The University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s Frederick Douglass Library has digitized a half-century of The Hawk yearbooks – from the first volume in 1959 through 2009 – making it the first Maryland HBCU to accomplish this feat. The conversion was made possible through the LYRASIS Mass Digitization Collaborative, a project supported by a Sloan Foundation grant that makes digitization easy and affordable for the nation’s libraries and cultural institutions.

Through the Collaborative’s partnership with the Internet Archive, UMES yearbooks were scanned cover- to-cover and in full color. A variety of format options exist, which allow online visitors to page through a book, download a PDF version or search the full text version.

“We are truly excited to have this archive resource online and available to the world,” interim library dean Sheila Bailey said in a statement. “We would like to thank the FDL Special Collections/Outreach Department for its research to prepare the collection for digitization and FDL Archive Team for its support. This project was undertaken to allow complete access to the yearbook collection of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.”

The first yearbook appeared in 1959 when the institution was known as Maryland State College. Altogether, 44 yearbooks – including some years that are combined – have been converted to a digital format.

The university’s Division of Institutional Advancement, Office of Alumni Affairs and Planned Giving underwrote the conversion project. Bailey notes many yearbook images are the work of Thomas Wiles, the campus photographer from 1951 to 1989. Online viewers, she said, should also “remember … all of the yearbook committees (that) chronicled their time here for generations to enjoy.”

For more information and to view the collections, visit