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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

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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Community Fairs

Fairs vary in size, location, and purpose. Larger scale fairs, like state fairs, usually last for weeks or months, whereas county and neighborhood fairs typically run for a few days or weeks. Types of fairs vary from agricultural shows to those that are meant to educate local communities about different topics. Fairs vary in size and focus, but are meant to bring people together, be fun, and have an aspect of education, even if it is for self-promotion...

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The Vern L. Bullough Papers

Special Collections and Archives is happy to announce that the newly processed papers of historian and sexologist Dr. Vern L. Bullough are now open and available for research. Dr. Bullough began his career as a medievalist historian authoring such titles as Sexual Practices & the Medieval Church; and Man in Western Civilization. He also worked extensively with his wife. Many of their co-authored or co-edited works deal with nursing or human sexuality. Their credits include...

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Window to the World

In Greek mythology, Atlas was the god condemned to hold up the heavens for eternity. In modern culture, we think of an atlas as collection of maps, usually bound, that can be a window to the world packed with colorful maps and guides. In Special Collections and Archives, we have many interesting atlases, including...

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Women's Work at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915

Special Collections and Archives holds many rare books that capture the unique history of specific events. This post focuses on the Woman’s Board of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition hosted by San Francisco in 1915 as told by Anna Pratt Simpson and John Henry Nash in Problems Women Solved: Being the Story of the Woman's Board of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition ..

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Four Walls, a Roof, and Neighbors in Close Proximity: Shared Living Spaces in Early 20th Century Los Angeles

Los Angeles’ population rapidly grew in the early 20th century, partially due to the efforts of boosters and the nascent film industry. The Official Los Angeles Key from December 1913 described the city as a space where "opportunity clasps hands with ambition, while enterprise and success are the twin virtues that lure the man of moderate means, as well as the capitalist..."

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The Oldest Profession

The scholarly study of prostitution began to flourish in the mid-1980s sparked by public health concerns over sexually transmitted diseases, the need for legislative protections against sexualized violence and sex trafficking, and a growing awareness of relationships between sex work, substance abuse, and mental health. The regulation of prostitution in the United States is not ...

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Celebrating Black History in LA

In honor of Black History Month, this week’s blog post highlights just a few African Americans who have contributed to the development and culture of the City of Los Angeles. These figures have roots embedded deep in the history of Los Angeles, some well before California was even part of the United States. Special Collections and Archives holds many interesting items that capture this history...

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