Historical Item Analysis: We’ve Always Been a Basketball School

Before there was Melo Trimble, even before there was Greivis Vasquez, and definitely before there was Tom McMillen, the University of Maryland Terrapins played incredible basketball in Cole Field House, formally known as the Cole Student Activities Building.

first bball in Cole programThe first game played in the arena, second in size to Madison Square Garden at the time, was a men’s basketball game between the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia on December 2, 1955. The program from this game still exists today and is kept in the University Archives. There are several beautiful pages in color, including the cover and the scoring sheets, which were sponsored by Coca-Cola. Some of the most interesting parts of the program are the various advertisements that exist throughout. There are advertisements for everything from “The Pizza Hut” to cigarettes to “Lansburgh’s,” which was a men’s clothing store that sold the “College Classics.” The program sold for a mere 35 cents, which wouldn’t even buy you a bottle of water at today’s games. And just like the Terrapins do today, they won that game, 67-55, over the Virginia Cavaliers.

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

Historical Item Analysis: Student Life in the 1870s

In a letter recently donated to the University Archives, a student describes what life was like in the early years of the college after its inception. The letter will make students happy to live in an era where healthy food is taken for granted as opposed to 1871 (when the letter was written) which describes the meals as “hardly fit to eat”.

Davidson letter p1If the content of the letter almost seems unreal, the story how the University Archives obtained the letter will also seem unreal. Anne Turkos, of University Archives, received a call from a man who said that he was watching the bidding on an old document on eBay, the 1865 diary of Maryland Agricultural College student Charles Berry, and wanted to know if the University Archives would be interested in purchasing it,  With his help, the Archives was able to purchase the diary, and when Turkos went to pick it up, the Archives’ benefactor gave her this letter from Percy Davidson to add to the Archives’ collections. That is how the letter is in the University Archives. A generous man wanted to help the University Archives grow.

In addition to giving us clues on the struggles of the college in 1871, the letter also shows what familial dynamics were like back then. It sounds like Davidson is not close with his mother because he writes that the letter contains the “plain truth,” implying that in previous letters Davidson’s mother did not fully trust the words of her son. In addition, Davidson portrays himself as an overly righteous and moral person, so perhaps Davidson’s mother suspected Davidson of having bad morals. Certainly, that is not how students behave in 2017.

You can find more information about the letter, images of all four pages, and a complete transcription of this document at  https://umdarchives.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/student-life-in-the-1870s-new-acquisition/.

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

Historical Item Analysis: University of Maryland Song Book

If you’ve been to any University of Maryland sporting event, then you understand how much Terrapin fans love to sing. A lot. The victory song, fight song, and alma mater are played at every sporting event – but where did they come from?

Song bookThe Class of 1941’s Student Government Association published an official University of Maryland songbook, creatively title University of Maryland songs, in 1941. Included in that book were the iconic “Hail! Alma Mater,” “Victory Song,” and “Maryland Fight Song.” Those songs were initially published and copyrighted in 1940, 1928, and 1941, respectively; but they were all re-published and re-copyrighted during the publication of the songbook in 1941. While the alma mater has been maintained intact from publication to current day, the songs we know today as the “Victory Song” and “Maryland Fight Song” are only the choruses to the original pieces; the lyrics are preserved in the chorus, but the original songs are much longer.

In addition to these well-known songs, the songbook contains lesser known – but just as interesting – songs. These songs include “Sons of Maryland,” the oldest song in the songbook originally published in 1917; “We’re in the Army,” a march lamenting ROTC tasks that was chanted by cadets during their march; and last, but certainly not least, the “Maryland Drinking Song,” which compels Terrapins to dispel their fears of hell as they toast to their friendships.

If you’re looking to polish off your rendition of any of these songs, the songbook is located in the University Archives and contains the official score for all of these songs, including lyrics and separate treble and bass clefs. However, if you want to brush up on UMD’s lyric history without needing to brush off your shoes for walking to Hornbake Library, you can find the lyrics to current versions of the alma mater, victory song, and fight song online, on the UMD library website. Be advised: the website only contains modern versions of these songs, not the original versions with the other verses, and only contains lyrics for the aforementioned three songs. If you want to see the complete versions of any of the songs in the songbook, visit the University Archives in Hornbake Library.

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

Historical Item Analysis: Board of Trustees Minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Historical Item Analysis: Byrd Stadium Dedication Program

MD vs Navy_093050Byrd Stadium, now known as Maryland Stadium, opened on September 30, 1950, with a win over the Navy Midshipmen by a score of 35-21. This was the first game between these two teams since 1934, when university officials suspended the rivalry series that was marred by rough play and vandalism on both of the schools’ campuses.

It is difficult to imagine what it was like to be a fan who attended that game simply by looking up the final score, but reading through the original copy of the program book that was distributed to attendees of that game can take you back in time to a different era of the Terps football program. This piece of football memorabilia is filled with photographs and names of players, coaches, and other important individuals in the UMD and Navy football programs. Various feature articles appear in the book, including one that discusses why Navy was the ideal football team for the Terps to play in the Byrd Stadium dedication game. An entire list of possible in-game penalties and the associated number of yards lost, some of which have been modified over the years, are included for spectators who were not experts in the rules of football. Advertisements in the book are printed in black and white and are mostly text-based, which is quite different from the ads and commercials to which we are exposed at football games today.

This program was printed long before D.J. Durkin was the coach of the Terrapins; the team was still a member of the Southern Conference, they were coached by Jim Tatum, and the president of the university was Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd. The Byrd Stadium dedication game was undoubtedly an important milestone in the university’s athletic program history. Members of the university community can take a look at the program books for this game and other games in the University Archives to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years in the long and storied history of the Terps football program.

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

Historical Item Analysis: Crawling onto Campus: The Auzoux Silkworm

silkworm caterpillarWhile perhaps not as beloved as the Archives’ taxidermied Testudo, Louis Thomas Jerome Auzoux’s stunning papier-mache model of a larger-than-life silkworm larva deserves plenty of admiration in its own right. The exquisitely hand-crafted and painted model seems to defy time itself, and many would be incredulous to find out that a piece in such great condition was assembled all the way back in the 1880s in a Paris workshop! While the study of silkworms was arguably more material to the early student-farmers of the Maryland Agricultural College, this amazing model still serves an important function on campus today. In a world that is increasingly trending towards technology of all kinds at a faster and faster pace, this model connects us to our roots here in College Park and reminds us that even before every student accomplished a majority of their work using some sort of advanced technology, this institution was still a place of higher learning.

The quality and detail of this silkworm challenges our understanding of education in the late 19th century and proves that the University of Maryland’s excellence in 2017 and beyond has deep origins in the ability of our predecessor institution to provide its students with a stellar education. With this in mind, the Auzoux model deserves an eternal place in our university community, because we can only move forward by remembering our beginnings.

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