Rearview Mirror

From the Desk of Felicity Knox ’94, Library Associate to Special Collections and University Archives

1913 watercolor of campus

Ask an Archivist

Q: How long has this campus existed?

A: While Towson University was first founded as the Maryland State Normal School in 1866, we didn’t have a dedicated building to call home until 1876. Even then, there was no space for dormitories and as the enrollment grew, the one building in Baltimore City at Carrolton and Lafayette avenues became cramped.  Land was purchased for a new campus in 1910, and a contest was held for area architects to win the contract to construct campus. This watercolor was created by the winner, Douglas H. Thomas, in 1913 to show his vision of what the campus at Towson could become. The campus at Towson opened in fall 1915.

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Weyforth Letters

This year, Towson University Archives acquired letters written during World War II to music faculty member Emma Weyforth. This collection is a complementary addition to the Towson and WWII collection. During the war, college administrators kept in contact with alumni, staff and students who were serving in the armed forces. It is a collection rich with research possibilities.  Special Collections and University Archives has partnered with Friends School of Baltimore since 2016 to transcribe these letters and digitize them so more researchers can find and use them.

The Library Through the Years

1915 photo of the library


When the school first opened, a library was created in the office of the head of the school, M. A. Newell. It was used primarily by faculty to create lessons. With the move to Towson, a space was constructed in Stephens Hall for the library. Students were allowed to use the library to study as well as to find resources for their work, but they could only borrow the books for use overnight.

1957 photo of the library


A separate library building was constructed on campus. It was large enough to accommodate the book collection as well as students who needed a place to study. However, it was deemed too small within only a few years.

1969 photo of the library


A new library was constructed, but because the state would not provide funding for a whole new library in such a short amount of time, it was considered an addition to the old library, which is now the Media Center.