Fifty Years Ago: Cynthia Rosenwald and the Newspapers’ Image of a Female Speechwriter

 Twenty years before Peggy Noonan and Mary Kate Cary – speechwriters for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, respectively – there was Cynthia Rosenwald. From 1966 to 1970, she formed a speechwriting partnership with Spiro T. Agnew, whose papers are housed within the Maryland and Historical Collections unit in Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland libraries. Contained with the Agnew papers are manuscript speeches – some never delivered – which help illuminate the work of Rosenwald. She served as Agnew’s main speechwriter, throughout his years as Maryland’s Governor (1967-1968) and during the first year in which he served as Vice President (1969-1973). Continue reading

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April 4, 1968 – Reports and Reactions to the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot outside a Memphis hotel on April 4, 1968. As with the assassination of President Kennedy five years earlier, journalists and reporters assembled the facts as quickly as they could, scrambling to break updates to a horrified public. The reporters working for the Westinghouse News Bureau (also known as “Group W”) in Washington, D.C. were among them. Continue reading

“When I Say No, I Mean No”: The Labor Movement’s Fight to Stop Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

It is the beginning of Sexual Awareness Month, which is a time to talk about this important issue, understand the problem and promote change. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and hostile, verbal, or physical conduct based on gender. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a statistic only based on reported incidents from victims.[1] This serious issue has been in the forefront of the news lately with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gaining traction. However, charges of sexual harassment have not always been taken seriously.

In the Labor History Collections exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America,” there are several historical examples of the labor movement fighting for victims of sexual harassment, giving them a voice.

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“When I say No, I mean No: How to stop sexual harassment, a handbook for unions” published by The International Union of Food and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), 1988. This handbook was written to help unions understand their role in helping victims of sexual harassment. Come check it out at the “Union Feminism: Sisterhood is Powerful” display!

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Request Special Collections Material in WorldCat!

You can now search for and request materials held in Special Collections and University Archives directly from Worldcat! This includes books and periodicals from our Rare Book, National Trust Library, Mass Media and Culture, and State of Maryland collections.

When you come across an interesting title in Worldcat and the location is is located as the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library (HBK), use the ‘Request from Special Collections’ link to request the item. You will be prompted to register for a special collections research account (don’t worry, it’s a quick process you only have to do once). Then select your date of visit, submit your request, and our staff will place it on hold for you in the reading room.

Here’s something you’ll find in Worldcat if you search for Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling tale, The Raven: Continue reading

An Unknown Pioneer Takes Her Place in the Broadcast Archives

Mary Kelly, Today Show 1952Mary Ellen Agnes Kelly (1926-2005?) was an American television researcher, talent coordinator, and associate producer with the pioneering early morning television program Today on NBC. She was also a special assignments reporter, traveling far and wide to film feature segments. Kelly crisscrossed the United States many times and covered stories from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Newspaper articles from the period compared her to Nellie Bly, the intrepid 19th-century reporter known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days. Kelly traveled around the world – on the first commercial flight over the North Pole in 1957 – in 71 hours and six minutes. Unfortunately, her remarkable career is little known today.

A remarkable collection of photographs and clippings from her career are now part of Special Collections in Mass Media and Culture. The journey of these materials to our collections is typical in how it was nearly discarded but later adopted by an appreciative collector. In the 1960s, Kelly sublet her New York City apartment to a man who subsequently discovered several boxes she left behind. He contacted her to offer to return the boxes, but she declined. However, he thought that the contents were fascinating and kept the boxes for over 50 years. When he passed away, his widow – realizing that Kelly must have been important as one of the few women working in early television – donated the material to the UMD libraries.

Early Career

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Remembering the Strong Women of the Labor Movement

Women’s history month is a time to remember the important women that have fought for solutions to a number of social and political problems that women have faced. Today, we will be recognizing several women who may not be well-known, but have dedicated their lives to help women gain their rights.

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A poster commemorating Lucy Parsons in the Images of Labor campaign. AFL-CIO Posters, Broadsides, and Art collection.

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Curator’s Choice: Favorite Item in the Labor History Exhibit

For the past year I have helped co-curate the Labor History Collections exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America.” It has been an exciting and rewarding experience that has taught me so much about the vast history of the labor movement. One of the displays that I designed and installed was “Breaking the Gender Barrier: A Woman’s Place is in Her Union,” which focuses on how women fought to become a central part of organized labor and to make the movement a leading force for gender equality on and off the job. One of the items within this display is a button from the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) that states “A Woman’s Place is in Her Union.”

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Check out the Labor History exhibit in the Hornbake Library to get a replica of this button!

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