On the Origin of Turkeys

Turkeys are a staple of the western holiday dinner table, especially associated with Thanksgiving in the United States. First domesticated in Mexico, the turkey was a central food of Mexican cuisine since 800 BC or earlier, and has appeared in the diet of Native North Americans since around 1100 AD. There is no clear answer […]

Elijah P. Lovejoy, “Liberty’s Martyr”

Elijah Lovejoy was a reverend and printer in Alton, Illinois, in the 1830s. He was the editor for the Alton Observer, a religious newspaper with a pro-abolition stance. His journey to Alton was not a smooth one. He had three printing presses destroyed before he settled in Alton—all three times the vandalism was in response […]

First Appearances: Jane Eyre, Moby-Dick, and Winnie-the-Pooh

by Katie Funderberg, Xena Becker, and Kellie Clinton Jane Eyre Significantly impacting the genre of prose fiction, Jane Eyre, originally subtitled An Autobiography, was first appeared on October 16th, 1847 under the pen name Currer Bell. Speculation over the author’s identity and the novelty of a book commenting on issues such as religion, class, and […]

This Just In: Happy Birthday H.G. Wells!

Herbert George Wells was born on this day in 1866 and we want to take the occasion to celebrate his life and work. The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is proud to serve as the steward for the author’s papers and correspondence, as well as a large collection of manuscripts and print editions of Wells’ […]

Ballad of Birmingham: 55 Years Later

55 years ago, on September 15th, 1963 , white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls and injuring 23 other children. It was Youth Day at the church and the children were gathered in the basement when the bomb went off. The church was a hub of activity […]

Building a Library: The Cavagna Sangiuliani Collection at Illinois

Building a Library: The Cavagna Sangiuliani Collection at Illinois On display September 14 – December 14, 2018 Curated by Chloe Ottenhoff In 1921, the University of Illinois purchased the Cavagna Sangiuliani Collection of Italian imprints and manuscripts from the descendants of Count Antonio Cavagna Sangiuliani di Gualdana (1843-1913) as part of a wider effort to […]