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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

Victorian and Edwardian Greeting Cards

While people around the world have been sending greeting cards for centuries, most cards produced prior to the 19th century were crafted by hand. They were prohibitively expensive for many, and were not widely circulated as a result. Advancing print technologies and the introduction of the...

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James F. Dargan Civil War Diary and Scrapbook

James F. Dargan was born in the town of Randolph, Norfolk County, Massachusetts in 1843. Dargan was the eldest of six children born to Irish immigrants, and by the age of seventeen worked as a boot maker in his father’s shop. On September 17, 1862, at the age of nineteen, he enlisted in the Union Army, 4th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, and on that day began a four volume diary of his experiences in the American Civil War...

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Women in Trade Cards

W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan produced fourteen enormously popular comic operas between 1871 and 1896, including H.M.S. Pinafore, the Pirates of Penzance, the Mikado, and more. These works are considered by many to be precursors of the modern musical, distinguished by comedic examination and critique of class, gender, and political systems of the time. The David Trutt Gilbert and Sullivan Advertising Cards Collection contains... 

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American Imperialism in the Philippines

Spain established its first permanent settlement in the Philippines in 1565. Spanish colonial control of the Philippines continued until 1898, when the United States took possession of the islands as a territory after winning the Spanish-American War. The Philippine Revolution, a struggle for independence from...

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John Broesamle Suddenly A Giant: A History of CSUN Collection

In 1988, CSUN professor John Broesamle reluctantly accepted a commission to deliver a “real history” of the campus at the urging of then-Library Dean Norman Tanis. Broesamle’s initial apprehension to accept the offer stemmed from CSUN's relatively short life (in historical terms) of three decades...

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Not so Distant: A Letter from 1919

Alton L. Flanders served in an American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F) infantry battalion during World War I. He wrote letters to his cousin, Mrs. Jason Coppernoll, while in training at Camp Devens in Ayer, Massachusettes, and while stationed in France with the A.E.F. These letters make up the Alton F. Flanders World War I Correspondence Collection, and have been fully digitized as part of the World War I Narratives ...

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The Power of the Post

As many of us stay at home during the pandemic, we keep in touch with our family and friends through video chats, text messages, and a number of other technological communication methods. Although our newly Zoom-centered lives can feel filled with screens, we also remain connected through the physical mail system that delivers letters and packages ...

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Saint Patrick in the Archives

Originally, Saint Patrick’s Day was a religious celebration of the life of the patron saint of Ireland. The March 17th celebration that bears his name is believed to be his death date in the year 461 CE. Saint Patrick is known for having brought Christianity to Ireland and, to a certain degree, to the Anglo-Saxon world.  As a young man in what is now the United Kingdom, he was abducted and enslaved in Ireland. During this period, he leaned on his Christian faith for solace...

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Slavery and the Law

Laws protect the rights of a nation's citizens, but with regards to American slavery, were used as a tool to advance both pro- and anti-slavery efforts. Our understanding of the arc of American slavery and its aftermath is informed, in part, by the push and pull of laws that mark shifting social, political and economic environments. For instance, the Missouri Compromise of 1820 added Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. This guaranteed equal slave-state to free-state representation in the United States Senate, and also imposed geographical restrictions on where slavery could be practiced...

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