The Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery Tells the UMBC Story in Artifacts and Images
— Richard Byrne ’86
In assembling its exhibit to celebrate the founding decades of UMBC, the team in UMBC’s Special Collections who put together “Sharing the Past, Building the Future: UMBC at 50” – chief curator Tom Beck, archivist Lindsey Loeper ’04, exhibition curator Emily Hauver ’05, and librarian Susan Graham ’98 – have given the university community a chance to glimpse essential objects and images that may have escaped easy notice.
As Beck and Loeper write at the conclusion of their introductory essay:
The ideal as seen by [founding chancellor] Albin O. Kuhn in 1966 has grown greater than anyone could have imagined then. The future as contemplated by [chancellor] Calvin B.T. Lee in 1972, has arrived, and perhaps because Lee was thinking about education in the future, UMBC is prepared for the changes that have continued to propel the university forward. Along the way, the individual identity of the campus has been forged, the seeds of excellence have been sown and reaped and sown again, and a feeling of community has taken root. Research at all levels is routine at “Our UMBC” (the affectionate title of the school alma mater). Those who have been a part of the saga of UMBC will most appreciate and understand our pursuit of dreams while looking toward bigger purposes.
What follows are some of the images and artifacts contained in the exhibit.
See the full exhibit online here.
“Brainstorming” by Albin O. Kuhn, 1963
(Albin O. Kuhn papers)
Once a site in Catonsville was selected for the expansion of the University of Maryland, Dr. Kuhn quickly began working on specifications for the new campus. He visited universities across the country to get ideas for the construction of both buildings and academic programs, and on airline flights home he wrote down his brainstorm of thoughts, reactions, and plans. He noted: “Kinds of Bldgs, plain but attractive.”
Group portrait of founding faculty and staff by Tim Ford, 1991
A group of the founding faculty and staff gathered for a portrait by photographer Tim Ford on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of UMBC. Shown are: Front Row (seated): Lucy Wilson, Robert Shedd, Julia Enos; Middle row: Mary Jane Randolph, Homer Schamp, Evelyn Barker, Alice Robinson, Albin O. Kuhn, Ceil Nedeloff, Walt Sherwin, May Roswell, Larry Lasher, Dick Watts; Back row: Frank Burd, Simmona Simmons, Arthur Hyman, William Rothstein, Guy Chisholm, Richard Roberts, William Bettridge, and David Lewis.
Ticket to Otis Redding show, April 22, 1967
(Robert Dietrich Collection)
The first Spring Week took place April 22-29, 1967, and began with a rousing Saturday evening performance by the “King of Soul,” Otis Redding (1941-1967). The performance was for a semi-formal dance in Gym 1 and was also broadcast into the Commuter Cafeteria for others to hear. Accompanied by his twelve-piece band, Redding performed two forty-five minute sets between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The Red Brick, No.3 (May 1970)
Campus unrest stimulated the expression of diverse views and airing of grievances not only in person, but also in print. The Red Bricks and The Red Brick were published by student leaders to protest a range of concerns, from the lack of student government influence in campus affairs to the quality of the offerings of the food service. Discussions of musical groups, social injustices, women’s liberation, politics, black power, racism, revolution, and birth control, at the national and local level, were also included. With each issue of the paper, the language became more profane and passionate.
Winter Session Class discussion of Malcolm X by William Morgenstern (Winter 1971)
“UMBC Rathskeller” by Photo Service UMCP, 1971
Places where students could socialize were limited during the early years of the campus. One popular location in 1971 was the Rathskeller, which was located in the basement of Hillcrest Building. Also known as “The Ratt,” the bar was a popular location that served alcohol on campus, since the minimum age for drinking beer and wine in Maryland was then 18 years.
View of campus (Negative #18), 1976
Friday, October 15, 1976, was a quiet day on campus when a student photographer had the time to make some views of the area surrounding the now-vanished Gym I and the Quad. One of the shots also caught a glimpse of a long-gone fountain that once stood near the center of the campus.
Lance Hidy 20th anniversary commemorative poster, 1986
(Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery)
Nationally-known illustrator Lance Hidy designed the poster commemorating the 20th anniversary of the university. His work is known for its minimal detail and flat, solid colors.
Graduate with a pin on mortarboard that reads “I did it in 1986 (I graduated),” 1986
Students celebrate graduation in 1986, the year of UMBC’s 20th anniversary.
Sculptor Paulette Raye, ’87 with the True Grit statue, December 1987
Alumna and artist Paulette Raye ’87, sculpted a wax casting of her Retriever model Nitty Gritty before casting the statue in bronze. She is pictured at the public unveiling of the statue by UMBC President Michael Hooker in December 1987.
Shakespeare on Wheels, As You Like It, 1990
Shakespeare on Wheels was created by UMBC Theatre professor William Brown. While teaching at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, his mobile Elizabethan stage traveled more than 4,000 miles throughout the country, and in 1985, the UMBC Theatre Department adopted the idea to bring Shakespeare to Baltimore. The department funded A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an academic summer session class, with a stage set mounted on a rented flatbed travel trailer. The department continued the project every summer through 1994. The goal of Shakespeare on Wheels was to “provide free, high caliber and accessible theatre for the people regardless of their race, age, abilities, religion, or economic status.”
Alumni bonfire with the newly constructed library tower in the background, 1995
For a university often lacking in the traditions of more-established universities, the institution of a bonfire at Homecoming has persisted in UMBC’s student life. This alumni bonfire was held in 1995, with the newly constructed Library Tower visible in the background. The tradition was renewed in 2005 as a permanent feature of UMBC Homecoming.
Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park by Marlayna Demond ’11, Visual Arts 2016
(UMBC Creative Services)
The Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park was established at UMBC in April 2001 as part of a Baltimore-wide tree-planting effort. Designer and project coordinator for the Fine Arts Gallery (now the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture) Renee van der Stelt developed a partnership with The Baltimore Museum of Art to “extend beyond the gallery walls [and] bring art to the people.” The inspiration for the project and its namesake was a German avant-garde artist, Joseph Beuys, most well-known for his piece 7000 Oaks, which featured 7,000 planted oak trees with a stone next to each tree that eroded over time to nourish the soil. Thirty oak trees and stones on campus were dedicated at UMBC on April 10, 2001.