Special Collections and University Archives

The Special Collections Department and University Archives specialize in the acquisition, preservation, and use of  material that documents:

  • the history, culture, and literature of African Americans,
  • the history, culture, and literature of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and
  • the historical development of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Located on the second floor of the Frederick Douglass Library, the department’s collections are housed in secure stack areas where environmental conditions are carefully monitored to insure a stable temperature and humidity within ranges appropriate for the preservation of special materials.  The department also maintains an exhibit room used to mount periodic exhibits which highlight its holdings or reflect special themes and subjects.  University Archives and the Eastern Shore Reference Collection are components of the Special Collections Department.

Exhibit Room Hours
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, or by appointment

Archives Hours
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, or by appointment

UMES Yearbooks (1959-2009):

The yearbook collection is the first digitization effort from our Special Collections department. We are excited to share this part of UMES history with you. Special thanks are given to the Division of Institutional Advancement, Office of Alumni Affairs and Planned Giving for funding this project.

There are several viewing options. You can choose from a variety of formats, page through a book choosing the “read online” option, download the PDF or search the full text version. The PDF files are compressed for easy download but depending on the size of the original, the compression can lead them to have lower quality.  So we recommend reviewing via Read Online as those are generated from the master jpeg2000 files. 

Click Here  to enter The Hawk yearbook collection online.

Finding Aids:

Finding aids are guides to help you locate documents and records in the University Archives collection. The Office of the President is the first finding aid that has been  worked on. Additional materials will be added to this finding aid and others as they are completed. Once you find an item of interest, please come to the second floor of the library at the Special Collections Desk and ask to see the file in question. You must have either a Hawk Card ID or a valid driver’s license to view the item(s). If you are located a great distance from campus, please contact Sharon Brooks, Acting Director of Library Services at  sdbrooks@umes.edu or call (410) 651-6275 for other  arrangements.  

Office of the President

Collection Information:

African American (Black Collection)

This collection is housed in Special Collections Room 1 (2113).  The focus of the collection is African American History, culture, and literature encompassing mostly out-of-print, rare, and first editions.  Many of these titles circulate in-house only.

Eastern Shore Reference Collection

The Eastern Shore Reference Collection is a collection of books, clippings, photographs, correspondence, reports, maps, and related items which document the history and culture of the Eastern Shore of Maryland (especially Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties).

Dissertations and Theses

Special Collections houses all UMES published theses and dissertations.

Library Mural

Click Here to learn more about the Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman mural.

University Archives:

As the official depository for the permanent records of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the collection scope includes the entire history of the institution from 1886 to the present.  The department actively solicits manuscripts, personal papers, photographs, and other research material documenting the history of UMES and its parent institutions. 

Collection development focuses on unpublished materials such as correspondence, diaries, photographs, scrapbooks, and research files.  Proper security and care are provided for donated materials.  Several of our larger manuscript collections bear names of their donors.  You can help preserve our institution’s heritage as well as African American and Eastern Shore heritage by donating historical records to the Archives and Manuscript Collections, which in addition to UMES records, also collects records of:  

  • Organizations
  • Churches
  • Businesses
  • Individuals and Families
  • Social Groups
  • Professional Groups

Types of materials sought are: Letters, Publications, Reports, Scrapbooks, Minutes, Videotapes, Diaries, Tape Recordings, Photographs, Films, Memorabilia, and Artifacts. 

University Archives Content

  • Institutional Reports
  • Photograph Collection
  • Yearbook Collection
  • University Records
  • University Catalogues
  • University Publications
  • Records of the Library   

Manuscript Collections

  • Richard A. Henson Collection
  • John Taylor Williams Collection
  • J. Thomas Tilghman Collection (Funeral Bulletins)
  • Evelyn’s Village Inn Collection
  • Waters Family Collection
  • Metropolitan United Methodist Church Records
  • Miles Family Papers
  • Greene-Spellman Family Papers
  • Daniel Rideout Papers
  • Sammie Thomas Papers
  • Lauren Taylor Collection of the Delaware Conference Annual Report, 1884-19-
  • Taylor/Connor Estate Postcard Collection (Ocean City)
  • John Wennersten Research Files
  • Joel Schor Papers
  • Frank Trigg Family Papers
UMES History Project (January 2021-December 2022):

Formerly known as Speaking Volumes Faculty Reading Group, the UMES History Project was a faculty interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research initiative that sought to bring the treasures of the Frederick Douglass Library archives to life for the campus community and to a wider audience.

Founding members: Dr. Gabriela Vlahovici-Jones, Dr. Kathryn Barrett-Gaines, Sharon Brooks, Janet Dewey Eke, Dr. Linda Joyce Forristal and Dr. Alisha Norwood.

Research productions include:

  • UMES Back in the Day Roundtable Discussion [April 29, 2021] – Flyer
  • UMES Back in the Day: Retention Survives WWII [November 11, 2021] – Flyer
  • NeMLA Conference Roundtable Presentation: Finding Fun & Fellowship in the Archives [March 12, 2022] – Padlet link, Padlet pdf
  • Once Upon A Time: A Week in the Life of Devenia Pinder [April 29, 2022] – Video
Princess Anne College – Student Newspapers
Princess Anne College and Its Leaders Historical Newspapers

Articles on Princess Anne College:

New Journal and Guide (26 July 1947)

The Sun (18 December 1947)

New York Times (5 December 1948)

New Journal and Guide (25 December 1948)

The Sun (24 February 1949)

The Sun (1 March 1949)

The Sun (23 March 1949)

The Sun (18 October 1949)

Articles on Leaders of Princess Anne College:

Trigg, The Colored American (7 February 1903)

Kiah, Afro-American (14 February 1914)

Kiah, Afro-American (18 March 1933)

Kiah, Afro-American (21 October 1933)

Kiah, Afro-American (2 January 1937)

University of Maryland Archives Digitized Materials

Letter to Donald Murray from the University of Maryland Registrar (9 February 1935)

Letter to Donald Murray from W. M. Hillegeist, University of Maryland Registrar, rejecting Murray’s application to the University of Maryland School of Law because Murray is an African American. The letter includes text of a December 14, 1934 letter from Raymond A. Pearson, President of the University of Maryland, regarding scholarships at the Princess Anne Academy, “a separate institution of higher learning for Negroes” maintained by the university. Hillegeist’s letter is dated 9 February 1935.

Draft of Maryland State Legislation (1 June 1937)

Draft of Maryland State legislation “An Act to Provide Higher Educational Facilities and Opportunities for Negros of the State of Maryland Equal to Such Facilities Provided for White Students” (1 June 1937).

UMES History Theses and Dissertations

Wennersten, R. E. (1976). The historical evolution of a Black Land Grant College: the University of Maryland Eastern Shore [Master’s thesis, University of Maryland Eastern Shore]. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4.

Wilson, W. R. (1976). An historical analysis of events and issues which have led to the growth and development of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore from 1886-1975 (Publication No. 7702966) [Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University]. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.

Special Collections Services

  • Reference and Referral Assistance
  • Research Assistance
  • Interpretive and Informative Exhibits
  • Photocopy Service
  • Photo Print Duplication
  • Individualized Bibliographic Instruction in the use of the Online Catalog (USMAI)
  • Small Group Tours of the Department

Updated by: Janet Eke (refuser@umes.edu)
Last Revised: 5/15/2024

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