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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

"How do I love thee?"

This week’s blog is inspired by Valentine’s Day. In the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th, and traditionally involves the giving and receiving of cards, gifts, or flowers, the reciting of poems, the singing of songs, or similar expressions of love and friendship. While we don't usually equate Special Collections and Archives with Valentine's Day, keep reading...you might be surpised!

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The LA River

Have you ever wondered about that large cement canal running through the San Fernando Valley, past Griffith Park, east of downtown Los Angeles, and eventually to the sea, emptying into the Port of Long Beach? We still call it a river, the LA River. Originally, the river flowed freely along the alluvial flood plain that is now Los Angeles and Long Beach. There was rarely a set course for the river and flooding was common...

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Perspectives on "Coming Out"

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community are faced with challenges when it comes to sharing truths about their sexual and/or gender identities, sometimes known as "coming out of the closet". Coming out can be very difficult and in some cases can have extreme consequences. One of the most common negative outcomes is backlash or rejection from loved ones, friends, colleagues...

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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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