New Exhibit: The Revolution Will be Printed – Graphic Arts as Activism

The Revolution Will be Printed: Graphic Arts as Activism is a celebration of printed works that drive social change through celebration, critique, and creation. To kick off this exhibit, I am thinking about artwork created for two different printed newspapers in Hornbake’s holdings, El Malcriado and the AFL-CIO News that cover the Delano Grape Strike.

In protest against poor pay and working conditions, over 800 farmworkers agreed to strike and walked off their jobs in the grape fields of Delano, California in September 1965. The strike leaders were Filipino members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). They reached out to the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) for support. The NFWA membership, whose leaders included César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, voted in overwhelming favor of striking. The AWOC and the NFWA then became the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) union.

El Malcriado was established by César Chávez as the unofficial newspaper of the UFW (United Farmworkers of America) in 1964. It was titled after a rallying cry from the Mexican Revolution and was printed first in Spanish and then in English as well (1910-1920). The woodcuts, engravings, and pen-and-ink drawings for El Malcriado continue a Mexican-American (Chicano/a/x) graphic arts tradition.

This cover by Frank Cieciorka brings together cultivation and cultural heritage. Agricultural labor is brought back to ancient practice through the prominence of maize and the integration of Mesoamerican sculpture and architecture. Cieciorka is also known for the woodcut print of the fist that graced countless posters and buttons at demonstrations throughout the 1960s. 

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Student Employment in Special Collections and University Archives at UMD!

Interested in a career as a librarian or archivist? Are you detail-oriented and organized? Looking for a job on campus with great colleagues? Special Collections and University Archives is hiring hourly student assistants!

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Student assistants in Special Collections and University Archives at UMD experience a wide variety of public and behind-the-scenes elements of the special collection library/archival field.  They work closely with curators and library staff to make accessible some of the University’s most valuable research collections.

Our collections cover a wide variety of subjects/formats, including literary manuscripts and rare books, UMD history, labor history, the state of Maryland and other historical collections, mass media and culture, and women’s history. Student assistants get hands on experience working with unique materials like photographs from the Baltimore News American and the Diamondback, audio-visual materials from NPR, paper records of the AFL-CIO, 17th and 18th century French pamphlets, and much more.

We are looking for reliable and enthusiastic students who have an ability to learn quickly, with excellent written and verbal communication skills, a passion for history and cultural heritage, and a willingness to work both independently and collaboratively with students and staff.

Efficiency in computer programs such as Word or Excel are preferred. Students must also be able to retrieve archival boxes and books that may be heavy or fragile for researchers in the reading room. Experience in an archives/special collection library or conducting research in a library is helpful, but not essential.

We are currently hiring student assistants in the following area: Access to Collections Team

Student assistant responsibilities in the Access to Collections Team include the following:

  • Processing new, cataloged materials (e.g., books, serials, microfilm) and shelving according to collection and Library of Congress call numbers.
  • Consciously editing SCUA’s online finding aids.
  • Inventorying and accessioning archival collections.
  • Covering shifts on the public service desks, including the Hornbake welcome desk and reading room retrieval desk as needed.

Attention to detail, excellent written/verbal communication skills, and basic Microsoft Excel proficiency are preferred.

Applicants must be able to maintain a consistent schedule of at least 15 hours per week. Working hours are available from 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday. The starting pay rate is $12.50. Both graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. These are hourly student positions only; not graduate assistantships. The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

To apply, send a resume and brief cover letter expressing interest in the position to Amber Kohl at amberk@umd.edu by Friday, May 20. (PDF format preferred)

A Life in Letters: Katherine Anne Porter Digitization Continues!

We are excited to be back in action, kicking off phase 4 of the Katherine Anne Porter correspondence digitization project! Porter was an award winning author best known for her short stories, including Pale Horse, Pale Rider and her full length novel Ship of Fools. In 1966 Porter donated her literary archive to Special Collections at the University of Maryland, where a room was created in her honor. Now housed on the first floor of Hornbake Library, the Katherine Anne Porter room showcases book, photos, furniture, and memorabilia collected during her life.

Katherine Anne Porter talking with R. Lee Hornbake at the dedication of the original Katherine Anne Porter room in McKeldin library, May 15, 1968
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The Visual Culture of Labor in the 1930s: A Visit to the George Meany Labor Archive

On February 8 and 10, 2022, the twelve students in ARTH488D: Mining the Visual Culture of the Great Depression visited the University of Maryland’s Special Collections to explore 1930s materials from the George Meany Labor Archive. Students leafed through folders of original documents and photographs, and worked together to select and analyze a key primary source of their choosing. Our goal was to ask what we could learn from these materials– especially their visual form–about how people experienced the economic crisis and labor struggles of the Depression era. Please enjoy our explorations below!

“No Help Wanted”

This cartoon from a periodical clipping from 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, shows a man looking at a sign that reads “NO HELP WANTED”. He appears to be sad and dejected. A connection between the viewer and the figure in the image can be made by the way they are both reading the sign at the same time. The figure’s back is turned, directing the viewer’s eyes to the message, while also noticing his posture which shows emotions of dejection, tiredness, and worry. This item creates feelings of sympathy and sadness for the figure and feelings of wanting to help and support him. This image appears to be reproduced in a magazine or pamphlet of sorts to encourage workers to take action in protest for better working conditions, job opportunities, wages, and so much more. We believe this image was intended to resonate with people affected by the crash of the Great Depression. Having the opportunity to look at this primary source allows us to further understand the struggles that working and lower-class citizens endured during a time period of limited jobs and low pay. #GreatDeressionVisualCulture #NoHelpWanted #RouseHimToAction

–Jessica and John

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This is a Woman’s World!

Content Warning: This post discusses issues related to sexual assault, abortion, and homophobia.

I just feel like women, they have minds and they have souls, as well as just hearts, and they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty.

Jo March, Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig, 2019)

Mother nature. Lady Liberty. The Divine Feminine. Womanhood and femininity are intertwined with our vocabulary, inherently linked with our everyday interactions, with the way we speak, the way we think, and the way we see the world around us. Maryland and Historical Collections (MDHC) here at SCUA wants to emphasize that intertwining and uplift women and femme-identifying individuals by highlighting one of our collections that centers their voices.

Specifically, this post will highlight MDHC’s off our backs records. off our backs, or oob for short, was a non-profit feminist journal by, for, and about women, published from 1970 until 2008 in Washington, D.C. The journal covered a wide range of radical and difficult topics, moving seamlessly from local to national to international women’s rights issues, extending its broad reach to ensure everyone who opened the journal’s pages felt seen and included. 

Description of the "Thumb Poke," a self-defense tactic that involves poking an attacker in the eye. A black-and-white illustration depicts one person's thumb overlaying another person's eye.

The journal gave readers a uniquely diverse knowledge of where women stood in the midst of worldwide issues, such as highlighting the plight and fight of Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War (Vol. 3, No. 7), while also providing local information to women in the DMV area, such as a full-page spread listing out the pros and cons of different abortion clinics and gynecological offices in the D.C. Metro area, published directly after Roe v. Wade (Vol. 3, No. 10). In addition, the journal included general survival tips that were useful for women everywhere, with one issue laying out different tactics for physically fighting off would-be rapists (a finger in the eye socket seems to do the trick).

off our backs balanced these necessary but sometimes upsetting facts and stories with the inclusion of beautiful art, prose, and poetry, all created by a diverse group of women. Issues of off our backs are easily recognizable, thanks in part to their bold cover art and unique illustrations.

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New Exhibit – Watershed Moment: Celebrating and Protecting the Chesapeake Bay

Spring is finally here, bringing longer days, warmer weather, and flourishing wildlife. Maryland neighbors the Chesapeake Bay, a brackish estuary into which all rivers of the adjacent watershed empty. Did you know the land-to-water ratio of the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed is 14 to 1, greater than any other coastal body of water in the world? This means our actions on land have a big impact on the Bay’s health. While some human activity can pollute or harm the Bay, other human interventions are crucial to promoting and protecting the region’s unique biodiversity and cultural significance.

Introductory panel for the latest Maryland Room exhibit, "Watershed Moment: Celebrating and Protecting the Chesapeake Bay." The panel is blue with an outline of an unidentified bird in flight. A black and white photograph from the Baltimore News American collection depicts a crowd of people along the Bay's shore, watching several ships in the water.

The latest exhibition in the Maryland Room at Hornbake Library, Watershed Moment: Celebrating and Protecting the Chesapeake Bay, showcases the Bay’s vast and varied landscape and efforts to preserve its unique resources. We hope this exhibit inspires a greater appreciation for this region we call home and an awareness of our own responsibility in protecting the environment.

On display are items from Maryland and Historical Collections, including representations of the Bay and advocacy materials from local environmental organizations. A spotlight on the records of the Coalition to Preserve Black Marsh demonstrates the importance of community involvement in conserving the Bay and surrounding watershed. The Black Marsh Natural Area (North Point State Park, Baltimore County) is a tidal freshwater-brackish wetland home to a variety of unique shrubs, flowers, and wildlife, including the bald eagle. In the 1990s, the Coalition to Preserve Black Marsh, a group of local residents and environmentalists, raised awareness of this area’s vulnerable wildlife and sought to preserve its undisturbed wetlands. The coalition’s records reveal a commitment to education and community-led decision-making. We encourage you to visit to learn more about how we can all advocate for the Chesapeake Bay environment.

Exhibition is open Monday–Friday, 10am–4pm in the Maryland Room at Hornbake Library and on display through May 6th.

To explore more, visit Special Collections and University Archives to view the Coalition to Preserve Black Marsh records and other materials related to the Chesapeake Bay.


Exhibit curated by Jacob Hopkins, an MLIS student and the Graduate Assistant for Reference, Outreach, and Engagement, Maryland and Historical Collections, Special Collections and University Archives.

Maryland Suffrage News Now Available in Chronicling America

Don’t let the end of Women’s History Month be the end of reading and research about women’s history! The Maryland Suffrage News is now available online at Chronicling America, and it is full of information about how women built up the suffrage movement in Maryland from 1912 to 1920. A weekly newspaper that was published out of Baltimore, the Maryland Suffrage News was edited by its founder, Edith Houghton Hooker, and managed by Dora G. Ogle. 

A group of about twenty people, mostly women, in front of a sign reading VOTES FOR WOMEN. Subtitled "Woman Suffrage Party Members in Annapolis."

Maryland suffrage news. (Baltimore, Md.), 15 Jan. 1916. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1916-01-15/ed-1/seq-1/>

As an activist newspaper, the Maryland Suffrage News focused on grassroots organizing, announcing and reporting on such actions as meetings, petitions, and parades. One distinctive strategy was suffrage pilgrimages across the state. The newspaper informed readers of upcoming events and related what had happened at previous events. You can search the name of your county to see what activities were taking place there: where the meetings were held, who were the speakers, how many attended. Activists would have been able to read remarks made in meetings on the other side of the state, or even in other states, as they strategized to win Maryland over to their cause county by county.

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New Exhibit: A Tale of Fine Wenches: the Women of The Ladies’ Almanack

“Now this be a Tale of as fine a Wench as ever wet the bed…”

Ladies Almanack, 1928

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating Djuna Barnes’ female focused comedic satire Ladies Almanack

Ladies Almanack was published in 1928 while Barnes was living as an expatriate writer/artist in Paris. She originally wrote it to entertain her partner Thelma Wood, who had been hospitalized. As such, the bawdy humor and absurdist parody almanac is full of inside jokes and references to Barnes’ and Wood’s lesbian (with the exception of Mina Loy) social circle of fellow modernist writers, artists, socialites, and literary women. 

A new exhibit in Hornbake Library A Tale of Fine Wenches: the Women of The Ladies’ Almanack puts the spotlight on Djuna Barnes and the real women who inspired uproarious drama within Ladies Almanack.  On display are a selection of items from the Djuna Barnes papers, including books, photographs, and correspondence that explores the relationships between these women, varying from platonic to romantic. 

Ladies Almanack features a plethora of particularly scandalous women, whose unique vices reference various women, including Natalie Clifford Barney, Mina Loy, Jane Heap, Margaret Anderon, and Gertrude Stein. Characters also appear based on Romaine Brooks, Janet Flanner, Solita Solano, Elisabeth de Gramont, and Dolly Wilde. Together, these women represent a thriving literary and artistic community living in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s.

These women often met at Natalie Clifford Barney’s Parisian salon, which at the time was a popular place among writers and authors to discuss literature and art. Barnes characterizes Barney’s Almanack persona as an aged proprietor of the feminine arts, emphasizing her role as a mentor to the many women who visited her salon. Among these women, Djuna Barnes and Thelma Wood, and Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap were romantically involved. Barnes and Wood’s tumultuous decade-long relationship inspired Barnes’ novel Nightwood, and Anderson and Heap co-edited The Little Review, a literary magazine infamous for featuring works by prominent modernist writers and the first appearance of James Joyce’s Ulysses in a serial format. 

To explore more, visit  Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library to view the Djuna Barnes papers and works by other modernist writers.  

If you have more questions about items in Hornbake’s collections contact us!

New Exhibit: “…at the crossroads on the path to liberation”

Come by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see our latest exhibition “…at the crossroads on the path of liberation”: Changemakers in the Africa Diaspora on display now through mid-March.

This collection of material from our archives invites the University of Maryland community to explore some of the revolutionary and transformative literature in our collections created by changemakers throughout the African diaspora who challenged an oppressive status quo. Through both words and actions, these individuals changed the way people thought about race and class. These works present ideas that push us to take a more critical look at our culture, politics and systemic racism. Some of these authors will be known to you and some might be new. We encourage you to visit and to learn more about these changemakers.

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Pamphlets for Progress: Uplifting the Voices of Black Women

February is Black History Month, and coming up soon in March is Women’s History Month. In Maryland and Historical Collections (MDHC) here at SCUA, we’re approaching these important occasions as opportunities to uplift collection materials that represent the lived experiences, struggles, and accomplishments of Black women. First up in our review is the Women’s Studies pamphlet collection (0274-MDHC). This collection was first established by Susan Cardinale, UMD’s Associate Librarian for Special Collections, in the early 1970s, and has continued to grow. In total, the collection takes up 13.5 feet of shelf storage space in our stacks. Arranged alphabetically by subject, the pamphlets in this collection cover a variety of time periods and topics, including the experiences of Black women and women of color.

Black and White Image: Two women; one looking at the camera, one looking to the side. Text on top left side reads, 'Black Women’s Liberation' (the O in Liberation is a female sign [♀]). Text on bottom right reads, ‘by Maxine Williams and Pamela Newman’
Black Women’s Liberation (1971) by Maxine Williams and Pamela Newman

But what exactly is a pamphlet? In its most basic format, a pamphlet is a small, unbound (or loosely bound) book. Pamphlets are generally used to promote an organization’s mission or goals or to raise awareness for a campaign, social issue, or political movement. A well-known historical example is Common Sense, Thomas Paine’s 47-page pamphlet that circulated around the onset of the American Revolution and advocated for independence from Great Britain. Pamphlets can condense complex ideas or large movements into concise arguments that can be easily shared with others.

From the Women’s Studies pamphlet collection, we want to spotlight some pamphlets that are written by and for Black women. With titles like The Status of Women of Color in the Economy: The Legacy of Being Other, Black Women’s Liberation, and Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female, these pamphlets discuss a range of social issues and are written for both readers with similar lived experiences as well as those seeking to be better allies. These pamphlets scrutinize obstacles, both historical and contemporary, that Black women have faced in the fight for justice, respect, and equal treatment and pay.

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