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UMD Libraries announces start of Living Democracy initiative, supported by the Ilona Modly Hogan Legacy Fund

New initiative to advance democratic ideals, civic education, and expanded access to the Lawrence J. Hogan Sr., Archives

Living Democracy Initiative

The University of Maryland Libraries is pleased to announce the launch of its new Living Democracy initiative, made possible by a generous gift from the Ilona Modly Hogan Legacy Fund. This gift provides support for library programming focused on advancing democratic values and civic education and engagement in society, and producing a collaborative symposium in 2024. During the symposium, a digital exhibit of the Lawrence J. Hogan Sr. Archives, held by the University of Maryland Libraries, also will be unveiled and will highlight the ways in which learning about our shared political history can increase our understanding about current-day political challenges and inform our path forward.

Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr., served as the United States Congressman for the 5th District of Maryland from 1969 to 1975 and was the only Republican Representative to vote in favor of all three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. At the end of Hogan’s time representing the state of Maryland, he donated his congressional papers to the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA). They are an important part of the Special Collections’ archival records of Maryland elected representatives, belonging to the unique and popular State of Maryland archive. Including consequential Watergate-era documentation, the collection is of particular interest to scholars, students, and members of the public who want to understand the relationship between American democracy and the individual actors within our society, both past and present, who have played a part in defending and promoting our system of government.

The initiative will make Hogan’s papers more accessible through digitization, the creation of finding aids, and an online exhibition. Additionally, the gift will fund a graduate assistantship and travel scholarships for researchers interested in using the Hogan papers and other Maryland political collections. The culminating Living Democracy Symposium in 2024 will mark 50 years since the Watergate Impeachment Vote and will explore lessons from this cataclysmic event for the 21st century.

Lae’l Hughes Watkins, Associate Director, Engagement, Inclusion, and Reparative Archives in UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives, will lead the initiative and looks forward to collaborating with faculty and students on related programming, which will include community discussions, educational programs, and reparative work. “This initiative is coming at a time when we are asking ourselves what democracy means, what our shared values are, and how best to protect our democratic way of life,” said Ms. Watkins. “We are at a fascinating inflection point in our country, and I look forward to engaging in this crucial work through the Living Democracy initiative.”

“Given our shared values and established relationship, the University of Maryland Libraries is a natural partner for this initiative that embodies the spirit of civic responsibility and honors my husband’s political legacy, “ said Ilona Hogan. “Democracy is a value we have to actively practice and live every day. We all have a role to play – whether you’re an elected representative working across the aisle, a citizen voting for the best candidate regardless of party, or an individual simply opening your mind to different points of view.”

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