A Request to Stamp Out ‘Coarseness’ and ‘Misbehavior’

Adele H. Stamp

On Centennial of UMD Hiring First Dean of Women, Peek at President’s Letter to Her

Letter to Adele Stamp from UMD president

One hundred years ago, Adele H. Stamp set to work as the University of Maryland’s first dean of women. She spent nearly four decades promoting female students’ accomplishments, organizing their clubs and activities, and serving as a role model as the institution’s highest-ranking woman.

Also on the list of responsibilities for the student union’s namesake: making sure female Terps behaved in a “proper and desirable” manner.

In a letter sent during Stamp’s first year in the new leadership role, then-university President Albert F. Woods outlined six principles for her to enforce, including ensuring female students refrained from coarse language, kept their rooms presentable and signed out each time they left their residence halls.

“(Y)ou, as Dean of Women, are responsible to me for the conditions among the girl students,” Woods wrote, “and I shall look to you for reports of misbehavior along the lines mentioned.”

Those “girl students” numbered barely 100 when Stamp arrived; they began enrolling only six years earlier. By the time she retired in 1960, the group had grown under her guidance to more than 4,000.

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Fall 2022 Post-Grad