Preservation Maryland Open House: A Celebration of 86 Years of Historic Preservation Stewardship and Advocacy

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.

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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.

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Preservation Maryland records in UMD’s Special Collections

Preservation Maryland Dispaly in the Maryland Room

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

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

Radio Preservation Task Force Conference Coming to Hornbake Library

On February 26 and 27, the Library of Congress’s Radio Preservation Task Force will host its first conference on the subjects of historical media archives, and the organization of educational and preservation initiatives on a national scale . Friday’s activities will take place downtown at the Library of Congress, and Saturday’s will be held at Hornbake Library North.

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Speakers will include numerous UMD librarians, faculty from various campus divisions, and several iSchool alum, as well as prominent archivists and scholars from throughout the United States. Highlights include panels and workshops on how archives can deal with audio materials, discussions about using digital tools to save our radio heritage, panels on how radio materials document race and gender throughout American history, and a workshop featuring three NEH representatives on how to find funding for archival projects.

Registration is free and open to the public, and can be completed by sending an e-mail to Kevin Palermo at kevinpalermo@gwmail.gwu.edu.

More information is available at the conference website.

Why William Morris?

William Morris

William Morris

The Special Collections curators spent the last year hard at work preparing the current exhibit How We Might Live: The Vision of William Morris. We  felt Morris was deserving of this exhibit because of the breadth of resources concerning Morris in Special Collections and because he was such a remarkable person. The curators realized that we had a rich collection of Morris’ writings, translations, and Kelmscott Press publications (and ephemera from Kelmscott Press). The University of Maryland Libraries had also recently purchased a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer and felt an exhibit the perfect opportunity to show off this gorgeous book.

In addition to showing off the excellent William Morris collection here in Special Collections, the curators were inspired by William Morris’ take on life. He was a man who always strove to improve the world around him. He wrote stories because he wanted to entertain and inspire people. Morris began a home decorating business, Morris & Co., because he wanted people to have beautiful and affordable decorations in their homes. He was a founding member of the historic preservation movement in Britain as well as the socialist movement. He cared about providing workers with meaningful work and making sure that the efforts of workers from previous eras was maintained. What do you find admirable about William Morris?