UMD Then and Now: The Horticulture Department

What was the University of Maryland like in 1928? In 1968? How does it compare to 2018? Then and Now explores the evolution of the University of Maryland over the years. This week’s spotlight: the Horticulture Department!

The Horticulture Department, better known today as the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture, has been a part of the curriculum at the University of Maryland since the very beginning. Horticulture has been a part of university curriculum since the Maryland Agricultural College opened to students in 1859. Early on, Horticulture was not its own separate department; rather it was coursework in the larger field of agriculture. Students focused on practical experience and fieldwork conducted with the Agricultural Experiment Station. Through the years, focus shifted to academic research and lab work, although practical knowledge and job experience are still key. 

Horticulture 1.pngStudents plant lilies in Horticulture class, 1900

By 1928, Horticulture was its own distinct department with four tracks for specialization: Pomology (Fruits), Olericulture (Vegetables), Floriculture (Flowers), and Landscape Gardening. Professors in the department also worked for the Agricultural Experiment Station, an agricultural research facility affiliated with the University.

Horticulture 2.pngAll dressed up and no place to go…except class! Female students in Horticulture class, 1925.

Horticulture 3.pngStudents in the Horticulture Department in 1928 took a variety of classes including  “Public Speaking,” “Greenhouse Construction,” and “Vegetable Forcing.”

By 1968, the course of study expanded to include Ornamental Horticulture and Processing of Horticultural Crops. The Department also shifted its focus towards industry, preparing students to enter the field as fertilizer manufacturers and equipment managers. 

Horticulture 4.pngCurriculum in 1968 bears strong similarities to the coursework of 1928. However, focus has shifted to lab work and technology. Courses like “Flower Production Laboratory” and “Technology of Ornamentals” indicate the growing role of technology in science following World War II.

Today the Horticulture Department is called the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture. Specializations are available in Plant Biology, Landscape Management, Turf and Golf Course Management, or Urban Forestry. The department supports both undergraduate and graduate studies, and the four specializations blend elements of science, design, technology, and fieldwork. 

Horticulture 5.pngCurrent courses in the Department of Plant Sciences show more science courses and laboratory work.

The Horticulture Department is a long-standing element of the curriculum at University of Maryland. Since the creation of the Maryland Agriculture College in 1856, the department has changed dramatically. Coursework has shifted, and lab attire has changed. You won’t see fur coats in the lab today! However, the focus on preparing students to make meaningful contributions beyond the classroom has remained constant. Whether they graduated in 1928 or 2018, Horticulture students from UMD are prepared to make an impact in the field.

To see more about changes to academic department through the years, including course catalogs from 1859 to 2018, visit



“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?”

In the early 1960s, the threat of nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union was on everyone’s mind. In the fall of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world closer to nuclear warfare than ever before. As the Cold War escalated,, and the world seemed to hover on the brink of disaster, many ordinary citizens began to prepare for the worst. In 1961, the federal government started the Community Fallout Shelter Program to create spaces to shelter citizens from nuclear fallout. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy wrote a letter to Time Magazine advising private citizens to prepare for the worst, causing many citizens to construct their own private backyard bunkers. The University of Maryland, like other colleges nationwide, participated in the fallout shelter mania of the early 1960s. The UMD Civil Defense program prepared for the worst by constructing and stocking fallout shelters across campus. Where were these safety havens from nuclear doom at UMD, and whatever happened to these spaces representing life on the brink of nuclear war?

Shelter 1

Shelter 1

In 1961, UMD began the process of constructing 34 fallout shelters on campus to accommodate more than 7,000 people. Shelters were located in the basements and hallways of academic buildings and residence halls. By 1971, there were 43 shelters on campus. The largest shelter, located in the Physics Building, could accommodate 2,472 people while the smallest fallout shelter, in Montgomery Hall, had space for only 50 people. Each shelter stocked enough rations to supply each resident with 8 survival biscuits for breakfast and lunch, 10 for dinner, and 4 cups of water per day. Not the most lavish of meals, but enough to sustain 23,000 people for 2 weeks!

Shelter 2
Students open a tin of survival biscuits during a 1966 fallout center training.




The University’s Residence Hall Council even sponsored a course in fallout center management for interested students. The course involved simulations of conditions and situations that could arise in a fallout shelter during a nuclear emergency. Students could volunteer to participate in the exercise, spending 24 hours overnight in a fallout shelter in Denton Dining Hall. Students ate survival foods and practiced scenarios like decontaminating outsiders who could infect shelter inhabitants with radiation. Female students were even excused from the strict rules of nightly curfews to experience fallout shelter life. The course proved popular and occurred several times and in several different locations across campus in 1966 and 1967. 

Shelter 3
Students sleep during a fallout center management course, 1966.

The University of Maryland also participated in community efforts to prepare for a nuclear attack. In 1961, the Prince George’s County Office of Civil Defense published a call for applicants in The Diamondback. Married college students with families were asked to participate in an experiment in living one week in an underground fallout shelter at Prince George’s Plaza. The Diamondback wrote:

The purpose of the test is to observe the reactions of a typical American family to the confined living imposed by the bomb shelter. The bomb shelter, yet to be built, will be the underground cellar-like type recommended by the Office of Civil Defense Mobilization. Its occupants will live on canned foods. They will communicate with the outside during periodic broadcasts made by radio station WWDC.

We were unable to find evidence in the Archives if the experiment actually happened or if any UMD students participated in the study. However, this call for participants shows the widespread uneasiness of the residents of Prince George’s County, including UMD students, during the Cold War.

The University of Maryland also provided community education about nuclear warfare and emergency preparedness. In February 1963, McKeldin Library featured an exhibit on how to survive atomic warfare, complete with a model basement fallout shelter and recorded messages providing information about survival shelters. The University of Maryland was clearly a part of a larger local community concerned about the impact of nuclear war.

Shelter 4
A model basement fallout shelter on display in McKeldin Library, 1963.

In the mid-1970s, as the nature of the Cold War changed, fallout shelters began to fade from public interest. Funding to replace shelter supplies stopped, food supplies rotted, and vandals ransacked shelter sanitation kits. In 1976, the University gained permission from the Prince George’s County Civil Defense and Emergency Preparedness Office to dismantle the shelters, a process that took place throughout the remainder of the 1970s. As the Cold War continued into the 1990s, nuclear emergency plans shifted to focus on evacuation of students instead of efforts to seek shelter on campus.

Today, there is little evidence of the tension and anxiety experienced by students, staff, and administration as they faced the prospect of nuclear war. The idea of surviving a nuclear blast in a flimsy basement shelter equipped with survival biscuits seems naive and silly to us today. However, after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, nuclear war seemed inevitable, and a sense of helplessness consumed many American. These citizens, UMD community members among them, clung to the small amount of hope available to them, using fallout shelters to soothe fears of nuclear obliteration.

 Shelter 8.png  Shelter 6


It’s Alive! Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History!

Launch site top page_edited2

It’s alive! Our Launch UMD campaign to preserve Maryland’s men’s basketball history has gone live, and we are excited to get going on this major fundraising effort!

As we celebrate the beginning of the 100th season of men’s basketball at UMD, the University Archives embarks on one of its most ambitious initiatives EVER—a project that will digitize and make publicly accessible over 5,000 hours of UMD Basketball footage. This project will cost $500,000, and we will need the support of many fans to preserve this important history. You can join them in this critical initiative by visiting and making a gift today.

The collection includes 1,207 reels of 16 mm film and 2,727 videotapes, dating from 1953, the days of head coach Bud Millikan, to 2014, the end of Coach Mark Turgeon’s third season. When all the footage is converted to digital form and made accessible online 24/7/365, former players and coaches, members of the current campus community, and Terp fans will be able to watch games of the past anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

The clock is ticking, though, on preserving this significant slice of Terrapin athletic history. 16 mm film has its own condition issues, but surprisingly, videotape is even more susceptible to deterioration.


Tapes recorded even as recently as 30 years ago are in danger of becoming unplayable within the next five years, so the Archives needs to move quickly to raise the funds needed to convert these fragile materials.

You can support our work by making a gift to Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History. Our Launch UMD campaign is underway and will run through the conclusion of basketball season on March 8, 2019. Check the Launch site frequently to see how we are progressing, and encourage your family and friends to make a gift as well. What better way to celebrate the 100th season of men’s basketball than by making sure that the games that Terp players and fans once enjoyed on the court will be preserved for generations to come!


first game in Cole_crop
First game in Cole Field House vs. Virginia, December 2, 1955




Tags: #Terps100, Maryland Men’s Basketball, 100 seasons, Launch UMD, Help Preserve Maryland Basketball History


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 to take your own ghost tour of the campus!

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


To see more Halloween stories and poems from the Reveille, visit

Registration Chaos!

As we enter course registration season, we thought we’d share some images from the archives of registrations past. Prior to the creation of an online course registration system, students went in person to register for courses and plan their schedules. Enjoy this glimpse of UMD history as you sign up for classes from the comfortable distance of your computer screen!

Registration 1

Chaos! Registration day, Fall 1974.


Registration 3

A good place to take a nap? A student takes a break during registration, 1978.


Registration 2

Brrr! It’s cold out there! Students wait in line for registration, 1966.


Registration 4

So many options and so little time! A student surveys the course catalog, 1978.

To learn more about student registration prior to the internet and to find course catalogs from as early as 1856 visit:


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

The World Series Slugger: Charlie “King Kong” Keller

Once a year, baseball fans flock to the ballparks and TV screens to watch the battle of the American League and National League champions as they go head to head for THE WORLD SERIES TITLE! In honor of this year’s World Series showdown between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, University Archives thought we would share the story of an early University of Maryland baseball dynamo, Charlie “King Kong” Keller.

Charlie Keller Day at Yankee Stadium, Sept. 25, 1948

A native of Middletown, Maryland, Charlie Keller (1916-1990) was a standout in high school, both as a guard on the Middletown High School basketball team and bouncing between pitcher and catcher on the baseball team. As a two-sport athlete at the University of Maryland, he was instantly recognized as quite the slugger, finishing his first two varsity seasons with batting averages of .500 and .495. By 1936, Keller came back to campus for his senior year with an accepted offer from well-known scout, Gene McCann, to play for the New York Yankees.

As a left fielder for the Yankees, he was praised for his ability to hit massive, wall- reaching fly balls and home runs, earning him the nickname “King Kong.” He played with right fielder, Tommy Henrich, and center fielder, Joe DiMaggio, forming one of the best-hitting outfields in baseball history. This feared slugger hit .334 with 11 home runs and 83 RBI’s in 111 games! “King Kong” Keller was a 4-time World Series Champion (1939, 1941, 1943, 1958) and 5-time All Star (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1947). In his 13- season career with the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, Keller played in 1,170 games, hit .286  with 189 home runs and 760 RBI. Upon his retirement, he was elected to the Frederick County and Maryland Sports Halls of Fame, The Kingston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, the International League Hall of Fame, and the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 1982. 

We are also celebrating Charlie Keller as part of the commemoration of the 100th season, of Maryland men’s basketball this year, #Terps100. He is best known for his baseball exploits, but he did hit the hardwood as a guard for the Terps for 4 seasons, 1933-1937.  The yearbook from his senior year contains a great description of his accomplishments:

Keller was one of the most accurate potshot artists from long range Marylanders have ever known. Keller was the lone consistent marksman on the team and frequently sent long arches through the hoop to start an Old Line rally.

1934-1935_TeamPhoto (1)
1934-1935 Maryland men’s basketball team, Charlie Keller at right in second row

Charlie Keller definitely knew what it took to win a series like the one that starts tonight! This Dodgers vs. Red Sox face-off is the first in the World Series since 1916, the year “King Kong” Keller was born! May the best team win!


#Terps100: This Day in History: October 15, 1971

October 15, 1971, was a landmark day in basketball history, not only for the University of Maryland but also for colleges and universities across the country. Practice for the 1971-72 season officially began at the stroke of midnight on October 14, and three minutes later, UMD head coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell had his team out in Byrd Stadium to run a mile around the stadium’s track.


Lit by the headlights of a few cars and under the watchful eyes of a small group of fans, future Maryland stars Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, and John Lucas and their teammates took off around the track, trying to beat the clock by running 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes.univarch-016399-0001_blog


Coach Driesell, wearing a cowboy hat and smoking a big cigar, cheered the players on and watched their times carefully.  Asked about the consequences a player would face if he did not complete the distance in the required time, Driesell answered “If they don’t, they run it each day until they do [but] during the day. I ain’t getting up this early again.”

This initial midnight run has since evolved into a nation-wide celebration of the first official day of basketball practice, known today as “Midnight Madness.”  Many of these events are now regularly televised, including the Terps’, though few are held at the witching hour.  The annual fall event usually features dramatic player introductions, a scrimmage, and a slam dunk contest.  In recent years, women’s teams have also begun to participate, sharing equal billing with their male counterparts.  Hard to believe that this ‘hoopla’ began with a chilly time trial in the middle of an October night 47 years ago.

The “Midnight Mile” returns this year the night of October 15, as the 2018-19 Terps join students at the Kehoe Track and Field Complex for a midnight run of their own. More details about this event can be found here. Come on out and help them mark this special day in UMD Men’s Basketball history!

This is the first in a series of blog posts the University Archives will be featuring as part of the commemoration of the 100th season of Maryland men’s basketball with our colleagues in Intercollegiate Athletics. Visit the #Terps100 website for more information about and to participate in the celebration.

Follow Terrapin Tales throughout the season for additional features on landmark days in Maryland men’s basketball history. Next in line is Sunday, December 2, when we mark the 63rd anniversary of the first game in Cole Field House.



“Lefty” Is Going to the Basketball Hall of Fame

Close your eyes and try to imagine a 6’ 6” basketball coach walking into his home arena with the sound of “Hail to the Chief” blaring behind him and his hand above his head with a “V” for victory sign. All of the seats in Cole Field House are claimed by devoted Terrapin basketball fans, but of course for the coach that wasn’t enough.  This energetic and intense man demanded floor seating for the public to get even closer to the action. Everyone is on their feet for another basketball showdown and he and his players thrive off the excitement they created and use it for one more night to get another win. Now open your eyes. That coach was Lefty Driesell and that level of excitement happened for 17 basketball seasons!

Lefty enters Cole - c. 1970s

Coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell understood the relationship between Maryland fans and his players and from the photographs found in our archives, his time as a Terp will never be forgotten.

Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, September 7th, after a collegiate coaching career of over 40 years for four different programs. He built the University of Maryland basketball program into a national powerhouse between 1969 and 1986. As our head coach, the team had eight NCAA Tournament appearances, two Elite 8 appearances, won or shared five total ACC regular season championships, and won one ACC tournament championship in 1984. He is responsible for recruiting UMD basketball’s biggest names, like Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, John Lucas, Albert King, Buck Williams, and the late Len Bias.

Although his legacy is set in stone on the basketball court, he also made an impact off the court. In 1972, Driesell started “Midnight Madness” which gave UMD fans the earliest opportunity to celebrate the start of the basketball season with the teams. This tradition transformed into what is known now as “Maryland Madness” and has taken shape in other athletic programs across the country. Lefty Driesell was a trendsetter, a competitor, and a mentor for the Maryland Men’s Basketball program and we are truly proud of his selection to receive this prestigious honor.  

Congratulations Coach Driesell!

Remembering the Queen of Soul

Today, along with many others, we remember the life and mourn the loss of Aretha Franklin, who passed this morning at her home in Detroit at the age of 76. Aretha performed at the University of Maryland twice, once on May 10, 1969 and again on August 11, 1973, both at Cole Field House.

Aretha Franklin first performed on campus in May 1969. “They told me D.C. was cool, but they lied to me,” Aretha said to the crowd. Though the Diamondback review of Aretha’s first appearance here was not the most favorable, staff writer David Lightman noted that Franklin seemingly “had no control over the matter,” of her performance. Notably, Aretha and her backing band continued performing as the audience mobbed the stage after her official performance had ended, and the house lights were turned on.

Aretha returned to Cole Field House on August 11, 1973. University Archives has archival information from this performance in our Records of Student Entertainment Events (SEE) collection, including the full contract. Proceeds from Aretha’s 1973 performance went to the University of Maryland’s Black Honors Caucus, and Howard University’s Research Center for Sickle Cell Anemia. Over five thousand tickets were pre-sold for Aretha’s second appearance, and she performed before an estimated audience of 11,000 packed in Cole Field House. Franklin “looked elegant,” performing in a “flowing” black and white, butterfly-style gown, her hair in corn rows. Aretha ended the hour-long performance by saluting “black power and peace with one dramatic gesture as balloons were released from overhead.” Washington Post writer Hollie West, who reviewed Franklin’s performance, noted the only downside was its “brevity.” Though originally scheduled for nearly a two hour performance, West said Cole Field House that evening was “like a furnace roaring at full blast.” Yet, seeing Aretha perform, was like “experiencing the fire and brimstone of a backwoods Baptist.”

Rest in peace, Ms. Franklin. You will undoubtedly be missed by many.