For the past year and a half, student employees and volunteers in Special Collections at the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library have been working to provide researchers with better access to the staggering amount of information contained in the Baltimore News American collection. After the University of Maryland’s Special Collections and University Archives acquired this collection of subject and biographical photographs, newspaper articles, and microfilm approximately 30 years ago, the daunting task of preserving and processing its 1545 linear feet of materials was issued to several decades of graduate assistants and volunteers.
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.
It is a leisurely summer weekend following my freshman year at UCLA, and I’ve got my fencing gear packed in the back of my boyfriend’s 1986 Volvo, and four hours until practice. Just enough time to warrant spending 20-something dollars for a visitor’s ticket to the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. The grounds are breathtaking and perfectly manicured; the reputation of its art collection peerless and the architecture of the library and museum impressive. But nothing compared to the moment I walked into the library and spotted the vault. The vault door looks like something out of a bank, cracked open just far enough for the curious to get a glimpse inside. I was hooked.
Just in case you can’t visit the display in Hornbake Library, Defining “Normal,” here are some of the items we’re featuring to celebrate Women’s History Month!
Does marriage define a normal woman? Clara Barton never married, but she accomplished great things that have inspired both men and women alike. At the same time, women who look forward to marriage and raising families may face scorn and discrimination, both from the workplace, society, and other feminists.
Do you think Clara Barton, the American Red Cross founder known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” is “trapped by so-called single blessedness?” (Single Girl, Dr. Brown).
- Barton established the first free public school in Bordentown, New Jersey
- She served as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, one of the first regularly appointed female civil servants
- Until Clara Barton, women were not allowed in hospitals or on battlefields; she provided aid and supplies on 16 battlefields
Associated Women Students
The self-governing body of women students called the Associated Women Students formed between 1953 and 1954. The purpose of the association was to
“establish and enforce standards of conduct for women students; sponsor cultural and social activities; coordinate women’s activities on campus; and promote the development of leadership, good scholarship, and self-responsibility among the co-eds.”
A 1961 Bridal Fair sponsored by the Associated Women Students, documented in the scrapbooks, includes a list of fashions for the bride marrying a professional man (click for PDF of the Bridal Fashion Show). For example,
SO YOU’RE GOING TO MARRY AN ENGINEER! (…..wear yella for that fella!)
Would this be “normal” for a woman now? What judgments and stereotypes might the Associated Women Students have to face today?
Each month, the Special Collections displays rare, unique items from our collection that resonate with present-day events. On March 1st through March 31, 2013, visit the Maryland Room on the 1st floor of Hornbake Library and delve deeper into women’s history. We’ll also provide online tools, resources, and information about our displays and women’s history every Wednesday and Sunday this month.
Our display honors International Women’s Day on March 8th.
University of Maryland Libraries Resources for the student or researcher of women’s history
Women’s history and the struggle for equality covers a broad spectrum of issues, events, and individuals. To support International Women’s Day and students or researchers of women’s history, here is a list of some online resources (exhibits, collections, and subject guides) available from the Special Collections and other University of Maryland Libraries. If you run into a resource only accessible to University of Maryland researchers, and you need access to something in these guides, we welcome you to contact us for more information.
Are you interested in the individual voices of women? Are you searching for organizations in history that represented women’s communities or rights?
Here is a list of finding aids for materials at the Special Collections. Some of these items are digitized and available online through Digital Collections (online items will be noted in the finding aids).
You can also search Digital Collections using the terms “woman,” “women,” “women’s rights,” and similar key terms for images and finding aids from our collections.
These guides provide tips and resources for researching women’s history. Some guides relate to a specific class, but may also have useful resources for your studies.
An important collection has moved across campus and is now available at the Maryland Room, in Hornbake Library’s Special Collections. You can visit us anytime during our open hours to learn more about the history of the World’s Fair. If you want to take a look before you visit, you can browse the digital version of the collection. Below is a description of what can be found in this collection.
The World’s Fair Collection contains nearly 1,700 non-book items including photographs, stereographs, prints, illustrations, scrapbooks, sheet music, periodicals, maps, pamphlets, and memorabilia, as well as many artifacts, such as trade cards, tickets, exhibitor entry forms, postcards, menus, souvenir ribbons and scarves, and a stereograph viewer.
Represented fairs range from the 1851 London exhibition through the present, although the collection’s holdings are strongest for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition, the 1893 Chicago Exposition, the U.S. fairs (as a whole), and Paris fairs (as a group).
The World’s Fair Collection also includes numerous books on international expositions. Its holdings are strongest for the fairs held in Paris (as a group), the Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1851, and the Chicago World Columbian Exposition of 1893.