Watch Your Language, Please: Researching Queer History

Evidence of queer history is often elusive, but it can be found throughout the historical record, in both expected and unexpected places. A challenge for the researcher, however, is that libraries and archives have not traditionally described these documents in ways that make them easily discoverable. Aside from its appearance in medical and penal records, queer experience might often not even have been recognizable to librarians, archivists, museum curators, and others charged with collecting and organizing historical documents.

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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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Access to 115 digitized primary source collections from ProQuest

For the next three years, the Library will provide full access to all of ProQuest’s primary source collections and titles, including some really major collections such as Early European Books Online, newspapers to which we haven’t previously had access (eg, the Jerusalem Post), more installments of British Periodicals, several Civil War-related collections, and ALL of Proquest’s primary source materials digitized from microfilm in their “History Vault,” including labor history collections, Confidential State Department files, INS records, Margaret Sanger’s papers, and much, much more. Please see the complete list at https://www.library.illinois.edu/hpnl/history/proquest-trials/  –there are collections of interest to most fields of history, as well as the arts and humanities more broadly, the social sciences, and some scientific disciplines. In addition to manuscript and printed materials of all sorts, there are streaming videos and recorded sound collections.

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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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What can a Czech-American newspaper teach us about the American union?

In August 2016 HPNL and Preservation Services received a fourth round of grant funding for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a project supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress. The grant supports the funding for the digitization of 100,000 pages of newspapers. For this cycle UIUC focused on immigrant Chicagoland-based newspapers from the late 19th century and early 20th century. As part of this project, I was tasked with producing short essays summarizing the history of two related Czech-American newspapers: Denní hlasatel (Daily Herald) and its weekly counterpart, Týdenní hlasatel (Weekly Herald). The essays were to appear in the Library of Congress powered site, Chronicling America, as well as UIUC’s newspaper portal, the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections (IDNC).

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Student Life and Culture Archives

Housed at the southern end of campus, right next to Orchard Downs, is the university’s Student Life and Culture Archive. Dedicated to preserving the history of student life on campus, this archive holds a wide variety of artifacts. From old newspapers to interviews to clothing, they have something that is bound to be of interest to everyone. There is no assignment required to visit, just a curiosity for what you’ll find there.

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Happy Birthday, #Beyoncé!

Beyoncé’s historic Coachella performance earlier this year alone merits a celebration. As the festival’s first Black female headliner, Beyoncé, er, schooled the audiences with a set inspired by Homecoming celebrations at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) featuring step, the Black National Anthem, Greek-letter organizations, and an on-point marching band. And then donated $100,000 to HBCUs.

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New Online Resource: American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, 1684-1912

Library patrons now have access to EBSCO’s digital collection American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, 1684-1912. Originally released in five series, this collection has long been on our “wish-list”, and we have finally acquired the entire collection, which complements several existing digital collections (American Periodical Series Online, America’s Historical Newspapers, 19th Century American Newspapers, and Early American Imprints), and makes pre-1900 American print culture among the best covered source bases for online historical research here at the University of Illinois Library. Continue reading “New Online Resource: American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, 1684-1912

Treasuring Tea: the World’s oldest Wonder

January is National Tea Month, but there is a tea for every season. Too hot? Iced tea. Feeling chilly? Warm up with a chai! What comes to mind when you hear the word tea? A warm, calming brew sipped at the end of a long day? A strongly steeped morning pick-me-up? A well-traveled, world-renowned part of your pantry? England? China? India? Nepal?

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