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!

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”

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.

Dr. Gordon W. Prange in his office in the UMD History Dept.

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.

A selection of additional, World War II-related resources in the University of Maryland Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives may be found in this subject guide:

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, 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

For more information about the resources described here, contact the University Archives at or 301-405-9058.

Fire! Fire! M.A.C. in Flames

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.

Thanksgiving dance–M.A.C. cadets and their dates

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.

R.W. Silvester (Pres. 1892-1912) resigned “broken-hearted” shortly thereafter

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.

Reveille, 1913

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.

Reveille, 1913

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


UMD123: 1957

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.

Program for the Queen's Game
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.

Queen Elizabeth's ticket
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.

Queen Elizabeth with the Terps football captains
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.

Celebrating 100 years of women’s education at UMD

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.

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.

Charlotte Vaux’s entry in the 1918 Reveille yearbook.

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.

Coeds100YearsPoster_1st floor“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.



Happy New Year!

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.

Triangle front page 01_01_1910_crop

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!

15 of the Most Iconic Front Pages From The Diamondback

The Diamondback student newspaper has been a huge part of the University of Maryland for over 100 years. Originally named The Triangle, The Diamondback has covered everything from local campus news to world events, national celebrations, and tragedies. In connection with our current Launch UMD campaign to raise money to digitize The Diamondback and make it available online worldwide, we have compiled a list of 15 of the most iconic Diamondback front pages dating all the way back to 1910.

Are there events or stories that we missed? With the Diamondback archive fully available online, you will be able to explore and make your own list. Make sure to check our Twitter and Facebook pages for more iconic front pages throughout the rest of April.

Continue reading “15 of the Most Iconic Front Pages From The Diamondback”

Happy Birthday UMD!

On this day,159 years ago, the Maryland General Assembly granted a charter to the Maryland Agricultural College, now known as the University of Maryland. Charles Benedict Calvert, a descendant of the first Lord Baltimore, and a group of prominent Maryland planters led the effort to establish the college which was to focus on instruction in scientific agriculture and training its students “for all the duties of a man and a citizen.” You can read the original charter for the MAC here.

So Happy Birthday, University of Maryland!!

Remembering a Veteran Terp: Colonel Martin Jordan “Stormy” Sexton

This Veteran’s Day, University Archives would like to remember a very special and inspirational Terp. Martin Jordan Sexton arrived at College Park in the Fall of 1937 and left behind quite a story in 1941, only to be outshined by his long-lasting career in the United States Marine Corps. Sexton was a leader on the lacrosse field at Maryland and as a Marine, and proved to be an inspiration to a very wide array of people over the course of his life.

Jordan, which he was more commonly referred to in the yearbooks, entered the University of Maryland as an engineering major and part of ROTC. He was also a member of the freshman lacrosse team. After a few trying semesters Jordan found his niche in the Education department. He excelled in history and social studies courses, and soon he became much more involved in student life activities.

Jordan “Smiley” Sexton, 1939 Varsity Lacrosse

In 1939, Jordan Sexton pledged and became a brother of Kappa Alpha fraternity on campus. That same year he joined the varsity lacrosse team, and quickly became one of the best players on the team. By 1940, he was a standout, playing alongside Billy Cole, another famous Terp from that era. In 1940, Sexton had started out playing defense, but his speed and handling skills got him shifted into the midfield. He earned his first “M” from this season as well. Outside of athletics, Sexton was also a member of the Latch-key club, which helped welcome teams from other schools on campus when they came to play at Maryland, served as the junior basketball manager, and was a member of the Men’s League.

1941, Jordan’s would-be senior year (he did not graduate), was by far his most notable year as a member of the varsity lacrosse team. Anyone paying attention to Maryland Lacrosse knew Sexton’s name.  In July 1941, he was selected as one of five men from Maryland for the nation’s All-American teams.

Jordan “Smiley” Sexton, 1940 Varsity Lacrosse

In August 1941, Sexton, who would later be nicknamed “Stormy,” enlisted in the US Marine Corps for what would become a very, very successful 25-year military career. When the United States entered World War II following Pearl Harbor, Corporal Sexton was stationed at Parris Island as a drill instructor. He became a second lieutenant just a year later. “Stormy” became a capable and inspirational leader, serving in a position of command through three wars – World War II in the Pacific, Korea, and Vietnam. His excellence as a battalion commander was recognized in 1962 when Stormy was featured in an article in Life Magazine, where his men referred to him as “the best battalion commander in the Marines.”

Eventually Colonel Sexton was appointed the Chief of Staff of the entire 4th Marine Division. Sexton was awarded several medals: the Silver Star for his help in recapturing Guam during WWII, the Legion of Merit, three Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart. He was stationed in Italy between Korea and Vietnam.

Stormy Life Magazine
Colonel “Stormy” Sexton, featured in Life Magazine

Stormy Sexton retired from the Marines in 1970, and he became a high school coach and teacher in Oceanside, California. There he became a champion tennis coach, winning several championships and over 500 matches. Sexton was also an instructor for the Marine Corps Junior ROTC in Oceanside for nine years.

Stormy Sexton passed away in June of 1999, at the age of 81. He is remembered today by the Marine Corps in quite a unique and special way. In September 2002, a study alcove was created and dedicated in Colonel Sexton’s name at the General Alfred M. Gray Marine Corps Research Center Archives and Libraries at Quantico, VA. The alcove is decorated with several features to “portray his lasting influence and impact on so many individuals taught, led, coached, and inspired by him.” You can read about Colonel Sexton, the alcove, and where it’s located here.

30th Anniversary of the Miracle in Miami

Thirty years ago today, the Terrapin football team trudged off the field in disgust after the trash-talking and defending national champion Miami Hurricanes ran out to an embarrassing 31-0 halftime lead. Everything was going wrong for the Terps, who looked both physically and emotionally defeated. Looking for a spark, Coach Bobby Ross sent quarterback Frank Reich in to replace Stan Gelbaugh to start the second half. What happened next would become one of Maryland’s most memorable sports moments. Reich led the team to six second-half touchdowns, as the Terps devastated the Hurricanes 42-40 for what was then the greatest comeback in Division I football history.

Any large comeback win takes a certain amount of grit and determination, but often times it cannot be accomplished without a few big breaks going the team’s way. Maryland’s biggest breaks came in the fourth quarter. After fighting back to make the score 34-28, with five and a half minutes left, Reich launched a pass that deflected off a Miami safety’s hands and into the hands of receiver Greg Hill who proceeded to run it in for a touchdown. Miami fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Maryland recovered and scored once again. The Terps led by a score of 42-34 before Miami scored one more late game touchdown. Maryland denied Miami’s 2-point conversion attempt to secure the victory.

Reich would equal the record-setting feat nine years later in the NFL, leading the Buffalo Bills back from 32 points down to defeat the Houston Oilers in the 1993 playoffs.

As for the Terrapins, their reward for winning the game was no practice when they returned home!

You can watch all of the footage from Maryland’s Miracle in Miami here.