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University of Maryland History

An introduction to primary and secondary resources on the history of the University of Maryland available from Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library.

What is the University Archives?

The University Archives is the repository for a broad range of materials, including: administrative files, faculty and administrators' papers, university publications, theses and dissertations, photographs, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia, documenting the history and present activities of the University of Maryland, and in particular, the College Park campus.

The holdings of the University Archives are strongest in the post-1916 period. Archival holdings include:

  • Administrative Files- These materials (known as "archival record groups") have been transferred to the Archives from a variety of University of Maryland administrative units, academic departments, research centers, and student groups. Many of these record groups, which span the entire history of the university, are currently available for research. The University Archives is also responsible for selected files documenting the University System, including records of the University of Maryland Board of Regents dating from 1916 to 1988. 

  • Faculty and Administrators' PapersThe University Archives collects the personal papers of individuals who have had significant administrative responsibilities on the campus, as well as faculty members who have achieved national and/or international recognition in their academic discipline or who have had a major role in the life of the university.
  • Photographs- This collection consists of approximately 500,000 images depicting all aspects of campus life. Included are shots of campus buildings and landscape, sports and other events, student life, and individual and group portraits. They date primarily from the 1930s to the 1970s, although some late-nineteenth- and early twentieth-century images are included as well.


  • Audiovisual MaterialsThe Archives is a rich source of audiovisual materials including about 10,000 pieces of film and videotape. These materials mainly document the university's athletic history and important events on campus. They date primarily from the 1950s to the present.

  • Memorabilia- The Archives holds approximately 3,000 UM-related objects, such as ceremonial footballs, plaques, trophies, student and sports uniforms, and portraits of past university leaders. A particular highlight of the collection is the mounted diamondback terrapin that was the model for the university mascot, Testudo. The collection spans more than a century of the history of the UMD campus.


Archival Collections by Subject

Frequently Requested Archival Collections