On the Trail, at Home with Maryland Public Television

Autumn is quickly sliding into winter, and we at Special Collections and University Archives are hunkering down, already reminiscing about summer days spent in the sunshine. For coping with quarantine, Maryland Public Televison’s (MPT) program On Nature’s Trail is a true delight. University of Maryland (UMD)  alumni Jean and Elmer Worthley take viewers on an exploratory trip into the woods. Jean, the author of The Complete Family Nature Guide,  studied human development and childhood studies at UMD, and was the host of the beloved MPT children’s show Hodgepodge Lodge. A noted botanist who received his PhD from UMD, Elmer grew plant specimens under the sponsorship of the UMD School of Pharmacy. These two approach nature with a conversational tone reminiscent of a science class field trip. Each one of On Nature’s Trail’s 26 episodes focuses on a specific environment or landscape, from summertime woods to railroad tracks and hedgerows. 

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Jean Worthley wrangles a spiny-bellied spider on MPT’s On Nature’s Trail
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The Story Behind a Surprise Find

Measuring less than two inches by one inch, this Baltimore City streetcar ticket was left in a book, presumably as a bookmark. Using convenient items as bookmarks isn’t all that uncommon, right? We use store receipts, gum wrappers, or trusty Post- It Notes to mark our pages all the time, but usually they are discarded once the reader is finished with the book. So, why is this ticket so fascinating? Because it was left as a bookmark for almost 125 years, its survival opens a window into the past.

Photo of a streetcar ticket from the Baltimore and Curtis Bay Railway Company
The Baltimore and Curtis Bay Railway Company ticket
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Greetings from the Land of Postcards!

I have never worked in a library before.  Been in one, yes.  Studied in one, definitely.  Worked in one that holds invaluable documents and rare artifacts, that’d be a resounding no.  Until now.

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If you had told me at the beginning of summer that my first project as a student assistant in Special Collections and University Archives would have me surrounded by boxes upon boxes of postcards, I would have laughed and asked, “What’s a postcard?”

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Exhibit: New Acquisitions in Special Collections

A new exhibit in the Maryland Room highlights recent acquisitions in Special Collections and University Archives!

Included in the display are historic postcards featuring various vacation and other unique tourist locations across the United States, dated from the 1900s -1940s.

Stop by and check out the souvenir folder postcards, which contain several postcards folded up so you didn’t have to send just one! All the postcards on display were donated to the National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection.

The exhibit also highlights a recent donation of Arthur Rackham illustrations to the Literature & Rare Book collections. Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) was a celebrated illustrator whose work helped spark the Golden Age of Illustration from the 1880s – 1920s in Englad. Rackham is known for the whimsical and dream-like quality of his art. His work was often featured in fairy tales and children’s literature. In addition to several books, a framed illustration signed by Rackham is on display featuring a scene from the Compleat Angler, a popular book celebrating the joys of fishing.

Lastly, the exhibit features another, albeit much older, acquisition to the Literature & Rare Book collections in Special Collections and University Archives. A collection of illuminated manuscript leaves showcase the artistry of hand written and hand decorated medieval books. The leaves are dated between the mid-12th century – 16th century. They represent a variety of regions, including Italy, France, the Netherlands, England, and the Low Countries.

Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to explore these new treasures in Special Collections and University Archives!

Postcards from our #LibraryGetaways

This past month, we went on summer vacation in the stacks! We’ve been highlighting our vast postcard collections on Instagram as a part of the #librarygetaway challenge (check out our posts from each Wednesday in July).

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The postcards in our collections are a significant source for understanding how Americans have spent their leisure and vacation time throughout history. Our online exhibit, Greetings from Vacationland: Early Postcards and the Rise of Leisure in the United States: 1890-1920, takes a deep dive into our collections and features early postcards of national parks, scenic resorts, amusement parks, historic sites, world’s fairs, and American cities.

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