ABC’s of UMD: Letter S


We could have picked another S, we suppose, maybe Squirrels (there sure are enough of them on campus) or Soccer (for our outstanding men’s and women’s teams), but since everyone on campus at one time or another spends time in the Student Union, we thought you should know a little more about the special lady for whom the building is named.

Adele Stamp, 1951-1960Adele Hagner Stamp was the university’s first dean of women, serving in that capacity from 1922 to 1960. She was born in Catonsville, MD, in 1890 and attended St. Timothy’s, a private all-girls school in Stevenson, MD, and Western High School, the oldest all-girls public high school in the United States. Stamp taught at a public school in Baltimore after graduating from high school, and was later hired as a social worker by the Y.W.C.A., organizing recreation programs for women factory workers in industrial centers for the Y. . From 1919 to 1920, she directed an industrial service center in New Orleans and received an A.B. in sociology from Tulane University one year later. Immediately before coming to the university, she briefly served as a field representative of the American Red Cross. In 1924, she received a master’s degree in sociology and recreation from the University of Maryland.

May Queen and her Court, 1923
May Queen and her Court, 1923

During her tenure at the University of Maryland, she organized and promoted women’s activities. She initiated the campus celebration of May Day, which began in 1923 and continued annually until 1961, and founded the Women’s Student Government Association, the Women’s Senior Honor Society, which became the Maryland Chapter of the Mortar Board, and the Freshman Honor Society for Women, later a chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta. She also organized the first Women’s Physical Education Club in 1926 and in 1938, founded the Campus Club, an association for women professors and faculty wives. Her activities extended beyond the university to the state and national level as well, where she held leadership positions with various education, women’s, and political organizations.

yearbook_1959_coverIn 1959 the campus yearbook, the Terrapin, was dedicated to her, the first woman ever to receive that honor. When she retired in 1960, Stamp was named Dean Emeritus by university president Wilson H. Elkins.

Adele H. Stamp died on October 17, 1974, after a long illness. In 1983, the university student union was renamed the Adele H. Stamp Union in her honor. Astronaut and UMD alumna Judith Resnik, a member of the space shuttle Challenger crew, participated in the re-naming ceremony.

The University Archives holds Miss Stamp’s personal papers, and you can find the guide to this collection here. Stop in the Maryland Room in Hornbake and read some of her letters to President Byrd advocating for resources for “her girls” or keeping her young charges in line.

This is the 19th post in our series on Terrapin Tales called ABC’s of UMD! Posts will come out twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, throughout the semester. If you want to learn more about campus history, check back weekly to see what we’ve picked to highlight, and you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

Do you have other ABC’s about campus? Let us know in the comments below!

Check back on Friday, November 6, for Letter T!

Mad About Majorettes

In 1938, the University of Maryland Student Band unveiled its coed drum majorettes for the first time.  This was another big first for the band, with women instrumentalists having joined in 1936.  Making their debut on the field prior to a football game against Western Maryland in October 1938, the ladies quickly found themselves at the center of controversy.

Drum Majorettes, 1951
Drum Majorettes, 1951

The Washington Times fanned the flames by mentioning the majorettes in several articles, according to Musical Ambassadors of Maryland: A Centennial Celebration, a 2009 book about the marching band’s history.  The Times focused on the ladies’ physical appearance, including their heights and weights, and commented archly that their first appearance “startled several thousand spectators last Saturday when they appeared at the head of the band…in resplendent uniforms consisting of brass-buttoned jackets, plumed hats, and black boots, but very little else.”

The press was not the only entity questioning the propriety of the majorettes and their outfits, with Dean of Women Adele Stamp actively involved in a hurried re-working of the majorettes’ uniforms.  Miss Stamp did not believe that majorettes should exist, and for a time she seems to have gotten her way.  The following year, 1939-1940, the only women in the band were instrumentalists.

Yet the issue would not die, as a October 1945 letter from Adele Stamp to UMD President Curley Byrd makes clear.  Stamp writes: “The question of drum majorettes has also come up again.  Can we not settle this once and for all?…You will recall the furore (sic) that was created the time they appeared at the Western Maryland game…I am opposed to drum majorettes.  I think they have no part in a college program and I know of no well-known or reputable state university that has them.  They savor too much of the Atlantic City parades and the bathing beauty contests.”

Drum Majorette Jean Weaver and Drum Major Mike Board, 1961.
Drum Majorette Jean Weaver and Drum Major Mike Board, 1961.

Whether the ladies’ roles as majorettes simply offended Stamp’s sensibilities, or whether she was concerned about their being exploited (or some combination thereof) we’ll probably never know.  But the majorettes did re-appear, and by the early 1950s they were around to stay.  Happily, they are no longer referred to as drum majorettes, but drum majors like their male counterparts, with the focus is solely on their leadership, and not on their outfits.

Red and White – A New Maryland ‘Tradition’

Terps fans who believe today’s uniforms represent tradition should know that the early years saw the team clothed in a variety of colors, from gray and maroon to black and gold.  When Harry C. “Curley” Byrd hired Clark Shaughnessy to coach the 1942 football season, Shaughnessy superstitiously insisted on changing the uniforms to the red and white team colors he had used at Stanford and the University of Chicago.  On September 27, 1942, Maryland opened its season versus the University of Connecticut sporting the new colors, and rolled to 34-0 victory.

Johnny Gilmore catches pass vs. Connecticut, 1942

Johnny Gilmore (#48) catches a pass vs. Connecticut, 1942. From the 1943 Terrapin yearbook.

When Shaughnessy left after the 1942 season, the team again donned black and gold uniforms, as had been the tradition up to that time.  They returned to red and white in 1946, when Shaughnessy returned for a second stint as head coach.

Clark Shaughnessy, 1946

Clark Shaughnessy, c.1946.  From the 1947 Terrapin yearbook.

When University President Byrd hired the now-legendary Jim Tatum in 1947, Tatum kept the red/white color scheme, because it reminded him of his coaching roots at Oklahoma.  It was reported that when Shaughnessy was told late in his life that Maryland was still sporting the red and white, he was astonished.

To see more online images of Maryland football, please visit University AlbUM.

A visit from the First Lady

Eleanor Roosevelt speaks to students at Ritchie Coliseum, 1938.
Eleanor Roosevelt speaks to students at Ritchie Coliseum, 1938.

On April 13, 1938 — 75 years ago today — Eleanor Roosevelt became the inaugural first lady to visit campus (having since been followed by Hillary Clinton, the commencement speaker in 1996). Mrs. Roosevelt addressed a crowd of approximately 6,000 students “sitting three to every two seats” in Ritchie Coliseum. The (mostly female) audience packed in to hear her speech on education, civic responsibility, and community engagement. The first lady encouraged the attendees to become active public servants and encouraged leisure time, saying, “I believe that people must have a good time in this world. If not, they will be tempted to do things they shouldn’t do.”

However, perhaps more interesting than Mrs. Roosevelt’s speech is the connection between the first lady and a particular university staff member — Dean of Women Adele Stamp. The two met on June 12, 1934, when Mrs. Roosevelt served as the guest of honor at the Democratic Women’s Club of Montgomery County, one of Stamp’s many civic commitments (see newspaper clipping below). Just one day before, Stamp sent a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt to thank her for agreeing to speak at the 1935 National Association of Deans of Women convention in Atlantic City and declared her part of the “new era for women.” Once in Atlantic City, Stamp served as Mrs. Roosevelt’s host, escorting her from the train station to Haddon Hall for her speech.

After the first lady’s appearance at the NADW convention, Stamp invited her to speak to the female students at Maryland. Stamp wrote, “The only inducement I can offer is an unusually fine group of young people…I know that any message you give them will not be soon forgotten.” It appears that Mrs. Roosevelt was unable to visit campus in 1935, but it is possible that the invitation from Dean Stamp and the familiarity between the two contributed to her willingness to speak three years later. During the 1930s and 1940s, Dean Stamp attended several luncheons, garden parties, and events hosted by Mrs. Roosevelt, including a 1938 luncheon for the wives of foreign dignitaries and American legislators.

A letter from the first lady to Stamp from August 5, 1948, is the latest item in our collections that links the two women. The university archives does not have a copy of the letter Stamp sent to Mrs. Roosevelt, but the informal nature of the correspondence indicates that the women had become friendly acquaintances. From what we know about Adele Stamp, it is clear she would have greatly admired Mrs. Roosevelt’s commitment to public service and women’s activism and taken pride in her personal associations with the first lady.

Articles and correspondence used in this post can be located in the Adele H. Stamp Papers, Boxes 8 and 14, and the Scrapbook Collection, Box 2 (Publicity Scrapbook).

Adele Stamp driving

Recent Acquisition: Adele H. Stamp Papers

Adele Stamp driving
Adele Stamp driving, c. 1915-1920s

Donated by Adele Stamp’s relatives, this collection provides a glimpse into Miss Stamp’s private life beyond her image as Maryland’s strict Dean of Women. Some highlights from the new accession include photographs spanning from Adele’s childhood through her retirement. An album of photos from 1912-1914 captures her life between high school and college and features some great images of Adele having fun with friends and enjoying her youth. We knew that she went on to attend Tulane University, but had never determined the exact year of her matriculation or graduation. However, in this accession, we found programs from the 1921 Tulane graduation ceremony as well as a copy of the yearbook, including Adele’s photo. With some help from the archivists at Tulane, we obtained a copy of her transcript which showed she enrolled in the fall of 1919 and graduated in the spring of 1921.

The accession also contains a letter from Adele’s older sister Emma explaining to her daughter that Adele was born about three years after her, but always pretended to be six years younger. We did some research of our own to confirm her birth year as 1890. Miss Stamp famously lied about her age (for reasons that will probably remain a mystery) and apparently decided she’d rather be a few years younger. Most of her contemporaries never knew about her secret, and even her obituary in the newspapers listed her fictional age!

In addition, we were very excited to find four letters written to Adele by a suitor, Franklin D. Day. It appears Adele and Frank met while working at summer school in College Park and exchanged letters for almost four years. We do not have any of her correspondence to Frank, so the reason behind the end of their courtship is unknown. Frank married Elizabeth Hook, the first woman to graduate from Maryland with a four-year degree, and Adele never married.

Other items of inteAdele with headbandrest in this accession include a sculpted bust of Adele, travel journals from her trips to Europe in 1912 and 1926, several university publications that include articles by Dean Stamp, a poem about her written by students on campus, newspaper clippings about her career, various awards and honors, and programs and photos from the 1983 renaming of the Stamp Student Union.

For more information, please take a look at the newly revised finding aid for the Adele H. Stamp Papers, as well as our online exhibit, Adele Stamp: Uncovered.

Adele’s European travels

For the next month, we’ll be tweeting excerpts from Adele Stamp’s travel journal from July and August of 1912. At age 22, Adele traveled to Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands with her aunt. This journal is just one of the interesting items we received from Adele’s family members earlier this year. For more information about Adele, see our Flickr exhibit. And be sure to check out our twitter feed to follow Adele’s adventures from one hundred years ago!