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Ask Anne - Fall 2016

Questions for Anne Turkos, the university archivist

By Terp Staff


Q: I heard that UMD has the skeleton of famous horse Gypsy Queen, who traveled more than 11,000 miles through all 48 states from 1925–27. Is it still in use?—GARY MEYER

A: World War I veteran Frank H. Heath of Silver Spring, Md., rode his mare across the country to raise awareness about the American Legion and show a horse’s ability. After her death in 1936, he donated Gypsy Queen’s skeleton to UMD for scientific use. More than 5,000 animal science students have learned from it, estimates lecturer and veterinarian Dr. Angela Black. Because the skeleton has been handled extensively and exposed to many temperature changes over the decades, unfortunately, it has badly deteriorated. The Department of Animal and Avian Sciences can’t afford the $10,000 cost of a fully mounted equine skeleton, so last fall, Black composted the carcass of a horse that was put down due to old age and gave students the opportunity to clean, assemble and mount it. Once they finalize that project, they will ask Heath’s descendants if they want Gypsy Queen’s skeleton returned; otherwise, they will bury it respectfully.

Q: When was the last year that the Pershing Rifle Society was at UMD? My roommate Bob Smith ’67 was the commanding officer of the group as a student and later died during the Vietnam War. —RICHARD W. TAYLOR ’72

A: The last yearbook where the club appears is 1967. Looking at the general history of the Pershing Rifle Society, it looks like a lot of units disbanded during and after the Vietnam War, so it makes sense to me that the UMD cadre disappeared in that time frame. We’re several months into digitizing archived issues of The Diamondback, so once we have a search interface ready, you can look through issues from that school year and see if there was any coverage around that time.


Q: Who was the first female to earn a degree in electrical engineering from UMD, and when did she graduate? Everyone used to tell me that I was the first, but I just couldn’t believe that there had not been others before me. —LIZ TEN EYCK ’66

Sharon Lee Henderson

A: You were mighty close to being No. 1! After examining commencement programs and yearbooks, I believe we have
found the first female electrical engineering graduate: Sharon Lee Henderson ’60. We also came across a few other firsts in our search, such as Evelyn Barstow Harrison ’32, the first woman to receive any type of engineering bachelor’s degree. Other firsts include: Charlotte Edwina Schellhas ’52: civil engineering, Gail Diane Wisser ’58: aeronautical engineering and Suzanne Hildabolt Brewer ’60: mechanical engineering.

AnneQuestions may be emailed to Terp magazine or tweeted to @UMDarchives

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