The University of Maryland’s Special Collections & University Archives houses a particularly interesting and highly utilized acquisition in the Baltimore News American collection. Acquired 30 years ago when the News American stopped its presses for the last time, the collection contains subject and biographical photos used in the Baltimore News American family of newspapers from 1904 through 1986. The fully processed section of the collection spans close to 1600 boxes and over 660 linear feet. And that doesn’t even consider the oversize materials and extensive unprocessed boxes which bring the total number of images to possibly over 1.5 million. The numbers are certainly impressive, but you cannot get a scope for how big the collection is until you see entire walls in our archive stacks solely dedicated to the photographs.
Making this collection more accessible is the work of many hands, including volunteers and student employees. The work often begins by pulling a number of photos, organized in folders, from one of our unprocessed boxes. We collect information from both the folders and the images including the subject, first and last name, number of photos, and relevant dates [when the photographs were taken, or when the images were published in the newspaper]. All the while, the photos are moved into better, safer acid-free folders and boxes and entered into a database of processed images. Also, given the number of people who have processed this gargantuan collection, we take the time to proofread each other’s data entry work.
On April 27, 2017, Special Collections and University Archives hosted a Preservation Maryland Open House. I organized the open house as part of my practicum for the Museum Scholarship and Material Culture graduate certificate program with guidance from Maryland and Historical Collections Curator Liz Novara. The Preservation Maryland archives are one of many Historic Preservation collections available for research here at SCUA. This particular collection is significant in that it documents the transition of the nation’s second oldest preservation organization from a model of stewarding historic structures to advocacy of historic preservation. The Preservation Maryland archives, dating back to 1931, document a preeminent force in the modern historic preservation movement.
Housed at Special Collections and University Archives, Preservation Maryland’s archives are an incredible resource for the university’s historic preservation students, the historic preservation community, and anyone interested in Maryland history. These documents are open to the public and you can find out more here.
Left to right: Maryland and Historical Collections Curator Liz Novara, Jen Wachtel, Communications Director Meagan Baco, Development Director Douglas Harbit, Executive Director Nick Redding, and Engagement Director Elly Cowan posing with Testudo after Jen Wachtel’s welcoming remarks. Photo courtesy of Preservation Maryland.
Jen Wachtel with the Maryland Room Mini-Exhibit, Steward to Advocacy
Marylanders value the state’s history and often recognize Preservation Maryland as one of the state’s foremost historic preservation organizations. Preservation Maryland is nationally renowned for its advocacy, outreach, and funding efforts. Founded in 1931, Preservation Maryland made the University Libraries its official institutional repository in 2008. These records are an incredible resource for historic preservation students as well as anyone interested in Maryland history. An abstract of the collection is available here, and you can check out a Preservation Maryland mini-exhibit in the Maryland Room for the month of April! Continue reading
The University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives at Hornbake Library received a recent transfer from the Architecture Library of materials related to Orin M. Bullock, Jr. Bullock, born in 1905 in California, graduated from the Harvard University School of Architecture in 1927. From there, Bullock went on to have a career in architectural restoration that spanned sixty years. He was one of the original team members on the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, participated in the restoration of the William Paca house and garden in Annapolis, and taught classes in the School of Architecture at the University of Maryland for many years. An expert in his field of restoration technology, Bullock literally wrote the book on architectural restoration, The Restoration Manual, first published in 1966.
Image of Orin M. Bullock, Jr., c. 1981, Orin Bullock, Jr., papers, Special Collections and University Archives, UMD
In celebration of Women’s History Month, two new exhibitions are available for viewing in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library related to the history of women’s suffrage in the local area.
The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement exhibit is presented in collaboration with Philippines on the Potomac (POPDC) and with the Rita M. Cacas Filipino Community Archives at the UMD Libraries. The exhibit tells the stories of several extraordinary Philippine women who would go on to change Philippine history and rewrite the nation’s suffrage law. The exhibit features extensive research in local, national, and international libraries and research institutions. In addition, original materials are on display relating to the Filipina suffragist, writer, teacher, and feminist Sofia de Veyra who lived in the United States between 1917 and 1925.
Titchie Carandang-Tiongson and Ewrin Tiongson, the creators of the exhibit, also recently presented their research process and methodology to English Professor Jess Enoch’s undergraduate class ENGL379Z/WMST 498V Special Topics in Literature; Women and Memory in Material and Digital Worlds. The students in the class viewed the exhibit, asked great questions after the presentation, and were able to see how this research process related to their own work at recovering women’s suffrage history in the class.
Materials related to Filipino American history and culture in the UMD Libraies can be found in the Rita M. Cacas Community Archives is available for research consultation in the Maryland Room of Hornbake Library. Numerous images in this community archives collection are also available for viewing in the UMD Libraries Digital Collections. For those interested in pursuing additional research there is also a research guide on Philippine and Filipino American History and Culture available.
A second mini-exhibit on Women’s Suffrage in Maryland is also on display in the Maryland Room. This exhibit showcases materials from Special Collections related to the woman’s suffrage movement and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) during the twentieth century. Items of interest include a letter signed by Edith Houghton Hooker, noted suffrage leader and editor of the Maryland Suffrage News; a letter from a member of the Maryland Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage; and a sash worn for a 1978 march in support of the ERA. The materials featured come from a variety of special collections including the League of Women Voters of Maryland archives, the National Organization for Women Maryland Chapter archives, and the Marylandia collection.
The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement will be on display through April 29th, 2017. (Exception: the exhibit will be traveling between April 7th and April 16th and unavailable for viewing at that time.)
The Women’s Suffrage in Maryland exhibit will be on display through the end of March.
Be sure to check the Maryland Room hours before planning your visit!
Questions? Contact Liz Novara, Curator, Historical Manuscripts, email@example.com
The idea that history repeats itself is a popular concept. Whether expressed as “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” or “there’s nothing new under the sun,” this concept has found countless different expressions for itself. While it may be a cliche, it is a very real part of working in an archive. The collection could be from 10, 50, or 100 years ago, and I still find myself surprised by how resonant the materials can be with the present. The cartoons of John Stampone is one such case.
Stampone, a Maryland native having lived in Baltimore, Silver Spring, and Olney, drew cartoons that explored foundational concepts of America and the American labor movement (as has been previously discussed with regards to his Thanksgiving cartoons) as well as exploring the critical issues of his day. While looking through his work, I was struck by how some of the images and critiques he makes seem more relevant than ever in 2017.
One such image is a cartoon for the AFL-CIO News celebrating Labor Day in 1978. The cartoon depicts, in the foreground, a hand engraved with the words “U.S. Labor Day.” The hand is holding a radiant gemstone with the words “Human rights” emanating from it. This hand is juxtaposed against an image of the Kremlin the background out of which a hand rises clutching a ball and chain inscribed with “oppression” on it. The stark binary between the darkened Kremlin and the brilliant gem of human rights really speaks to the growing tensions from the 2016 Presidential Election.
The second cartoon that stood out for me is from 1975, also from the AFL-CIO News. It depicts a man, labeled “deepening recession,” hiding around a corner with a club labeled “social, racial tensions” as a pain of men one labeled “human rights” and the other “human relations” begin to turn the corner. The cartoon argues that human rights and relations are threatened by a recession that creates conflicts between classes and races. Coming out of our most recent recession and the political events that have followed, perhaps reaching its climax with the 2016 election, this cartoon remains relevant speaking to our current economic, social, and racial conflicts, almost 50 years later.
The AFL-CIO News is fully digitized online – check it out!
Benjamin Bradley is a second year MLIS student in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. He works in the Labor Collections at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can also find him over in McKeldin Library where he is the GA for Electronic Resources.
The Vice Presidential papers of Spiro T. Agnew contains a transcript of a press conference which took place in the White House on July 7, 1970. Agnew reportedly said,
“It is one of the disabilities of our culture as Americans that we don’t have more attention paid to the need of our citizens to speak the language of our contiguous neighbors. There are very few Americans, I think, that are fluent in Spanish, along with the 2,000-mile border that separates us from Mexico.”
Agnew – a lifelong member of the Republican Party – accepted that speaking Spanish (even as a primary language) was not a disqualification for citizenship in the United States and he addressed the situation of “Spanish-speaking citizens” as a set of linked social “problems.” Seeing himself as “a minority citizen” by virtue of his father’s Greek ancestry, Agnew spoke of the acceptable arousal of the “public conscience” by “members of minority groups” to “use demonstrative measures to trigger the public interest.” (1)
During an official state visit to Greece in October 1971, Vice-President Agnew dedicated a plaque in Gargalionai, the hometown of his father, who immigrated to the United States in 1897. Official White House Photograph, Spiro T. Agnew Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.