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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

Please Pass the Cranberries

This week's blog post explores several cookbooks from our Culinary Collection, focusing on one main ingredient—cranberries. The cranberry is an indigenous fruit to North America growing in the colder northern regions.  In 1815, American commercial cranberry harvesting began in Massachusetts.  At present...

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Chapbook Collection

Chapbooks are small books that were sold on the street for a penny or less from the 17th century to the 19th century. Publishers created the books with cheap materials and with woodcut illustrations that often didn't relate to the subject matter. People of the lower socioeconomic classes could afford to read literature printed in them...

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Activism in the Archives

Activists often gather information to support their causes, and communicate that information to larger audiences to acquire support, a process that just might begin with a peek in the stacks. Archival materials in numerous collections held in Special Collections & Archives give potential activists an opportunity to recognize patterns and identify the causes of recurring phenomena, especially institutional ....

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

Unrest on campus in the mid-1960s and early 1970s left a lasting impression on 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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Fighting Antisemitism

As discussed in a Peek in the Stacks post from 2014, antisemitism is a form of discrimination directed at Jewish people or Judaism in general. While most scholars agree antisemitism has generally been less prevalent in the United States than in Europe, there are numerous documented incidents of antisemitic behavior and sentiments in America dating to the Colonial era. While the popularity....

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The Violet Atkins Klein Papers

In 1999, the Violet Atkins Klein Papers were donated to Special Collections and Archives by Klein's daughter, Jill Block. Professionally known as Violet Atkins or Vi to her friends, the collection documents Klein's professional writings, including novels, short fiction, and scripts for radio and television. It demonstrates the many phases....

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Tolerance and Community: Virginia Prince and Transvestia Magazine

Vern Bullough, in the manuscript draft for his book Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context, called Virginia Prince "the founder of the transgender movement." Prince was not the only activist for the movement, but she was an important early activist working to change misleading public perceptions through outreach ...

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John M. Sell Civil War Collection

A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, John M. Sell enlisted in the 83rd Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers on July 29, 1861. He was commissioned First Lieutenant on August 27 of that year, and promoted to Captain on September 4, 1862. After fighting in numerous battles over two years, Sell was shot in the left leg on July 2, 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg. In one of the most commonly-performed medical procedures of the war, a ...

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Margaret Sanger and the Women's Suffrage Movement

Margaret Sanger was one of the most influential advocates for the suffrage movement and women's rights in the twentieth century. Yet interestingly, Sanger's views on women's rights did not always coincide with the National Woman Suffrage Association and other suffrage groups that were primarily made up of middle and upper middle class white women. Sanger's early experiences as one of eleven children and her career as a visiting nurse in the slums of East Side New York...

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"The Naturall Language of the Hand"

American Sign Language, the predominant sign language used by deaf communities in the United States and much of Canada, began in the 19th century. Prior to its creation, local sign languages were developed and used in the US and around the world. Our knowledge of these early sign languages is contained within contemporary written works that primarily described what are called "manual alphabets," or fingerspelling systems....

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