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.

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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“Get Out the Vote” Spotlight – National Organization for Women

The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.

The National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose

National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 as an organization focused directly on advancing women’s rights. It was and remains the most visible second-wave feminist organization, and it represents the first independent American women’s movement since the women’s suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
 
Twenty-eight women co-founded NOW, including well-known feminists like Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, and Pauli Murray. Their original statement of purpose, written by Friedan and Murray, declared that “the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings.” Today, their platform also addresses  voting rights. They argue that women are disproportionately affected by voter suppression and work to get feminist candidates elected to office.

Explore the records of the National Organization for Women, Maryland Chapter in Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library.

At the heart of the Special Collections & University Archives exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America are advocates and grassroots organizations who have fought for expanding the right to vote. Their individual and collective voices have driven major changes to American voting rights, moving the nation closer to the ideal of “one person, one vote.”

Visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America or explore the exhibit online.

Exploring Modernism in Literary Special Collections

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ulysses in 1922, we are highlighting modernist literary works in the rare books collections in Hornbake Library.

James Joyce (1882-1941): Born in Dublin, Joyce was an Irish novelist and short story writer whose notable works include Finnegans Wake (1939), Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses. Joyce is most noteworthy for his experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods, such as interior monologue and his use of a complex network of symbolic parallels. You can find works by Joyce including Ulysses first edition, first appearance, and other works such as Pomes Penyeach, Dubliners, Finnegans Wake, Exiles, and The mime of Mick, Nick, and the Maggies, a fragment from Work in progress in the rare books collection.

Other notable modernist writers in the archival collections include:
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982): Barnes was an avant-garde American artist, writer and noted journalist. She is best known for her novel Nightwood (1936), a classic modernist work and a groundbreaking novel often cited as the first modern lesbian novel. Her satirical Ladies Almanack (1928) is a cleverly fictionalized and humorous take on Barnes’s social circle in the lesbian salons of Paris in the 1920s. She also published Ryder (1928) and The Antiphon (1958) among other works of fiction. You can explore Barnes’s literary archive, including her writings, artwork, personal library, and personal correspondence in the Djuna Barnes papers.

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980): An American author and journalist, Porter is known primarily for her short stories and novel, Ship of Fools (1962). Her short story “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” fictionalizes her experience almost dying during the 1918 Influenza epidemic. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965). You can explore her literary archive, including writings, photographs, and personal library in the Katherine Anne Porter papers. Her correspondence has been digitized and made available online in Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives: 1912-1977.

Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927): A German-born avant-garde poet and artist associated with the Dada movement, Von Freytag-Loringhoven was known for her flamboyancy and sexual frankness. She published her poems in The Little Review alongside chapters from James Joyce’s Ulysses. She was also a longtime friend of Djuna Barnes. You can explore her writing in the Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers.

Additional modernist writers that can be found in the literary archives are Isabel Bayley, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Frances McCullough, Hope Mirrlees’ papers which contain correspondence with T.S. Eliot and Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Ferdinand Reyher, Gertrude Stein, James Stern and Glenway Wescott.

You can also find works by many modernist writers in the rare books collection, such as: T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Djuna Barnes, Bertolt Brecht, Katherine Anne Porter, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemmingway, and Virginia Woolf

Two notable collections include:

For more, explore our Guide to Modernist Writers in Special Collections Libguide.

If you have any questions about our Literature and Rare Books collections please contact us. Follow us on social media (@hornbakelibrary) for behind the scenes updates!

Victoria Vera, Candidate for Master of Library & Information Science, University of Maryland.

New Exhibit: 100th Anniversary of James Joyce’s Ulysses

We’re celebrating the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s seminal modernist novel Ulysses (1922) with a new exhibit featuring materials from Literary Special Collections at UMD!

A new exhibit on display outside the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library highlights the first appearances of Ulysses serialized in the literary magazine The Little Review and the subsequent obscenity trial that led to the branding of Ulysses as a banned book.

The Little Review was an avant-garde American literary magazine founded by Margaret Anderson that rand from 1914 – 1929. It developed into a highly influential literary magazine, publishing the works of many notable modernist artists including Djuna Barnes, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven, and T.S Eliot. The motto printed on the front covers reads “Making no compromise with the public taste.”

In March 1918, The Little Review began publishing excerpts of James’s Joyce’s Ulysses. The magazine continued the serialization of the lengthy novel, breaking up chapters, or episodes, into smaller installments for several years. The first 13 episodes, and a portion of episode 14 appeared in The Little Review before the trial halted publication. The July 1920 issue of The Little Review featured Ulysses chapter 13, the “Nausicaa” episode, which came under fire for it’s highly metaphorical description of sex and masturbation. It was at that time the editors of The Little Review, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, were charged with distributing obscene material. Joyce went on to publish his full length novel in 1922 due to the efforts of publisher Sylvia Beach in Paris.

In August of 1920, one month after the appearance of the “Nausicaa” episode in The Little Review, John Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, issued a warrant to the the editors of The Little Review, Anderson and Heap, claiming the magazine violated the Comstock Act of 1873 due to the episode’s obscenity. Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap commented throughout the trial in the magazine:

“Mr. Sumner seems a decent enough chap . . . serious and colourless and worn as if he had spent his life resenting the emotions. A 100 per cent. American who believes that denial, resentment and silence about all things pertaining to sex produce uprightness.”

jh “Art and the Law”, The Little Review. Vol. 7, no. 3, p. 7

In February of 1921, Anderson and Heap, were found guilty of circulating obscene material; forcing them to discontinue publishing Ulysses and pay a $100 fine total ($50 each). In the September 1920 and January 1921 issues of The Little Review, Anderson and Heap continued to voice their support of Ulysses and James Joyce. In “An Obvious Statement (for the millionth time)” Anderson writes: “James Joyce has never written anything, and will never be able to write anything, that is not beautiful”.

Explore more editions of James Joyce’s Ulysses and additional Modernist authors that appeared in The Little Review in our literary special collections.

Digitizing the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records

In May 2021, Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) began a three year grant project with Georgia State University’s Southern Labor Archive – “Advancing Workers Rights in the American South: Digitizing the Records of the AFL-CIO’s Civil Rights Division.”

SCUA will digitize and make accessible online approximately 45 linear feet (or 20-25%) from the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records (listed below), as well as 20 – 16mm films from the AFL-CIO Labor Film collection.  Georgia State University’s Special Collections & Archives will be digitizing 119 linear feet and some audio recordings from the Records from the AFL-CIO’s Southern Area Director’s Office Civil Rights Division for online access.  This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  For more details about the grant award visit CLIR’s list of 2020 funded projects and the University of Maryland Libraries’ announcement.

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Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948: A Story Map

Co-host Warren Hull interviews Sgt. Gooseman from the Air Sea Rescue School. Keesler Field. Biloxi, Mississippi. April 2, 1945.

Radio broadcasting played many important roles during World War II. Comedy, drama, music, and information programs entertained, boosted wartime morale, promoted the war effort, and informed listeners about the progress of the war. As a broadcasting archive, the Mass Media & Culture Collections at the University of Maryland has many resources that document the roles radio played during World War II. One such resource is  Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948, a story map highlighting Vox Pop, a long-running radio interview program that spent the war years interviewing service men and women and defense plant workers from locations all over the United States.

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What’s in a place name? Exploring the history of Piscataway Park and Accokeek Creek Site

Before European settlers invaded their lands in the seventeenth century, Indigenous communities of different sizes, languages, and cultures existed throughout present-day Maryland. Algonquian peoples, including the Piscataway, Conoy, and Mattaponi tribes, lived and traveled along the Potomac River, from the Chesapeake Bay to present-day Washington, D.C., including in nearby Accokeek, Maryland. Early travel accounts of white colonizers, like the journals and maps of Captain John Smith, identify geographic names that designated the Native peoples, cultures, and languages of those places. Many of these Indigenous words, such as Chesapeake, Patapsco, and Wicomico, still mark the landscape today. Accokeek, for example, derives its name from the Algonquian word for “at the edge of the hill,” and the neighboring Potomac River is named for the Patawomeck tribe that lived along the waterway’s southern bank.

Black and white photo of entrance sign: "Moyaone Reserve." A forest of trees is behind the sign and an unpaved road lays before it.
Entrance to Moyaone Reserve, circa 1957

Just as Native place names endure, so do Native communities and sites of their local cultural heritage and historical significance. Accokeek, Maryland is home to Piscataway Park, named after the local Piscataway tribe and divided into seven areas, including the Moyaone Reserve, a present-day residential community. In 1922, husband and wife Henry and Alice Ferguson purchased the land upon which Moyaone Reserve rests as a rural getaway from their daily lives in Washington, D.C. Interested in the history of the land, the Fergusons initiated archaeological digs beginning in the 1930s. These digs unearthed evidence of Indigenous presence in the area extending back thousands of years and gave the area its name. Moyaone (pronounced Moy-own) translates to “home place” and was an important village of the local Piscataway tribe, which John Smith visited in 1608 and is believed to have been situated near the present-day Moyaone Reserve.

Black and white aerial photo of the Moyaone Reserve mid-excavation, circa 1936. The land is mostly untouched except for a crescent strip that appears to have been stripped and excavated.
Aerial view of Moyaone excavation site, 1936
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