International Clarinet Association Research Center

Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the University of Maryland is the home of the International Clarinet Association (ICA) Research Center, a hub for students and researchers to delve into the rich history of clarinet performance and composition. The ICA Research Center at SCPA includes hundreds of linear feet of scores, recordings, and archival collections. SCPA is proud to announce a major new expansion of the ICA Research center with the addition of the Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores, which are now open for use.

The Student Clarinetist book.

Professor Sidney Forrest (1918-2013) was a renowned performer and educator. He was the principal clarinet of the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as a faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins, Catholic University, Levine School of Music, and Interlochen Arts Camp. His career started as the clarinet soloist with the United States Marine Band throughout World War II. Professor Forrest’s influence lives on through his former students, many of whom took positions with orchestras in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, London, Paris, and elsewhere.

The Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores at SCPA is now easily accessible for patrons of SCPA and UMD Libraries. Students, faculty, and staff from the University System of Maryland (USM) are permitted to borrow scores for up to two months, as are active members of the ICA. For anyone outside of the ICA and USM interested in accessing the materials, they can still view the materials in SCPA’s reading room inside the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library or request digital access to the items. Every score in the collection can be found by using SCPA’s online database of scores in our collections. Patrons can search by title, composer, instrumentation, or publisher and request access to the item once they have created a researcher account with SCPA. As Peter A. Jablow, president of the Levine School of Music told The Baltimore Sun in 2013, Professor Forrest “had a remarkable impact on music in the Baltimore-Washington region for the last seven decades. It was a remarkable career and he loved it. He believed that playing music kept you young.” Jablow summed up Professor Forrest’s life-long dedication saying “he loved music and teaching young people.” The Sidney Forrest collection of clarinet scores at SCPA helps preserve the profound legacy of Professor Forrest, allowing his influence to persist through the users of his score collection.

Items from the International Clarinet Association Research Center at Special Collections in Performing Arts.

Collection Highlight: The Adrienne Mandel papers

From the poet Emma Lazarus having her words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty (you may remember the line “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) to Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s accomplishments in the Supreme Court, Jewish women have been leaving their mark on America. This Jewish-American Heritage Month, we are highlighting one such woman in our collections: Adrienne A. Mandel, member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1995-2006. 

Campaign Flier for Adrienne Mandel. Features a Black and White Image of Mandel. Text Reads: "Re-Elect Adrienne Mandel Delegate- State Legislative District 19. With Local Loyalty and State Experience Adrienne MANDEL Speaks for YOU."

Adrienne A. Mandel was a Democrat who represented the 19th District, Montgomery County, in the Maryland House of Delegates. Her papers consist of committee files, correspondence, minutes, working papers, reports, photographs, speeches, and press releases pertaining to her service in the Maryland House of Delegates and bills that she supported, primarily relating to health care. The collection also includes topics directly relevant to Montgomery County,  the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and the Intercounty Connector (ICC). 

The papers also consist of a number of items directly related to Jewish issues. The papers reveal that Mandel would give out the traditional triangle-shaped cookies called hamantaschen to fellow Delegates during the holiday of Purim while educating her fellows about this holiday of victory in the face of evil. She also was a strong advocate for Holocaust survivors living in Maryland. On top of various Holocaust education efforts, she was one of the leading figures in passing H.B. 177, the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act, ensuring that Holocaust survivors would not be taxed on insurance claims received via the International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) (more info here). 

Adrienne Mandel was but one of many Jewish Americans who have made this country what it is today.

Below are a few further resources to explore at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA):

Philip Perlman papers

Jo-Ann Orlinsky papers

Jewish topics in the Women’s Studies pamphlet collection

Publications from the Jewish Museum of Maryland held in SCUA

Books in Hebrew and Yiddish held in SCUA

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: Z is for…


Today, May 15, is Katherine Anne Porter’s 133rd Birthday, which makes her a Taurus!

Taureans are considered to be tenacious individuals who value honesty and enjoy the finer things in life. They are practical, reliable, affectionate, resentful, stubborn, and persistent. This stereotype rings true for Porter who was opinionated, dedicated to her craft, and didn’t abide hearsay. Her more indulgent side can be seen in her fine tastes in clothing and furnishings she collected, including 16th century benches, stools, and chapel chairs, as well as an 18th century Louis XV fruitwood sofa, which are on display in the Katherine Anne Porter Room in Hornbake Library. The room recreates the ambiance of Porter’s home in the Spring Valley neighborhood of the District of Columbia where Porter lived from 1964 to 1969

Included in Porter’s personal library are copies of The Astrological Cookbook, The Compleat Astrologer, and Taureau (a French edition on her star sign). However, there are no annotations in these books, apart from Porter’s comment that The Astrologer Cookbook is “the worst cookbook I ever saw.”

Porter spent many years researching Cotton Mather, a puritan clergyman involved in the Salem witch trials. During her research, she explored different tools of witchcraft, including astrology, which sparked an interest in her own sign. When she had her star chart mapped out, astrologists were concerned about a lack of water in her chart, leading them to encourage Porter to be more open and aware of her emotions and the emotions of others.

Porter was moved by the stars. After watching a comet one night she mused, “I felt less than a grain of sand, less than an atom, but still no less alive, no less important for that.”

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more about Porter’s hobbies and manuscripts!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: Y is for…


Yaddo is an artist retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York that provided artists of all disciplines uninterrupted time and space to create. It first opened in 1926 and is still accepting artists-in-residence today. 

Katherine Anne Porter learned about Yaddo through friends and began inquiring about a spot at the retreat in 1936. Timing and space finally aligned and Yaddo became Porter’s primary residence from June 1940 to May 1942. There were rules in place to meant to limit distractions to the artists, including radios only being allowed in the evening. At this time World War II was going on and the U.S. was preparing to join the fight. There were staff shortages and rationing, but the seclusion of the retreat created somewhat of a bubble from the outside world and gave residents an escape. 

Despite the support and break from financial strain, Porter didn’t find Yaddo as soothing or productive as she had hoped during her first visit. In a follow-up questionnaire she complained about required socializing, the odd dynamics between staff and visitors being asked to report on each other, and being dragged into others’ drama. However, she became close friends with executive director Elizabeth Ames and would end up joining the board and returning to Yaddo a few more times during her life to work. Porter strongly supported their mission to give artists a place where they could exist and create without pressure.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Digitized photographs of Katherine Anne Porter can be found in our Digital Collections repository.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and visit us in Hornbake Library to learn more!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

Special Collections Spotlight: The Bock Ark Papers

Bock Ark (白聖德) (1896-1974) immigrated from Toisan (Taishan), Guangdong Province, in 1911 and went on to become a restaurateur and active member of the Baltimore Chinese community. He advocated for the Chinese-American business community on the East Coast, lobbied for legal protections for Chinese refugees of the Sino-Japanese War and WWII, and worked to promote a democratic future for China through his work as a member of the American branch of the Republic of China’s Kuomintang government. The Bock Ark papers contain records of his activities in these areas, as well as his involvement in numerous organizations such as president of the Consolidated Chinese Association of Baltimore, a leader of the Chinese Benevolent Society, and secretary of the Chinese Merchant’s Association. The papers also hold records of his wife Sue Bock’s activities as president of the Chinese Women’s Association of Baltimore and her involvement in other Chinese organizations.

Long horizontal sheet of paper with Chinese characters hand written in vertical lines right to left.

A handwritten record of the major milestones of the Republic of China in its first 18 years.

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The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: X is for…


Katherine Anne Porter lived and worked all over the world. Porter lived ten years of her life outside of the United States. A total of three of those years were spent in Mexico. Between 1920 and 1931, she made four trips to Mexico establishing long residences in Mexico City between November 1920 and September 1921 and between May 1930 and August 1931. There, she became an editor of the English section of El Heraldo de Mexico and made friends with Diego Rivera and other revolutionaries. This proved to be a pivotal time for Porter as it inspired several of Porter’s stories including Flowering Judas.

In 1931, Porter received a Guggenheim fellowship which she used to travel to Europe. She went to Berlin, Paris, and Madrid before moving to Basil, Switzerland. Porter lives in four foreign countries and at least five U.S. states for extended periods during the 1930s. She lives in Mexico from April 1930- August 1931. She then travels to Berlin, Germany, where she lives for four months in 1931-1932. She resides predominantly in Paris, France, between 1932 and 1936 but also lives in Switzerland for six months in 1932. It is in Paris where Porter married her 4th husband Eugene Pressly, who worked for the U.S. foreign service. In early 1936, Porter makes an extended four-month visit to the U.S. after which she and Pressly repatriate in October 1936.

Porter would continue to travel for work, visiting Brussels, Moscow, Rome, London, Nice, and more. Occasionally she would travel to make audio recordings of her stories, but most of her trips happened as part of a culture exchange tours facilitated by the U.S. Department of State. In 1952, she was based in Brittany and Paris before, during, and after her participation in the International Congress for Cultural Freedom in Paris in May 1952. She was also Fulbright recipient in Liege, Belgium. She spent five months of 1963 in Paris during her European sojourn after the April 1962 publication of Ship of Fools.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more about Porter’s hobbies and manuscripts!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

New exhibit – Student Activism on Campus: A Movement for Change

Social activism has historically been an important catalyst for change. In the US this was never more true than during the golden age of student activism lasting through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. This was a time of historical movements taking place at highschools and on University campuses across the country. Specifically in the context of the civil rights movement, Universities became microcosms of progressive, rebellious societies stimulated with political discourse. Politicians, and influential guest speakers flocked to these Universities to preach their message, and students listened in droves.

Three items from Special Collections and University Archives about desegregation in higher education.
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Humanity in Archives

By: Ben Henry; Student Assistant- Maryland and Historical Collections

When people think of archives, they usually think of “important documents from important people.” Indeed, many archives have tended to function in this way, historically serving as repositories for official government documents. The Special Collections and University Archives is, to a degree, not an exception. One example of such a collection in our holdings is the Spiro T. Agnew Papers

There is more to the story, however. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve handled thousands of postcards, come across newspaper clippings and microfilm, giant maps, old lacrosse sticks, and even the original Testudo (yes, there is an actual taxidermy turtle locked away in Hornbake Library). 

Oversize document on a white background. Pages are aged and text is machine-printed.

I experienced the variety of the materials that come into our collection during my first week at the Maryland and Historical Collections (MDHC). We had some new acquisitions, and I along with another newcomer to MDHC were tasked with creating an inventory.

At first the items seemed pretty random, a mish-mosh of old documents and books. Diving deeper, however, revealed a few treasures—one that I found particularly interesting was a bill from 1793 that failed to pass the Maryland state legislature regarding drafting citizens for the local militia (fig.1). 

Some of the other items included an overview of Methodism in the District of Columbia from 1892, a travel guide for North America and the West Indies from 1833, Baltimore directories from 1824 and 1829, and volumes 1-4 of the works of Scottish poet Robert Burns published between 1814 and 1815.

Two light blue rectangular boxes arranged vertically side by side. The box on the left contains larger items like booklets and photographs, the one on the right contains loose letters and other papers.

Published documents like these are not all we carry, however; we also collect items of a more personal nature. An example was the items we received belonging to Grace and Henry Post. Their items were stuffed haphazardly in a shoebox, which have temporarily been rehoused into two separate archival boxes (fig.2). I was thereby able to start piecing together their story.

I learned that Henry attended Columbia University from a copy of the 1904-1905 Columbia University Blue Book, complete with shopping lists scrawled on its blank pages. In a booklet from their church I learned that Grace and Henry were married on January 25, 1907, and from newspaper clippings inside the booklet I learned that they left for Valparaiso, Chile the next day, where Henry had “business interests.” I also discovered that Henry was an accomplished athlete in his student years and, “In student affairs he was greatly interested, being President of his class, and accredited as one of the most popular men in the university.” (fig.3)

Wedding booklet opened to the page showing the handwritten names of Grace and Henry and the date and location of their marriage. The booklet is surrounded by brown newspaper clippings.

Other materials included family photos; official documents regarding Henry’s time as an aviator in the US Army (the Air Force did not exist yet); dozens of letters and postcards to Grace and Henry from Valparaiso; and multiple documents, including newspaper clippings, official documents, and letters of condolence to Grace about Henry, “who plunged to his death in San Diego Bay” on February 9, 1914 as a result of an aviation accident. 

There is more I could say about the Posts, but my main takeaway was that archival materials are not just about official records. They have the power to tell us about the lived experiences of actual people, to close the distance between past and present, the living and the dead. Often, it’s the everyday items, the things that no one would expect would end up in an archive that tell the best stories.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: V is for…

Virgin Violeta!

Set in Mexico, Virgin Violeta is a vignette of the moment the main character realizes, for the first time, the reality of romantic love doesn’t match the idealized version created in childhood. At 14, Violeta is sheltered by her family and educated at a convent. Like many teens, she feels invisible to those around her and yearns for what will surely be a more exciting life as an adult. After being kissed by her cousin one night, Violeta immediately begins to cry and runs to her mother. She is confused how a kiss could mean nothing and ashamed for going against the Virgin Mary. Although the event distressed Violeta, it encouraged her to mature and be more critical of her surroundings. True to Porter’s style, the story is a brief but artful telling of growing up and dealing with expectations from the Church, society, and your family.

Virgin Violeta was first published in December 1924 in Century magazine and later published as a bound volume in Tokyo. It is also included in Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers to learn more about Porter’s manuscripts! Visit us in person at Hornbake Library to see the Katherine Anne Porter Room and her personal library. Contact us for an appointment!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: U is for…

University of Maryland!

On June 28, 1966 Katherine Anne was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Maryland. Unable to attend the official commencement ceremony, Porter was presented the degree in her home. She wore full graduation regalia and celebrated with champagne! Porter was enamored by the attention and deference shown to her from UMD and by October of the same year she had agreed to donate her papers to the Libraries. 

While Porter lived in nearby Washington, D.C in the 1960s, and later relocated to a College Park suburb, she did not have an strong ties to the University of Maryland. She was born in Texas, and spent much of her life traveling. writing, and teching classes at a variety of colleges and universities. She was, however, a well known and respected Modernist author and literary woman. UMD was not the first university to inquire about Porter’s papers. University of Texas, Howard Payne, Library of Congress and a few others asked, but it never happened for one reason or another.

“Its all pure feeling,” Porter said of the decision in a press conference. “[UMD] is a very beautiful, active, and effective kind of university. It grows and keeps growing.”

As part of the agreement to accept her literary archive, the University of Maryland agreed to set up a room dedicated to Katherine Anne Porter. Porter hand picked what she wished to donate and sent the items to the university a few boxes at a time over a period of years. She was inspired by her time at the University of Virginia where she saw clothing and household items that once belonged to Thomas Jefferson and chose to similarly donate personal items that would be displayed in the Katherine Anne Porter room, along with her expansive literary archive and personal papers that would be housed in the Literary Manuscripts division of the Special Collections Library.

The accessioning process for the new collection was complex and sometimes frustrating for those involved, but through hard work and patience, the Katherine Anne Porter Room was officially opened on May 15, 1968 and her literary archive was opened to researchers. Porter herself would serve as a docent of the Katherine Anne Porter room in its original location in McKeldin so she could be close to her papers and chat with anyone who dropped. She wanted to share her knowledge and for her collection to be used and enjoyed by students.

The Katherine Anne Porter papers continues to be used be researchers and students visiting Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library. The Katherine Anne Porter Room is open by appointment for visitors looking to explore Porter’s book collection and artifacts.

You can view digitized letters from Katherine Anne Porter in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Browse the finding aids to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and visit us in person to learn more about the partnership between University of Maryland and Katherine Anne Porter. Contact us to learn more!

Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.