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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

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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Early Children's Literature

Memories of childhood are often infused with fond recollections of favorite books, stories that transport us to faraway lands, imaginary worlds, and distant places in time. For many of us, the literature of childhood has worked to shape how we think and feel about the world, stretching the imagination and expanding our horizons to include the people, places, and things ...

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Love and Friendship in the Archives

This week’s blog is inspired by Valentine’s Day. In the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th, and traditionally involves the giving and receiving of cards, gifts, or flowers, the reciting of poems, the singing of songs, or similar expressions of love and friendship. While we don't usually equate Special Collections and Archives with Valentine's Day, keep reading...you might be surpised!

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