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!!

A legendary politician visits campus

With the 2016 Presidential election in the rearview mirror, the presidency has been on all of our minds lately. But back in 1959, the students got to hear from one of the country’s most iconic presidents: John F. Kennedy.

front-pageThen a Senator representing Massachusetts, Kennedy hadn’t even declared his intent to run for President in 1960 when he visited campus on April 27 to speak to 5,500 students at the Spring Convocation held in Cole Field House. He was joined on stage by University of Maryland President Wilson Elkins and Dean James Borreson. 

Kennedy “called for  more students to enter politics and stressed the need for the American people to do their duty in these days of world crisis.”

While many in attendance enjoyed the speech and Kennedy’s charisma, others reportedly articlefelt the Senator should have taken a harder stance on civil rights and foreign policy issues. 

Kennedy visited the campus once more, on May 14, 1960, before his assassination in November 1963. In that appearance, Kennedy spoke on the eve of the Maryland primary and left Ritchie Coliseum holding on to a stuffed Testudo.

pictureThe 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!

The Terps – 2002 NCAA Champions

When the Maryland men’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen this past spring,

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The iconic cover commemorating the Terps first, and so far only, title for the men’s program.

it marked the program’s second trip to that round since they won the NCAA Championship in the spring of 2002.

That early April moment will live in forever in the memories of Maryland basketball fans as the squad, led by coach Gary Williams and guard Juan Dixon, defeated elite programs Kansas and Indiana in the Final Four en route to cutting down the nets.

When the Terps finally won on (no joke) April 1, 2002, the fans back in College Park exploded with joy. The University of Maryland student paper, The Diamondback, documented both the victory in Atlanta and the celebrations back home.

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The Diamondback put together a collage of moments from the Terps victory in Atlanta.

With a celebratory cover, the newspaper showed the team’s #1 finger and held a strong quote from Terps coach Gary Williams. “Things have never worked out quite right. This year they did,” Williams said. The rest of the paper was full of coverage, including plenty of pictures from the game and the subsequent gatherings on Route 1.

The Diamondback is the university’s primary student 
newspaper, and its coverage of athletics and other 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, and is the first blog post written by our new undergraduate student assistant, Josh Schmidt. Check out the riot-pictureTwitter hashtag
riots

#digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts. Look out for more DigiDBK posts from Josh and the rest of our team throughout the semester!

New additions to digital football footage

This week, we added 185 football reels to the University Archives’ digital collections site, University AlbUM. The reels, which were professionally repaired and converted to digital, comprise the third batch of the archives’ successful football film preservation and access project.

The additions contain portions of 41 football games and one scrimmage, spanning from 1965 to 1988. Reels of particular interest include five games from the football team’s undefeated regular season in 1976 and several close matchups against Big Ten rival Penn State.

With the new films uploaded, we now have 965 reels of digitized football footage available to stream online for free. Simply search for “football film” in University AlbUM to browse all reels. You can add in a year to view games from a particular season (ex. football film 1975) or an opponent to see past games against a specific team (ex. football film Miami).

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Use the search field to find UMD football film in University AlbUM

Please email askhornbake@umd.edu if you are interested in ordering DVDs of the footage, at a cost of $10 per game — a great gift idea for the Terp fan in your house!

The Cadets’ Review

cadets-review-title-page-vol-3-no-5The Cadets’ Review is just one of thousands of unique pieces of history held in the University Archives at the University of Maryland. Now fully digitized and available online, The Cadets’ Review is a twelve-issue, small-format newspaper written and published by Maryland Agricultural College students and faculty from February 1894 to March 1896. This newspaper was one of the main predecessors to The Diamondback, today’s independent, student-run newspaper which began as The Triangle in 1910. Columns in this early newspaper covered all aspects of student life, including current events, athletics, military business, humor, and even suggestions to get involved in Glee Club.

One of our favorite columns written comes from the March 1895 issue. “Some Curious Old Laws of Maryland” discusses the bizarre, early-Maryland codification of laws. For example, because tobacco held monetary value, criminals were fined in pounds of harvested tobacco.

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Using explicit language was another punishable offense in early Maryland– a law that would be frequently broken today.

 

 

may-1894-well-read-individualsAnother one of our favorite columns appears in the May 1894 issue. “Wasted Hours,”authored by S.T. Rollins, calculates the exact amount of time needed to become “well-read individuals.”

If you devote an hour of your time each day to reading the digitized version The Cadets’ Review via the University Archives website, you can learn a lot about what life was like for cadets early on in our university’s history.

Check out other fully digitized resources from the Archives if you are interested in learning more about additional student publications, course catalogs, UMD athletic guides, the Greek community yearbook The Frieze, Major League Baseball Rulebooks, or University AlbUM. Come visit us in the Maryland Room too, which is open Monday-Friday and on Sunday afternoons. Here you can work with documents and artifacts from the University Archives. We can’t wait to see you in Hornbake Library!

‘Let them drink beer!’—King Tom II’s Benevolent Reign

Good morrow! Earlier this week, we began the exciting tale of UMD’s regal history. Gather ’round as we complete the saga of King Tom II and his amazing reign!

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King Tom was a leader for the masses! Oscillating between the regal register and casual “party” lingo, it was his wit and blithe approach to politics that captivated many voters. He and his merry court espoused an extreme platform targeting campus security and safety in an outrageous, neo-medieval vision. Their promises included:

“constructing a moat filled with ‘fine, cold imported lager’ around the campus to protect the ‘peasants;’ breeding larger and slower cockroaches for dorms and dining halls, making it easier to catch and kill them; and installing gargoyles to beautify campus buildings.”

According to His Benevolence, the alcoholic safeguard would deter intruders via intoxication, while also transporting the campus to an Arthurian grandeur. Wading through beer, aggressors would become too drunk to walk before they could ever reach his realm, and students would have a free supply of spirits year-round!

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An illustrated medieval manuscript captures the aspirations of the Monarchy Party

The Diamondback also reported a proposal to erect a 30-foot, clear acrylic cube on McKeldin Mall because, as King Tom II stated, “[‘modern’ art [was] in.” Additionally, the King ensured improvements to the Student Tutorial Academic and Referral Center—he decreed that current exams and answer keys be made available during finals.

Continue reading “‘Let them drink beer!’—King Tom II’s Benevolent Reign”

“Of Moats and Monarchs”–Maryland’s First King

Once upon a time…

Long—but, not that long—ago, on a certain campus, lived a disenchanted student body. Political demonstrations brought classes to a halt at the University of Maryland, College Park, as tensions within the institution grew. At the height of the unrest, students and faculty activists found themselves confronted by a hoard of National Guardsmen on McKeldin Mall.  A courageous group of students pledged henceforth to vanquish institutional corruption and partiality in response to the widespread mistrust and animosity of student politics. They solemnly vowed to seek a wise and fair King to lead all Terps on a path to valor. With this solemn oath, the Monarchy Party was born!

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King Tom II salutes supporters in solidarity, The Diamondback, 1985

In conjunction with our ongoing Diamondback digitization project, today we weave you a yarn of the University of Maryland of yore. Join us as we tell the tale of the Monarchy Party’s rise to power during the mid-1980s. Among many brave heroes, we specifically recount the exploits of the valiant leader, King Tom II, who fearlessly combated the banality of student government in a series of farcical adventures.

 Of noble birth: the origins of Maryland’s Monarchy Party

Frustrated students founded the Monarchy Party in an endeavor to protest the perceived preference given to fraternity and sorority interests within the student government of the late 1960s. Mocking the petty jockeying of previous officials, the collective dubbed themselves Monarchists in reference to the tendency of internal cliques—especially Greek life lobbyists—to treat the student government as a school-funded “fiefdom.” The party’s founders felt that this internalized attitude led to nepotism and a grave mis-allocation of SGA funds. While its precise origins remain uncertain, reports in The Diamondback and The Washington Post date the Monarchy party’s inception between 1969 and 1972, which seems to coincide with the establishment of the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia.

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Medieval Mercenary Militia reenacts the Battle of Hastings, c. 1970-1975

As Washington Post correspondent Barbra Vobejda reported in 1985, ironic campus campaigns became a national phenomenon in the early 1970s after college administrations attempted to “whittle away” students’ rights. Pointing to the contemporary election of a cartoon character at the University of Texas in Austin and the Pail and Shovel party at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she suggests that satirical student groups, like the Monarchy Party, propelled significant conversations about the politics of higher education. An unaffiliated Monarchist regime was even established at Florida State University in, Tallahassee, Florida, in 1989.

Anticipating these anti-establishment collegiate trends, however, Maryland Monarchists blazed a trail for alternative student politics in the wake of early protests for equal rights and against the Vietnam War on our campus. Gaining traction over a period of approximately fourteen years, the party touted the record as the longest existing student-run political party of their day.

Continue reading ““Of Moats and Monarchs”–Maryland’s First King”

Panty Raids!

Panty Pirates Headline

How do you plan to spend your summer session?

On vacation?

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Hitting the books?

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On May 21, 1952, twenty-one male students decided to start their summers with a panty raid on sorority houses and women’s dormitories. A week later,  Dean of Men Geary Eppley stated in The Diamondback that he found several men admiring their nylon and silk “trophies” in Calvert Hall. Eppley claimed that one woman in the Margaret Brent dormitory “had her evening gown torn to pieces… At the Kappa Kappa Gamma house one coed lost $56 worth of underclothing, and other lost $122 in underwear.”

As punishment for stealing the ladies’ lingerie, three men were suspended for one year, and one could not return until June 1953. The rest of the raiders were suspended for one semester and permitted to return the following February.

These raids were not unique. In response to the wave of panty raids overtaking college campuses that summer, The Baltimore Sun  reported on May 28, 1952, that the U.S. Senate received demands that “panty raiders,” including those at the University of Maryland, lose their draft deferment and be sent “to do some raiding in Korea!”

The students did not learn their lesson. On May 8, 1956, male students carried out yet another panty raid.

Tumultuous mobs of underwear seekers thronged to the women’s dorms, crawled through windows and emerged later wearing step-ins, slips and other items of personal apparel. – The Diamondback, May 17, 1956

One student who had already broken into the women’s dorm egged on his fellow students, shouting “You’re chicken if you don’t come in!” The women responded by pouring water and throwing housecoats and blankets on their assailants. One woman reported, “You couldn’t stop them! I pulled his ears off — you just couldn’t stop them!” The raiders progressed through Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s Halls before speeding along to the sorority houses. Dean Eppley speculated that the raid was spontaneous and started after students on the upper floors of men’s dorms started bombarding a Spring Week sound truck with water bags.

They’ve taken everything from one of the girls except her socks. – coed quoted in The Diamondback, May 17, 1956

We hope you enjoy this  brief editorial in which the Diamondback staff lamented the unfavorable publicity caused by the 1956 panty raid!

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One student’s response to the 1956 Panty Raid.

You can find more information about the 1950s panty raids in the correspondence of UMD President Harry “Curley” Clifton Byrd.

The Diamondback provides a crucial student perspective on student activities on campus, including these two infamous panty raids. As the university’s primary student newspaper, Diamondback reporting is essential to the history of the University of Maryland. The University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is now currently available on microfilm.Thanks to generous donors and our successful Launch UMD campaign, The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016.

This post is the eighth in a series by graduate student assistant Jen Wachtel, who is collecting data for the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on the blog for previous posts, and look for her posts every other Monday.

 

JFK’s Challenge to UMD Students

Uncle Sam Says - jfk wants you to get involved in politics

On March 14th, we left a teaser for you about a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who delivered the 1958 convocation address. We hope you were able to guess the name of this illustrious campus visitor: none other than John F. Kennedy! In the spirit of primary season, we thought we would share Kennedy’s message leading up to the primaries for the 1960 election.

First of all, The Diamondback reported that Kennedy claimed to his audience of 5,500 at Ritchie Coliseum on April 28, 1958, that “he has no plans to enter the Maryland primaries, or any other primary.” Ironically, “[h]e stated that he is not to be considered a candidate for the presidency.”

Instead, Kennedy specifically directed his message to the students in the audience. He encouraged them to apply their talents to political life. He described politics as “a most neglected and abused profession” and stressed that it was the duty of the American people to commit their talents to solving world crises. “Every man sent out from a university today should be a man of his nation,” he claimed, in reference to concerns about the loyalty of college students in the midst of the Red Scare.

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Kennedy delivered his commencement speech 58 years ago this Thursday. #tbt

Kennedy, who did not officially announce his presidential campaign until 1960, returned to the Ritchie Coliseum one year after his convocation address. On May 17, 1959, the University of Maryland presented Kennedy with a stuffed Terrapin in gratitude for his return visit.

JFK with stuffed Terrapin 1959

The Diamondback’s reporting on famous visitors to campus, including these two historic visits by a future president, is essential to the history of the University of Maryland. As the university’s primary student newspaper, The Diamondback provides a critical student voice. For this reason, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper; it is currently on microfilm in the Special Collections and University Archives. Thanks to generous donors and our successful Launch UMD campaign, The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016.

In the meantime, keep checking our blog every other Monday for updates from graduate student assistant Jen Wachtel, who is compiling the metadata for this digitization project. This post is the seventh in a series; follow the #digiDBK hashtag on Twitter and check the DigiDBK tag on Terrapin Tales for updates and previous posts.