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Allegany County
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Photographs and Prints
Alta Schrock, 1911 – 2001

Alta Schrock Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Alta Schrock, 1911 – 2001

Born into a Mennonite family near Grantsville, Alta Schrock pursued learning all her life. Walking five miles to and from school every day as a child, she memorized the Bible, poems, biology and botany. In 1944 she became the first Mennonite woman to earn a PhD, this being in biology, and taught at various universities from 1946 to 1977. She was Professor of Biology at Frostburg State University from 1960 to 1977.

She was deeply religious and focused on service to the less fortunate, founding 17 different philanthropic organizations. She was responsible, with other concerned citizens, for setting up the Council of the Alleghenies in 1961. Its aim was "to coordinate efforts of all individuals and groups interested in history, folklore, and traditions of the Allegheny Tableland, and to preserve historical features, foster arts, crafts and small industries and to encourage tourist development." An entrepreneur of boundless vision, her most visible achievement was the founding of the Penn Alps Crafts Shop and Spruce Forest Artisan Village near Grantsville (Garrett County), providing an outlet for local artisans.

An adventurous humanitarian of international scope, she aided in relief work in Germany after World War II.

She was inducted in the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 1991. In June 2007, Maryland Traditions, a cooperative program of the Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland State Arts Council, established a new award that celebrates folklife and living traditions in Maryland. It was named, "The ALTA Award" for folklorist and community leader Alta Schrock.


Text - Albert Feldstein, Photograph - Council of the Alleghenies.

Photograph is from the cover of the Journal of the Alleghenies Index, Volume 1 to Volume XXXVII, 2002. It is used with permission of the Council of the Alleghenies.

prior to 1989.

Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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