What’s in a name?

When dealing with an institution name change it can be a delicate balance especially for an Archive. It is important to embrace the new name and brand in order to move forward, but in the Archives history is just as important as the future. So, we have to find a way to represent the historic name and yet move forward with the rest of the University to embrace the new name. With that in mind we’ve established a guideline to help guide us through the name change.

Archives Guidelines on UMUC/University College Name

The name University of Maryland Global Campus became official on July 1, 2019. The branding and identification for the UMGC Archives website and web-based platforms was updated on September 30, 2019, along with the UMGC Library website. Because the Archives exists to document the history of the institution, any materials created before July 1, 2019, will retain the UMUC/University College name to accurately reflect the historical period in which they were created. Materials added to the Archives and Archives website/repository will be reviewed for their creation date, and only items that were created after July 1, 2019, will be identified as UMGC/Global Campus. The name UMUC/University College will be used in historical context when identifying and describing archival materials on the Archives website, repository, and blog. Postings on the Archives blog created before July 1, 2019, will also be left as-is to reflect the time at which they were created.

Archiving in Quarantine

We are all experiencing a trying time – being locked away in our homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has not been easy or the most exciting. Those of us working remotely have had to be quite creative to be productive and to continue to do our jobs effectively. In Archives, one may assume you need to physically have your archival materials on-site to continue to do the work, but there is so much work that Archivists do that can be considered “behind the curtain” that we have been busy with in the past two weeks. For the next few weeks, we will share the life and times of an archivist when they are forced away from their collections. 

Archival materials are collected to be made available to the public. In this digital age, that means digitizing a lot of materials to be made available to students, teachers, staff, and researchers. This process can be done remotely – many archivists are spending this time to scan, upload, and add metadata to materials so as to make them available online. For UMGC, these materials include yearbooks, course catalogues, slides, photos, and other documents that students, staff, and researchers request regularly or are of high value to the University. 

I have been busy adding metadata to previously updated photos of President Ehrensberger’s travels to Munich in the 1950s (see some select photos below), meaning I’ve been adding the name, date, source, subject, location, and any notes available on a photo to our database to upload to the website for viewing. Without this information, people would not know what photos are and could not search for particular subjects as needed. President Ehrensberger took copious notes on his travel collections, including photos he took, so this has been tremendously helpful in adding the metadata for pictures which could have been otherwise deemed useless without this information. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but only if you know what they are of. 

Munich, Auto Parade, 05/1953
Munich, Beer Garden, 1953

Ehrensberger’s European Diary Part 3

After a couple of months, Dr. Ehrensberger finally was able to relocate his headquarters and included this handwritten note:

Despite the success of moving headquarters, Dr. Ehrensberger describes a deluge of difficulties involving registration, communication with professors and students, missing professors (who ended up being stranded in the Azores and unable to start teaching on the first day of classes), and delayed classes due to bases being on high alert that was only exacerbated by a barrage of bad weather, sickness, and unpleasant flights. He was able to return stateside for a couple of weeks, but notes that he worked just as hard at home as he did in Germany to settle several problems and host conferences and meetings to Maryland staff. In an attempt to distract himself from this stress upon returning to Germany, and do a bit of work figuring out the feasibility of opening Maryland programs elsewhere, Dr. Ehrensberger details traveling to Vienna and France, the latter where he happily describes boys on bikes delivering large orders of bread, some even circular and hanging off the handlebars. He is much more relaxed and at ease on these trips than his descriptions of working in Heidelberg, as I imagine the first few months in his position were aggravatingly chaotic.

Dr. Ehrensberger also describes the sense of panic in June 1950 after the North Korean invasion of South Korea that launched the Korean War. The soldiers in Germany were prepared for a Russian invasion in the West too, as the Soviet Union supported the North Korean army and the United States supported South Korea. Civilians were told to keep a bag packed at all times in case of immediate evacuation. Dr. Ehrensberger was even asked by a military companion if he wanted to stay behind and fight if needed, to which he replied that he would as long as he received a uniform. Luckily, this was not necessary, and Dr. Ehrensberger was able to travel to Switzerland for a short vacation where he was once again relaxed and able to try delicious Swiss cheese and visit Lake Geneva. This brief entry reminded me that Dr. Ehrensberger’s living in Germany was quite precarious and could at any time become a war zone once more.

The diary ends with Dr. Ehrensberger detailing his arrangements and trip home after 7 months in Europe establishing residence university centers throughout the continent. On October 3rd, 1950, University of Maryland President Harry Bird received a letter from Air Force Lieutenant General John Cannon congratulating and thanking Dr. Ehrensberger for his work in Europe. He notes:

The rapid and smooth implementation of this program, from the University point of view, is largely due to the untiring efforts of Dr. Ray Ehrensberger, who, as European Director for the past year, has very capably directed the rapid expansion of the various University centers.

This work mentioned by LTG Cannon was clearly described by Dr. Ehrensberger in his European Diary. While his job seemed unenviable – traveling, coordinating, and communicating across the European theater in 1950 suggest a nearly impossible task – some of his experiences – skiing in Garmisch, driving through the Black Forest, drinking beer at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, and eating freshly picked grapes in Athens – are every wanderluster’s dream. This was only the beginning of Dr. Ehrensberger’s work with the University and I hope to continue to stumble upon his memories and souvenirs to learn more about his travels around the world in the name of the University of Maryland.  


Ehrensberger’s European Diary Part 2

Getting to read stories from 1950s Germany is quite an honor – I get a first hand account of one’s experience during a time I have only read about in books. Dr. Ray Ehrensberger’s diary is no exception. He was a vivid, descriptive, and humorous writer. He writes of Czech spies and cheap shopping, black market operators, and movie starlets. This is peppered with more work-related stories of how difficult it was to set up school headquarters throughout Germany and how tricky it was to communicate with teachers and military leaders. Upon arriving, he was promised headquarters in Heidelberg, but was not initially able to do so. He includes a short handwritten note in his diary on a day that details a bit about how tricky it was to get work done during his stay. I can only imagine trying to head a remote university system, navigating the language, and working in a war-torn country:

For many weeks, Ehrensberger writes of ironing out problem after problem across the country between the Germans, military personnel, and the University, including transportation, and worsening relations between the military I&E (Office of Information and Education) and Maryland professors. For example, he tells about managing some of teachers had not received pay for their teaching simply because it had been hard to communicate with professors in Berlin. While in Munich, he details a different, humorous problem with a general:

The general let me have it for an hour and a half about what was wrong with Maryland, and when a general tells you off there isn’t too much to say. However, I let him have it back and we both cussed rather profusely and ended up very good friends. Munich was really in a very bad state of affairs from the Maryland viewpoint, and our public relations here were about as low as Nurnberg. I told the general what I expected Maryland to do and he told me what the Munich military post would do, so I believe this situation can be solved.

While trying to iron out current problems, he also details trying to expand the University’s program in Europe and traveling to do so. He writes of when he traveled to Berlin, where American, British, French, and Soviet occupation made the city quite precarious, for residents and occupants alike. In fact, Dr. Ehrensberger tells of one of his companions that refused to go through the Brandenburg Gate on a visit with him because he had previous been detained by the Soviets for three days without food for accidentally wandering into the Soviet block. Dr. Ehrensberger also got to travel to London, where he writes of a successful expansion of the University’s expansion across the English Channel, but mostly about the bad food he had. In the name of expanding the University system, he was fortunate enough to travel to Tripoli, Rome, Paris, Trieste, Edinburgh, Athens, Dublin, Vienna, and got to fly over – and get lost in – the Alps (a rare feat only done under perfectly clear skies). Based on his description, Vienna was unique in that Americans and Russians both occupy and actually interact peacefully (at the start of the Cold War, that is quite an anomaly).


Ehrensberger’s European Diary Part 1

As I was first organizing the President’s Collection, I happened upon a bound book title European Diary. Intrigued, I opened it to find a 1949 letter from a Lieutenant Colonel to the University of Maryland’s President Harry Byrd praising Dr. Ray Ehrensberger, head of the Speech department at the time, who he worked with extensively at the Pentagon. The letter was followed by a short 1950 letter, addressed to Dr. Ehrensberger appointing him the University of Maryland’s Director of the European program of the College of Special and Continuation Studies, and two articles about Dr. Ehrensberger’s work in Europe. Finally, the rest of the book is made of diary entries beginning February 20, 1950, and ending September 8, 1950, written by the man himself, Dr. Ray Ehrensberger. Dr. Ehrensberger would go on to become the University’s Chancellor, in his post from 1970 to 1975 But this diary depicts the first few months Ehrensberger spent in the European program. Over a few weeks as I read through the diary, I learned about Dr. Ehrensberger, his travels, and his extensive work establishing the University in post-war Europe. Over the next few blog posts, I will document some of the more interesting stories Dr. Ehrensberger shared in his European Diary. 

His story, well detailed, begins on a very cold morning in which Dr. Ehrensberger is traveling from Washington to Frankfurt, Germany. The trip is several days long, bitterly brisk, but highlighted by several moments in which soldiers praised the University of Maryland’s programs with servicemen abroad. Upon arriving in Germany, he travels across Eastern Germany. He weaves stories of traveling the Autobahn, leading a German band in a Sousa march, and drinking good Bavarian beer. To me, though, the most interesting thing he narrates is the state of post-war Germany. He notes that Darmstadt is one of the most destroyed cities in Germany: 

It is a rather large place and was destroyed in one air raid by the British which lasted for 45 minutes. It is estimated that 45,000 people were killed in 45 minutes and over 80 percent of the city is completely burned out. The raid was in retaliation to the killing of two British aviators that had parachuted down. The British came over and dropped notes telling them to observe the rules of war, but the burgomaster took the two aviators in a public square and shot them. A few days later the British came over and dropped fire bombs which burned out the town. I was told by people who survived the raid that you could not walk in the streets for three days afterwards due to the fact that the asphalt was still boiling. You can drive for blocks even today in Darmstadt and not see a single whole building, just shells everywhere. 

As a daughter of a Veteran myself, I lived 4 years in Germany and have traveled through Darmstadt, as well as the other towns he mentions, like Garmisch, and Heidelberg. These towns I know are fully intact, restored, and distinctly German (I.e. a lot of brick and stone featuring some wondrous street markets, particularly in the Winter), so hearing Dr. Ehrensberger’s entries regarding these towns so shortly after WWII is starkly different than my own lived experiences in Germany. He also details how quickly the Germans worked to rebuild their towns, beginning with cultural buildings like churches and theaters that were damaged. 


Drazek’s Goody Goody Letters

I’ve been processing the president’s collections and just went through Stanley Drazek’s collection of letters, reports, and articles. Stanley Drazek served the University for over 30 years and served as the Chancellor from 1975 to 1978. I found parody articles, humorous letters, and many, many speeches from around the world.

I also came upon a folder titled “Goody-Goody Letters.” Inside were hundreds of letters from students, colleagues, and peers and partners from other organizations and universities, all positive or praising in nature. There is even a Christmas card saved!

Additionally, there were a few letters from Mr. Drazek and his predecessors, Ben Massey and Ray Ehrensberger, themselves congratulating and recognizing students and staff for completing their degree or for their effort on a project.

Mr. Drazek might have saved these letters as a reminder of the good work being done by the University or as needed evidence of the accomplishments of students and staff. Some of the letters were even circulated to staff as an appreciation post for their hard work.

I imagine these letters were appreciated during particularly stressful seasons and gave Mr. Drazek a chance to get to know students more. See a selection of goody-goody letters below.


Yelnats Kezard

Stanley J. Drazek was the President of the University of Maryland University College from 1975-1978. But before he was president, he was quite the comedian! In a box of official paperwork and correspondences, I found a folder marked “Humor – Dad Jokes, etc.” and inside, pages of jokes like the one below:

I assume Mr. Drazek liked to pepper his correspondences, speeches, and articles with a bit of humor. Further into the box, I found an article titled “Next Galaxy Conference… 1999?” by Yelnats Kezard. Assuming it was misfiled, I set it aside to find its rightful place. However, I was drawn to this article for some reason and decided to read into it further. What I read was an odd story of a Dean that dies in a plane crash and finds himself in Hell speaking with Satan. While in Hell, he has to argue the definition, meaning, and extent of Continuing Education and grows angrier and more confused in his arguments. But, he’s shaken awake by a stewardess at National Airport, who apologizes for waking him, to which he replies, “Not at all, not at all, Miss. I was having a ‘hell’ of a nightmare.” This humor reminded me a lot of the folder of jokes I had found earlier, so I took another look at the name Yelnats Kezard… or Stanley Drazek backwards. Stanley Drazek wrote quippy articles under a pseudonym Yelnats Kezard. I can only imagine his staff meetings were filled with soft chuckles and eye rolls at the dad jokes that must have streamed from Mr. Drazek’s mouth. You can find the entire parody article below: 


UMGC Teams

You never know what you’re going to find in the Archives! While going through the President’s Collection, I found a bit of sports history. In a box of awards, medals, and German yearbooks from the 1960s, sat two trophies and a photo of a softball team from 2006 and 2007. After some research, I discovered that UMGC has sponsored a softball team since 2005. The UMGC (previously UMUC) Tigers are made up of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. The Tigers still play at Fletcher’s Field in Riverdale.

As it turns out, the Tigers aren’t the only recreation team that UMGC sponsors. They also sponsor a 20-person Dragon Boat team called the Virtual Dragons, and some of the medals from the team are located in the Archives!