HPNL Temporarily Closing on Monday May 13

Hear ye, hear ye!

The History, Philosophy, and Newspaper library will close temporarily starting Monday, May 13. The library is getting new carpeting and will reopen once this process is complete. At the latest, HPNL will be back by August 6. We will be posting any updates on this page as well as on our Twitter account.

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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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New Online Resource: Neues Deutschland Archive

We now have access to the Neues Deutschland Archive. Neues Deutschland began publication in 1946 as the official newspaper of the East German Communist Party (Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands). Since the Wende, the newspaper has remained a socialist organ, even as its circulation has plummeted.

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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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