A “War of Pens” With One of UMD’s Most Notorious Alumnae

Before writing the S.C.U.M Manifesto and attempting to assassinate Andy Warhol, Valerie Solanas was a student-journalist for the Diamondback from 1956 through 1957.

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Valerie Solanas, 1958 Yearbook

In contrast to her later reputation as a radical feminist, Solanas wrote some fairly generic articles for the paper. In her first article from February 2, 1956, Solanas reported on a female student who donated her eighth pint of blood. The next time she popped up was as a feature reporter on a May 16, 1956, article defending the university’s decision to charge seniors a $10 diploma fee.

The fall semester of 1957 saw the end to her rather bland assignments. On November 19, 1957, the Diamondback editorial staff praised a speech given by Max Shulman at the Associated Collegiate Press Convention. Described as a humorist and national college newspaper columnist, whose column “On Campus with Max Shulman” appeared regularly in the Diamondback, Shulman’s speech declared that in order to “reinvigorate the youth,” the matriarchy must be destroyed. He claimed that when America was run by “restless men,” the country was the light of the world. Shulman suggested that one way to begin the process of reversing the matriarchy was to take the girl with whom you have been going steady since you were 13 and “punch her in the nose” because it will “leave no confusion as to who’s boss.”

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Title card for Max Shulman’s column, which appeared regularly in the Diamondback.

Solanas responded with a letter to the editor on November 22, 1957, stating that Shulman was the “nadir of trivia” and that his statements were “pure bigoted drivel.” She went on to defend stay-at-home mothers by outlining all of the work they did while their husbands were at work and noting that two-thirds of married women juggle work and family duties. She then turned her attention to the Diamondback editors by questioning whether or not it was appropriate for this sort of content to be in the editorial section of the paper. Her fiery response was co-signed by ten other female students on campus.

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On November 26th, Harry Walsh, writing on behalf of himself and the residents of North Baltimore Hall, responded to Solanas by claiming that “these females” purposefully misinterpreted Shulman’s speech and he doubted that Shulman was serious about revolting against the matriarchy since Walsh doubts it even exists. While he does not believe that men have lost masculinity and that he should he punch his girlfriend in the nose, he and his dormmates believe that Solanas’ response only created more humor around the whole situation.

Over the next two months, anonymous and named men from the UMD campus and College Park community chimed in to defend Shulman’s comments, with the main war waging between Walsh and Solanas. One anonymous writer from December 11th wrote that women are meant to stay home and that “women think they’re too good to do housework and try to think.” Another man, W.E. Parr, wrote on December 12th that Solanas is “Maryland’s own little suffragette.” He stated that when UMD men come across a “certain type of distraught female,” the best thing to do is humor them.

Solanas wrote two significant responses on December 17th and December 18th. In the first, entitled “Verbal Warpath,” she tells men to “maintain your manly composure” and that their replies are “unbecoming to men of your intellectual stature.”  After taking a few more shots at the multiple men writing in and insulting her, she signed off with “‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ and my pen is dipped in blood!” The next day, she responded directly to Parr, arguing that men are actually the ones who are wasting away without the women because they are desperately seeking companionship as they lurk around dances and the female dorms.

One female student did come to the defense of Solanas on December 10th when Mary Louis Sparks wrote that Solanas was not trying to wage war, but clarify certain concepts that are held by a large number of men and that those concepts are being held in error. None of the women who signed off on Solanas’ first letter wrote in to defend her, and it is unclear if women wrote in and were not included or if Sparks was actually the only student to defend her.

By January 9, 1958, the editor of the Diamondback had stepped in to put an end to what had become known as the “War of Pens,” as it was unlikely that Shulman or his followers would be converted. He also noted that both sides stated their cases rather poorly due to the sheer number of insults and sarcastic responses to one another. The editor then declared that January 17th would be the last issue that would address the debate.

Solanas was the only person to directly respond to the call for final thoughts. She opted to write a poem rather than a traditional letter:

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January 17, 1958, poem on the War of Pens

There were at least 15 exchanges over the course of three months with articles separate from the “Backtalk” column that addressed the debate. Nearly every “Letter to the Editor” section had someone chiming in on the debate. After the war of pens had ended, Solanas did not appear in the Diamondback as a writer again, while Max Shulman’s column “On Campus,” that was sent out to multiple college newspapers, continued to be published. On what could be considered a particularly conservative campus in the 1950s, the Diamondback editorial staff said that War of Pens had permeated every part of campus life. Though it cannot be said that it caused any major changes, this look into gender relations on campus is certainly enlightening, especially since it was led by Valerie Solanas.

Flip through the gallery below to see the entire “War of Pens”!

To see more archived issues of the Diamondback, visit https://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/student-newspapers

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Double, Double, Reveille and Trouble

In celebration of All Hallows Eve, we dug up a poem from the 1903 Reveille yearbook. Early yearbooks often had a section dedicated to poems and short stories. Along with love letters and complaints over homework, Halloween was a recurring theme.

UMD has acquired a number of ghostly friends over the years. Whether you’re in the mood for cold spots in the Stamp Student Union or a meeting with Miss Bettie who managed the Rossborough Inn during the Civil War, there’s a little something for everyone. Just head over to https://maps.umd.edu/tours/ghost/ to take your own ghost tour of the campus!

Enjoy this bit of UMD history on the spookiest night of the year!

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To see more Halloween stories and poems from the Reveille, visit https://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/yearbooks

Ladies, Come Get Your “Information, Please!”

When you first step onto the University of Maryland campus as a new student, one of the last things you might expect is a handbook of rules specifically for your sex. Up until the late 1960s, that’s exactly what new female students were handed. “To Do Or Not To Do” and “Information Please!” were handbooks that outlined the rules and expectations for newly admitted female students. These handbooks were distributed by the University of Maryland Women’s League and Associated Women Students, respectively. New female students were automatically made a member of these organizations upon enrollment at the university.

IMG-2053.JPG                “The Terrapin” 1952

While the guide outlined many standard rules we may see today, such as general policies, dorm hours, fire drill procedure, and quiet hours, female students were given a particularly strict and detailed set of rules. In the 1937 and 1940 issues of “To Do Or Not To Do,” every social interaction had a given set of instructions. If a girl was unsure how to go about introductions, flirting in the library, how to behave in the dining room, and rating her date, she simply had to turn to the handbook for her answers! Each handbook let a girl know that if she did not conform to the standards, she ran the risk of seriously embarrassing herself.

Throughout the 1950s, leaving your dormitory after 8pm was quite a process. Any girl who wanted to leave the dorm after 8pm needed to obtain permission and note when she would return. After 10pm, it really became an ordeal! Girls were only permitted a certain number of these “late leaves” per semester, which were determined by class and GPA. Weekends were much easier to stay out late, with 1am curfews. If you were late, you ran the risk of being “campused,” the college version of being grounded, unless, of course, a girl called her house director and the campus police. Imagine being 22 and still having to obtain parental permission sleep somewhere other than your dorm room!

informationpleas1958univ_0021.jpg                                             “Information Please!” 1958

Running the risk of getting grounded was not the only thing a freshman girl had to worry about. Dress code was outlined to a T until 1967! Shorts, slacks, jeans, and other sportswear were forbidden anywhere on campus, unless the girls were in a location where sports were being played. In the 1964-1965 handbook, the dress code became even more specific. To attend dinner on weeknights, skirts or dresses were required. In 1937, the handbook noted that there were 40 or 50 formal dances at the University, so a girl had to be ready with her formal attire! Sunday breakfast and dinner demanded a dress, or coordinated outfit, with pantyhose and heels. A skirt and blouse was considered standard attire for the classroom and everyday campus activities.

informationpleas1951univ_0019.jpg                                           “Information Please!” 1951

Interestingly enough, students helped establish some of these rules! Female students in conjunction with Dean Adele Stamp made up the AWS board who regulated curfew, dress code, and visitation to fraternities. But, as the wider culture changed, the AWS soon followed. By 1968, there was no dress code, and by 1970, students successfully had the curfews eliminated. While the AWS continued to put on very traditional events like their annual Bridal Show, more contemporary events made their way into the organization. Around the same time as the elimination of the dress code, the AWS began sponsoring a Sex Symposium dealing with contemporary issues involving sex and morality.

informationpleas1966univ_0011.jpg                                                                                “Information Please!” 1966

It would be an understatement to say that we have come a long way since the handbooks of the 1950s and 60s!
You can see more student handbooks like “Information Please!” through the University Archives website at https://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/digmaterials

Black Explosion Now Available!

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As part of an on-going effort to make student publications more accessible, the UMD Archives is pleased to announce the addition of the Black Explosion to the UMD Student Newspapers database.

Dissatisfied with coverage of issues important to and activities of the African American community at the university, the Black Student Union began publishing an independent newspaper, entitled the Black Explosion, sometime between 1967 and 1970; the actual date is unclear, and the founding date is reported variously on the masthead of the paper itself. The Black Explosion published continuously in hard copy until December 2015/January 2016, and all issues in the Archives’ collection are now online and searchable by keyword and date. Users can also save articles or entire issues by using the clipping tool described on the Using the Database portion of the About page on the website.

The paper has been and continues to be, through its online presence, an important student voice on campus and can now be heard around the world.

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Work continues to digitize additional student papers, and announcements of their availability will be made here on Terrapin Tales as content is loaded.

The Return of Bobby Seale

Tonight, as part of the College of Arts and Humanities’ “2017-18 Dean’s Lecture Series: Courageous Conversations, ARHU Resists Hate And Bias,” the University of Maryland welcomes the return of Bobby Seale! A career political activist, Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense with Huey P. Newton in October 1966. Seale will present “Resistance: From the Sixties to Trump,” which will be followed by a book signing and reception.

Bobby Seale Promo Poster 2018

This will be Bobby Seale’s third time speaking on campus. Seale first spoke on campus at Ritchie Coliseum on February 3rd, 1972. “If you want to wage a revolutionary struggle in this country it is necessary to move forward to feed and clothe the people,” said Seale, to a crowd of 700 people. Seale’s first lecture centered around the Black Panther Party, and he addressed rumors of defection within the party, their primary objectives, and widely debated use of guns for self-defense. For Seale, a primary goal of the Black Panther Party was “to teach and educate the masses of the people,” and that guns were “not the power, but are tools to be used in particular times for particular reasons.”

Seale returned to the University of Maryland on February 11, 1974, at the Grand Ballroom in Stamp Student Union. Echoing his first lecture, Seale’s again focused on defending the Black Panther Party and dispel media distortion of the party’s objectives. “They told you we were picking up guns to shoot white people,” Seale said of the media. “The power structure does not want minority peoples or white people to have unity and control over their lives, especially on a community level,” Seale told the audience at Stamp.

 

The 2017-2018 Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series will conclude with a lecture from award-winning journalist and NPR correspondent, Mara Liasson on Wednesday April 11, 2018 at the Gildenhorn Recital Hall in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. For more information and to RSVP for tonight’s Bobby Seale lecture, click here. For more information on the 2017-2018 Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series, click here.

 

Fire! Fire!

ruins-after-1912-fireToday 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.

We hope you enjoy this new resource!

 

60th Anniversary of the Royal Visit to College Park!

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!

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.”

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Front page of the Diamondback the day before the Queen’s Game, October 18, 1957.

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.”

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.

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. 

UMD Student Newspapers Database Launched

Student Newspapers homepage_crop3The University Archives is proud to announce the public launch of the new UMD Student Newspapers database, https://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/student-newspapers, which provides keyword and date access to issues of The Diamondback and its seven predecessor newspapers from 1910 to October 1971. Users can search names and topics across all the issues, as well as focusing in on a particular day, month, or year of publication or publication title. Content can also be isolated in an individual issue and saved as a jpg file, using the clipping tool provided on the website. A more detailed explanation of the database functions appears on the website’s About page.

This is truly a transformational project for the Archives, allowing current students, faculty, and staff, UMD alumni, and anyone anywhere in the world who is interested in the history of the University of Maryland ready access to the primary student newspaper whose coverage of events provides an invaluable perspective on campus, national, and international events, issues, individuals, and organizations.

A highly successful Launch UMD campaign conducted in 2015, combined with a mini-grant from Maryland Milestones/Anacostia Trails Heritage Area funded a portion of the digitization work, and these donors are acknowledged on the Donor Honor Roll page on the website. Beginning November 1, we will undertake a second Launch UMD campaign to raise the funds needed to complete the digitization of all remaining issues and to ensure that the hard copy of the paper will continue to be digitized as long as it is published; the campaign will conclude on December 13. Please watch for the Launch UMD announcement here on Terrapin Tales and help us put this project over the finish line.

Until digitization is complete, researchers may find it useful to consult the subject indexes to The Diamondback which University Archives have compiled semester by semester, beginning in fall 1992. Electronic copies of these indexes have recently been mounted on the public computers in the Maryland Room and can be requested from University Archives’ staff as well.

The Archives also plans to digitize additional UMD student papers, and work will begin on the Black Explosion in FY2018. When content for this paper and the others selected for digitization is available, it will be incorporated into the same UMD Student Newspapers database, so that users can search across a variety of resources at the same time.

Please visit https://www.lib.umd.edu/univarchives/student-newspapers soon and take a look at the first 61 years of The Diamondback!

New Acquisition: The Dick Byer Photograph Collection

In October 2016, the University Archives acquired nearly 750 photographs from university alumnus Dick Byer, Class of 1967. Mr. Byer spent much of his time on campus working for various student publications like the Diamondback and the Terrapin yearbook. He took photos all around campus of various scenes of student life, and he was usually in prime locations to take photographs at sporting events, including football, basketball, and lacrosse games from the 1964, 1965, and 1966 seasons. Photographs of theater productions and Greek life events are also featured in his collection.

The 1960s were a time of rapid change on university campuses across the country, and campus life at Maryland changed dramatically late in the decade, as Mr. Byer’s photographs document.  His collection features photographs of Billy Jones, a Maryland Terrapin noted for being the first African American men’s basketball player in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), as well as a handful of pictures from inside Town Hall, a College Park landmark that just recently underwent renovations. The Dairy is also featured in its former home, Turner Hall. In addition, Mr. Byer documented George Wallace’s visit to Cole Field House in May 1964.

Mr. Byer’s images also record how the campus has physically changed over the years. Some photos feature simple changes, like shrubbery in front of McKeldin Library, while others exhibit how dramatically the landscape around Maryland Stadium and North Campus has been transformed. One photo even shows some of the campus sheep grazing on the land where the Xfinity Center now stands!

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The University of Maryland Archives is delighted to have this extensive collection of images from the 1960s to add to its holdings and looks forward to sharing Mr. Byer’s photographs with researchers interested in what life was like at UMD over 50 years ago. Please stop by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to take a trip down memory lane!

 

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.