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Peek in the Stacks: united states

Bobtown: Robert Celestin and a Louisiana Township

In 1887, after Reconstruction, a black man named Robert Creecy purchased a parcel of Canebrake Plantation land in Louisiana from Florestan Waggenspauch. Creecy sold half the parcel to another buyer, while retaining ownership of the remaining land. In 1898, Creecy's son-in-law, a 25-year-old black man with indigenous ancestry named Robert Celestin, purchased the half parcel of land back...

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The Savoy Cocktail Book

When passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919 ushered in the era of Prohibition in the United States, an English bartender named Harry Craddock, who had mixed drinks at the Hollenden Hotel in Cleveland, OH and the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City, left the US and returned to the UK so he continue working in his chosen profession...  

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Unknown: “Slaves of Sleep” and “The Ghoul”

In 1933, Street & Smith acquired Astounding Stories, one of the first pulp magazines to center the genre of science-fiction as its twenty-cent selling point. In the following years “John W. Campbell would join the editorial staff of Astounding Stories in September 1937, replacing F. Orlin Tremaine as editor in 1938 when Tremaine became editorial director.....

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Monster or Human? Pennyroyal’s Frankenstein

Special Collections & Archives houses a limited edition of Frankenstein that was published in 1984 by Barry Moser’s Pennyroyal Press. With only 350 copies ever printed, this version of Frankenstein is quarter bound with leather and features Barry Moser’s vivid woodcuts alongside Shelley’s original 1818 text. Included with the book is a portfolio....

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None But Lucifer

None But Lucifer by H. L. Gold and L. Sprague de Camp is a Faustian satire set in New York City during the Great Depression. It was published in the pulp fantasy magazine Unknown in September 1939. The story of None But Lucifer focuses on William Hale, a businessman who discovers that Earth is Hell and Lucifer is ruling it. Hale devises a plan to confront Lucifer in order to make a deal for power and immortality.

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"Gathering Wild Oats and Telling Stories": Ursula K. Le Guin's Literary Meals

The work of Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), despite being mostly in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, very much expresses real world concerns. One of these issues is food: who has it and who doesn’t, the environmental impact of its use and production, and, as is fitting for an author who was the child of two anthropologists, the traditions surrounding its consumption.

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The Persistent Gender Gap in Pulp and Comic Magazines

The representation of women in pulp literature and comics has been a subject of ongoing scrutiny and criticism in popular culture. Pulp magazines and comics have the power to shape our perception of society and the people in it. They are not mere works of imagination but reflect the society that produced them. With that in mind, this blog post aims to compare the female representation on the cover of Weird Tales in the 1930s and Marvel's The Monster of Frankenstein comics in the 1970s and how, unfortunately, it has not significantly changed over time. 

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Weird Tales: A Sexualized Scare

The cover of Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Satan’s Palimpsest  greets the reader with a nude blonde, seemingly excited to invite the bat-like Satan into her boudoir. Similarly, Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales: Children of the Bat cover greets the reader with another nude blonde—this one half-bat with breasts and chained by another bat, who seems to be half-human as well. Through the covers' portrayal of hyper-sexualized, imprisoned women and bats as their captors, the Weird Tales pulp art combines both the scariness and seduction of the Gothic monster, which represents the Other in U.S. culture. 

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Batman issue number 400 “Challenge of the Man-Bat!”

Written by Frank Robbins, Batman issue number 400, Challenge of the Man-Bat1, was published in June of 1970 after a paradigmatic shift in U.S. comics censorship history. Challenge of the Man-Bat was published a decade and a half after the creation of The Comics Code Authority in 1954, which regulated or censored comic book content.

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