Celebration of Women

Each year, the University of Maryland’s President’s Commission on Women’s Issues (PCWI) holds a Celebration of Women, honoring the contributions of campus women of influence. This year’s Celebration will be a particularly special one, and one in which the University of Maryland Archives is proud to play a role.

pcwi inviteInspired by the Archives’ exhibit, “‘We take our hats off to you, Miss(es) Co-eds’: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Education at Maryland,” last fall at McKeldin Library, the PCWI decided that their 2017 event would take a bit of an historical bent. Commission members asked the Archives to create a slideshow of historical images of women on campus from 1916 to 1946 which will run as guests at the event gather and mingle, and we are currently putting the finishing touches on that presentation. The event will also feature remarks from four alumnae from different eras in the university’s history, Ellie Fields, Class of 1949, Sallie Holder, Class of 1962, Nicole Pollard, Class of 1991, and Sarah Niezelski, Class of 2016, recounting their experiences as female students at Maryland. Following the panel discussion, the Commission will honor seven outstanding UMD women of influence: Rashanta Bledman, Karen O’Brien, Jandelyn Plane, Nazish Salahuddin, Erica Simpkins, Sharon Strange Lewis, and Katherine Swanson.

The Celebration of Women will be held from 1:30 to 4 PM on March 31 in the Special Events Room, Room 6137, in McKeldin Library. The event is open to the public, and all are invited. Come celebrate some very special alumnae and current members of the UMD campus community, and enjoy some treasures from the UMD Archives!

 

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

ruins-after-1912-fire

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 http://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/fire/index.html.

 

Terps vs. the Ivies

If you asked the first 100 fans you meet in Maryland Stadium “Did the Terps ever take on an Ivy League team on the gridiron,” probably the vast majority would respond, “No.” They would be surprised to learn that Maryland did indeed face off with Yale, Princeton, and Penn a total of 18 times, beginning in 1919 with a game against the Yale Bulldogs.

Terps’ losses far outnumbered their wins–vs. Yale (2-8-1), Princeton (0-2) and Pennsylvania (1-4). Their most lopsided loss came against Penn, 51-0, in the 1940 match-up.  The last time Maryland played against an Ivy League team was in 1941, losing again to Penn, 55-6. Terps have never taken on Columbia, Brown, Cornell or Dartmouth.

Continue reading “Terps vs. the Ivies”

“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”

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”

Delays on the Green Line: Grand Opening of the College Park Metro Station

 

Jurassic_Park_logo

“The band [the UMD marching band] was here before playing the theme to ‘Jurassic Park,’ and I thought it was appropriate because it often felt like it took 165 million years to build.” – Michael Smith, city councilman who served on the Metro Watch committee, in the Diamondback on the occasion of the grand opening of the College Park Metro Station on December 13, 1993

Do you ride the Metro? Are you all too familiar with the terms track worksingle-tracking, or delays on the Green Line?   Are you dreading Metro’s  year-long, system-wide maintenance, which began this month?

As residents of the District, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) lament delays while SafeTrack is underway, here’s a bit of the history of the College Park Metro station, our university’s connection to the Green Line of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The Metro was founded in 1967, and Metro broke ground on the Green Line in 1969 along 12th and G Street, NW. The College Park Station opened to the public decades later on Saturday, December 11, 1993 — 14 years after the projected opening date of 1979!

Shuttle-UM stop 1971
Students waiting at a Shuttle-UM stop, April 19, 1971 (from The Diamondback)

On April 19, 1971, The Diamondback reported that navigating from the WMATA office in downtown Washington, DC, to Prince George’s Plaza required four buses, took at least 90 minutes, and cost 95 cents. To get to the University Student Union (now the Stamp Student Union), members of the campus community spent another 32 cents on an additional 15-minute bus ride. The Diamondback welcomed the fact that by 1979, students could expect a 19-minute Metro ride into downtown.

Continue reading “Delays on the Green Line: Grand Opening of the College Park Metro Station”

Terps’ World Record Attempts

Who doesn’t relish a good pillow fight? Back in 2009, University of Maryland students sought to break the Guinness World Record for Largest Pillow Fight! On April 17, 2009, the Senior Council organized 1,834 students on McKeldin Mall to beat the British Broadcasting Corporation’s 2008 record.

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Pillow Fight on McKeldin Mall, April 17, 2009. Brenda Ahearn/The Gazette

 

Although the Senior Council’s effort failed to break the record of 3,706 people, the event successfully raised $6,000 for Dream Village Inc., a nonprofit children’s book publisher.[1] Two days later, columnist Rob Gindes lamented in The Diamondback that fewer people participated in the pillow fight than in the SGA elections.[2] You can read more about the pillow fight on the University Archives MAC to Millennium site under “P.”

We should try to set a goofy world record every Friday. Who cares if we don’t succeed? – Rob Gindes, The Diamondback

It turns out that the University of Maryland has a track record for failed Guinness World Record attempts. In 1981, students assembled on McKeldin Mall for a very different purpose than the protests only ten years earlier (see the UMD123: 3 post).  On April 29, 1981, students gathered on the Mall to break the Guinness World Record for Unsupported Lap Sitting. According to The Diamondback, the student body had already failed to eclipse the record the previous year, and the Guinness Book of World Records did not even list lap sitting as a category! Nevertheless, the University Commuters Association amassed 2,768 students and garnered local media attention from WRC-TV and WTTG in Washington and WBAL in Baltimore for their “sit-in.” While the lap-sitting event broke no records, students reportedly enjoyed an afternoon of camaraderie on that beautiful Friday in April.

Sittin' Pretty

Have you ever participated in a Guinness World Record attempt on campus?  Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments!

The Diamondback’s reporting, including humorous perspectives on failed efforts to break world records, provides an invaluable perspective on the history of the university. As the University of Maryland’s primary student newspaper, The Diamondback records the voice of the student body. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper. The Diamondback will be online and searchable in 2016 and in the meantime, it is currently available on microfilm.

This post is the ninth 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 Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts, and look for her posts every other Monday and monthly during the summer session.   

[1] http://www.gazette.net/stories/04232009/largnew172537_32529.shtml

[2] http://www.dbknews.com/archives/article_07954fbc-1d70-5392-931c-9f4dafde66e9.html

Ruth Finzel’s May Day Folly

Ruth Finzel-cropThe University of Maryland Archives recently received the 1930 handwritten diary of Ruth M. Finzel (Class of 1931), of Mt. Savage, MD. In it, she shares her experiences as a co-ed in the College of Education, living in the newly constructed Alpha Omega Pi house on College Avenue and as an active participant in the Y.W.C.A. and women’s non-varsity sports, such as tennis, basketball, bowling at College Park lanes, and soccer. The University Archives staff has transcribed the diary and will be sharing excerpts from Ruth’s chronicles in future blog posts.

We begin with May Day, a popular spring tradition that played an important role on campus during Ruth’s era.  May Day festivities (1923-1961) were first established by Dean of Women Adele Stamp.  They included an elaborate pageant with costumes, a theme such as “Nursery Rhymes, “Neptune, Ruler of the Sea,” “Rip Van Winkle,” and “Famous Lovers,” dancing around the Maypole, and the crowning of a queen and her court. The junior women worked many months creating the handmade invitations and costumes to honor the seniors.

Ruth and her AOPi sorority sisters attended numerous rehearsals on the lawn starting in April to prepare for the occasion.  Their heightened interest was inspired by the fact that her sorority sister, Evalyn Ridout (Arts & Sciences, Annapolis, MD), was to be crowned May Day Queen. All the junior women spent many hours creating the handmade invitations and festive costumes that captured the Zingaree, the Gypsy theme for the year.

1930 May Day invitation and program

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The morning of May Day began with rain but fortunately cleared in time for the ceremony. Pictured here, Queen Evalyn Ridout  is accompanied by her four attendants:

univarch-055040-0001Left to Right:=
Alice (Curry) Nourse, Educ., Davidsonville, MD, Kappa Kappa Gamma
Isabel Dynes, Home Economics, Chevy Chase, MD, Alpha Ypsilon Chi
Isabel (Izzy) Bewick, Education, Cumberland, MD, Kappa Delta
Roberta Harrison, Education, Washington, DC, Chi Omega

 Ruth writes:

“Rained off & on but finally cleared up so we had May Day.  It was a gypsy theme and fairly good.  Evalyn Ridout was May Queen with Izzy Bewick, Isabel Dynes, Curry Nourse, & Roberta Harrison as maids.

Went to the Chorus recital with Marguerite & Helen & nearly had hysterics over a woman who sang.”

We post this today, on the 86th anniversary of this special day in Ruth’s life, and encourage you to check back for future snapshots of this era in UMD history! Enjoy these additional photos of Zingaree and the gypsies.

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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”