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Peek in the Stacks: rare books

Hiking through the Archives with John Muir

Explore our National Parks through John Muir's writings. Special Collections & Archives holds many John Muir first edition books as well as a collection of artist's books representing the author's work. 

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Honey Recipes in the Archives

Special Collections & Archives’ Culinary Collection holds just under 700 cookbooks. In order to take a closer look at some of these unique holdings I selected a few recipes to recreate using my favorite ingredient—Honey. Honey is one of the oldest known sweets in the world. The nectar from the honey bee takes on the flavor of the flowering plants nearby and taste can vary depending on the plant.

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The Savoy Cocktail Book

When passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 ushered in the era of Prohibition in the United States, an English bartender named Harry Craddock, who had mixed drinks at the Hollenden Hotel in Cleveland, OH and the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City, left the US and returned to the UK so he continue working in his chosen profession...  

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Monster or Human? Pennyroyal’s Frankenstein

Special Collections & Archives houses a limited edition of Frankenstein that was published in 1984 by Barry Moser’s Pennyroyal Press. With only 350 copies ever printed, this version of Frankenstein is quarter bound with leather and features Barry Moser’s vivid woodcuts alongside Shelley’s original 1818 text. Included with the book is a portfolio....

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None But Lucifer

None But Lucifer by H. L. Gold and L. Sprague de Camp is a Faustian satire set in New York City during the Great Depression. It was published in the pulp fantasy magazine Unknown in September 1939. The story of None But Lucifer focuses on William Hale, a businessman who discovers that Earth is Hell and Lucifer is ruling it. Hale devises a plan to confront Lucifer in order to make a deal for power and immortality.

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"Gathering Wild Oats and Telling Stories": Ursula K. Le Guin's Literary Meals

The work of Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), despite being mostly in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, very much expresses real world concerns. One of these issues is food: who has it and who doesn’t, the environmental impact of its use and production, and, as is fitting for an author who was the child of two anthropologists, the traditions surrounding its consumption.

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Suicide Prevention Week

CSUN’s University Counseling Services recently hosted Matadors Unite: Suicide Prevention Week to create “awareness…promote mental health and help prevent suicide”. The campus is equipped with crisis/urgent care walk-ins, a crisis hotline, and other resources to assist the campus community when necessary. In Special Collections & Archives there are materials that reference college students who have succumbed to suicide.

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The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto, published on Christmas Eve 1764, launched the Gothic novel genre. Horace Walpole initially issued the work under a pseudonym and claimed it was a translation of a found Italian medieval tale. However, after the novel was well received, Walpole revealed that he was the true author in the second edition published in 1765.

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Weird Tales: A Sexualized Scare

The cover of Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Satan’s Palimpsest  greets the reader with a nude blonde, seemingly excited to invite the bat-like Satan into her boudoir. Similarly, Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Children of the Bat cover greets the reader with another nude blonde—this one half-bat with breasts and chained by another bat, who seems to be half-human as well. Through the covers' portrayal of hyper-sexualized, imprisoned women and bats as their captors, the Weird Tales pulp art combines both the scariness and seduction of the Gothic monster, which represents the Other in U.S. culture. 

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