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.

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:

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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.

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 Cadets’ Review

cadets-review-title-page-vol-3-no-5The Cadets’ Review is just one of thousands of unique pieces of history held in the University Archives at the University of Maryland. Now fully digitized and available online, The Cadets’ Review is a twelve-issue, small-format newspaper written and published by Maryland Agricultural College students and faculty from February 1894 to March 1896. This newspaper was one of the main predecessors to The Diamondback, today’s independent, student-run newspaper which began as The Triangle in 1910. Columns in this early newspaper covered all aspects of student life, including current events, athletics, military business, humor, and even suggestions to get involved in Glee Club.

One of our favorite columns written comes from the March 1895 issue. “Some Curious Old Laws of Maryland” discusses the bizarre, early-Maryland codification of laws. For example, because tobacco held monetary value, criminals were fined in pounds of harvested tobacco.

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Using explicit language was another punishable offense in early Maryland– a law that would be frequently broken today.

 

 

may-1894-well-read-individualsAnother one of our favorite columns appears in the May 1894 issue. “Wasted Hours,”authored by S.T. Rollins, calculates the exact amount of time needed to become “well-read individuals.”

If you devote an hour of your time each day to reading the digitized version The Cadets’ Review via the University Archives website, you can learn a lot about what life was like for cadets early on in our university’s history.

Check out other fully digitized resources from the Archives if you are interested in learning more about additional student publications, course catalogs, UMD athletic guides, the Greek community yearbook The Frieze, Major League Baseball Rulebooks, or University AlbUM. Come visit us in the Maryland Room too, which is open Monday-Friday and on Sunday afternoons. Here you can work with documents and artifacts from the University Archives. We can’t wait to see you in Hornbake Library!

Celebrating 100 years of women’s education at UMD

September 14 is a landmark day in University of Maryland history! One hundred years ago today, a young woman named Elizabeth Gambrill Hook entered the Maryland State College of Agriculture, as the University of Maryland was then known, setting the stage for the over 17,000 female students currently on campus.  The 20-year-old Hook indicated an interest in experimental work in her entrance register entry and fulfilled her dream by earning her degree in entomology in 1920, becoming the first woman to take all of her classes on campus and receive a four-year degree.

Charlotte Ann Vaux joined Elizabeth Hook on campus a few weeks later. Vaux took a two-year course in agriculture and received her degree in 1918.

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Charlotte Vaux’s entry in the 1918 Reveille yearbook.

These two pioneers and other early women at Maryland are featured in a new University Archives exhibit on the first and second floors of McKeldin Library. The display chronicles the academic, athletic, and social activities of early co-eds, and also features information on the rules of behavior that female students were expected to follow. Visitors can learn more about Misses Hook and Vaux, the first sorority and women’s sports teams at Maryland, the May Day tradition, and restrictions on women’s movements around campus, guests in the dormitory, and even use of musical instruments and typewriters. The exhibit also contains examples of academic expectations for the pioneering co-eds and the story of early early rebel, Vivian Simpson.

Coeds100YearsPoster_1st floor“We Take our Hats off to you, Miss(es) Co-eds: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Education at Maryland” will remain on display outside of the Footnotes Café on the first floor and in the Portico Lounge on the second floor of McKeldin through mid-January 2017. Stop by and learn more about these amazing women from 100 years ago!

This is a post in our 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 fall; 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.

 

 

‘Let them drink beer!’—King Tom II’s Benevolent Reign

Good morrow! Earlier this week, we began the exciting tale of UMD’s regal history. Gather ’round as we complete the saga of King Tom II and his amazing reign!

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King Tom was a leader for the masses! Oscillating between the regal register and casual “party” lingo, it was his wit and blithe approach to politics that captivated many voters. He and his merry court espoused an extreme platform targeting campus security and safety in an outrageous, neo-medieval vision. Their promises included:

“constructing a moat filled with ‘fine, cold imported lager’ around the campus to protect the ‘peasants;’ breeding larger and slower cockroaches for dorms and dining halls, making it easier to catch and kill them; and installing gargoyles to beautify campus buildings.”

According to His Benevolence, the alcoholic safeguard would deter intruders via intoxication, while also transporting the campus to an Arthurian grandeur. Wading through beer, aggressors would become too drunk to walk before they could ever reach his realm, and students would have a free supply of spirits year-round!

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An illustrated medieval manuscript captures the aspirations of the Monarchy Party

The Diamondback also reported a proposal to erect a 30-foot, clear acrylic cube on McKeldin Mall because, as King Tom II stated, “[‘modern’ art [was] in.” Additionally, the King ensured improvements to the Student Tutorial Academic and Referral Center—he decreed that current exams and answer keys be made available during finals.

Continue reading “‘Let them drink beer!’—King Tom II’s Benevolent Reign”

“Of Moats and Monarchs”–Maryland’s First King

Once upon a time…

Long—but, not that long—ago, on a certain campus, lived a disenchanted student body. Political demonstrations brought classes to a halt at the University of Maryland, College Park, as tensions within the institution grew. At the height of the unrest, students and faculty activists found themselves confronted by a hoard of National Guardsmen on McKeldin Mall.  A courageous group of students pledged henceforth to vanquish institutional corruption and partiality in response to the widespread mistrust and animosity of student politics. They solemnly vowed to seek a wise and fair King to lead all Terps on a path to valor. With this solemn oath, the Monarchy Party was born!

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King Tom II salutes supporters in solidarity, The Diamondback, 1985

In conjunction with our ongoing Diamondback digitization project, today we weave you a yarn of the University of Maryland of yore. Join us as we tell the tale of the Monarchy Party’s rise to power during the mid-1980s. Among many brave heroes, we specifically recount the exploits of the valiant leader, King Tom II, who fearlessly combated the banality of student government in a series of farcical adventures.

 Of noble birth: the origins of Maryland’s Monarchy Party

Frustrated students founded the Monarchy Party in an endeavor to protest the perceived preference given to fraternity and sorority interests within the student government of the late 1960s. Mocking the petty jockeying of previous officials, the collective dubbed themselves Monarchists in reference to the tendency of internal cliques—especially Greek life lobbyists—to treat the student government as a school-funded “fiefdom.” The party’s founders felt that this internalized attitude led to nepotism and a grave mis-allocation of SGA funds. While its precise origins remain uncertain, reports in The Diamondback and The Washington Post date the Monarchy party’s inception between 1969 and 1972, which seems to coincide with the establishment of the Maryland Medieval Mercenary Militia.

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Medieval Mercenary Militia reenacts the Battle of Hastings, c. 1970-1975

As Washington Post correspondent Barbra Vobejda reported in 1985, ironic campus campaigns became a national phenomenon in the early 1970s after college administrations attempted to “whittle away” students’ rights. Pointing to the contemporary election of a cartoon character at the University of Texas in Austin and the Pail and Shovel party at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she suggests that satirical student groups, like the Monarchy Party, propelled significant conversations about the politics of higher education. An unaffiliated Monarchist regime was even established at Florida State University in, Tallahassee, Florida, in 1989.

Anticipating these anti-establishment collegiate trends, however, Maryland Monarchists blazed a trail for alternative student politics in the wake of early protests for equal rights and against the Vietnam War on our campus. Gaining traction over a period of approximately fourteen years, the party touted the record as the longest existing student-run political party of their day.

Continue reading ““Of Moats and Monarchs”–Maryland’s First King”

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: 24

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

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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”