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Department of Physical Plant records

 Collection 0061-UA

The Department of Physical Plant was established in 1924-1925 as the Buildings and Grounds Division of the General Services Department. The department's files include maps, blueprints, photographs, computer tapes, and financial materials relating to University of Maryland campus construction, structures, landscaping, and maintenance.


  • 1888-1987
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1945

Use and Access to Collection

This collection contains born-digital materials. Items may require specialized software for access. If you would like to access any born-digital materials, please contact us prior to your visit, so we may determine the proper steps to be taken.

Conditions Governing Use

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.


3.75 Linear Feet (3.75 linear feet and 267 drawings/maps)

3.75 Linear Feet

267 Items (267 drawings/maps)

Scope and Content of Collection

Although the Department of Physical Plant was not officially established until 1924, maps and drawings relating to campus facilities were produced prior to this date and came into the custody of the department. The records of the Department of Physical Plant at the University of Maryland at College Park cover the period between 1888 and 1987. The bulk of the records dates from 1933 to 1945.

The collection consists of correspondence, financial and administrative records, and lists of plants to be planted on the campus. The collection also contains a large number of maps, drawings, and photographs of the campus and buildings. Topics documented include landscaping projects, construction projects such as the air conditioning of McKeldin Library, and the erection of a swimming pool, the dining hall, and the Glenn L. Martin College of Engineering.

Administrative History

A "Buildings and Grounds" division of the General Services Department is first mentioned in the University budget of 1924-25. The early staff of "Buildings and Grounds" included the superintendent, his secretary, a carpenter, electrician, watchman, mechanical handyman, three laborers, and two chauffeurs.

In 1938 the division name "Buildings and Grounds" was changed to "Plant Maintenance and Operation." This division existed alongside the other General Services divisions of "Janitorial Department," "Heating," and "Campus and Grounds." With the growth of the campus, its maintenance became more demanding. Although the 1949-50 budget shows only four workers employed in "Plant Maintenance," the budget also indicates that occupations such as carpentry or electrical services, formerly under the supervision of "Plant Maintenance and Operation," had become specialized divisions of General Services.


The collection has been divided into the following series:

Series 1
Ledger Book
Series 2
Administrative and Financial Records
Series 3
Landscaping Activities
Series 4
Maps, Plans, and Drawings
Series 5
Series 6
Magnetic Tape

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

In 1972 the Archives received a number of documents, mostly of administrative and financial nature, from an unknown source. The photographs, maps, and drawings were given to the Archives in 1985 by Fred DeMarr, Maryland Student Union Coordinator of Public Functions; Jack Galuardi, Physical Plant Director of Design and Construction; and Richard White, Superintendent of Grounds Construction.

Related Material

The University Publications collection of the Archives and Manuscripts houses publications by the Department of Physical Plant. Other materials relating to College Park Campus facilities may be found under the heading "Buildings and Grounds." Photographs have been transferred to the photographic collection.

Processing Information

The documents were placed into acid-free folders. Photographs have been placed in the photographic collection with the exception of those left in the ledger book; these have been interleaved with acid-free bond paper. Maps, plans, and drawings have been placed in flat storage.

Guide to the Department of Physical Plant records
Processed and guide written by Brigit Prell.
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