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Peek in the Stacks: special collections

The Great War

World War I, also called the Great War, took the lives of more than 9 million people, and devastated millions more. It also brought invention, destroyed long standing empires, redrew some political borders, and created new ones. Like all wars before and since, it separated families, and had a dramatic impact on the social welfare of all involved nations...

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19th Century Gender Roles for Women

The nineteenth century often invokes flowery images of romanticism and heavily-embellished architecture. By today's standards, it can also be seen as an oppressive era for women especially with regards to society, marriage, and the household. The Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection on Sex and Gender spans many topics including birth control, abortion, homosexuality, cross dressing, sex education, and prostitution, and includes numerous works demonstrating popular public opinion and more subversive, revolutionary ideas about appropriate roles for women during the 19th century...

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From Myth to Metropolis: Los Angeles at the Turn of the Century

Special Collections and Archives holds many books and collection materials that illustrate the unique history of Los Angeles in the years surrounding the turn of the twentieth century. The Los Angeles "Booster Myth," an outgrowth of Manifest Destiny, was largely perpetuated by real estate investors, commercial industry, and civic leaders in an effort to bring more settlers to Los Angeles and prolong the real estate boom of the 1880s...

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Songs of Protest

Few things are more universal to the human experience than the enjoyment of music. For those with a cause on their minds, protest music can be an effective way of furthering their goals. Protest music is nothing new. Beethoven’s "Ode to Joy" is said to be a protest song in support of universal brotherhood. For this blog post, the focus will be American protest music. This type of music is topical in nature with a takeaway message for the listener...

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Detective E. B. Mortensen Daily Reports Collection

 While it is undoubtedly so today, crime has been a part of everyday life in Los Angeles for more than a century. Scholars in numerous disciplines might use crime-related statistics when examining a variety of social, political, and economic trends, historical events, or notable individuals. Today, websites like the Los Angeles Police Department's Crime Mapping page let police officers and individual citizens find crime-related statistics, or search for reported crimes by type, date range, and address...

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Thomas G. Lambert California Gold Rush Letter Book

On January 24th, 1848, while a work crew labored to build a saw mill for John Sutter on the American River at Coloma, carpenter James Marshall spied a few glittering stones just below the surface of the water. Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill ignited one of the most iconic periods in American history – the California Gold Rush. Special Collections and Archives holds several collections that bring the California Gold Rush to life...

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The Temperance Movement

The Temperance Movement, also called the Prohibition Movement, was a political and social movement in the United States popular during Progressive Era. Supporters of the Temperance Movement, mostly Protestant and known as "teetotalers," worked for many decades to end the sale of alcohol across the United States at the local, state and national level. Groups like the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Anti-Saloon....

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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...

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Journal of a Trip from Liverpool to San Francisco

Special Collections and Archives holds many unique and interesting diaries which chronicle the adventures of travelers from all over the world. One of these, entitled, Journal of a Trip from Liverpool to San Francisco, was penned by a young Englishwoman visiting the United States for the very first time. The journal chronicles her trip from April to June of 1895, beginning with a trip across the sea on the "luxurious" S.S Teutonic...

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Early Los Angeles History

Many consider Los Angeles a relatively young city, with a unique but primarily 20th century history.  Special Collections and Archives holds several resources that document LA's  earlier, 19th century history, especially the years immediately following the Mexican-American War, and California's early statehood. One of these resources is the Los Angeles Assessor's Book (Duplicado del Libro de Avaluos), dated 1854, in which Los ....

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