ensemble        Whitehill seated second from left

Whitehill went on to compose many other songs,  including the comedic “College Hash” and the “Reveille March and Two-Step,”  which was written to honor The Reveille yearbook. Both songs were featured in the commencement exercises of 1899.

The most recent performance of the “MAC Cadet Two-Step” took place in 2015 at L. Richmond Sparks’ retirement concert. You can listen to the lively tune here. Another very special rendition was part of the half-time show at Homecoming in 2008, celebrating the band’s 100th anniversary; you can find this on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/0UWZcm_LGBs.

Ira Whitehill’s dedication to his craft and his school set a precedent for future student-run organizations. He not only built a lasting example for future installments of the Mandolin Ensemble, but he also created a wonderful piece of University of Maryland history that will now remain on campus for many years to come.

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Recent Acquisition: Alpha Tau Omega Petition

01_coverKeeping a record of student life throughout campus history has long been one of the primary missions of the University of Maryland Archives. Part of that goal is the effort to collect as much history and documentation from active student groups as we can, including the numerous Greek organizations on campus. Recently, the children of alumnus Harry Hasslinger, the first president of Alpha Tau Omega at Maryland, donated the original petition to formally establish a chapter of Alpha Tau Omega on Maryland’s campus. The petition was drafted in 1930, and the Epsilon Gamma chapter of ATO was formally established on campus that same year, making it the 11th recognized fraternity at the University of Maryland.

This document tells us a lot about student life at Maryland in the early 20th century 02_thefraternityand serves as an example of how new fraternities are created. The cover of the petition states that it was authored by “Delta Psi Omega.” This was the local chapter that later became the Epsilon Gamma chapter of Alpha Tau Omega. Local chapters are small organizations that exist on one campus and have no national network or affiliations. Delta Psi Omega was created in 1920 with, as the petition tells us, the goals of “promoting true college spirit, a high standard of scholarship, a sincere interest in personal welfare and happiness of each other, and of cultivating lasting friendships, creating and maintaining true brotherly love and fidelity, and perpetuating it as a fraternity.” In 1930, the local chapter president, Harry Hasslinger, asked for partnership and union with Alpha Tau Omega, as their mission aligned most closely with that of the brothers of Delta Psi Omega.

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The petition includes information about campus history, such as the university’s financial statement from 1929 and descriptions of other social, honorary and women’s fraternities. We can also view photographs of buildings around campus and see how campus has physically changed in the intervening years. Some buildings, like Gerneaux Hall, have either changed dramatically or no longer exist. The photo of Byrd Stadium is the old Byrd Stadium, which stood where Fraternity Row is now. There’s also a shot of the “Engineering Building,” which may look more familiar to many of you as Taliaferro Hall.

The brothers included a photo of the then-Delta Psi Omega house in the petition, and we have since learned that Alpha Tau Omega still occupies that same house nearly 90 years later! Bob Nichols, the Associate Director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, told us that the house underwent a major renovation after this photo was taken and was re-clad with brick. Now, the Alpha Tau Omega house matches the other surrounding university buildings (and other fraternity and sorority houses) on the outside, but the inside is still very similar to what is pictured in the petition. In fact, the parlor still has the same basic configuration, and the grandfather clock seen in that photo is still one of the Epsilon Gamma chapter’s most prized possessions.

After a brief period off-campus in the 1990s, a group of dedicated Alpha Tau Omega alumni worked to re-charter the chapter at Maryland and re-instill the organization’s intense values of leadership.  In the years since being re-chartered, the Epsilon Gamma chapter of Alpha Tau Omega has become quite a dominant force in Greek life at UMD. They are the only chapter to have received the President’s Cup for Top Chapter more than twice – they’ve actually won the award 6 times in the last 12 years. The men of Alpha Tau Omega were also recognized by the National Interfraternity Conference in 2009 as the Best Chapter of any fraternity in America.

Documents like this petition are enlightening for a number of reasons, and not just to people interested in or involved with Greek life. These kinds of records help to tell a more complete story of student life, which is extremely important in remembering and keeping the history of any college or university. If you’re in a fraternity or sorority at Maryland, feel free to come and visit the archives. We may have some information you’ve never seen before about your organization, or you may be in possession of significant records or photographs that should be preserved. Feel free to open the conversation with us about taking care of your chapter’s history! We’d be more than glad to help where we can!

If you’d like to review the entire petition, click here!!

Rock Around the Clock!

In the fall of 2016, the UMD Archives received a terrific addition to the documentation of a landmark event in Terrapin football history, the January 2, 1956, Orange Bowl game vs. Oklahoma. UMD alumnus and former marching band member Carleton Weidemeyer donated the band’s halftime playlist and charts for the formations the band created on the field during the show. Featured tunes included “Yellow Rose of Texas,” “Wake the Town,” and “Rock Around the Clock,” and the band exited the field playing the “Maryland, My Maryland” march. The charts, shown here, capture the intricate and complicated shapes, made more complex with the addition of motion to some of the formations.

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1956-orange-bowl-vs-oklahomaMr. Weidemeyer’s gift complements the other materials the Archives has about this historic game, including the game day program and media relations file, a felt pennants, newspaper clippings, photographs, and footage from the game which you can view here as part of the highlights from the 1955 football season.

The UMD Archives is grateful to Mr. Weidemeyer for his donation, which helps re-create a special moment in Terrapin athletic history, 61 years ago today!

Maryland Done a “Dirty Deal”

Ruth Finzel-cropAccording to the diary of 1930’s coed, Ruth Finzel, recently donated to the University of Maryland Archives, the Aggies football team got a “dirty deal” in their loss to the Naval Academy Middies 86 years ago today at Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

The Crab Bowl, as it is presently known, was played on November 22, 1930.  Notable attendees at the game included Charles F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy, Albert E. Ritchie, Maryland Governor, Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador, and Rear Adm. S.S. Robinson, Naval Academy Superintendent.  By many accounts, the 1930 game proved to be the first competitive contest of the series, with Navy scoring the only points on the second play of the game. The remaining 58 minutes were a defensive struggle

Here’s Ruth’s account of that football showdown:

“Norma, Jake, Morselly, Jane Smith and I went with Ruth Gilbert to the Navy game.  The girls wore chrysanthemums and ribbons to it [sic].  The traffic was terrible and Ruth was driving like wild.  Smacked into someone and nearly upset [sic] another time.  Parked way off.  Lost 6-0 by a dirty deal.  Kennedy came down with me for the last 10 minutes of the game and walked out with me.  He’s so cute.  I told him about my Iota Nu Delta date, so he told me about his.  I’m glad he had a punk time.  Went to bed early.

The dirty deal to which Ruth refers?  Check out the account of the game in The Diamondback: “Byrdmen Beaten by Kirn Plus Ten Men in Annapolis Fracas.  Adverse Decision Turns Possible Triumph into Defeat”

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This was the latest installment of an intense football rivalry  between two institutions close in proximity (30 miles) but many miles apart in cultural and institutional differences.  Play began in 1905, ended abruptly 60 years later, but was renewed in 2005.  Losing the first 8 games, Maryland finally won in 1931, the season after Ruth graduated.  One of the highlights of this long series is the September 30, 1951, game at which Byrd Stadium, now known as Maryland Stadium, was dedicated. The Terps topped the Middies, 35-21, that day, and UMD Heisman Trophy runner-up Jack Scarbath scored the first touchdown in the new stadium. A total of 21 games have been played with an overall record of 14 Navy wins to Maryland’s 7.

Jack Scarbath 1st touchdown in Byrd
Scarbath scores!

Historically, the in-state rivalry was fueled by what some young men perceived as the coeds’ attraction to nattily-attired Midshipmen in their handsome uniforms over the more typical casual appearance and behavior of men on the Maryland campus.  There was also an enduring grudge borne out of a single-finger gesture made by a Maryland linebacker after tackling Navy QB Roger Staubach, during a narrow Maryland victory, 27-22, in 1964.  Consequently, the Maryland-Navy competition was suspended for 40 years by Navy.

Here’s a selection of program covers from some of our contests against the Middies:

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We post this today, on the 86th anniversary of this special day in Ruth’s life, and encourage you to check back for future snapshots of this era in UMD history! You can find her account of the 1930 May Day fun with Zingaree and the Gypsies here.

Student Life in the 1870s–new acquisition

“As a general thing we have stale bread, butter & meat (beef) that is hardly fit to eat, for breakfast.” So reported Maryland Agricultural College student Percy Davidson in a March 6, 1871, letter home to his mother, recently donated to the UMD Archives. Some things never change–like college students complaining about the food in the dining hall…

Davidson’s comment and a number of other interesting observations really capture what life was like at the Agricultural College in the early 1870s. He reports on student dress, his daily study routine, and his efforts to avoid “boys that I think would injure my good morals.” Davidson also asks his mother to send some “eatibles,” another necktie for Sundays, and a pair of slippers and comments on previous news from home.

Such early student commentary is rare, so this brief letter is especially valuable, and the UMD Archives is delighted to add this gem to its collections.

Try your hand at reading the letter. If you struggle a bit, the transcription appears below.

You can also stop by the Archives during our open hours and see the letter in person. Hope you will pop in soon.

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Md. Agrl. College

Feb. March 6, 1871

My Dear Mamma

I received your letter a few moments ago I hasten to answer it.

I have two neckties but one is hardly fit for use & I should like very much to have another one for Sundays.

Papa told me when he was out here that I was looking badly & attributes it to want of exercise, but I think the reason is that we never get a change of diet, we have the same thing over & over again, & sometimes dont [sic] get enough of what we do have. It is a very rare thing for the butter or vegetables to pass around. As a general thing we have stale bread, butter & meat (beef) that is hardly fit to eat, for breakfast.

As I do not drink tea or coffee Mrs. Regester gives me a glass of milk for breakfast & supper.

We have supper at 5 o’clock & the bell rings at 6 to study. I study until about 9 1/2 or 10, but I never stay up later unless I have a harder lesson than usual to study, but since Dr. Regester has stopped us from using lamps or candles after the bell rings to go to bed I never stay up later than 10.

Boys hardly ever congregate in my room especially bad boys. I never voluntarily associate with boys that I think would injure my good morals.

I hope I have answered your questions satisfactorily for I have told you nothing but the plain truth, Mamma.

I would like very much to have the eatibles that you mentioned & also some hard-tack & anything at all that would be the most convenient for you to get, but please don’t put yourself to any extra trouble for me, for I expect my visit home will compensate for anything that I dont [sic] get out here.

I would like to have a pair of slippers to put on in the morning when I get up  & at night while I am studying.

Most of the boys out here have got them.

Sister told me in one of her letters that you had a tremendous Newfoundland but she didn’t tell me its name or anything about it. Has sister got her little dog still. Tell Papa I received my suit of clothes a few days ago & they fit me splendidly. I have now got good suits of clothes including my uniform. I am glad to hear that Frankie talks & maybe he will send me a message soon.

I hope when you move you will be able to get a better house than the one which you now occupy for I know you are tired of being all cramped up.

Hoping to be with you soon & anticipating a happy meeting I remain your devoted son

Percy Davidson

 

 

 

A Tiny Treasure

charles-berry-diaryIt’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.

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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!

 

What in the heck is a minikin?

There’s a fascinating new post on the Hornbake Special Collections blog today about minikins and their connection to the University of Maryland College of Home Economics? Find out what in the heck a minikin is and the full story at https://hornbakelibrary.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/minikins-miss-dot-sr-and-miss-dot-jr-return-to-campus-after-a-half-century/

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Two Turtles?

Did you know the University Archives’ collections actually contain two turtles? One, of course, is our beloved model for the original statue of Testudo. The other is a huge hawksbill turtle that was a gift to the University  from  J.L. Enyart, Captain and Commanding Officer of the Naval Medical School on April 19, 1952, before a lacrosse game between UMD and Navy.

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Captain Enyart presenting his turtle.

This turtle originally resided in the Gossett Football Team House, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics transferred it to the Archives prior to one of the facility’s renovations.

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For a long time, the only clues the Archives staff had about the origins of the turtle were the small brass plate inside the turtle’s case noting Captain Enyart’s name and the date of his gift and the photograph above. Fortunately UMD journalism and iSchool alumnus Rob Garner was intrigued by this amazing specimen and volunteered to help us track down the story behind this 64-year-old gift.

Rob turned out to be quite the sleuth! He managed to find Capt. John Enyart’s son living in Florida several years ago, who told him:

“In the 1930s, the family happened to live in Guam.  Naturally, that area of the world has some strange wildlife in comparison to what we have around here.  Captain Enyart would collect the turtles’ shells, some of which could reach upwards of two or three feet in size.

Fast forward a few years to the 1950s.  The Enyarts live in the D.C. area, now that Capt. Enyart heads the Naval Medical School.  The Enyarts were evidently fans of the school; both father and son (according to John Jr.) did graduate course work here.  Knowing the school’s affinity for all things turtle, Enyart Sr. asked himself why he was keeping this turtle from Guam in his garage, where it took up space and didn’t do anybody any good.  So, some conversation took place between Enyart Sr. and the University, which resulted in the presentation at the lacrosse game (in 1952).”

The Archives loves a happy ending.  Thanks to Rob for tracking down the answer!!!

Ruth Finzel’s May Day Folly

Ruth Finzel-cropThe University of Maryland Archives recently received the 1930 handwritten diary of Ruth M. Finzel (Class of 1931), of Mt. Savage, MD. In it, she shares her experiences as a co-ed in the College of Education, living in the newly constructed Alpha Omega Pi house on College Avenue and as an active participant in the Y.W.C.A. and women’s non-varsity sports, such as tennis, basketball, bowling at College Park lanes, and soccer. The University Archives staff has transcribed the diary and will be sharing excerpts from Ruth’s chronicles in future blog posts.

We begin with May Day, a popular spring tradition that played an important role on campus during Ruth’s era.  May Day festivities (1923-1961) were first established by Dean of Women Adele Stamp.  They included an elaborate pageant with costumes, a theme such as “Nursery Rhymes, “Neptune, Ruler of the Sea,” “Rip Van Winkle,” and “Famous Lovers,” dancing around the Maypole, and the crowning of a queen and her court. The junior women worked many months creating the handmade invitations and costumes to honor the seniors.

Ruth and her AOPi sorority sisters attended numerous rehearsals on the lawn starting in April to prepare for the occasion.  Their heightened interest was inspired by the fact that her sorority sister, Evalyn Ridout (Arts & Sciences, Annapolis, MD), was to be crowned May Day Queen. All the junior women spent many hours creating the handmade invitations and festive costumes that captured the Zingaree, the Gypsy theme for the year.

1930 May Day invitation and program

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The morning of May Day began with rain but fortunately cleared in time for the ceremony. Pictured here, Queen Evalyn Ridout  is accompanied by her four attendants:

univarch-055040-0001Left to Right:=
Alice (Curry) Nourse, Educ., Davidsonville, MD, Kappa Kappa Gamma
Isabel Dynes, Home Economics, Chevy Chase, MD, Alpha Ypsilon Chi
Isabel (Izzy) Bewick, Education, Cumberland, MD, Kappa Delta
Roberta Harrison, Education, Washington, DC, Chi Omega

 Ruth writes:

“Rained off & on but finally cleared up so we had May Day.  It was a gypsy theme and fairly good.  Evalyn Ridout was May Queen with Izzy Bewick, Isabel Dynes, Curry Nourse, & Roberta Harrison as maids.

Went to the Chorus recital with Marguerite & Helen & nearly had hysterics over a woman who sang.”

We post this today, on the 86th anniversary of this special day in Ruth’s life, and encourage you to check back for future snapshots of this era in UMD history! Enjoy these additional photos of Zingaree and the gypsies.

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Gridiron Memories

The University Archives recently acquired an exciting new piece of Terrapin football history: the program from the Maryland vs. Michigan State game on October 7, 1950.

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This 34-7 drubbing is the only triumph over the Spartans to date and was a landmark victory for head coach Jim Tatum in his fourth season at the helm.

Here’s a full account of the game from the 1951 Terrapin yearbook:

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We are excited to have the program to add to the Archives to commemorate this very special moment in B1G Terrapin football history! Stop by Hornbake Library and check out the other programs in our collection, dating back to 1923.