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