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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

Curiosities, Rarities, and Ephemera in Special Collections and Archives

In general, archival collections are primarily made up of manuscript collections and published materials which are used for scholarly research. However, many collections also yield unusual and unique items in the form of rare ephemera, one of a kind or single issue publications, and curious objects that cannot be categorized. These items, captured through human ingenuity and inventiveness, reflect...

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Ku Klux Klan, Realm of California Collection

In 1915, the second Ku Klux Klan was founded by William J. Simmons in Atlanta, Georgia. By the 1920s, social tensions brought on by rapid industrialization and increased immigration in urban areas had set the stage for the Klan’s expanding popularity. Unlike the first Klan, the second Klan was...

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The Arnold Court Collection on Polar Exploration

There exists a place where travel is so treacherous that survival is not guaranteed. The cold is so brutal here that mere seconds of exposure can cause irreparable damage. Optical illusions abound and strange animals brave the fierce temperatures. The early explorers declared it to be an “awful place,” and still...

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The Chase Craig Collection

Chase Craig (1910-2001) was an illustrator, writer, editor, and producer of comic books and comic strips from the mid-1930s through the late 1970s. After graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1934, Chase began working for the Christian Science Monitor, drawing the single panel comic “Little Chauncey” which...

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Liturgical Music from 18th-Century Spain

Earlier this year, Special Collections and Archives acquired a folio-sized antiphonary. An antiphonary is a collection of liturgical plainsong, or single-line melodies with no accompaniment usually sung by a small group of singers. These pieces of music, which are commonly known as Gregorian chant, were written to be performed during ...

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Physical Culture in the 19th Century

Sport, athletics, and the quest for fitness have been important parts of American life for over a century. What was originally called "Physical Culture" emerged in Europe and the US during the 19th century, and resulted in a fundamental reorientation of life and cultural ideals in the US by the turn of the twentieth century....

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William Hogarth: Painter, Printmaker, and Satirist

William Hogarth was an 18th century English painter and printmaker, best known for his satirical and moral works. In his early career, Hogarth worked as an engraver, decorating coats of arms, bookplates, and creating illustrations for books. While he started producing his own works in the early 1720s, he did not gain significant recognition until 1731, with the publication of...

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James F. Dargan Civil War Diary and Scrapbook

James F. Dargan was born in the town of Randolph, Norfolk County, Massachusetts in 1843. Dargan was the eldest of six children born to Irish immigrants, and by the age of seventeen worked as a boot maker in his father’s shop. On September 17, 1862, at the age of nineteen, he enlisted in the Union Army, 4th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry....

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Slum Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

1938 marked one of the most economically devastating years of the Great Depression, shortly following the recession of 1937, but preceding swift economic growth brought upon by the United States’ entrance into World War II. In addition, the 1930’s brought dramatic population growth in California due to...

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