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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

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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The L. Clarice Davis Collection

Handmade and personalized birthday and holiday cards often have an endearing quality. They can capture the spirit, interests, and aesthetics of the recipient and the maker, while opening windows to the past. The L. Clarice Davis Collection does this; Davis bought and sold art books and the collection includes photographs of cards made by comic artists from King Features Syndicate for its owner, William Randolph Hearst that were...

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Celebrating the City of the Angels

Among its many treasures, Special Collections and Archives holds a wide selection of narratives, pictorials, and other publications related to the history of the greater Los Angeles area. Many of these works are authored or compiled by local historians or civic leaders whose perspectives may offer...

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Once Upon a Time.....

"Once upon a time" is the well-worn opening to several traditional fairy tales, but where did the phrase originate? What is a fairy tale? Scholars generally agree that a fairy tale does not need to include actual fairies, but they agree on little else. Some basic themes in fairy tales are the presence of magic, some form of transformation (of a character or an idea), and the inclusion of the extraordinary ....

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