American History in Video

American History in Video offers more than 5,000 videos related to the history of the United States. There are documentaries from companies such as PBS and The History Channel. There are also interviews, public debates on contemporary issues, and archived newsreels – before television, a newsreel (a brief film of the current news) was shown before the main feature in movie theaters. These are PRIMARY sources that can’t be beat!

The database provides many ways to access the videos (remember, like all our subscription resources, you will need to log in with your name and library barcode if you are off-campus). You can browse by decade, era, historical event, or by subjects such as dance, music, and fine arts. Also check out their subject-themed playlists or create your own – perfect for class presentations.

To view the newsreel of the Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, watch the clip Universal Newsreels, Release 526, August 5, 1946.

Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima, 1945 - Universal Newsreels, Release 526, August 5, 1946
Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima, 1945 - Universal Newsreels, Release 526, August 5, 1946

Library staff recommendation: Hand Job: A Catalog of Type

Hand Job: A Catalog of Type

By Michael Perry

Greenfield Open Stacks 686.22 P429h

This compendium of illustrators working with truly unique hand-drawn type is chock-full of witty and charming illustrations. Each page is bursting with color, and the feel and weight of the paper provides a great tactile and visual experience. You don’t have to be an illustrator, designer, or typographer to appreciate or find inspiration in this book!

Recommended by Casey Murphy, Greenfield Circulation Assistant.

Digital Resources of the Week: Women’s History Month

For this final week of Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at some of the history of working women in the United States.

Women Working 1830-1900 from the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program documents primary resources, such as diaries, magazines, and photographs, to explore how women working impacted the economics of this country, especially during the Great Depression. Browse by key events, including the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 or by notable women included in the collection, such as interior designer Candace Wheeler. Discover more on this designer in Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875-1900 in the UArts Libraries. For more general resources on women and labor, try searching the catalog by subject with women–employment.

Esther Bubley at the Bayway Oil Refinery in 1944 (taken by Gordon Parks)
Esther Bubley at the Bayway Oil Refinery in 1944 (taken by Gordon Parks)

A really interesting website from the Library of Congress is Women Come to the Front: Journalists, Photographers, and Broadcasters during World War II. Eight women, including photographers Dorothea Lange and Esther Bubley, are presented for their hard work and insight during wartime. To learn more about these two photographers, search for Lange, Dorothea and Bubley, Esther as subjects in the UArts Libraries’ catalog.

Finally, a horrible tragedy that, thankfully, encouraged better working conditions for all Americans. March 25, 2011 is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Factory Fire. Cornell University has a wonderful website dedicated to educating the public about the fire, which occurred March 25, 1911 at the Triangle Waist Factory, a textile factory in New York City. Within minutes of the fire starting, 146 people, mostly women and many of them young immigrants, had perished. Because of this horrific event, labor laws and building codes all over the country were updated and enforced.

We can thank The Women’s Trade Union League who campaigned for the 8 hour work day!
We can all thank the Women’s Trade Union League, who campaigned for the 8-hour work day!

Library Staff Recommendation: Night of the Hunter

Part Gothic horror, part fairy tale, part German expressionist film, Night of the Hunter (GD978, in Blu-Ray from Criterion) is surely one of the most unusual mainstream films I’ve ever seen. Robert Mitchum is creepy, creepy, creepy, as a charismatic and murderous itinerant preacher who goes up against the fabulous Lillian Gish, great star of silent films, in his quest for stolen money hidden, unbeknownst to him, in a little girl’s doll. Two young children, John and Pearl, literally go on a voyage to escape Mitchum’s Harry Powell. A fascinating story told largely from the children’s point of view, the haunting sets and cinematography are just as good as the frightening morality tale played out on the screen. The only film ever directed by Charles Laughton, Night of the Hunter will have you on the edge of your seat. Turn out the lights, turn off your phone, watch and enjoy!

Once you’ve seen the film (you don’t want to spoil the story, after all), take a look at International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers in the Greenfield Library reference section. Great for browsing and revisiting favorite films. You might also want to see  The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film, which gives some behind-the-scenes background on the adaptation of the script.

Library staff recommendation: Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes

by Daina Taimina

746.434 T136c Greenfield Open Stacks

You don’t have to know how to crochet or understand geometry to appreciate the beauty of the mathematical and natural worlds. Taimina, a professor of mathematics at Cornell University, uses simple crochet forms to explain difficult concepts such as negative curvature. She places geometry in the history of art, discussing patterns and symbols used in many native cultures. She then brings those patterns and symbols into the complex math that helps in construction, navigation, and machine building – as well as the organizational structures that make up much of nature.

With vivid photographs and text written for easy understanding, you’ll learn how a simple fiber technique can connect kelp, Venice, soccer balls, and modern art.

Recommended by Shannon Robinson, Access Services Librarian.

Shannon Robinson

Digital Library of the Week: Women’s History Month

This week, let’s take a look at women in the visual arts. A great place to start is the National Museum of Women in the Arts, located in Washington, D.C. The museum’s library and research center has created CLARA, an online database detailing the lives and work of 18,000 women visual artists. Women from all time periods and nationalities are included. The museum also has a terrific blog, Broad Stokes, that will keep you up to date on all the latest news and happenings related to women artists.

The UArts Libraries has many books published by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. You can see a listing by searching for the Museum in the catalog as an author.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is also dedicated to supporting and showcasing women artists. A recent exhibition was our own Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery’s Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968!  The Center also has an online database of women artists’ works, Feminist Art Base. Each entry provides a biography, artist’s work images, and related websites.

Janine Antoni's sculpture Lick & Lather (1993)
Janine Antoni's sculpture Lick & Lather (1993)

Two other sites document specific women artists’ and activism. The first is WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution which documents artmaking and women’s civil rights actions between 1965-1980. A 2007 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, WACK! maintains a collection of audio tours and podcasts of this historic collection. Check out the exhibition catalog in the UArts Libraries‘ collection too; it’s in the Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 704.042 W115m.

Finally, we can’t let Women’s History Month go by without mentioning The Guerrilla Girls. In 1985, a group of women artists created the group that is still going strong today. Each woman in the group assumes the name of a dead woman artist and wears a gorilla mask in public so that the focus is on the issues they are tackling, rather than the woman herself.

A Guerrilla Girls' poster
A Guerrilla Girls' poster

The Guerrilla Girls use performance, posters, and writing to raise awareness of women in the arts – read their FAQ page for more details on this dynamic group. You can also follow them on Facebook for the latest on how they are “reinventing the f-word – feminism.”

Also check out Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls (Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 709.04 G936c) and Guerrilla Girls : Troubler le Repos = Disturbing the Peace (Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 709.22 G936g) in the UArts Libraries.

Library staff recommendation: Seven Samurai

Seven Samuari

Seven Samurai

Director: Akira Kurosawa

GD63 & GD963 (Blu-Ray) Greenfield DVD

One of Akira Kurosawa’s best and most influential films, Seven Samurai tells the story of seven wayward samurai who are hired by a small, poor, village to protect it from a group of murderous bandits. Each character has his own demons and flaws to fight, but in the end is able to achieve honor and heroism for himself and the village. Thrilling and epic, this movie is not only a must-see, but is required viewing for all.

And if the plot sounds familiar, you may have seen the Western remake of this film, The Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen.

If you’d like to read more about the making of this Kurosawa film, check out the book Seven Samurai by Joan Mellen in the Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 791.437 Se82m.

Recommended by Mike Sgier, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant.

Mike Sgier

Digital Library of the Week: Women’s History Month

a properly set table from John Henry Walsh's A Manual of Domestic Economy, 1874
a properly set table from John Henry Walsh's A Manual of Domestic Economy, 1874

“Home is woman’s world, as well as her empire” (Daniel Wise, author of  The Young Ladies Counsellor: Or, Outlines and Illustrations of the Sphere, the Duties, and Dangers of Young Women, 1855). This was a popular sentiment about the duties of women for many generations! This week, let’s look at some digital collections that focus on women as homemakers.

The Smithsonian has a terrific online exhibition called The Making of a Homemaker. Focused on housekeeping of the late nineteenth century, featured items include The House and Home: A Practical Book (2 volumes!) and an Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy (learn how to choose a proper teapot).

Cornell University has created HEARTH – Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History. HEARTH is an extremely informative collection of books and journals from the early twentieth century about home economic topics. Subjects explored include Applied Arts and Design, Child Care, and Hygiene.

From Things Girls Like to Do - Hemming
From Things Girls Like to Do - Hemming

Little girls were always well-prepared to become homemakers. Playing House: Homemaking for Children, from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, provides 5 full-text books on just this training! One of these is Things Girls Like to Do by Elizabeth Hale Gilman. Included in the section on housekeeping is “upstairs work” which means “making beds, tidying bedrooms, and caring for washstands and bedrooms.” How fun…

The UArts Libraries subscribes to the online resource Daily Life through History the details life from ancient times to modern day. To learn more about domestic life in cultures all over the world, select an era and then click on Domestic Life to learn about family life and children. (Note: if you are off-campus, you will have to log-in with your name and library barcode). Also search the UArts Libraries’ catalog for home economics as a subject.