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

Presidential Campaigns – Through the Candidates’ Eyes

Think the current presidential election campaign has been unusual?  The new exhibit in the Maryland Room of Hornbake Library explores some of the strange techniques that presidential candidates have used to appeal to voters across much of American history. Candidates (or their spokespeople) have spread serious ideas and spurious notions; built interest from specific demographics of people; sought the support of parties and coalitions of parties; and deployed advertising to increase public visibility and name recognition.

The documents and artifacts in this exhibit date from the 1830s to the 1980s, and are drawn from a variety of collections available for research in the Maryland Room. These include the Spiro T. Agnew papers, the James Bruce papers, the Joseph Tydings papers, the archives of the National Organization for Women (Maryland Chapter), the Rare Books collection, and the Marylandia collection.

Items of particular interest, perhaps, are the autograph letter signed by Senator John F. Kennedy after his nomination by the Democratic Party in 1960, and two official White House photographs, which separately depict Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and President Ronald Reagan. But, then again, there’s the 1932 poster for Franklin D. Roosevelt which promoted “Beer Instead of Taxes.”

Visit these and more in the Maryland Room through the end of October.

Frederick Douglass Exhibit Coming Soon to Hornbake Library

The new exhibit Frederick Douglass & Wye House: Archaeology and African American Culture in Maryland will be opening soon in the Maryland Room exhibit gallery in Hornbake Library.

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Thousands of African and African American families were enslaved in Maryland for almost 250 years. Little evidence of their daily lives was preserved which leaves many questions about how they created a vital and distinct culture.

The University of Maryland seeks to answer questions about the origins of the nation including the contributions of African Americans. In the Department of Anthropology, archaeologists investigate Maryland’s landscapes to collect historical evidence and reveal new knowledge about the African American experience. At Wye House plantation, researchers utilized the words and work of Frederick Douglass to help answer the questions of today’s descendants of enslaved people.

By understanding past relationships to the natural environment and religions, University of Maryland archaeologists are discovering how African and European traditions creatively merged over four centuries to form a unique Maryland culture.

Visit Hornbake Library September 2016-July 2017 to explore this fascinating exhibit and learn more about the life and times of Frederick Douglass.

Maryland Day 2016 in Special Collections

Special Collections and University Archives celebrated Maryland Day 2016 with crafting, coloring, croquet, and discovery! Among the activities we hosted in Hornbake Library were kid-friendly crafts like Color Your Own Terrapin, Color Characters from Alice in Wonderland, Perform Your Own Radio Advertisement, and Play a Game of Alice in Wonderland Croquet with flamingo mallets and hedgehogs- just like Alice!

Visitors also had an opportunity to discover more about Special Collections with activities highlighting our collections and exhibits. these included Meet the Real Testudo– the taxidermied terrapin who served as the model for the beloved statue located outside McKedlin Library, View Student Posters on UMD history, listen to the Alice in Wonderland audio book as they walked through out Alice 150 Years and Counting exhibit, and explore one of our newest collections- the Filipino American Community Archives.

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Christmas Greetings from Special Collections

Celebrate the holidays with these yuletide selections from Special Collections and University Archives!

Our Robert Frost Collection includes beautifully printed and designed Christmas Cards, also known as chapbooks,  featuring poetry by Robert Frost.  Printed by the Spiral Press, the idea for these cards began in 1930 not by Frost, but the founder of the Spiral Press Joseph Blumenthal. With’s Frost involvement, a new card was published annually until 1962. While not all overtly Christmas-themed, the poems have Frosts’ unmistakable rural charm.

Many notable authors and poets looked for inspiration in Christmastime, from the humorous to the introspective. Works by Ernest Hemingway, Ogden Nash, T.S. Eliot, H.L. Menken, Louisa May Alcott, and many more can be found in Special Collections and University Archives.

Looking for something more classic? The Kelmscott Press, a fine printing press started by English author and socialist WIlliam Morris (1834-1896), printed a wonderful edition of ‘Good King Wenceslas‘, illustrated by Arthur J. Gaskin. Also in our Rare Book collection is a copy of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, printed in 1899. This edition, issued by famed New York City Bookshop Brentanos, is illustrated by J. C. Chase.

Visit the Maryland Room in when we re-open on January 4th and explore more from our collections!

 

Brewers converge in Baltimore in 1878

As last Sunday was the final day of Oktoberfest in Germany, it seems only fitting that we should feature beer in today’s blog post from the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project.

The June 5, 1878, issue of Der Deutsche Correspondent contains a special supplement that I first noticed because it bears several large and intricate illustrations. The largest and central illustration features King Gambrinus—the fabled patriarch of brewing—with a stein of beer in one hand and the other outstretched, welcoming brewers from all over the country to Baltimore.

Illustration features King Gambrinus—the fabled patriarch of brewing—with a stein of beer in one hand and the other outstretched, welcoming brewers from all over the country to Baltimore. The translated caption reads: “18th National Brewers’ Congress of the United States, held in the City of Baltimore on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of June 1878.”

The translated caption reads: “18th National Brewers’ Congress of the United States, held in the City of Baltimore on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of June 1878.”

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Inaugural post of the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project

Have you ever had to do research that involved looking at newspapers on microfilm? If so, then you know that it can be a tedious process. After hours of scrolling through reels of microfilm, patiently scanning each page to find the information you need, at long last you’ll find the one sentence of an article that proves your thesis correct—or at least hopefully you will! I’m sure at several times throughout the course of your research you thought to yourself, “This would be so much easier if I could just do a keyword search of this whole newspaper. And it would be great if I could do it from home. In my pajamas.” Luckily, some folks at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Library of Congress agree!

Through August 2014 the NEH will fund the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project at the University of Maryland Libraries through a National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grant. Our project will digitize 100,000 pages of newspaper content from the state of Maryland and make it free and searchable via the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America digital newspaper collection. Chronicling America allows users to search over 6.6 million newspaper pages by title, date or location of publication, and keyword.*

The first title to be digitized by the Historic Maryland Newspapers Project is Der Deutsche Correspondent. This German-language newspaper was published in Baltimore from 1841 to 1918.

Image of the offices of Der Deutsche Correspondent in Baltimore, MD from the June 5, 1878 issue of the newspaper.

Image of the offices of Der Deutsche Correspondent in Baltimore, MD from the June 5, 1878 issue of the newspaper.

We hope you’ll join us for a series of posts about Maryland’s newspapers, including a preview of some of the fascinating content we’ve stumbled upon so far in Der Deutsche Correspondent! More to come soon!

*Since Chronicling America is hosted by the Library of Congress, you’ll have to wait until the government reopens to try it out.😦

[UPDATE: As of 10/4/13 at 10am, Chronicling America appears to be up and working!]