A star was born 85 years ago today, June 2, 1933! As part of Class Day festivities celebrating the graduation of the Class of 1933, our beloved “real Testudo” completed her final task and unveiled the original bronze statue created in her likeness that stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum. But what led up to all this hoopla?
Athletic teams at the Maryland Agricultural College/ University of Maryland had had various nicknames over the years–the Farmers, Aggies, Old Liners, even the Ravens at one point–but the university had never had a mascot. Members of the Class of 1933 decided they wanted to correct this and worked with then-Vice President Harry Clifton Byrd to choose the appropriate animal and create the first bronze representation. While the students diligently gathered the necessary funds, Byrd wrote the owner of the Holland Sea Food Company in Crisfield, MD, his hometown, asking him to send
one big Diamondback Terrapin of Maryland variety, and not one of those that come from North Carolina. I want it to use as a model for a sculpture
When this beautiful creature arrived in College Park, SGA President Ralph Williams took her off on a train trip to Providence, RI, to meet up with sculptor Aristide Cianfarani for multiple modeling sessions. The Gorham Manufacturing Company, led at the time by former UMD quarterback Edmund Mayo, created the statue and dispatched it to College Park, where our plucky terrapin participated in the unveiling.
The original statue stood in front of Ritchie Coliseum, but, at 300-400 pounds in weight, was subject to frequent turtle-napping by rival schools. When university officials tired of tracking down the missing bronze and arranging for its return, they filled Testudo with cement and steel rods, bringing its total weight to approximately 1,000 pounds, and permanently attached the piece to its base. They also decided to move Testudo to a more secure location, and, after several shifts, positioned the statue in front of McKeldin Library in 1965, where it remains to this day.
The popularity of this university symbol has led to the creation of additional replicas, located across the campus. You can find Testudo near the information desk in the Stamp, at two different spots in Maryland Stadium, at the top of the south stairs at Xfinity, on a brick pathway at the Riggs Alumni Center, and now in the Robert L. and Gertrude M. Edwards Courtyard at Van Munching Hall.
So when you pass one of the statues today, give Testudo’s nose a vigorous rub for good luck and wish our beloved mascot “Happy Birthday!”
Today marks the 105th anniversary of the Great Fire of 1912, which destroyed the two largest buildings on campus at that time, the Barracks and the Administration Building. The story is a familiar one to Terrapin Tales readers, since we have blogged about this event before. You can find a good overview of this landmark event in UMD history on TT at: https://umdarchives.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/fire-fire-m-a-c-in-flames/.
We mark this important anniversary with the debut of the re-designed website about the fire, available at: lib.umd.edu/fire. This site contains photographs of the conflagration in progress and its aftermath, personal accounts from students, coverage of events in the local press, and images of the Barracks’ cornerstone and its contents.
Sixty years ago today, Queen Elizabeth II visited the University of Maryland to attend her first and only college football game on October 19, 1957, between the Maryland Terrapins and the North Carolina Tar Heels! While touring Canada and the United States, the Queen wanted to see a typical American sport, and with College Park’s close proximity to Washington, DC, University President Elkins notified Governor McKeldin, who wrote Sir Harold Caccia, Ambassador of Great Britain, inviting Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to attend a football game at the University of Maryland!
Letter from President Elkins urging Governor McKeldin to invite Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the football game.
Letter from Governor McKeldin to Sir Harold Caccia, the Ambassador of Great Britain, inviting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to the football game.
How did the university prepare for the Queen? How did students view the Queen’s visit to campus? How did students view the university at the time of the Royal Visit?
In preparation of the Queen’s game, university carpenters constructed a special box for the Queen and her party to view the game, while the University of Maryland’s “Black & Gold” band also took over the ROTC drill field to begin preparing for a “typical” half-time show. “They are making room for almost 140 extra press photographers, and newspapers all over the country will carry pictures of her here at Maryland,” said SGA President Howard Miller ahead of the game, suggesting that the Queen’s visit would bring additional publicity and prestige to the university. Additionally, Miller recalled that the SGA met with the State Department ahead of the game to discuss where the Queen should sit. The SGA suggested that she sit on the North Carolina side so she could watch the Card section at half-time and because alcohol consumption at Maryland football games was considered “a major sport in the 1950s.”
The issue of the Diamondback before the royal visit was predominantly dedicated to the Queen’s visit. On behalf of the student body, faculty, and administration, the Diamondback extended a “most enthusiastic welcome,” to the Queen and royal party, seeing the Queen’s visit as an opportunity to “strengthen the good will existing between the United States and Great Britain,” trusting that the Queen will find as much entertainment and excitement during her stay as the university will. Speaking for “just about everybody” on campus, the Queen’s visit was highly anticipated, something the university was collectively very proud of. Anticipating the game, SGA President Howard Miller felt the Queen’s visit was “the greatest thrill of my life,” President Elkins thought the Queen’s visit “created more interest in any college or university than anything I have ever seen in my lifetime,” adding that the University is “delighted” to host the Queen. When addressing the possibility of any “unfortunate events” occurring during the Queen’s visit, President Elkins warned students: “If there is any question, one ought not to do it!”
How were students supposed to behave? If encountering the Queen and Prince Philip, were there specific codes of conduct to follow? The State Department suggested how to behave if students should be presented before the Queen. For students, “how do you do?” was considered a suitable greeting, suggesting that students address the Queen and Prince Philip as “madam,” or “sir,” instead of “Queen,” or “Prince.”
Student editorial in the Diamondback explaining how students saw the University of Maryland at the time of the Queen’s visit.
Diamondback article expressing the excitement and magnitude of the Royal Visit to College Park.
“Meeting the Queen?” The State Department provided suggestions for how students should address the Queen, and how Maryland’s band should perform. Diamondback, 10-18-57.
And then, on Game Day, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived at Byrd Stadium around 1:15pm. All fans were asked to be in their seats by 1pm to await the royal arrival. Maryland halfback and co-captain Jack Healy recalled posing for photographs before meeting the Queen. “Naturally, we were nervous and this increased the pressure somewhat,” said Healy, but their nerves were eased by a welcoming Prince Philip, who, with a “Hello sparkle,” in his eyes, extended his hand and introduced himself to the team. Then, according to Healy, the team met Queen Elizabeth, who “looked like any typical American woman,” only distinguished by her “precious English accent.” Each team’s captains then presented the Queen and Prince Philip with an autographed football and a replica of the coin used in the game’s coin toss. Prince Philip, “humbly accepting” the autographed football, said “I feel like kicking it myself!”
During the game, the Queen “leaned forward eagerly” as the Governors and President Elkins explained American football to their royal guests. According to President Elkins, the Queen was “most interested in the difference between the English Rugby and the American game.” According to a commonwealth correspondent from the game, “if the Queen understands this game, she’s smarter than I think she is.”
Game Day Program
Game Day Ticket Stub
43,000 fans greeting Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II with Governor McKeldin and team captains from your Maryland Terrapins and North Carolina Tar Heels for the pre-game coin toss.
And then, at halftime, after the teams rushed off the field, the North Carolina band presented “A Parade of North Carolina Industries,” highlighted by band members forming a giant banjo, while trumpeting “Dixie.” According to President Elkins’ daughter Carole, there was a ceremony with gift presentations, the Queen and Prince Philip were driven around the stadium’s track, and marching bands from both teams performed. The bands from both schools joined to form the Queen’s crest, spell out “USA-BRIT”, and perform each school’s alma mater, “God Save the Queen,” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” The card section displayed both the American and British flags. Queen Elizabeth II, commenting on “the drive of the band,” was also “quite pleased with the card section,” according to President Elkins.
Maryland’s “Black and Gold” band forming the Royal Cypher as part of their halftime show.
Maryland’s card section during the “Black and Gold” band’s halftime performance.
According to Howard Miller’s account of the Queen’s Game, with only minutes left in the 4th quarter, the announcer at Byrd Stadium asked the crowd to remain in their seats so the Queen and Prince Philip could leave first to attend dinner with President Eisenhower. The Queen’s motorcade entered the stadium, and the Queen left before “a full house broke for the exits.” Miller recalled “never had so many Marylanders showed so much courtesy.” Nick Kovalakides, class of ’61, who was unable to attend the game due to illness, was listening to the game on the radio while recovering in his Montgomery Hall dorm, when he heard that the Queen was leaving early “to avoid the crunch of fans after the game.” Hearing this, Kovalakides went outside in case the Queen’s motorcade traveled on Regents Drive past Montgomery Hall. As Kovalakides sat on the steps, feeling “like everyone else in the world was at the game except me,” the Queen’s motorcade appeared over the hill. Seeing the Queen in the back seat of the limo, Kovalakides stood and waved. The Queen waved back. Remembering the event, Kovalakides said “in seconds, she was gone. But not in my mind.”
As the game ended, the triumphant Terps hoisted Coach Tommy Mont on their shoulders and ran across the field to where the Queen was seated. When presented to the Queen, she replied by saying “wonderful, wonderful.” For Coach Mont, immediately after the win he said “I’m going to revel in this for the rest of my life.” In the issue following the game, the Diamondback selected the entire Maryland football team as Players-of-the-Week.
Photographs and artifacts from the Queen’s Game are on display in McKeldin Library through January 2018. Be sure to check out our exhibit cases on the first floor, near Footnotes Cafe! We’ve decorated the second floor Portico Room (across the walkway from the Terrapin Tech Desk) with images from the game as well.
September 11, 2001, is a day that lives in infamy worldwide. For the University of Maryland, the attacks hit particularly hard, due to the campus’ proximity to Washington, DC, and the number of students from the attacked regions.
Classes were canceled that afternoon, and students were in shock. The University provided counselors to the campus community, and administrators immediately spoke about the attack. President C.D. Mote, Jr., said that it was “a day of mourning and reflection.” He also noted how different student groups would be effected by the events.
“We need to keep our free and open society here and not blame groups,” Mote said that day.
Out of fear of repercussions, the Muslim Students’ Association moved their midday services and were protected by four police officers as they prayed. There were no violent attempts to disrupt their observance.
Meanwhile, students were frantically checking their cell phones and huddling around maintenance trucks to hear the radio reports, according to The Diamondback. In addition, groups of students could be seen all across campus with tears in their eyes and their heads bowed in prayer.
The Health Center began working with the Red Cross that day to organize a blood drive by the end of the week. Other drives within the county were advertised on campus by those trying to help replenish the supply of blood at hospitals.
In Athletics, the first focus was on the safety of family members of the student-athletes. At least three football players had family that worked in the twin towers, and luckily all were safe. ACC Commissioner John Swofford postponed all athletic events in the conference through September 15th, the following Saturday, and the Terps postponed their football game against West Virginia for two weeks.
On the 12th, The Diamondback reported that two former faculty members had been killed in the attacks. The paper covered the events throughout the rest of the week, including the memorial service on McKeldin Mall, and included more Associated Press news stories than the editors usually tended to do.
The dramatic and extensive coverage of this national and international tragedy in The Diamondback is a vivid reminder of the impact of these events on the UMD community as they unfolded, an impact which continues to this day.
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!
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.
Mr. 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!
On this the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember all the brave members of the University of Maryland community who gave their lives in the service of their country during World War II and highlight resources in the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives that support study of that conflict.
The personal papers of Gordon W. Prange are one of the most frequently consulted collections in the UMD Archives. Dr. Prange (July 16, 1910 – May 15, 1980) was an historian and history professor at the University of Maryland from 1937 until his death in 1980. While teaching at Maryland, Prange published many books and articles on a variety of historical topics, but he is probably best known for his research on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prange conducted interviews and collected accounts from diaries, articles, and correspondence with many of the key participants in the battle, both Japanese and American, as well as completing extensive research on the causes, planning, build-up to, execution, and consequences of the attack. The collection consists of both personal and professional papers and includes unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, interview notes and transcripts, research notes, articles, maps, and photographs related to Prange’s research on the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of Midway, the Russian spy Richard Sorge, and the speeches of Adolf Hitler. There are also materials related to Prange’s tenure as a history professor at the University of Maryland and his service as an historian for the US Army under General Douglas MacArthur during the Allied occupation of Japan.
The Prange Papers were most recently used by NHK Television in Japan for a documentary on the life of Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who led the first airstrike against Pearl Harbor. This video aired on TV in Japan in August 2016; an English version of the same piece ran on PBS in Hawai’i two days ago.
The Gordon W. Prange Collection on the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949, an internationally known resource documenting life in post-war Japan, is named in Dr. Prange’s honor.
The University Archives’ Scrapbook Collection also includes a volume presented to the Alumni Association following the war, which includes a collection of newspaper clippings about University of Maryland alumni who fought in the war. Colonel John O’Neill, University of Maryland class of 1930, is the subject of several pages, with articles detailing his recommendation for a Distinguished Service Cross. In addition to the large collection of clippings about Maryland alumni in the armed services, there are numerous obituaries and notices of those missing-in-action. Similar coverage of Maryland students and alumni serving in the war can be found in the alumni magazines of the period, accessible via links on http://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/alumni-magazines, and in issues of The Diamondback, currently available on microfilm and soon to be accessible online.
The University Archives is also proud to preserve the University of Maryland Memorial Book, which contains a Roll of Honor listing the names of University of Maryland alumni who were killed in action in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. The book was engraved by White House calligrapher and 1943 Maryland graduate William E. Tolley, and was dedicated at a service in Memorial Chapel on November 19, 1961. You may find the entirety of this moving tribute to these brave members of the campus community online at http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/5024.
For more information about the resources described here, contact the University Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-405-9058.
The 40 cadets who remained on the Maryland Agricultural College (M.A.C.) campus during the 1912 Thanksgiving weekend would never have predicted the catastrophic event that altered the campus’ future.
On Friday evening, November 29, the gallant cadets arranged an impromptu dance. Their charming dates, in resplendent dress, gathered on the first floor of the Administration Building.
At the peak of their mirth, around 10:30 p.m., the Cadet Major was notified that a blaze had begun in the Administration Building between the third and fourth floors of the administration building.
The alarm sounded!
Initially, the brave cadets fought the blaze. They scrambled to rescue their classmates’ property, and miraculously, most of the valuable records in the offices President R.W. Silvester and the college treasurer were also saved.
The ladies, adorned in evening gowns, contributed to the heroic efforts of their escorts as they worked to fight the flames.
Never was there a more nervy bunch of girls. The heroic way in which they helped to save our belongings will go down in the history of old M.A.C. No praise can be too high, no tribute can be too great for them.
Hyattsville fire departments were called and fought desperately against a stiff wind, until tragically the water supply was depleted.
Saturday morning, the devastation became a reality in the bright sunshine.
The Barracks, M.A.C.’s original college building, and the administration building lay in ruins.Newspaper reports estimated the loss at $150,000. Every dorm room was destroyed, as well as half of the classrooms and offices. These two buildings housed 200 students and served as the music hall and science hall, in addition to the kitchen, chapel, and laundry. They served as the backdrop for faculty and athlete photos, such as these shots from the 1911 Reveille yearbook.
The people in nearby towns threw open their doors to us. The College work went on, almost without a break . . . The old school has emerged triumphant.
It looked for a time as though M.A.C. would have to suspend operations indefinitely. But four days after the fire, every student, save one, reported for duty, resolved to keep the College going. The sense of loss was soon overcome with an indomitable spirit.
Today marks the 104th anniversary of this landmark event in University of Maryland history. You can find more information about the Great Fire of 1912 at https://www.lib.umd.edu/fire.
1957 represents a very special year in University of Maryland history!
On this day, 59 years ago, just four years after her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II visited the University of Maryland. The Queen was on a tour of Canada and the United States in the fall of 1957, and wanted to see a “typical American sport.” Our campus was selected as a spot to watch an American college football game, and so Queen Elizabeth and her consort Prince Philip made their way to Byrd Stadium on a sunny Saturday afternoon to watch the Terps take on the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Queen’s Game program cover.
The 1958 Terrapin yearbook staff wrote about the day:
“A ‘Royal’ atmosphere produced a royal game today as the spirited Terps struck for three second half touchdowns to defeat Jim Tatum and the favored North Carolina Tar Heels 21-7. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, were among the 45,000 fans who packed Byrd Stadium to see the Terps score an upset.”
See photographs and more memories here, here, and here in the yearbook.
Ticket stub from the Queen’s Game.
Thanks to our football film digitization project, you can watch the football game, which includes footage of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Watch the first half and the second half.
See a Universal Newsreel report about the event here.
In 2007, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the game, local videographer Mike Springirth produced a documentary, “Maryland’s Queen for a Day,” full of interviews with players and coaches from the 1957 team. You can check out the video from the library here.
Gene Alderton (#51) and Jack Healy (#23), co-captains of the University of Maryland football team, standing with Queen Elizabeth and Governor Theodore McKeldin, October 19, 1957. The Tar Heel captains are to the left in white.
In addition to the resources listed above, you can view lots of other documents, photographs, and realia relating to the Queen’s Game in the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives. You can find a description of these items here.
Has Queen Elizabeth ever watched another American college football game in person? As far as we know, she has not, so that October afternoon in 1957 is truly a singular experience for the longest-reigning British monarch and female head of state in world history.
This is a post in our series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in fall 2015, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out monthly; on the Terrapin Tales blog, search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter#UMD123. 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.
September 14 is a landmark day in University of Maryland history! One hundred years ago today, a young woman named Elizabeth Gambrill Hook entered the Maryland State College of Agriculture, as the University of Maryland was then known, setting the stage for the over 17,000 female students currently on campus. The 20-year-old Hook indicated an interest in experimental work in her entrance register entry and fulfilled her dream by earning her degree in entomology in 1920, becoming the first woman to take all of her classes on campus and receive a four-year degree.
Elizabeth Hook, entrance register, Sept. 14, 1916
Elizabeth Hook in Entomology lab.
Charlotte Ann Vaux joined Elizabeth Hook on campus a few weeks later. Vaux took a two-year course in agriculture and received her degree in 1918.
These two pioneers and other early women at Maryland are featured in a new University Archives exhibit on the first and second floors of McKeldin Library. The display chronicles the academic, athletic, and social activities of early co-eds, and also features information on the rules of behavior that female students were expected to follow. Visitors can learn more about Misses Hook and Vaux, the first sorority and women’s sports teams at Maryland, the May Day tradition, and restrictions on women’s movements around campus, guests in the dormitory, and even use of musical instruments and typewriters. The exhibit also contains examples of academic expectations for the pioneering co-eds and the story of early early rebel, Vivian Simpson.
“We Take our Hats off to you, Miss(es) Co-eds: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Education at Maryland” will remain on display outside of the Footnotes Café on the first floor and in the Portico Lounge on the second floor of McKeldin through mid-January 2017. Stop by and learn more about these amazing women from 100 years ago!
This is a post in our series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in fall 2015, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month throughout the fall; on the Terrapin Tales blog, search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter#UMD123. 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.
On this day in 1910, the cadets of the Maryland Agricultural College published volume 1, number 1 of a new student newspaper, The Triangle, which 11 years later became the paper we know today as The Diamondback. Editor-in-chief Millard Tydings and his staff filled the front page with the social, musical, and sports news of the day.
This was a terrific way to kick off the new year, and their work led to a 105-year-old tradition of excellence in student publishing at the University of Maryland.
One of the ways the UMD Archives will celebrate 2016 is with the early stages of digitization of the The Triangle and all its successor papers. Capitalizing on the success of our LaunchUMD campaign in spring 2015, we will begin work on making these digital files available later in the new year, even as we continue our fundraising efforts to finish off this project. We deeply appreciate the support we have received thus far, and we hope you enjoy reading the early years of the paper online when they are mounted.
Happy New Year to all of you, and enjoy the front page news from January 1, 1910!