Historical Item Analysis: Board of Trustees Minutes

When you think about the cool historical items housed in the University Archives, maybe you think about the original Testudo or the old freshmen beanies. You probably don’t think that meeting minutes would be that exciting. However, these notes often tell us a great deal about the history of the university, with some Maryland-famous cameos to boot.

trustees minutes pageOne example of such a collection is the minutes of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Agricultural College (the institution which ultimately became present-day UMD) from 1912 to 1916. Picking up only days after the fire that destroyed the two largest buildings on campus, the minutes provide valuable insight into the mindset of the campus community, and their resolve to continue with their educational mission. The minutes record that “…the sentiment and great desire of the students, patrons, and Professors was that the work should go on uninterrupted if possible…”

Careful readers will also recognize the names of H. J. Patterson, who was president of the college from 1913 to 1917 and whose name now graces a building on the Mall, and one “Mr. Byrd,” athletics enthusiast and later university president Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, who succeeded in getting the Board to agree to pay for the replacement of college athletic gear lost in the fire out of the university’s insurance funds. The minutes also mention the Trustees’ resolution, apparently without much incident, to allow women to take college classes, and the Board’s condemnation of hazing, which was punishable by expulsion. This last issue is especially illuminating in terms of illustrating how issues that were relevant on campus over 100 years ago remain so today.

You can find the entire run of the Trustees’ minutes during this four-year period online in University AlbUM to learn more about the college’s recovery from the devastating 1912 fire and its progress toward becoming the University of Maryland.

This is the third in a series of blog posts prepared by students in the current HIST 429F: History of the University of Maryland class taught by University Archivist Anne Turkos and Assistant University Archivist Jason Speck. Each of the students was assigned an historical item to analyze by responding to a series of six questions. They were also required to submit a brief blog post as the concluding portion of their assignment. We will be featuring some of these blog posts and the items the students reviewed for the remainder of the semester, so check back frequently for more of the HIST 429F student projects.

What’s in a Name?

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Marie Mount, c. 1940-1950

On this day in 1967, the Board of Regents voted to rename Margaret Brent Hall at the eastern end of McKeldin Mall for Marie Mount, who came to campus in 1919 as the head of the Department of Home and Institution Management and served as the dean of the College of Home Economics from 1925 until her death in 1957, with “quiet dedication and unswerving loyalty,” as the Board noted at the time of her passing.  The building was constructed in 1940, and it was originally named Margaret Brent Hall after the colonial Marylander who was the first American woman to request  the right to vote.

UMD President Wilson Elkins noted in a tribute to Dean Mount that he was

“impressed by her quiet efficiency, her ability to carry out the duties assigned to the office of the Dean and, above all, her ability to inspire confidence. She had an abundance of common sense which was apparent to all who sough her judgment on important questions.”

The re-naming came at the request of a group of alumni from the college who felt strongly that Miss Mount’s legacy should be honored in a very visible way.

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Request for re-naming, 1966

At one time, Miss Mount supposedly lived in the building in a special dean’s apartment there.  She was much loved by her students, and University President Wilson Elkins declared in a 1957 memorial to the dean that “The character of Marie Mount will live forever.”

Dean Marie Mount does just that.  Night watchmen and building inhabitants in the late 1970s reported sensing other-worldly presences, doors opening and shutting on their own, toilets flushing when no one was there, and matches blowing out when all the doors and windows were closed.  Could these activities be Dean Mount reminding us of her everlasting presence? It’s said that on dark and stormy nights, as the wind blows through the building, and the rain pounds on the window panes, she can be heard vigorously playing a piano. Next big thunderstorm, Marie Mount Hall is the place to be!

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Marie Mount Hall

 

LGBTQ+ Activism in The Diamondback

In conjunction with the ongoing University Archives exhibit of pivotal moments in the history of LGBTQ+ activism at the University of Maryland, this installment in our #digiDBK series features Diamondback coverage of LGBTQ+ issues and achievements. Campus activism for LBGTQ+ rights began with the Student Homophile Association’s fight for funding and recognition in the 1960s and 1970s. Students fought to add sexual orientation to the university’s 1976 Human Relations Code, which was modified in 1998. Due to the tireless work of community advocates, the University of Maryland is now considered one of the most welcoming campuses in the United States.[1]

2.17.92 Queer Nation Kiss-InDiamondback coverage of LGBTQ+ issues includes reporting on student activism such as the Queer Nation Kiss-In in 1992. On Valentine’s Day, one week after the Human Relations Committee of the University Senate unanimously voted to amend the Human Relations Code to include the term “sexual orientation,” Queer Nation staged a “kiss-in.” [2] Ten couples from the activist group announced the formation of their organization by kissing in front of the Student Union and Hardee’s. Twenty other LGBTQ+ couples supported them by blowing whistles and cheering.  Although the University Senate committee had already unanimously adopted the inclusive amendment, The Diamondback’s documentation of the variety of student reactions to the demonstration the following Monday demonstrated the campus climate at the time.  Some students described the kiss-in as a slap in the face and “totally gross and distasteful,” while others claimed that “[Non-heterosexual people] have just as much right to love as anyone else does.” Members of Queer Nation such as Meaghan O’Keefe responded in The Diamondback that now was the time for activism because they had been “apologetic far too long.”

“We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it!” – Queer Nation motto, chanted by student members at the Valentine’s Day Kiss-In

Continue reading “LGBTQ+ Activism in The Diamondback”

UMD123: 33

Thirty-three represents the number of previous presidents of the University of Maryland

Since its founding in 1856, the present-day University of Maryland, College Park, has operated under three different monikers and numerous forms of administration, but one thing has remained constant: a single person has been tasked with running the show. Dr. Wallace Loh heads just the 34th administration to guide the university, and our UMD123 number today recognizes the 33 men to hold the job (however temporarily) before him.

Presidents of the Maryland Agricultural College

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Charles Benedict Calvert

The university was first chartered in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College on land that was part of the Riversdale estate of Charles Benedict Calvert. Classes began in 1859 with 34 students, including four of Calvert’s sons.

  1. Benjamin Hallowell, 1859 – President for one month. A Quaker who only took the job on the condition that slave labor not be used on the college farm.
  2. Charles Benedict Calvert, acting, 1859-60 – Our founder took the reins himself temporarily until a suitable replacement could be found.
  3. John Work Scott, 1860 – Elected president, but may never have even stepped foot on campus!
  4. John M. Colby, 1860-61 – Saw enrollment rise but then fall sharply with the approach of the Civil War.
  5. Henry Onderdonk, 1861-1864 – Forced to resign amidst accusations that he willingly harbored and feted Confederate soldiers under the command of General Bradley Johnson on their way to the assault of Fort Stevens in the capital.
  6. Nicholas B. Worthington, acting, 1864-1867 – A journalist and professor, he sold almost half of the original campus to meet outstanding debts. As a result of the college’s bankruptcy and the Maryland General Assembly’s decision to designate it a Morrill Land Grant institution, the State of Maryland takes a partial ownership stake in the college for the first time.
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George Washington Custis Lee
  1. George Washington Custis Lee, 1866 – The son of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and descendant of Martha Washington, he was offered the position of president but eventually declined due to his loyalty to the Virginia Military Institute and opposition from the Maryland legislature
  2. Charles L. C. Minor, 1867-1868 – Another former Confederate officer, Minor had only 16 pupils when classes opened in 1867.
  3. Franklin Buchanan, 1868-1869 – Yet another former rebel, Buchanan was the first Superintendent of the Naval Academy in Annapolis before serving as the highest-ranking admiral in the Confederate Navy.
  4. Samuel Regester, 1869-1873 – A Methodist minister, Regester eliminated the Bachelor of Science degree and implemented rigid religious discipline.
  5. Samuel Jones, 1873-1875 – After a brief respite, the college once again elected a Confederate officer as president. Former Major General Samuel Jones greatly expanded the curriculum and shifted the focus away from agriculture and towards military training.
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Cadets, Class of 1890
  1. William H. Parker, 1875-1882 – Parker saw service in the Civil War as a captain in the: _________ (you guessed it), Confederate Navy! He continued Jones’ unpopular focus on militarism until the state legislature pressured him to resign by threatening to withhold funding.
  2. Augustine J. Smith, 1883-1887 – A commercial agent for a manufacturing firm, Smith sought to build connections between the college and farmers throughout the state.
  3. James L. Bryan, 1887 – Head of schools in Dorchester county, Bryan declined the job after visiting campus.
  4. Allen Dodge, acting, 1887-1888 – A school trustee, Dodge filled in after Bryan turned down the presidency.
  5. Henry E. Alvord, 1888-1892 – In a shocking break with MAC presidential tradition, Alvord was a former major in the Union army. He shifted in the opposite direction of some previous administrations, choosing to focus the school’s efforts almost exclusively on agriculture
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Richard W. Silvester
  1. Richard W. Silvester, 1892-1912 – The school’s first long-term president, Silvester served for two decades until a devastating fire the night of November 29, 1912, burned down two major buildings campus. Already in poor health and now faced with the enormous challenges of re-opening the college, Silvester resigned shortly after the conflagration.

Barracks burning, November 29, 1912

  1. Thomas H. Spence, acting, 1912-1913 – A professor of languages, Spence oversaw the construction of temporary buildings and dormitories as the college struggled to resume operations.
  2. Harry J. Patterson, 1913-1917 – The once-and-future director of the Agricultural Experiment Station (housed at the Rossborough Inn), which was unaffected by the fire), Patterson presided over the transfer of the college to full state control in 1916. H.J. Patterson Hall was later named in his honor.

Continue reading “UMD123: 33”

UMD123:3

Many colleges and universities across the United States experienced an extended and often violent period of student unrest during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, memorialized in an iconic photograph from the Kent State shootings by John Filo. Student outrage here at Maryland against U.S. military involvement in Vietnam and elsewhere in Southeast Asia  peaked between 1970 and 1972. These protests prompted Governor Marvin Mandel to declare a state of emergency and send the National Guard to maintain order. That brings us to the next post in our UMD123 series: 3 is the number of times Governor Mandel dispatched the National Guard to campus.

May 4, 1970

In response to the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, thousands of students across the country protested. Here in College Park, on May 1, 1970, after a noon rally on McKeldin Mall, student protesters vandalized the ROTC and AFROTC offices and proceeded to block traffic on Route 1. Prince George’s County police could not contain the students, who returned to campus to throw bricks, rocks, and bottles and slash tires. Over the next two days, students continued to block traffic on Route 1. The Washington Post reported on May 4, 1970, that the protest had grown to the “largest and most violent in the university’s history,” involving 1,000 -2,000 students and 250 police officers. Later that day, after students set fire to the Main Administration building, Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel declared a state of emergency. He sent 600 National Guardsmen to campus and placed Adjutant Major General Edwin Warfield III in command of operations on campus.

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Student protesters gathered in the rain outside McKeldin library with a banner reading “Pigs Out of Cambodia, Pigs Off Campus,” spring 1970. (From University AlbUM).
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Crowd of protesters block Route 1 at the South Gate of the University of Maryland, 1970. (From University AlbUM)

Protests continued even after the governor declared a state of emergency. When students attempted to overtake the ROTC armory, they were met with National Guardsmen armed with M16 rifles. The Guardsmen never loaded their weapons and students left peacefully, but the administration cancelled classes indefinitely. Students continued  occupying and damaging buildings on campus, and the National Guardsmen remained on campus for nearly five weeks.

Continue reading “UMD123:3”

UMD123: 30

Thirty could be a lot of things at Maryland.

It could be the number of IFC fraternities currently on campus–but that’s 25.

It could be the number of food locations on campus–but that’s 39.

It could even be the insane number of credits you took this semester (it isn’t, but we know it feels like it.  That said, what were you thinking???)

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Even Honey Boo Boo knows 21 credits was a bad idea.

No, 30 represents the number of days that Benjamin Hallowell, our first president, actually served in the job before resigning, all the way back in 1859.

Hallowell
Poor Benjamin Hallowell. Maryland’s first president, and perhaps its first dropout.

To be fair, Dr. Hallowell, a noted educator and abolitionist, was not initially aware that he had been chosen to be the first president of the Maryland Agricultural College.  The trustees apparently assumed he would take the position, as he had been advising them on matters relating to the college, so they went a step further and announced that he was the president at the college’s opening ceremonies on October 6, 1859, as well as acknowledging that Hallowell hadn’t been informed yet.

But wait!  There’s more.

Hallowell was soon told of his election and agreed to serve, but he was not prepared for the condition of the college when he arrived.  According to newspaper coverage of the college’s opening, there was still a great deal to do.  Landscaping remained unfinished, and the college’s barracks, which also served as chapel, classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, etc., was not complete. In fact, construction was so delayed on the Barracks that only one-third of the building was erected before it was destroyed by fire in 1912.

Barracks_crop

Only half the faculty had been appointed, and those professors who were on-site did almost nothing until Hallowell arrived to assume command–six weeks after the college opened.

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No Jedi Master required.

As he later recorded in his autobiography, upon arriving, Hallowell observed that the faculty “had apparently been waiting for me…to organize the college…six weeks that had elapsed without regular order or government…in the earnest effort that I made to effect a proper organization, and secure a healthy order and discipline, my health gave way in about a month.”

Hallowell had for some time been suffering the ill effects of a prescription that had been mixed incorrectly and which had almost killed him.  Perhaps fearing that the Maryland Agricultural College would finish what the pharmacist had started, he “resigned the Presidency unconditionally.”  After a period of rest, he resumed his teaching and scientific research, until after another period of declining health, he passed away on September 7, 1877.

Hallowell’s brief tenure at the helm of the college led to a rapid succession of presidents, 15 more leaders over the next 33 years, until Richard Silvester offered a bit more stability. Sylvester served the college from 1892 to 1912.

This post is part of our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series last semester, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month, on Wednesdays, throughout the semester; search “UMD123” or check out Twitter #UMD123 to see the rest. If you want to learn more about campus history, you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

235 year-old gift to UMD

A very special piece of the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives turns 235 years old in 2016–the grandfather clock that stands outside the Maryland Room on the first floor of Hornbake Library.

Alma clock_crop 2Wyke and Green, clockmakers in Liverpool, England, constructed this beautiful timepiece in 1781. How it reached the United States is unknown. Charles Sink, horologist and owner of the Antique Clock & Watch Shop in Ellicott City, MD, cleaned and restored the inner workings of this piece in 2008. Retired UMD Libraries’ staff member Roy Alvarez covered the expenses for Sink’s work in honor of his parents, Hugh and Emilie Alvarez, and faithfully winds the clock each week. During your visits to Hornbake, you can hear the beautiful chimes when the clock strikes the hour.

Why would such an unusual and historic piece have a home in the library? The clock is a gift in memory of former Registrar Alma Preinkert, who was tragically murdered in her home on February 28, 1954, one of the university’s unsolved mysteries.

Alma Preinkert from 1954 yrbk_cropMiss Preinkert, a much-beloved campus figure, earned an M.A. degree from Maryland as served as assistant registrar and registrar for nearly 30 years. On that fateful night, a burglar broke into the Washington, DC, home Preinkert shared with her sister and began ransacking the bedrooms. The commotion awakened Miss Preinkert, and she attempted to stop the man, aided by her sister, Alvina, who also awoke during the struggle. The burglar stabbed Alma Preinkert 11 times before fleeing, and her sister was wounded as well. Alvina survived, but Alma’s wounds were fateful. Despite an intensive search for the burglar, during which police questioned 2,500 men and detained multiple suspects, and the offer of $1500 in reward money, the perpetrator was never captured, and this case remains a UMD unsolved mystery.

The University Archives has numerous newspaper clippings about Alma Preinkert’s murder and recently obtained a copy of the DC Police report and reward flyer to add to the file. Stop by the Archives and check it out, if you want to learn more about the case.

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Miss Preinkert’s death saddened many across the campus, and classes were cancelled so students could attend her funeral on March 3, the first one ever held in Memorial Chapel, which had  been dedicated only 15 months earlier. So many people wished to attend the service that the Chapel was filled to capacity, and the overflow of students, faculty, and staff stood outside in the rain to listen to the proceedings.

To memorialize Miss Preinkert, the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs and a group of her friends of donated the clock in 1958, four years after the Board of Regents renamed the Women’s Fieldhouse in her honor.

The next time you are in Hornbake, plan to arrive near the hour so you can hear the delicate chimes as the clock strikes and visit the unusual and historic memorial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABC’s of UMD: Letter S

S is for ADELE STAMP!

We could have picked another S, we suppose, maybe Squirrels (there sure are enough of them on campus) or Soccer (for our outstanding men’s and women’s teams), but since everyone on campus at one time or another spends time in the Student Union, we thought you should know a little more about the special lady for whom the building is named.

Adele Stamp, 1951-1960Adele Hagner Stamp was the university’s first dean of women, serving in that capacity from 1922 to 1960. She was born in Catonsville, MD, in 1890 and attended St. Timothy’s, a private all-girls school in Stevenson, MD, and Western High School, the oldest all-girls public high school in the United States. Stamp taught at a public school in Baltimore after graduating from high school, and was later hired as a social worker by the Y.W.C.A., organizing recreation programs for women factory workers in industrial centers for the Y. . From 1919 to 1920, she directed an industrial service center in New Orleans and received an A.B. in sociology from Tulane University one year later. Immediately before coming to the university, she briefly served as a field representative of the American Red Cross. In 1924, she received a master’s degree in sociology and recreation from the University of Maryland.

May Queen and her Court, 1923
May Queen and her Court, 1923

During her tenure at the University of Maryland, she organized and promoted women’s activities. She initiated the campus celebration of May Day, which began in 1923 and continued annually until 1961, and founded the Women’s Student Government Association, the Women’s Senior Honor Society, which became the Maryland Chapter of the Mortar Board, and the Freshman Honor Society for Women, later a chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta. She also organized the first Women’s Physical Education Club in 1926 and in 1938, founded the Campus Club, an association for women professors and faculty wives. Her activities extended beyond the university to the state and national level as well, where she held leadership positions with various education, women’s, and political organizations.

yearbook_1959_coverIn 1959 the campus yearbook, the Terrapin, was dedicated to her, the first woman ever to receive that honor. When she retired in 1960, Stamp was named Dean Emeritus by university president Wilson H. Elkins.

Adele H. Stamp died on October 17, 1974, after a long illness. In 1983, the university student union was renamed the Adele H. Stamp Union in her honor. Astronaut and UMD alumna Judith Resnik, a member of the space shuttle Challenger crew, participated in the re-naming ceremony.

The University Archives holds Miss Stamp’s personal papers, and you can find the guide to this collection here. Stop in the Maryland Room in Hornbake and read some of her letters to President Byrd advocating for resources for “her girls” or keeping her young charges in line.

This is the 19th 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 6, for Letter T!

ABC’s of UMD: Letter L

L is for LOH, as in PRESIDENT WALLACE LOH!

loh portrait shotDr. Wallace Loh is the 34th president of the University of Maryland. He arrived in College Park in 2010 after a career in both academia and public service.On the academic side, he previously held the posts of Executive Vice President and Provost at The University of Iowa; Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seattle University; Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculties at the University of Colorado-Boulder; and Dean of the University of Washington Law School.

While in Washington state, he also served as Director of the Executive Policy Office and chief policy adviser to Governor Gary Locke.

At Maryland, he holds a faculty appointment as a Professor of Public Policy. Previously, he was Professor of Law at Washington, Colorado-Boulder, and Iowa and served as Visiting Professor of Law at Cornell, Peking University (China), Emory, University of Texas at Austin, University of Houston, and Vanderbilt.  His scholarship and teaching focus on law and social change and criminal justice reform.

As the university’s top administrator, Dr. Loh sets the tone for the campus. During his first five years at the university, among the priorities that he has emphasized are the globalization of UMD, international experiences for all students,  re-imagining the City of College Park, innovation and entrepreneurship. Dr. Loh also led the university’s move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten.

This is the 12th 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.

If you’d like more information on our current and past university presidents, visit the Past Presidents page.

Do you have other ABC’s about campus? Let us know in the comments below!

Check here for Letter M!