Testudo’s Travels: The History of Kidnapping Testudo

DBK 6-7-33 Statue Unveiling

There are many great stories in college and university lore about kidnapping the mascot of a rival school, e.g. the Army mule and the Navy goat or USC’s theft of UCLA’s Victory Bell, among many other tales. Believe or not, our beloved Testudo was not immune from this phenomenon too!

The first Testudo statue was revealed on the afternoon of June 2, 1933, when a 400-pound replica of a Diamondback Terrapin was presented to University President Raymond A. Pearson by Ralph Williams, President of the Student Government Association (SGA). The original memorial, created at the Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island, was placed on a brick and stone pedestal, funded by donations from the SGA, outside of Ritchie Coliseum. Major Howard C. Cutler, the architect who designed the Coliseum, finalized plans for the base initially drawn by D.C.-area artist Joseph Himmelheber.

1933 Image of Ritchie-Testudo-Turner - ACC. 72-182, B. 2
Testudo memorial statue outside of Ritchie Coliseum. Summer, 1933.

The Testudo-nappings began not long after the dedication. According to a short article from the September 23, 1958, issue of the Diamondback, Testudo was stolen from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum twelve times in fifteen years, between its unveiling in 1933 and 1948. This blog post explores the more memorable kidnappings of Testudo from his perch outside Ritchie Coliseum, before the statue was filled with cement and relocated outside the football stadium in 1951.

DBK - 9-23-58 - Testudo Stolen (12th time)
The Diamondback – September 23, 1958

The statue was first stolen on May 28, 1934, on a Monday night, the last day of the semester. At 8 AM the next morning, SGA President Warren S. Tydings and Ralph Williams, former SGA President who presented the memorial to University President Pearson, ordered a search. The thieves left “J.H.U.” painted in green on the statue’s base, hinting that the thieves were from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. University Vice President Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd called Johns Hopkins’ auditor Henry Iddins, informing him of the theft. Through information obtained from a state policeman, the search party learned that the thieves, “who looked like college boys,” may have stopped at a gas station in Berwyn, where one thief acquired iodine and a bandage for an injured finger. Later in the afternoon, administrators were tipped off by a phone call from a University of Maryland student, informing them the statue was located at a Johns Hopkins fraternity house in the 3100 block of North Calvert Street. Ralph Williams called Baltimore Police requesting a search of the fraternity, to no avail. By the time the UMD search party prepared a trip to Baltimore, the statue had been found in front of a dormitory at Hopkins, surrounded by roughly sixty Hopkins students. The crowd was questioned by Iddins, who then demanded that the students return the statue. “Fun is fun, but this is carrying it too far,” Iddins said, adding that the statue “must have cost several thousand dollars–and is a beautiful piece of work.” University of Maryland authorities echoed similar sentiments, suggesting that the theft “transcended the prank stage.” While Johns Hopkins administrators suggested that the thieves, if caught, would be expelled, Hopkins Dean Edward Berry also said he did not expect the thieves to be identified.

Testudo was stolen again by Johns Hopkins students early Saturday morning, May 17, 1941. When Maryland students discovered Testudo missing from his perch at the Coliseum, they immediately gave chase to the fleeing Hopkins students. After an unsuccessful pursuit, Maryland students alerted Baltimore Police of “the crime of the century,” who then notified Johns Hopkins officials of the theft. This time, Hopkins administrators found the bronze Terrapin locked up at the Homewood athletic field, where Hopkins students planned to bring the terrapin onto the field during intermission of a lacrosse match between Hopkins and the University of Maryland the next day. Instead, the Hopkins administrators sent Testudo back to the University of Maryland, much to the chagrin of their students. According to one Hopkins student, “about a hundred of us, certain that we’d beat the Marylanders this afternoon, got in autos and trucks and went to College Park last night to do something about that Terrapin.” For better or worse, by the time this gang of Hopkins students arrived, Testudo had already been taken by another group of “about fifty.” Police, searching for the terrapin, stopped the gang of Hopkins students several times, but, without Testudo, they were let go. “When we got back to Homewood,” one student said, Testudo was “on the steps of Levering Hall. So we locked it up and decided we’d pull it on the field this afternoon and give it back to its owners.”

Testudo was stolen several times in 1947. In the first instance, Johns Hopkins students captured the terrapin in May before the national championship lacrosse game. Sidewalks on the Johns Hopkins campus were painted by individuals who believed Maryland would beat Hopkins in the upcoming game. In retaliation, Hopkins students traveled to College Park and stole Testudo. As many as 25 Hopkins students were caught, “scalped,” and held hostage by University of Maryland students until Testudo was returned.

Later that same year, Testudo was stolen on Halloween night by University of Maryland students who resided in West Virginia. According to news accounts, on the evening before the theft, a student asked a police officer about the penalty for stealing Testudo. “Don’t know,” the officer replied, “it has never happened to a Maryland student.” In this case, Testudo was not painted or damaged, but temporarily removed and left “camouflaged in the greenhouse shrubbery.”

Only a month later, Testudo was stolen again from his pedestal outside Ritchie Coliseum, this time by students from Loyola College. Maryland students, less than excited by this specific kidnapping of Testudo by Loyola students, cited a lack of an athletic rivalry between the two schools as the reason for their indifference to his disappearance. In this case, Testudo allegedly attended a Loyola pep-rally and spent an evening on “The Block” on East Baltimore Street in downtown Baltimore. He was returned undamaged and without Loyola’s colors painted on him. Loyola students also sent a letter back with Testudo, thanking University President Byrd, for his “generous hospitality” in loaning them the statue and even wrapped Testudo in a blanket for his trek back to College Park.Maryland's Testudo, Abducted Again, Gets Police Escort Home - Sun - Dec 13, 1947

After the abundance of kidnappings, Testudo was moved from his perch outside of Ritchie Coliseum into storage in the General Services Department on the east side of Route 1 for several years. Upon the completion of the new football stadium at the University of Maryland in 1950, Testudo was brought out of storage, relocated outside of the new stadium, and filled with cement to prevent future thefts. Seeking a more central location for the statue, students requested that it be moved to the front of McKeldin Library, where Testudo has resided safely since 1965.

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.

 

Maryland Done a “Dirty Deal”

Ruth Finzel-cropAccording to the diary of 1930’s coed, Ruth Finzel, recently donated to the University of Maryland Archives, the Aggies football team got a “dirty deal” in their loss to the Naval Academy Middies 86 years ago today at Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

The Crab Bowl, as it is presently known, was played on November 22, 1930.  Notable attendees at the game included Charles F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy, Albert E. Ritchie, Maryland Governor, Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador, and Rear Adm. S.S. Robinson, Naval Academy Superintendent.  By many accounts, the 1930 game proved to be the first competitive contest of the series, with Navy scoring the only points on the second play of the game. The remaining 58 minutes were a defensive struggle

Here’s Ruth’s account of that football showdown:

“Norma, Jake, Morselly, Jane Smith and I went with Ruth Gilbert to the Navy game.  The girls wore chrysanthemums and ribbons to it [sic].  The traffic was terrible and Ruth was driving like wild.  Smacked into someone and nearly upset [sic] another time.  Parked way off.  Lost 6-0 by a dirty deal.  Kennedy came down with me for the last 10 minutes of the game and walked out with me.  He’s so cute.  I told him about my Iota Nu Delta date, so he told me about his.  I’m glad he had a punk time.  Went to bed early.

The dirty deal to which Ruth refers?  Check out the account of the game in The Diamondback: “Byrdmen Beaten by Kirn Plus Ten Men in Annapolis Fracas.  Adverse Decision Turns Possible Triumph into Defeat”

MD vs Navy 1930 clipping_crop

This was the latest installment of an intense football rivalry  between two institutions close in proximity (30 miles) but many miles apart in cultural and institutional differences.  Play began in 1905, ended abruptly 60 years later, but was renewed in 2005.  Losing the first 8 games, Maryland finally won in 1931, the season after Ruth graduated.  One of the highlights of this long series is the September 30, 1951, game at which Byrd Stadium, now known as Maryland Stadium, was dedicated. The Terps topped the Middies, 35-21, that day, and UMD Heisman Trophy runner-up Jack Scarbath scored the first touchdown in the new stadium. A total of 21 games have been played with an overall record of 14 Navy wins to Maryland’s 7.

Jack Scarbath 1st touchdown in Byrd
Scarbath scores!

Historically, the in-state rivalry was fueled by what some young men perceived as the coeds’ attraction to nattily-attired Midshipmen in their handsome uniforms over the more typical casual appearance and behavior of men on the Maryland campus.  There was also an enduring grudge borne out of a single-finger gesture made by a Maryland linebacker after tackling Navy QB Roger Staubach, during a narrow Maryland victory, 27-22, in 1964.  Consequently, the Maryland-Navy competition was suspended for 40 years by Navy.

Here’s a selection of program covers from some of our contests against the Middies:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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! You can find her account of the 1930 May Day fun with Zingaree and the Gypsies here.

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”

UMD123: 24

Twenty-four represents the number of years Millard Tydings served in the United States Senate

TydingsWithHammer
Mechanical engineering students at Maryland Agricultural College pose with hammers, circa 1910. Millard Tydings is at right. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/8458

Millard Tydings (1890-1961) was a native of Havre de Grace, Maryland, a 1910 alumnus of the Maryland Agricultural College, and one of just two Terps to serve in the upper house of the federal legislature, a surprisingly low total given all of the Maryland grads that have graced the House of Representatives.

Tydings began his public service shortly after leaving school; he was elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 1916 and became speaker of the House of Delegates in 1920. By 1922, he had moved up to the state senate, but that same year, he was elected to Congress as the Representative of Maryland’s 2nd District. He remained in the House of Representatives until 1927, when he became one of Maryland’s senators, a job he would hold for the next quarter century. Continue reading “UMD123: 24”

UMD123: 14

Fourteen represents the number of houses on Fraternity Row

bluto-animal-houseGreek life! It’s one of the most frequently stereotyped facets of undergraduate existence, and also one of the more enjoyable (provided you don’t end up on Double Secret Probation). From raucous parties and pledging hi-jinx to community service and school spirit, fraternities and sororities have been an integral part of student life at the University of Maryland since 1913. Greek organizations have also long served the university in a somewhat less obvious way: by helping to ameliorate the chronic shortage of housing.

greekMap1953
Hand Drawn Map of Greek Houses, from 1952 book

As strange as it might seem now, fraternity houses were once scattered throughout the area: in Old Town College Park, west of Route 1 in the area between Knox Road and modern-day South Campus Commons, and even on the main portion of campus itself, intermingled with the academic buildings and residence halls.

In the years following World War II, the university was flooded with former soldiers and their families, arriving in College Park to make good on the promise of the G.I. Bill. Temporary barracks and dormitories were built to house the new students, but it was clear that more needed to be done, thus the Board of Regents and President Byrd ushered in the greatest period of construction and expansion in the history of the university. One of the many new additions was the current football stadium, which freed up a large plot of land across Baltimore-Washington Boulevard next to Ritchie Coliseum, on the site of the old Byrd Stadium, dedicated in 1923. Plans were made to build ten Colonial-style houses in a ring around a central field to house 400 Greeks.

fratPreview1953
Preview of a finished house from the 1953 Terrapin yearbook

Continue reading “UMD123: 14”

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”

A Nostalgic Walk through McKeldin Library

McKLib_UnivAlbum_TestudoCheckout_2003
Testudo checking out books at McKeldin Library, c.2003.

Can you remember the last time you checked out a book from McKeldin Library?  Like the red stamps on your call slip, each trip to McKeldin marks a moment in time. As a campus institution, McKeldin Library witnesses the individual growth of so many Terps in one way or another.

Most of us come to the library out of necessity: cramming for finals together on sleepless nights or grabbing that quick coffee minutes before lecture. In the rush of our busy lives as students and educators, how often do we connect these moments to our university’s broader legacy?

McKLib_UnivAlbum_LibServiceDesk_1958
McKeldin Library service desk, c. March 1958.

The University officially dedicated McKeldin Library 58 years ago today. In celebration of this formative moment, we invite you to turn the pages of the building’s history in a nostalgic look at its origins.  As you flip through the slideshow below and the official dedication program, we encourage you to think about how these spaces have grown into your own vision of McKeldin Library. Enjoy!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UMD123: 30

Thirty could be a lot of things at Maryland.

It could be the number of IFC fraternities currently on campus–but that’s 25.

It could be the number of food locations on campus–but that’s 39.

It could even be the insane number of credits you took this semester (it isn’t, but we know it feels like it.  That said, what were you thinking???)

tumblr_mhf5sdYuMY1qh01r8o1_500
Even Honey Boo Boo knows 21 credits was a bad idea.

No, 30 represents the number of days that Benjamin Hallowell, our first president, actually served in the job before resigning, all the way back in 1859.

Hallowell
Poor Benjamin Hallowell. Maryland’s first president, and perhaps its first dropout.

To be fair, Dr. Hallowell, a noted educator and abolitionist, was not initially aware that he had been chosen to be the first president of the Maryland Agricultural College.  The trustees apparently assumed he would take the position, as he had been advising them on matters relating to the college, so they went a step further and announced that he was the president at the college’s opening ceremonies on October 6, 1859, as well as acknowledging that Hallowell hadn’t been informed yet.

But wait!  There’s more.

Hallowell was soon told of his election and agreed to serve, but he was not prepared for the condition of the college when he arrived.  According to newspaper coverage of the college’s opening, there was still a great deal to do.  Landscaping remained unfinished, and the college’s barracks, which also served as chapel, classrooms, kitchen, dining hall, etc., was not complete. In fact, construction was so delayed on the Barracks that only one-third of the building was erected before it was destroyed by fire in 1912.

Barracks_crop

Only half the faculty had been appointed, and those professors who were on-site did almost nothing until Hallowell arrived to assume command–six weeks after the college opened.

end-well-this-will-not
No Jedi Master required.

As he later recorded in his autobiography, upon arriving, Hallowell observed that the faculty “had apparently been waiting for me…to organize the college…six weeks that had elapsed without regular order or government…in the earnest effort that I made to effect a proper organization, and secure a healthy order and discipline, my health gave way in about a month.”

Hallowell had for some time been suffering the ill effects of a prescription that had been mixed incorrectly and which had almost killed him.  Perhaps fearing that the Maryland Agricultural College would finish what the pharmacist had started, he “resigned the Presidency unconditionally.”  After a period of rest, he resumed his teaching and scientific research, until after another period of declining health, he passed away on September 7, 1877.

Hallowell’s brief tenure at the helm of the college led to a rapid succession of presidents, 15 more leaders over the next 33 years, until Richard Silvester offered a bit more stability. Sylvester served the college from 1892 to 1912.

This post is part of our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series last semester, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month, on Wednesdays, throughout the semester; search “UMD123” or check out Twitter #UMD123 to see the rest. If you want to learn more about campus history, you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

New Digital Material: Historic Campus Maps Added to AlbUM

In recent weeks, nearly 100 maps of campus from throughout our 160-year history have been added to the University Archives’ online image repository, University AlbUM.

Have you ever wanted to see how our lovely old campus has changed since 1856? Now you can! Even if you just want to see what might’ve changed during your own years as a student, or since your parents’ day, or whatever – it’s all here!

Let’s take a look at the two oldest maps. Trust us, it’ll blow your mind.

18561906

1856-1906
For some perspective, the “Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station” is the Rossborough Inn. It stands on the map exactly where it exists today. Campus was centered south of that location, right about where Morrill Hall and LeFrak stand today. Did you notice there were only 10 buildings on campus?

1856-1916

1856-1916
This map, dated circa 1916, features the same center area of campus. It explains which buildings burned in the Great Fire of 1912, and outlines the new building locations. That circle with all the lines coming from it? That’s the point of failure – yes, THAT point of failure between Shoemaker and LeFrak – and marks where the fire started. The mechanical engineering building and annex are now called Taliaferro Hall.

1941

1941
In the late 1930s-early 1940s, campus started to take its more familiar shape. This map, dated 1941, is the first time we see the full extent and beauty of what would come to be known as McKeldin Mall. Originally the mall extended from Main Administration all the way up to Anne Arundel Hall. The Armory still isn’t in the right place yet, but we’re getting closer!

Check out the slideshow of other fun campus maps below. If you’re interested in seeing them all, head over to University AlbUM! Feel free to look around, and see what else we have while you’re there. (We’ve got some awesome old football film online too!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.