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University of Maryland Print File photographs

 Collection 0085-UA
This collection contains photographs related to the history of the University of Maryland and documents a wide variety of activities, agricultural education, architecture, athletics, and academic life. The photographs in this collection span approximately ninety years and document the institution's transition from the Maryland Agricultural College (chartered 1856) to the Maryland State College of Agriculture (state-controlled 1916) to the University of Maryland (consolidated 1920). Subjects include academic departments, agricultural and natural resources, athletics, campus buildings and events, student life, faculty and staff, and campus organizations and activities. The collection consists mostly of candid action shots but also includes posed photos of individuals and groups. There are also many landscape and architectural photographs that document the physical changes on the campus. Additional pictures of university administrators and faculty are available in the Biographical Photographs - Print File collection.


  • 1888-1976, and undated
  • Majority of material found within circa 1890-1969

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder. Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


21.75 Linear Feet (21.75 linear feet and 61 items)

61 Items

21.75 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The University of Maryland Print File photographs cover the years 1888 to 1976, with the bulk of photographs dating from the 1890s to the 1960s; some images are undated. Most of the photographs are black and white prints, but there are a few cyanotypes and color prints. Creators include the University of Maryland Campus Photo Service, Roy H. Waite, and Kenneth Grace. For many photographs, the creators are unknown.

Administrative History

The Maryland General Assembly chartered the Maryland Agricultural College on March 6, 1856, and the college was established on 428 acres of the Riversdale Plantation purchased from Charles Benedict Calvert for $21,400. The opening ceremony and dedication of the College took place on October 5, 1859; there were thirty-four students admitted to study agriculture and engineering. The first degrees were awarded on July 11, 1862. Although the College struggled with low enrollment and debt problems, community support, an emphasis on military training, and its designation as a land-grant institution in 1864 enabled the College to survive. In 1888, the College farm and Rossborough Inn became one of the first federally funded agricultural experiment stations. Tragedy struck on November 29, 1912, when a fire on campus destroyed all of the dormitories, half of the classrooms and offices, and a majority of the college's records.

The Maryland Agricultural College became the Maryland State College of Agriculture in 1916 when the state assumed control of the institution; that same year, the first female students enrolled. In 1919, the college was organized into seven schools: Agriculture, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Chemistry, Education, Home Economics, and Graduate School (including Summer School). Because of the short, four-year duration of the Maryland State College of Agriculture, there are few photographs to document this transitional phase of the institution's history.

On April 9, 1920, the Maryland General Assembly consolidated the College Park and Baltimore campuses to form the University of Maryland. Between 1935 and 1950, there was unprecedented growth in the student population, and a number of new classrooms and dormitories were constructed. Harry Clifton "Curley" Byrd served as President from 1935 to 1954, and, under his guidance, the university experienced growing student school spirit, increased financial resources, and successful intercollegiate athletic teams. Numerous photographs document this era. Wilson H. Elkins became President in 1954 and served until 1978. A number of academic buildings were constructed during his tenure, including McKeldin Library in 1958. The institution continued to grow and thrive after Elkins' tenure, but that history is not documented in the University of Maryland Print Files.


The collection is divided into seven series:
Series 1
Academic Departments Photographs
Series 2
Agriculture and Natural Resources Photographs
Series 3
University of Maryland Athletics Photographs
Series 4
Campus Buildings and Grounds Photographs
Series 5
Campus Events Photographs
Series 6
Campus Community Member Photographs
Series 7
Student Activities and Organizations Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Print File photographs were assembled between 1972 and 1983 from a variety of accessions and donors, including the University of Maryland Campus Photo Service, the Harry Clifton Byrd collection, the William Amoss papers, the Kenneth Grace papers, the Works Project Administration in Maryland records, and the Philip Geraci collection, as well as many other collections accessioned before 1983. While the provenance and custodial history of some of these collections is known and provided in the finding aids for those collections, some lack documentation.

Related Material

Additional pictures of university administrators and faculty are available in the Biographical Photographs -- Print File collection.

Other collections that contain photographs of the subjects of the University of Maryland Photographs -- Print File include William L. Amoss papers, the Philip Geraci Collection, the Harry Clifton Byrd papers, the Work Projects Administration in Maryland records, and the Maryland Extension Homemakers Council archives.

Separated Material

Oversize photographs have been separated from the other photographs in the collection and housed in map cases. Separation sheets in the photograph files housed in archival boxes indicate the locations of oversize items.

Processing Information

Between 1972 and 1983, staff members of the University of Maryland Libraries removed photographs from various existing campus collections and consolidated them into one collection, designated the Print Files. The Print Files were arranged in three groupings based on subject matter —the University of Maryland, Biographical, and Subjects. The University of Maryland portion contains photographs from the University of Maryland Campus Photo Service, the Harry Clifton Byrd collection, the William Amoss papers, the Kenneth Grace papers, the Works Project Administration in Maryland records, the Philip Geraci collection, and other unidentified collections. Folders within these groups were arranged in alphabetical order by folder title. The photographs were mounted on white boards and each assigned an accession number. Information from the backs of photographs was recorded on the backs of the boards, but in some cases is incomplete or illegible.

During reprocessing in 2006, folders in the University of Maryland portion of the Print Files were rearranged into series to improve access, and some folders were renamed to more accurately reflect the contents. Photographs were moved to more appropriate folders, if necessary. As a result, some of the folder titles originally recorded on the backs of the photographs do not correspond with the titles of the folders to which they were moved. The photographs were rehoused in acid-free archival boxes. Photographs previously separated from the Papers of William L. Amoss and the Records of the Presidents' Office were removed and returned to those collections. In August 2010, photographs documenting the Madrigal Singers were transferred to Special Collections in Performing Arts in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. The finding aid and folder list were revised, updated, and expanded in April 2011 to reflect the current arrangement of the collection.
Guide to the University of Maryland Print File photographs
Finding aid created 1972-1983.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742