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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

A River Runs Through It

Members of the Portolá Expedition were the first Europeans to see the Los Angeles River, camping on its banks near what is now downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 1769. Franciscan missionary and diarist for the expedition, Fray Juan Crespi wrote, "...we entered a very spacious valley, well grown with cottonwoods and alders....

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Songs of Slave Resistance

Africans forcibly transported to the Americas, removed from their homes, families, and cultures utilized various forms of passive and active resistance. These men, women, and children were forced to take new names and create new families, they were bred, bought, and sold, and active resistance was immediately and harshly punished. While physically forced into submission, slaves as a group were...

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African-American LGBTQ+ Periodicals

In late 1969, almost six months after the Stonewall Riots occurred in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, the Gay Activists Alliance was founded in New York City. The group included the Black Lesbian Caucus, which later renamed itself Salsa Soul Sisters, Third World Wimmin Inc., credited as the oldest Black lesbian organization in the United States and known today as African ...

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S.F.V.S.C., November 4, 1968

Many are unaware that the campus unrest of the mid-1960s and early 1970s left a lasting impression on the campus of San Fernando Valley State College (now CSUN). Special Collections is home to several books and archival collections that discuss this discord, including two books representing different sides of what is known on campus as...

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Lauretta, the Little Savoyard

Children's literature first appeared as a genre distinct from other kinds of literature in the 18th century, as the concept of "childhood" emerged in western society. Early works for children often included moral or religious messages, both to entertain child readers and educate them about commonly-held values and appropriate behavior...

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Early Forms of 19th Century Photography

Most of the earliest photographs were not printed on paper, but on sheets of metal or glass. These photographs capture extraordinary details, and give us a glimpse of life in the 19th century. In Special Collections and Archives there are many examples of photographic portraits that give an incredibly detailed view of fashion, personal adornment, and...

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Van Nuys, Then and Now

Los Angeles is a key shaped city spread cross a large swath of Southern California. Encompassing almost 470 square miles, the City has almost twice the landmass of Chicago. One of the more interesting aspects of the area is its multitude of smaller districts, towns, and neighborhoods that fan out from the city proper. Van Nuys is one of these towns....

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Food for Thought

While food and drink are strictly prohibited in Special Collections and Archives, the department houses a number of items sure to interest amateur foodies and trained gourmets alike. The Culinary Pamphlet Collection includes recipe booklets, advertising literature, and cooking equipment brochures, most of which were published in the United States between 1871 and 1965. Together these materials provide a glimpse of how...

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19th Century Scrapbooks

In Special Collections and Archives there are many books, images, and archival material that date prior to the 1900s, including some scrapbooks that have beautiful images and newspaper clippings telling important stories from the past. Scrapbooks are a fascinating way to view history, functioning as a lens through which we can now ...

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Peggy Gilbert Collection

Peggy Gilbert was a jazz saxophonist who, beginning in the 1930’s, formed several all-female bands, and through her work represented women in the world of jazz performance. Originally from Sioux City, Iowa, Gilbert was an active member of the Los Angeles Musicians Union, local 47, remaining a trustee after retiring from her performing career. She formed her most successful group, the Dixie Belles, at the age of 69. The Dixie Belles toured throughout the U.S from...

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