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Peek in the Stacks: united states

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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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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Early African American Poetry and Fiction

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African-American poetry and fiction began to develop in two distinctly different ways. As educational opportunities improved in selected areas of the United States, some black writers sought to emulate the traditional forms and themes of classical white authors. Still others began to experiment with non-traditional styles, seizing upon opportunities to battle racism through literature...

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What is this place?

As people move around the 2nd floor of the library and pass Special Collections and Archives, they sometimes pop in to ask, "What is this place?" Special Collections and Archives holds the library’s rare book and periodical collections, and a wide variety of manuscript collections and individual items. The next question often starts "So, what is your (pick an adjective) item or book?" Today for our blog, we have set out to answer a few of your most pressing questions...

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John Steinbeck Highlights in Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives holds many rare, unique, limited, and first edition works of American literature, including books by famed author John Steinbeck whose books of fiction and non-fiction have often sparked controversy. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath, which focuses on the plight of farm workers ...

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Japanese-American Internment and Civil Rights

Born from the wartime hysteria of World War II, the internment of Japanese Americans is considered by many to be one of the biggest civil rights violations in American history. Americans of Japanese ancestry, regardless of citizenship, were forced from their homes and into relocation centers known as internment camps. The fear that arose after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor created severe anti-Japanese prejudice, which evolved into the widespread belief that Japanese people in America were a threat to national security...

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Celebrating 100 Years of Veterans Day

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, intended to recognize the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It was first celebrated in 1919, and continued as Armistice Day until 1954, when the holiday was renamed Veterans Day in order to recognize all service personnel in the United States Armed Forces. Unlike Memorial Day, which recognizes military personnel who died in service, Veterans Day celebrates...

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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 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 League argued alcohol was the root of numerous social problems plaguing the nation at the time, especially in rapidly expanding urban areas flush with new, predominantly Catholic, immigrant groups...

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Poetry and Perspective

April is national poetry month and Special Collections and Archives has a wide array of poetic works across a variety of themes, spanning hundreds of years. Among these works are both contemporary and antiquarian books written by American people of color. Each of these poets have lived in different times and places, and have had very different life experiences that have influenced ...

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