The Twin City Review: A 1920s Labor Newspaper For Champaign County

The Twin City Review went into circulation in November 1920. The Review was originally published in Tolono, Illinois, before relocating to Champaign. The Twin City Federation of Labor published the paper “in the interest of organized labor.” At the time, Champaign County’s primary industries were higher education (the University of Illinois), railroads, and farming.  The Review frequently wrote about the perceived need for solidarity between farmers and urban laborers, including an inaugural issue article titled “Farm and City Workers Aim Identical-To Secure Justice”  Continue reading “The Twin City Review: A 1920s Labor Newspaper For Champaign County”

New Library Catalog debuts June 24, 2020

In late June, the University Library will introduce its new catalog, Primo. The Primo Catalog is the search interface of a state-of-the-art library management system called Ex Libris Alma. The Alma/Primo system was designed to provide better access to, and management of, 21st-century library collections. It has been adopted by a number of research libraries including Harvard and Northwestern.

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Halloween Reads at the Library

It is that time of year again! The leaves are changing and the weather is dramatically fluctuating between warm and astonishingly cold as Fall tries to get its footing. The perfect time to curl up under a blanket and read something eerie. If you’re looking for a good non-fiction book to read in honor of Halloween then this is the list for you.

Here are a few of the books in our collection that are excellent for this season:

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The Mad Gasser of Mattoon

In September of 1944 the front pages of the Daily Illini were covered with updates about the ongoing war. The newspaper readily chronicled major developments in the war as well as the deaths of young men who, just a few short years before, had once walked the university’s halls. Given the amount of bloodshed that was unfolding around the world, it is easy to miss the newspapers’ coverage of one particularly strange event, one that would come to be called the Mad Gasser of Mattoon.

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A Brief History of Advice Columns

In March of 1912 a lovelorn young woman wrote into the Rock Island Argus with a problem. At 20 years old she found that her boyfriend of 2 years was starting to hint that he was interested in marriage. Overcome with doubt, she wrote a letter to Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, the Rock Island Argus’ resident advice columnist. After explaining the situation, she ended her letter with one simple question: Am I too young? The answer she received was quick and straight to the point: “No”.  This short and straight to the point style of answering questions seemed to be Mrs. Thompson’s specialty. Another woman in the same issue asked for advice on what to wear to an upcoming masquerade and was told curtly to dress as a French maid. Mrs. Thompson’s knowledge base was expansive and she seemed to be able to answer questions over a broad array of topics from skincare to food to fashion. She also dealt with much heavier topics, telling people, women in particular, how to survive and provide for their children when they had nowhere else to turn.

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Something Interesting About Early American Newspapers Series 13

Series 13 of Early American Newspapers boasts over 2,300 titles from the trans-Mississippi west. If you browse the series, however, you might notice something peculiar: over a third of these titles are represented by only a single issue, with all these single issues coming from the year 1876. Why does the collection contain so many random issues from the year 1876?

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Morbidity, Macabre, Murder, and Memory: a look into our collections

There is no secret that humans are drawn to the macabre. Shows revolving around murder, such as CSI and Criminal Minds, carry on for years and spur a number of spin-offs which are often met with success. In the meantime, podcasts like UP and Vanished and My Favorite Murder continue to top the iTunes podcast charts.

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The Watseka Wonder

“The case of Lurancy Vennum, a bright young girl of fourteen years, has been the subject of much discussion in Watseka during the past year, and there is a good deal in it beyond human comprehension.” – “Mesmeric Mysteries,” Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH), Jun. 22, 1878 [1]

            Ever since Regan MacNeil crawled backwards down the stairs in The Exorcist, possession has been a cornerstone of American horror movies. The very idea of losing control of ourselves to something otherworldly fills us with fear. The fear of possession, of course, has been around since long before the 1970s. Cases of possession have featured on the pages of newspapers across the country since the Salem witch trials in the 1690s. We don’t have to look far to find one such case.

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