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Bill Dory, Ferdinand Hughes, Spencer Dory, & Charlie Dory in the kitchen c. 1912

The 1856 Project

Universities Studying Slavery at the University of Maryland

The history of slavery is inextricably linked to the story of America and to the history of the University of Maryland. The 1856 Project aims to investigate UMD's connections to slavery in order to provide a blueprint for a richer understanding of generations of racialized trauma rooted in the university.

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The 1856 Project is part of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, a multi-institutional collaboration focused on sharing best practices and guiding principles for embarking on truth-telling projects that address human bondage and racism in institutional histories.

As an important part of the University of Maryland's strategic commitments, The 1856 Project provides a narrative of the university's history that embraces its past, stands firm in the challenges and achievements of its present, and lays the groundwork for a more equitable future.

Photo source: Charlie Dory and kitchen staff, Maryland Agricultural College, c. 1912, Maryland Agricultural College collection, Accession #72-219, Box 3, // (left to right: Bill Dory; Ferdinand Hughes; Spencer Dory; Charlie Dory)

"The Dory Family" over image of payment ledger featuring their names

The Dory Family

In 1893, John F. “Frank” Dory set foot on the Maryland Agricultural College campus and began a long legacy of food service to the campus that has extended almost as long as the university itself. Traces of the Dory family’s lasting contributions to the campus can be found in UMD’s University Archives, where the Dory name first appears on a photograph (featured above) of four men working in the kitchens—from left to right: William Dory; Ferdinand Hughes; Spencer Dory; and head cook, Charles “Charlie” Dory.

An exploration of early Comptroller’s records by graduate students in Dr. Henry “Quint” Gregory’s course, “Collaborative Curation: The 1856 Project,” uncovered a ledger with entries for African American employees that shows Charlie Dory earning $53 on July 31, 1917 for his work in the domestic department. Later campus histories elucidate the legacy of Delarce “Lock” Dory’s 52 years of service. Lock began his employment with UMD in 1923, working with his father Charlie, and spent over five decades of his life on campus providing both food and care to those who encountered him. As his grandson, Curtis Lockerman, described for the university’s Dining Services newsletter in 1993: “He put people first and always tried to help others…and for this he was well known.” His service to the university was honored with the creation of Dory’s Sweet Shop, a former ice cream shop located in Adele H. Stamp Student Union; another family member, Emma Dory Powers, is still honored today by Dining Services through the Emma Powers Award given to exemplary student employees.

-section authored by Mallory Haselberger, Student Assistant for Maryland & Historical Collections and The 1856 Project, and member of the 2022 Collaborative Curation course

Photo source: 1917 Disbursements Ledger, Office of the Comptroller records

The 1856 Project in the Classroom over an image of ledgers in the archives

The 1856 Project in the Classroom

In Fall 2022, graduate students in Dr. Henry “Quint” Gregory’s course, “Collaborative Curation: The 1856 Project,” pursued the first official line of inquiry into the presence of the Dory family on campus—and explored the means by which the university has benefitted from the labor of local Black communities since its founding. 

Alongside the family’s service to the university, however, students in the class look forward to acknowledging the Dory’s lives outside of the UMCP campus in such organizations as the local Elks Lodge and through their church and civic participation in and around the Lakeland community. The Lakeland Community Heritage Project’s work helps to expand the narrative away from that of Black labor, to the human and personal connections fostered across Route 1. The Dory family is only one small part of Lakeland’s history connected to the University of Maryland campus, and further research continues to rediscover the individuals, families, and stories that have been forgotten in the archives. The Collaborative Curation course is planning an exhibition for the Spring 2023 semester, “The Heart of the Table,” hosted in the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building that aims to begin exploring the Dory family’s legacy—in and out of the kitchen, and beyond the confines of the university as well.

-section authored Mallory Haselberger, Student Assistant for Maryland & Historical Collections and The 1856 Project, and member of the 2022 Collaborative Curation course

University Archives has been working with Dr. Gregory and his students to help uncover information in the archives that is helping all parties to reach their common goals of more robust knowledge and resources related to The 1856 Project for our local and campus communities.