Exhibition Extended: Get Out the Vote

We are excited to announce the extension of our gallery exhibition Get Out The Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America through August 2023. Get Out The Vote highlights the history of suffrage in America and specifically the fight for the right to vote for women and African Americans. 

With the upcoming midterm elections, we hope that Get Out The Vote will inspire visitors to exercise their right to vote as well as illustrate the history of the expansion and contraction of voting rights. Get a sneak peek by visiting the online exhibition.

To learn about voting in early Maryland, the work of grassroots organizations, the unsteady progress toward greater enfranchisement, and more, visit us Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm in the Hornbake Library gallery. To visit outside these hours or inquire about a personalized tour, contact us!


Post by Clio Reid, volunteer
McGill University, 2023

Featured Collections: League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is a national, non-partisan and grassroots organization striving to expand voting rights and get all people mobilized to vote. The League was founded shortly after the passage of the nineteenth amendment granting women the vote.

Article about the League of Women Voters

In 1921, the Women’s Suffrage League of Maryland affiliated with the recently formed League of Women Voters of the United States. The non-partisan organization has, throughout its history, focused on a number of causes helping to shape American history. In particular, the League has been interested in elections and voting, women’s rights, education, child labor, collective bargaining, food and drug legislation, housing, the Poll Tax, civil rights, and the Equal Rights Amendment. In addition to these concerns, the local Leagues have been interested in local issues, including redistricting and reapportionment, state taxes and expenditures, the Maryland constitution, and state and local election laws, balanced local development, improvement of health services, and the establishment of juvenile correctional facilities, busing, urban planning and zoning, transportation, housing, public health, public safety, voter services, and environmental quality.

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Featured Collection: The Committee on Political Education

The AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) was founded in 1955 to encourage workers to participate in political life. COPE conducted research into legislative issues and politicians, organized grass-roots mobilization efforts to track the voting records of state and local legislators, interviewed and screened candidates running for office, and made endorsement recommendations to the AFL-CIO. COPE also worked directly with candidates for political office by providing financial contributions to those supportive of worker’s rights.

COPE representative talking to two people in front of a COPE poster that says "Give a buck to COPE"

Focusing on union members and their families, COPE led registration drives, prepared public relations and education campaigns, and created and distributed publications about candidates and their positions on the issues affecting workers’ lives, such as health care, pension benefits, and safe working conditions.

The materials consists of correspondence, voting statistics, printed materials, and clippings pertaining to election campaigns, politicians, and political issues. While COPE may have compiled voting statistics and published some of the printed material, this collection contains mostly secondary material issued by others and collected by office staff.

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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: 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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“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.

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.

“Get Out the Vote” Spotlight – MaryPIRG

We believe that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. Together young people have the power to elect the next generation of leaders who will fight for our shared vision of the future, but only if we vote.  

MaryPIRG New Voters Project

MaryPIRG is Maryland’s own Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). PIRGs are a federation of non-profit organizations that emphasize grassroots organizing and direct advocacy as a way to create progressive political change. The first PIRGs were founded on college campuses in the 1970s. MaryPIRG has been active at the University of Maryland since 1973. In addition to the student chapter at UMD, MaryPIRG also has offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. 

One of MaryPIRG’s biggest campaigns is their “Democracy” campaign. The “Democracy” campaign focuses on expanding voter access and diminishing the effect of special interest money in elections. It also pushes for state and local legislation that creates publicly funded elections programs, automatic voter registration, and election day registration. The “Democracy” campaign also works to register students to vote through the New Voters Project, which helps students register to vote ahead of primary or general elections at UMD.

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“Get Out the Vote” Digitization Spotlight- Objections to Woman Suffrage Answered by Alice Stone Blackwell

The reasons why women should vote are the same reasons why men should vote – the same as the reasons for having a republic rather than a monarchy.

Alice Stone Blackwell, 1910

Each month, we shine the spotlight on items from the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America that have been fully digitized and made accessible online.

For January, we are showcasing Objections to Woman Suffrage Answered by Alice Stone Blackwell.

Alice Stone Blackwell (1857-1950) was a suffragist, journalist, editor, and activist. This pamphlet, printed in 1910 is her thorough examination and refutation of the arguments commonly made against women’s suffrage. Blackwell responds to 34 arguments, including:

  • Women “don’t understand business”
  • Women as voters could disrupt the established “division of labor”
  • Women suffrage “will lead to family quarrels and increase divorce”
  • If granted the franchise, women should also serve in military and police forces.

You can read the complete digitized pamphlet with of Blackwell’s arguments for women’s suffrage online in the Internet Archive.

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