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.

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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.

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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.

One more Super Terp

Getting psyched for Super Bowl LI on Sunday? You can bet one former Terp is!

joe-vellanoAtlanta Falcons defensive lineman Joe Vellano anchored the Maryland defense for four seasons, 2009-2012, before heading off to the New England Patriots for two seasons and the Indianapolis Colts for another. Vellano was re-signed by the Patriots in January 2016 but didn’t make the final roster for the fall. In a interesting twist of fate, he will line up against his former team on Sunday for perhaps the biggest game he will ever play.

Vellano joins a long list of Terps who have played in the Super Bowl. You can find more information about these terrific alumni here.

Maryland fans will be keeping a close eye on the game to see if Vellano can have the same sort of defensive impact he had when he took to the field in Maryland Stadium! May the best team win!

The “Art” of Football

The search for programs from past football games against our 2016 opponents led us to some of the most colorful and creative sports artwork in our collections.  Renowned 20th-century artists, such as Jack Fagan, Joe Little, and Phil Neel, showcased their unique, humorous talents on the covers of game-day programs. The University of Maryland Archives are fortunate to possess numerous examples of their work. Enjoy their eye appeal, brilliant use of color, and creative, quirky characters.

1961-clemson Cartoon artist Phil Neel (1928-2012) was famous for creating the most recognizable and lovable mascot in college sports, Aubie the Auburn tiger.  Although Aubie was Neel’s most famous creation, he also drew covers for other schools, including Clemson, whose programs featured Neel’s characters from 1959 to 1976. Neel’s drawings became collectors’ items, as seen when Aubie serves up some turtle soup.

1935-indiana Jake Fagan (1910-1993) created this colorful cover for one of our Big Ten opponents this season; the Terps take on Indiana on October 29 in Bloomington. Fagan was best known for his landscape painting and commercial art and served for a time as the art director of the Wells Fargo Bank.

 

 

Joe Little’s football hero evokes gentlemanly courtesy prior to kickoff against Southern Methodist University  and captures the determination of one football hero, with the clock winding down against N.C. State. Little illustrated pulp fiction, magazine stories, and sports programs from the 1940s to the 1960s, specializing in football covers during the 1950s.

Turtle soup is a popular theme, as featured on the October 7, 1950, Maryland vs. Michigan State program drawn by Cahoon. The Terps take on the Spartans this season on October 22.

Another of our historic programs from a contest against a Big Ten opponent is this Dad’s Day beauty drawn by artist Lon Keller. The Terps travel to Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions on October 8.1958-south-carolinaOur final, colorful favorite is this gem from the November 1, 1958, Homecoming game vs. South Carolina. Willard Mullin, who described himself as a cartoonist, not an artist, and was known as a keen observer of the human form in action, drew this cover for that special day.

The artists entertained the fans while showcasing athletes, coaches and campuses.  As you can see, the options were endless and entertaining! Art. Football. When they team up on game day, it’s a winning combination!

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”

The Mystery of the Missing Frat House: Research Questions at UMD Archives

The University Archives at Hornbake Library is home to a wealth of information about the history of our school, campus, and the College Park area. One of the frequent tasks that we perform is researching questions that people have about the university. Some of the most commonly requested information has been gathered together on the University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium website, but there are also questions that aren’t so easily answered and require a bit of detective work on our part.

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One such question arrived in our inbox recently from an alumnus who wanted to know if we had any photos of his old frat house. He said he had graduated in 1955, and during his junior and senior years, he lived in the Alpha Chi Sigma house on campus, which he remembered as being an old farm house with a metal roof and a water pump on the front lawn. According to the gentleman, the house was demolished during the construction of Cole Field House. With this information in hand, I began my investigation to uncover what I could find about the AXE fraternity house.

Continue reading “The Mystery of the Missing Frat House: Research Questions at UMD Archives”

UMD123: 5

Thousands of athletes have graced this campus and led UMD athletics to new heights throughout the years. Among these thousands, 46 individuals proudly represented not only the University of Maryland, but their home countries in the Olympic Games. Out of those 46, FIVE athletes achieved the prized gold medal!

Arthur Cook

In 1948, the kingpin rifle shooter of the world was none other than Arthur E. Cook, Class of 1950, better known as “Cookie.” As the “baby” of the shooting team representing the U.S. at the Olympics in London, Cookie was found astonishing for his age and his performance was a great upset to the competition. He won the 50-meter competition with an unbelievable score of 599 out of a possible 600, earning him the gold medal!  He was the rifle team captain while attending the University of Maryland’s College of Engineering.

Steve Sheppard with medal 2

A dominate force on the basketball court, Steve “Bear” Sheppard jumped at the opportunity to play with the USA men’s basketball team in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Sheppard would help Team USA go undefeated through the tournament and crush Yugoslavia, 95-74, for the gold medal! Returning to UMD, Sheppard finished out his collegiate career with many highlights before becoming the second round pick for the Chicago Bulls in 1977-78.

universityofmar1988univ_0_001As a tremendous, aggressive defensive star, Victoria “Vicky” Bullett was the youngest member (age 20) of the U.S women’s basketball team at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.  Vicky scored four points to help Team USA defeat Yugoslavia (77-70) for the gold medal! On her return from South Korea, Vicky stated that, “I’m in a daze, it still hasn’t really hit me yet. It was a great experience, very exciting.”¹ Vicky Bullett graduated from Maryland in 1989 with a degree in General Studies.

Andrew Valmon

The current head coach of Maryland Track and Field, Andrew Valmon, is no stranger to the Olympics. As a young runner, Andrew attended the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In his first appearance at the Olympics, he assisted in winning the gold medal for the Men’s 4 x 400 meter relay with a final time of 2:56.17 just missing the 1968 Olympic and World Record.  At the next Summer Games (1992), Andrew once again assisted the Men’s 4 x 400 meter relay in capturing the gold and setting a new world record of 22:55.74.  In 2003, Andrew was named head coach of Maryland’s Track and Field team. He reached the highest level of his coaching career when he was named the head coach of the U.S Track & Field Team for the 2012 London Olympics.

fpo-dominique-dawesAt the young age of six, Dominique Dawes began a long and successful career as a gymnast.  Twelve years later after numerous competitions and already an Olympic veteran (competing in the 1992 Olympics), she once again proved her ability by gaining a position on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team for the 1996  Summer Olympics in Atlanta. By the end of the games, the team earned the nickname “Magnificent Seven” and became the first U.S. women’s gymnastics team in Olympic history to win a gold medal. Dawes would later graduate from University of Maryland (though never a member of UMD Gymnastics) in 2002 and is currently a co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition while working for Yahoo Weekend News.²

This is a post in our on-going series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in the fall 2015 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 the Terrapin Tales blog search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter #UMD123. 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.

¹ Quote taken from UMD Diamondback article in September 1988 issue.

² Information sourced from Dominique Dawes Wikipedia page. Photo used from Bio section on President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition website.

 

UMD123: 7

Seven represents the number of consecutive national championships won by the Women’s Lacrosse team between 1995-2001

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The inaugural 1974 Women’s Lacrosse team, from the Terrapin yearbook

Varsity Women’s Lacrosse at Maryland debuted in the fall of 1974 as a member of the now-defunct Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. Led by Coach Sue Tyler, the program quickly rose to spectacular levels; of the five AIAW Division I championship games held between 1977-1982, Maryland appeared in four, and won its first title in 1981.

After 1982, women’s sports were integrated into the NCAA, and the Lady Terps continued their dominant level of play. The team competed in three straight national championships starting in 1984 and won their second title on home turf, defeating Penn State at Byrd Stadium in 1986.

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Terrapin #39 in action against Harvard during 1986, from the 1987 Terrapin yearbook

Cindy Timchal took over the coaching duties from Sue Tyler in 1991, and during this period, Maryland would evolve from one of the better teams in the country into the best women’s lacrosse program in NCAA history. Starting in 1990, the Lady Terps would be involved in all but one national championship game until 2001, missing out only in 1993. The team won its third national title in 1992, but the march to truly astronomical levels of success commenced three years later. Beginning in 1995, Maryland would win every single national championship in women’s lacrosse until 2001, seven in all, making them back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back champions. During that monster run, the teams lost a total of only five games, compiling an overall record of 140-5 over seven seasons. The Lady Terps took home 6 ACC titles during that span and recorded four perfect seasons.

Current head coach Cathy Reese took over the women’s program in 2007 and helped perpetuate its storied tradition. In 2010, Maryland prevented Northwestern from assembling its own unbroken string of national championships by defeating the Wildcats at nearby Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson. Even more recently, the Lady Terps won back-to-back national titles in 2014 and 2015. Now the dominant power in the Big 10 Conference, Maryland has won the conference title every year since leaving the ACC and should continue its dominance this spring. You can catch the action yourself at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex located at the northeastern end of campus, near the Xfinity Center!

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Terrapin midfielder Taylor Cummings (21), cradles the ball as midfielder Erin Collins (12) and defender Casey Pepperman (13) look on during the national championship game at St. Joseph’s against North Carolina, May 24, 2015; Greg Fiume and TJ Root for Maryland Athletics

This is a post in our new series on Terrapin Tales called UMD123! Similar to our “ABC’s of UMD” series in fall 2015, posts in this series will take a look at the university’s history “by the numbers.” New posts will come out twice a month throughout the summer; on the Terrapin Tales blog, search “UMD123” or use the UMD123 tag. You can also check out Twitter#UMD123. 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.

(The featured image in this post is from the cover of the 2002 Women’s Lacrosse Media Guide.)

The Greatest visits with the Terps

As the nation mourns the passing of Muhammad Ali, the UMD Archives remembers his encounter with the Terps 40 years ago.

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Muhammad Ali with Terps’ (l to r) Pat Hand, Brian Magid, Asst. Coach Joe Harrington, and Eric Schrader

The historical records we have from Terps’ men’s basketball include a series of shots of The Greatest from the 1975-1976 season-ending banquet on April 26, 1976. Ali was in town preparing for his April 30 fight vs. Jimmy Young at the Capital Centre in Landover, and his training camp set-up in the banquet room at the Sheraton Lanham re-routed the Terps’ celebration to a side room at the hotel. To make amends, Ali agreed to appear at the event, and from the photos we have in our collections, really enjoyed himself.

Head coach Lefty Driesell presented the champ with a Terrapin clock with his name on it during the evening. According to the account of the banquet in the April 27 Washington Post, Ali teased the crowd by responding “You mean this is all you’re giving me?” and offered up one of his famous poems:

“I like your team, I admire your style, But your gift is so cheap, I won’t see you for awhile.”

Certainly a memorable night for all those in attendance.

Farewell to a great champion in sport and in life.

 

 

 

 

A Nostalgic Walk through McKeldin Library

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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?

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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!

 

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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???)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.