Digital Exhibit Celebrates Voting and 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage

Thanks to the Society of American Archivists’ Women’s Collections Section for allowing us to share our exhibition!

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This post was written by Laura Cleary, Instruction and Outreach Librarian at the University of Maryland Libraries Special Collections and University Archives. Some of the text in this post was adapted from the Get Out the Vote exhibition.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of 15th amendment granting African American suffrage and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment granting women suffrage, the University of Maryland Libraries created an exhibition to explore the history of voting rights in the United States of America. Debates over who had the right to vote, the mechanisms and timing of elections, and who is eligible to run for office have raged for hundreds of years. Barriers to voting have led many to advocate for a more representative electorate and to encourage greater participation in local, state, and national elections. At the heart of the fight for voting rights are these advocates and grassroot organizations who…

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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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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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Missing Nature in Quarantine? Try Goin’ Fishin’

 Pull up a chair and join me for an episode of Goin’ Fishin’, Maryland Public Television’s (MPT) first nature program!  Produced in 1971 as part of a partnership with the Maryland Fish and Wildlife Administration, Goin’ Fishin’ will give you a simulated break from quarantine, appealing to both your inner sportsman and desire to be outside. Goin’ Fishin’ stars fish enthusiast Joe Reynolds, whose depth of fish knowledge is matched only by the length of his sideburns. Goin’ Fishin’ juxtaposes good old fashioned fish talk with gorgeous shots of scenic Maryland. Combine that with composer Donald Swartz’s score of mellow keyboard and woodwinds and you’ve got what may quite possibly be the most relaxing show ever made. It’s perfect pandemic watching: soothing, visually arresting, and just the right amount of quiet.

A man stands on a boat while holding a fishing rod as the boat drifts down a river that is covered in fog. In the bottom left corner is the title "Goin' Fishin'"
Screenshot of MPT’s Goin’ Fishin’, available from Special Collections and University Archives

 The February 1971 episode found in our Digital Collections features special guest Earl Shelsby, outdoor columnist for the Baltimore Morning Sun, and gives viewers the inside track on fishing for striped bass, tackle and where to find the goods. After Joe Reynolds talked some tackle, the scene shifted to the great outdoors, giving my quarantine-laden eyes a much needed dose of nature. 

General reference map featuring Maryland, but also showing portions of New Jersey (to the north east), Pennsylvania (to the north) and Virginia (to the south east).
1780 map of Maryland, Maryland Map Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland

Reynolds and Shelsby hit the Susquehanna, a 444-mile river that can be spotted in the map above, coming south from Pennsylvania, just east of Baltimore County. The fisherman started their day at Wagontop, a breathtaking and strange location described as a “rock nightmare” due to the large, smooth rocks scattered throughout the water. Advising bass-seeking viewers to drop their lines where fast water dips into a pool, the two fishermen created a tableau of yellow and orange jackets against the blue of the sky. Don’t know a striped bass from a yellow perch? These images from the United States Government Posters Collection in our digital collections will help. 

Color print of a striped bass fish. Covered in shimmery scales of brown, blue and pearl, it sits in front of a pale blue background with a sticker label reading I 49.14.F53 striped bass.
Image of a striped bass in the Washington, DC region (1980), United States Government Posters Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland

With the heat, the hurricane and the pandemic, Goin’ Fishin’  is just about your next best option to regular summer programming. Let the soundtrack soothe your hot and weary mind. 

To learn more about Maryland Public Television’s Nature and Environmental Programming, please check out our online exhibit!

Episodes of Goin’ Fishin’ are available in Digital Collections, along with hundreds of Maryland Public Television programs.


Emily Moore is a second-year MLIS student with a background in art and theory. In addition to her role as a student assistant at Special Collections and University Archives, she works as the Archival Assistant at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

The Continuity Will Be Televised: MPT’s Our Street and Afro-American Perspectives

What does public television have in common with many libraries and archives? As arenas of discussion, education, and reflection, all three aim to engage with the communities they were ostensibly created to serve. How are communities enriched and strengthened through engagement with collections of manuscripts, text and mass media? What role does this type of engagement play in civic discourse and reflection? 

Recognizing the important role of public television in cultural dialogue, Maryland Public Television (MPT) founded, in 1969, the Urban Affairs Advisory Council, a group of 60 men and women from the Baltimore area. Together, this group designed a variety of half hour-long programs that addressed issues specific to Baltimore, including the daytime serial Our Street and the documentary series Afro-American Perspectives, produced as part of MPT’s educational arm, ITV. Episodes of both these programs are available in the University of Maryland Libraries Digital Collections, and in watching them, viewers get access to both the perspectives of the past and commentary on the present.

The 56 episodes of Our Street tell the fictional story of the Robinsons, a Black family from East Baltimore. Syndicated to 20 stations around the country, Our Street introduced Baltimore to communities beyond Maryland, examining challenging themes within the framework of domestic drama. 

Picture of a newspaper with two photographs and a block of text. The top photo takes up most of the page and features a man with dark skin leaning over a couch to talk to a woman with dark skin, who sits with her lands in her lap. Text next to them reads black family's search for dignity and respect. Below, a photograph of a group of four people with dark skin, and 1970s fashion.
“Our Street” featured in Daytime TV, October 1972. Image: Daytime TV, October 1972.
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Virtual Maryland Day 2020

Happy Maryland Day! The crowds are staying home this year while we all practice social distancing, but you can still enjoy a bit of Special Collections and University Archives fun from home!

Start off with the official UMD Maryland Day activity book! You can color Testudo, play work search, create finger puppets, and lots more! Download online: http://go.umd.edu/mdbook

Here are a few Maryland Day activities from Special Collections and University Archives you can explore from the comfort of home:

COLOR OUR COLLECTIONS

Get creative and unwind with these ready-to-color illustrations curated from our Rare Books collection! Choose from a selection including artwork by William Morris, Walter Crane, George Gaskin, and John Tenniel.

MAKE AN ORIGAMI HEART

Show your love with origami! ♥♥♥ Every Maryland Day in Hornbake Library, staff from the Gordon W. Prange collection show visitors how to make origami hearts. Grab some paper and follow the directions in the video below to make you own!

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Collection Highlight: Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO records

A recent addition to the UMD Labor Collections is now available for the public: the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO records, containing material dating from 1896 to 2016.  The Metro Washington Council (MWC) is a local labor council representing a federation of 175 diverse local unions in Washington, DC and the surrounding area.  Presented to the archives in September 2018, the Metro Washington Council records examine

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Join us for Afternoon Tea on September 26

UMD Libraries Special Collections and University Archives would like to invite you to join us for Afternoon Tea at our Annual Open House on Thursday, September 26th between 2-4pm

Special Collections and University Archives is home to a number of collections that can give us incredible insight into political rhetoric throughout US history. This year, in the spirit of the University of Maryland’s first year book, Demagoguery and Democracy by Patricia Roberts-Miller,  we invite you to explore the insights we can gain from these items on how to identify and challenge demagogic rhetoric wherever we find them. 

To participate, drop by anytime during the event. We can’t wait to share a cup with you.

Student Art History Projects

Have you ever wondered what life was like on UMD’s campus during the Vietnam War?  Or how our university handled sexual assault cases throughout the decades?  How did the Civil Rights Movement impact our campus?

Well, look no further because these five fabulous art history projects have all that information and more!

In the fall of 2018, the students in ARTH260 produced a variety of projects about activism, sexual assault gender inequalities and other important topics using research found in Special Collections.  Among these creations were four websites and a video.

Each group project was accompanied by a mixture of art, whether it was paintings, photographs or decorative flyers plucked from our very own archives, and extensive information each group researched for their topics.

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The homepage of “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.”

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” discusses the double-standards that women experience during their education and in the workforce.  Using yearbook photos from our archives and speaking with students, the website highlights sexist standards women are given — particularly in the mathematics and scientific fields — while men are provided with different guidelines to follow. Continue reading

May Day in the Meany Labor Archives!

Today is May Day! Also known as International Workers’ Day. May Day is considered an international labor holiday. This post highlights some of the materials in our collections related to May Day. Much of our May Day material can be found in the May Day, 1885-1986 folder in the vertical file collection, and the Haymarket folders in the Morris B. Schnapper collection!

May Day was created by a resolution initiated by American Socialists at the International Socialist Congress in Paris, France, in July of 1889. The purpose of May Day was to gain support for an eight-hour work day. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, precursor to the American Federation of Labor, and the Knights of Labor cooperated in preparing for a general strike in U.S. cities on May 1, 1886. And on that day, approximately 350,000 American workers went on strike, impacting over 11,000 businesses. Although workers in New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities participated, Chicago was widely considered the center of May Day agitation, largely due to Chicago being one of the few cities with broad union and radical solidarity in support of the eight-hour day.

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