The last in a series of Ghostly Encounters: read the terrifying Terrapin Tales from the University Archives!

Originally posted on Terrapin Tales:

In honor of Halloween, we saved the spookiest story for last.  Take a look back at the previous weeks for more ghostly tales: week 1, week 2, week 3, and week 4.  We hope you have enjoyed our paranormal accounts over the last four weeks.  Make sure to stop by some of them tonight!

We finish our ghost tour at the Rossborough Inn, one of the best UMD sites to experience unexplained paranormal occurrences.  The Rossborough, built between 1804 and 1812, was named for its builder John Ross, a tavern keeper and local landowner, and was one of the original college buildings.  Many travelers and stagecoaches used the inn as a way-station to break their journey between Baltimore and Washington, because it was situated on the main route between the two cities.  The building has also served as the headquarters for the Agricultural Experiment Station, housing for…

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More spooky tales from the University Archives!

Originally posted on Terrapin Tales:

Now that you’ve had time to make a midnight trip to the McNamee cemetery, let’s move on to something that might hit a little closer to home.  Our haunting tales this week arise from the homes of a number of our Greek chapters at UMD.

Let’s start with the victim of a grisly murder.  Kappa Delta house is allegedly haunted by the spirit of Alma Preinkert.  Miss Preinkert was a beloved figure at the university and the founder of the Kappa Delta sorority.  She is also the namesake for Preinkert Field House on the south side of the campus.

Miss Preinkert served as campus registrar from 1919 until she met her untimely end in 1954.  One night she was at home in Washington, DC, asleep in her bed, when she awoke to find an intruder in her house.  She apparently tried to stop the man from ransacking her home…

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Agnes Moorehead: Queen of Horror, Suspense, and the Supernatural

Agnes Moorehead

Agnes Moorehead. Photo on cover of I Love the Illusion, by Charles Tranberg.

While researching materials for the Halloween display from the Mass Media and Culture collections, one name kept popping up: Agnes Moorehead (1900 – 1974). Her repertoire extends from the golden years of radio to popular television, from movies to the stage. She also had a special flair for horror, suspense, and the supernatural. Her work in radio drama included participation in Mercury Theater on the Air and a role as Margo Lane on The Shadow, co-starring with Orson Welles. In the CBS show Suspense, Moorehead’s greatest success was her incredible performance as Mrs. Stevenson in the quintessential horror, Lucille Fletcher’s “Sorry, Wrong Number.”

Spooky Special Collections Display, containing a feature of Agnes Moorehead's work in the realm of suspense and supernatural.

Spooky Special Collections Display, containing a feature of Agnes Moorehead’s work in the realm of suspense and supernatural.

Her role as Mrs. Stevenson later inspired director Douglas Heyes to cast Moorehead in an episode of The Twilight Zone, where she played an old woman attacked by miniature aliens. On stage, Moorehead played Donna Ana in Don Juan in Hell. Later, Moorehead was recruited to play Endora on the television comedy Bewitched. A versatile and respected actress, Moorehead succeeded across genres and performing-arts mediums, and especially made her mark on the world of the strange and supernatural.

Moorehead is just one of the many actresses and actors featured in the Mass Media and Culture collections. There are a lot of resources pertaining to spooky and otherworldly subjects; if you ever feel like researching terror in radio, television, or movies, or if you just want to revisit the history of your favorite shows, this is a great place to start!

Collage of films, radio, and television

What is your favorite horror or fantasy movie, radio program, or television show? Leave us a comment below!

New Mass Media guides available

The Special Collections staff have been hard at work creating new ways for you to discover our unique archival and manuscript collections. To see the latest additions to our database of archival finding aids, visit ArchivesUM. You can search for the finding aids in two ways.

Use the drop down list under “Subject” to select guides related to particular topics. Our new categories include:

There were also a number of Mass Media collections added to the Women’s History subject category.

To see all new Mass Media guides, select “Mass Media and Culture” from the drop down list under “Collection Area”.


This post is part of a series of Ghostly Encounters shared by the University Archives; follow Terrapin Tales for some great UMD adventures!

Originally posted on Terrapin Tales:

Are you following our spooky posts about campus ghosts?  Creeped out yet by the spectral spirits of Morrill Hall and Marie Mount Hall?  Keep reading – the best is yet to come!

This week finds us at the McNamee Cemetery behind the Stadium Drive Garage.  Not many people know about this spot, which looks pretty innocuous to the innocent passerby. While there is no record or rumor of paranormal encounters occurring here, who knows what the McNamee family gets up to when there’s no one around?

The cemetery contains the remains of several members of the McNamee family, who sold this part of campus to the university in 1938.  We are pretty sure we know at least two of the people buried there.  One of the deceased was a child named Albert McNamee.  He was the son of Charles and Elizabeth McNamee. Albert was born in 1904 and unfortunately…

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Spooky Special Collections: Rare Books

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few photos of the rare books featured in our latest Spooky Special Collections display. Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see these incredible works up close.

Miniature book: Kriminal-geschichten, a German translation of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe

Miniature book: Kriminal-geschichten, a German translation of short stories by Edgar Allen Poe. How could something so tiny be so terrifying?!?

Praxis criminis persequendi, elegantibus aliquot figuris illustrata, by Jean Milles de Souvigny

Praxis criminis persequendi, elegantibus aliquot figuris illustrata, by Jean Milles de Souvigny. So glad I’m not these guys.

The Vampyre, by John William Polidori

The Vampyre, by John William Polidori. Before Team Edward and Team Jacob ever existed, this was “Twilight” in 1819.

Display of rare books

Rare books displayed in the Maryland Room. Visit the Spooky Special Collections display through 11/2/12.

You can read some of our books online! Visit The Vampyre and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells in WorldCat UMD.
Also see our growing list of haunted reads throughout the centuries.

Stunning! Morris & Co.

Red House

Morris’ first home with wife Jane, Red House

William Morris began designing furniture when he and bff, Edward Burne-Jones, moved into their first flat together in London (1856). They disliked the furnishings that they found so they painted them, not a solid color but with scenes from their favorite medieval tales. When Morris and his bride Jane Burden (1859) moved into their new home, Red House, Morris was once again faced with finding suitable furnishings. He called on his friends and fellow pre-Raphaelites to help him design and decorate the home. This undertaking is considered the impetus for Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, & Co. (eventually Morris & Co.).

Edward Burne-Jones cartoon of Morris demonstrating weaving

Edward Burne-Jones cartoon of Morris demonstrating weaving

Morris & Co. produced stained glass windows, tiles, fabric, wallpapers, carpets, and embroidery among their many wares. Morris would teach himself as much as he could find about each of the goods created by Morris & Co. prior to beginning production of the item. In the case of embroidery, fabric dying, and carpet tying Morris even undertook several sample projects prior to teaching his staff the techniques necessary.

Morris & Co Embroidered Coverlet

Morris & Co Embroidered Coverlet

The act of creating an object was important to Morris and a significant principle of the Arts and Crafts movement. Yes a person should live surrounded by beautiful objects! But those objects should be of the highest affordable quality and created by a skilled worker rather than a factory drone. Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement did not mean to belittle the factory worker by their ideology but instead wanted to provide more meaningful labor for the majority of people living in industrialized society.

Learn more about Morris & Co. and the Arts and Crafts movement by checking out How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris exhibit and William Morris Guide created by Special Collections Staff.

We Descended: Processing the Bill Bly Collection with the UMD Born-Digital Working Group

In early September of 2012 the University of Maryland Libraries and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) joined forces to launch its Born-Digital Working Group. As a vehicle for leveraging some rapidly emerging institutional strengths in processing and maintaining born-digital collections, as well as conducting research around the challenges associated with those activities, the group was a natural way to give those efforts some internal structure and coherence. It also formalized a relationship between a university research library, in particular its Special Collections department, and a working digital humanities center. We are excited for this collaboration, one in which we can each learn from the other, bringing different sets of skills to the table to begin tackling the issues of stewarding born digital materials.

One area where work has already begin is in processing the papers of Bill Bly, who joins Deena Larsen as an early hypertext and electronic literature pioneer whose manuscript materials and collections of computer hardware and software are housed at MITH. The Bly collection includes a complete run of titles from the innovative hypertext publisher Eastgate Systems (still in their original packaging), as well as his own personal collection of hypertext fiction and ephemera harvested in the wild, and important records associated with community events like the 1999 CyberMountain conference.  For MITH, the collection tantalizes us with questions related to our research agenda in textual scholarship and media archaeology. (Intriguingly, Bly is perhaps best-known for his ongoing fiction series We Descend, which features an archivist as its protagonist.)

ImageOne defining feature of the Bill Bly collection is the eclectic nature of the objects that it contains. In addition to the papers commonly found in a collection, the Bly collection also includes two laptops used by the author while writing We Descend; software manuals that range from the highly-specialized Hypercard hypertext authoring software to basic Mac OS user guides; vintage keyboards and mice; and loose floppy diskettes. Making appraisal decisions are key to archival work. What do we keep? What do we discard? These questions quickly arose in the Bly papers as well. The Born-Digital Working Group had a sustained discussion about what to do with the software manuals included in the Bly collection. Were they an important part of understanding the technological environment in which the author worked, and therefore essential to the collection? Or, because they are mass-produced books of no specific connection to Bly’s work, could they be moved into a reference library with a separation sheet indicating that they were originally contained in the collection? While we haven’t yet come to a definitive answer, it seems clear that similar conversations will become increasingly common in the archival community.

ImageGone are the days when an author’s papers are actually, well, papers. In addition to pens and typewriters, we now use keyboards, mice, even dictation software as the means by which we write. Will no author’s collection be complete without a functioning vintage system running the same version of Dragon Natural Speaking that the author used? Or, will practical constraints compel us to a different solution?

For Special Collections, the Bill Bly Papers allows staff to test-drive procedures for dealing with material of this type. As we started work on the papers last week our goal was to establish basic intellectual control over the collection, starting with the paper portion and moving to the electronic. We wanted to begin to understand where our accessioning procedures would be impacted by the existence of born digital material. As Special Collections is at the very beginning stages of dealing with born-digital material, working with the Bly papers allows us to begin conceptualizing how procedures and workflows for hybrid collections of papers and electronic materials might be different.

Thinking about all the steps involved in processing a hybrid collection can seem overwhelming. Luckily, projects already exist to guide us through this process and we are consulting both OCLC’s report “You’ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content on Physical Media” and the AIMS white paper on born digital collections. Looking at the guidance in these reports in concert with our very first baby steps on this project a number of question have arisen already:

  • Does the legal agreement with this donor adequately cover digital material? How will we need to modify special collections donor agreements to cover born-digital material?
  • Our inventory consisted of recording of the number and type of disks. Clearly, this is not truly accessioning these materials. What tools are available that will allows to accession the files on those disks? Will we bother dealing with commercial software programs?
  • Will we use forensic imaging or simply copy the files?
  • Is the media important? Should we keep it, take photographs, or simply dispose of the media once the data is captured?

What we have already learned from this project is that we don’t have to know all the answers at this point and that we shouldn’t expect to. The collaboration between these two institutions allows us to experiment, to raise questions, and then seek the answers together. We recognize  a primary goal of this project is to more clearly define our capabilities and begin developing a born digital policy as the project develops. At this stage in the process, the questions truly do seem more important than the answers, which only adds to the value, to what we can learn by collaborating to examine the issues demonstrated within the collection of an early adopter e-literature author such as Bill Bly.

Spooky Special Collections

Buffy the Vampire Slayer could show you a thing or two about primary source research.

Buffy could show you a thing or two about primary source research.

Libraries are often the focal points for the spooky, mythical, and gruesome. Special Collections are no different, and we’re celebrating the spirit of Halloween in style!

University Archives Blog:

“Ghostly Encounters” will feature haunted places at the University of Maryland. Visit their site every Wednesday, and be prepared to think of your classroom in a new, terrifying, way.

Spooky Special Collections Display:

Girls' Series Books from the Pagnani Collection

Girls’ Series Books from the Pagnani Collection

Celebrate Halloween with the Spooky Special Collections display in the Maryland Room of Hornbake Library!  Our current display hosts girls’ series books. Each of these books (from the Rose and Joseph Pagnani Collection) features a heroine forced to use her skill and resourcefulness to face the mysterious criminal unknown. Especially enticing are the colorful, suspenseful covers.

Come back next week for rare books from our collection with a decidedly grisly twist. The display runs through November 2nd.

Online Resources:

Visit the WorldCat UMD list of items featured in our Spooky Special Collections display, and a list for books about the state of Maryland’s haunted locations and local ghouls.

Find Research Resources with #UMDStudy

Did you know you could get great primary source research and study resources on Twitter? Search #UMDStudy for tailored tips, definitions, and tools for YOU. So far, we’ve focused on planning your assignment, learning how to identify primary and secondary sources, and where to find archives and special collections that hold primary sources. We’ve included some pretty great resources! Next week, how to conduct primary source research!

Here’s a list of previous UMDStudy tweets – just in case you missed one!

Dilbert, by Scott Adams

Planning your assignment

  • Sept 10 You have your syllabus and you read the project requirements. Write down the due date in a planner!
  • Sept 11 Do you understand the assignment? Can you name the deliverable (paper, oral presentation, interpretive dance, etc.)?
  • Sept 12 Use the assignment calculator to schedule personal deadlines and create a research strategy!
  • Sept 13 Do you know what style guide your professor requires (APA, Chicago, MLA)? Learn style guides at Purdue OWL
  • Sept 14 Do you have a topic and written thesis for your project?
  • Sept 17 Have a research strategy: know what kind of sources you need, when you need them by, and how you are going to find them.
University of Maryland Planner

University of Maryland Planner

Primary and Secondary Sources

  • Sept 18 Need a primary source: “firsthand information/data generated by witnesses or participants in past events”?
  • Sept 19 Need a secondary source: “an interpretation based on primary sources”?
  • Sept 20 Searching for books? Use WorldCatUMD at #UMDLibraries
  • Sept 20 Searching for journals and articles? Use #UMDLibraries Research Port databases
  • Sept 20 Searching for web resources? Often subject guides will have librarian-trusted links
  • Sept 21  Don’t reinvent the wheel, use bibliographies of secondary sources to find primary sources!
  • Sept 21 Search bibliographies using database Science Citation Index (Web of Science) through research port.

Testudo in University Archives at the University of Maryland, with the University Archivist

Special Collections and Archives

  • Sept 24  A special collection holds items that are rare/unique, require special handling, or relate to a specific subject.
  • Sept 25  A special collection has research as its primary mission, so you’ll find lots of primary sources!
  • Sept 26 #UMDLibraries FB group Humanities and Social Sciences Librarians share great resources like this one
  • Sept 27 Find local special collections here, featuring those @UMDLibraries!
  • Sept 28 Let Testudo show you how to use #UMD Special Collections at the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library!
  • Oct 1 #firstworldproblems Ever wish you didn’t have to use #UMDLibraries computers to print? Well, you don’t!
  • Oct 1 Archives preserve valuable primary source material that provides evidence of a person or group’s activity.
  • Oct 1 It’s banned books week! Which of the 2011 Most Challenged Titles is your favorite?
  • Oct 3 Archival materials that document the activities of an individual are often referred to as manuscripts.
  • Oct 3 A finding aid is a tool used to search archival holdings. Search #UMD archives with ArchivesUM
  • Oct 3 Quick-search finding aids by Subject & Collection Area. Practice search: Advertising, Mass Media and Culture
  • Oct 4 Archives at UMD hold many treasures. Follow our blog to learn about a few!
  • Oct 5 Have you ever found something in a #UMDarchive? Tell @SpecCollUMD or @UMDarchives with #foundArch!
  • Oct 5 #UMDStudy Among many archives, Special Collections is the home of University of Maryland history. Follow @UMDArchives [or read their blog] to learn more!