50 YEARS AGO:  Maryland Responds to Floods in Italy

Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland Libraries is home to political collections such as the Spiro T. Agnew papers, the Theodore R. McKeldin papers, the Daniel Brewster papers, and the Hervey Machen papers, which contain information and interesting perspectives on local, national, and international events. One such event documented in these four collections is the effort of Marylanders to assist in the relief of Italians flooded out of their homes fifty years ago this month. In early November 1966, much of north-central Italy was inundated by flood waters. As many as 300 people may have been killed, up to 50,000 farm animals were drowned, and countless shops and buildings destroyed (1). Refugees sought shelter in makeshift housing. The cities of Florence and Venice were especially hard hit. Devastatingly, the great concentration of art, architecture, and cultural heritage found in Florence was subjected to flood waters that reached 22 feet high in some places. The National Library of Florence was underwater. Astride the Arno River, the Ponte Vecchio, which dates back 2300 years to Roman times, had been badly damaged.

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The Baltimore News American collection includes photographs of the Italian floods of 1966. Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

The response to the 1966 flood in Florence was decidedly international, as Americans Continue reading

Minikins Miss Dot Sr. and Miss Dot Jr. Return to Campus after a Half-Century

The University of Maryland is home once again to the minikins – the instructional tools developed in the early 1960s by professors in the College of Home Economics, Eileen Heagney and June Wilbur, along with businesswoman Dr. Dorothy S. Lyle.

The Dorothy S. Lyle, Eileen Heagney, and June Wilbur papers was recently donated by Adele Heagney, Eileen Heagney’s niece, and is now housed in the Historical Manuscripts unit of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland.  The collection consists of six notebooks of correspondence, publications, pamphlets, photographs and other promotional material for the minikins and well as various versions of the minikins and their fashion accessories.  The collection will be useful for researchers interested in women’s studies, fashion design, and the history of home economics and dry cleaning.

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