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/


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.

Gift of Hawksbill Turtle-small
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.

Hawksbill Turtle-small


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


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.

MD vs Michigan State_fball_1950_crop

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:

MD vs Michigan State_1951 yrbk_p282

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.



New Find! 1954 Orange Bowl Tickets

It’s been proven that processioning the President’s Office files of Curley Byrd can be full of surprises. For example, yesterday we came across these nearly pristine 1954 Orange Bowl tickets in a folder titled “Orange Bowl Ticket Requests For Game on January 1, 1954.” It was exciting to see that these tickets were saved, but the fact that they were kept in such great condition was a huge bonus.

The 1954 Orange Bowl game was played against Oklahoma on New Year’s day. The Terps ended up losing the game by the score of 7-0. Luckily though, the game was played after Maryland finished their regular season undefeated and had already been crowned national champions in 1953.   

New research source

The UMD Libraries are pleased to announce the availability of a new electronic resource, the historical files of The Evening Star, the newspaper of record for Washington, DC, for the years 1852 to 1922. Articles in the database are full-text and fully searchable. Published under such titles as Washington Star-News and The Washington Star, this long-running daily afternoon newspaper was one of the highest profile publications in the United States.

Evening Star Homepage
A screen shot of the Evening Star search page

The UMD Archives is particularly pleased that this resource has been added to the very long list of the Libraries’ searchable databases, since the Star contains a great deal of coverage of activities at the Maryland Agricultural College and the University of Maryland.

You may access the database through the UMD Libraries’ Research Port at http://researchport.umd.edu/databases&id=UMD08554.

Ralph Tyser, Recipient of the first “Key to the Campus”

Recently we acquired two interesting pieces of University of Maryland history, including the very first “key to the campus,” which was presented to alumnus Ralph Tyser on May 22, 1992. The item that accompanied the key was Ralph Tyser’s original University of Maryland diploma from 1940.

Continue reading “Ralph Tyser, Recipient of the first “Key to the Campus””

6x6 Testudo created by Donna Johnson's 7th grade Math class, Glenwood MS.

Larger Than Life: Testudo’s Travels in Glenwood

On the Friday before Christmas the University Archives visited Donna Johnson’s 7th grade math class at Glenwood MS in Glenwood, Maryland, in order to pick up a very special donation.

6x6 Testudo created by Donna Johnson's 7th grade Math class, Glenwood MS.
6×6 Testudo created by Donna Johnson’s 7th grade Math class, Glenwood MS.

Mrs. Johnson’s students had created a 6X6 larger-than-lifesize Testudo using only a small image they found on the web and their amazing math skills.  When they contacted the university to see if they could donate their work, we were more than happy to accept.

Glenwood MS math students signing the deed of gift, thereby learning the importance of always reading the fine print.
Glenwood MS math students signing the deed of gift, thereby learning the importance of always reading the fine print.

While visiting we showed the students how the image of Testudo has changed many times since his arrival in 1933, and we shared some pizza while all of the students took turns signing the Deed of Gift. We also encouraged the students to come see the original Testudo (the once-live-now-taxidermied diamondback terrapin that was the model for the statue) in April on Maryland Day.

We’ve brought Testudo back home, but are still working on the best way to display this wonderful piece of math & art without risking undue damage.  Our sincere thanks to Glenwood Principal David Brown, Donna Johnson, and the wonderful students we met–Jared, Jake, Jim Bob, Taylor, & Julie, and to students J.T. & Chase who worked on the project but weren’t able to meet us that day. We hope to have them visit us soon, and eventually to become undergraduate Terps!

The students and Mrs. Johnson (second from left) pose with Testudo.
The students, Mrs. Johnson (second from left), and aide Linda Brown pose with Testudo and the original drawing the students worked from. Great job all!!!