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Blog Posts by Subject: American Studies

Playboy: A Seductive Periodical or Champion of Sexual Liberalism?

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended for mature readers onlyRecognize the icon above? Perhaps you may not realize this but Playboy the publication, historically speaking, has been a leading magazine devoted to freedom of expression and human rights (to a certain extent). Founded in 1953 in Chicago by Hugh Hefner, Playboy has often been perceived as a "taboo" 

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Anti-Valentine? Join the Club!

If you are like me, then the one thing you would like about Valentine's Day is the day after: chocolates on sale!

Godiva, Ferrara, chocolate truffles, M&Ms, you name it — all those brand name sweets at 50% off or on a buy-one-get-one-free basis totally makes up for this senseless tradition.

Though the only people actually winning from this scheme are your dentists and candy makers, who's really counting your cavities when the most-ridiculous "holiday" of the year just ended?! (In my humble opinion...)

Don't get me wrong, I am not 

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Chinese American Food: Stories of Odds and Ends

Did you know that some of your favorite dishes from a Chinese take out restaurant have interesting stories behind them? The origin of their names, the ingredients used and how they were conceived and transformed in America all make fascinating tales in food history.

Since the 19th century, Chinese immigrants opened restaurants throughout the American frontier. These dishes preserved and reflected the different Chinese cultural and regional identities. Initially they were not accepted or liked by Americans because they were perceived as foreign. However, many dishes 

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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: History and Resources

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. This month celebrates the contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

In 1978, Congress passed a joint congressional resolution to observe and honor Asian American Heritage week during the first week of May. Historically, Asians have played an important role in American history. The week celebrates two anniversaries: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7th, 

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Transmissions from the Timothy Leary Papers: Welcome!

Welcome to Transmissions... where I'll update the public on the processing of the Timothy Leary Papers, held by The New York Public Library.

High school portrait, front page of The Classical Recorder, 4 June 1937I look forward to sharing the experience of arranging and describing the collection of Timothy Francis Leary, an American psychologist and Harvard professor who, through his studies regarding the use of psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), went on to become an advocate 

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Women's and Gender Studies: A Research Guide

March is Women's History Month. This year, the theme of Women's History Month is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This blog post will explore how one can conduct research in women's and gender studies and history.

The research collections of The 

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Linsanity at NYPL: Resources

For the past several weeks, the world has been eyeing a young rising athlete named Jeremy Lin. Lin plays as a point guard for the New York Knicks. At age 23, he has been captivating the globe with his personality, skills, and victories.

Over the course of one evening, Lin became an international superstar in the field of basketball. 

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From Masailand to Tompkins Square Library: A Journey in Literacy

Last year, Victoria joined a basic reading and writing class at Tompkins Square Library's Center for Reading and Writing. She agreed to speak with me about her experience so far and what brought her here.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Kenya, in the Masailand, in a village with 10 huts.

What other languages do you speak besides English?

I speak the Masai language and Swahili, and other tribal languages: Kikuyu, Luo, and Kamba. I came to America in 1986. I speak English every day, but 

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Weddings and Marriages at NYPL: A Research Guide

This post briefly examines and explores how one can conduct research in weddings and marriages using the Library's traditional and new media collections.Read More ›

Comics at NYPL: A Research Guide

This week the New York Comic Con is in town! From October 13 through 16, the New York Comic Con will be held in the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. This annual convention is dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, toys, video games, movies, and television!

At NYPL, we also celebrate comics and comic books. From the first issue of Captain America to

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The Book of Khalid Turns 100!

Deep inside the NYPL’s Bryant Park Stack Extension (known as BPSE to insiders — pronounced as “Bip-See”) lay many literary treasures and secrets; some are academically obscure and rare while others are widely known and read. The Book of Khalid by Ameen Rihani fits in 

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Get Psyched for Anti-Prom! A Prom-Related Reading & Viewing List

It was way back in 2004, at the Donnell Library's Teen Central room, when a bunch of librarians, myself included, came up with the idea for Anti-Prom. At the time, a bunch of teen books about prom and prom-related activities were being published and we were all sharing our own (somewhat anti-climatic) prom experiences. Then someone said, "We should throw a prom here." There was laughter as we imagined decorating the library with streamers, crepe paper and a disco ball and then someone said, 

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The Ticketless Traveler: Ohio

Ohio is not that far from New York... two or three states away, depending how you drive. But you wouldn't know it by talking to any native New Yorker. It might as well be Iowa, or Idaho, they all kind of sound the same. "Flyover country."

Ohio is considered part of the Midwest, though it seems strange to me to be lumped in with North Dakota and Missouri, places I've never been. Ohio is the huge metal buckle of the

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My Library: Jerilyn Jurinek

Jerilyn is a painter of American history, and teaches drawing at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers and Spring Studio, and collage at The Cooper Union Department of Continuing Education.

What brings you to the Mulberry Street Library today?

I intend to use the computer. I do everything that needs to be done with email, practice how to use the 

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Vixen: A Review

Gloria Carmody thought she had everything she could want: the big diamond, the handsome fiance, the promise of a secure, respectable life among Chicago’s high society. But as her wedding looms ever nearer all Gloria can think of is a notorious speakeasy and the piano player who intrigues her more than her fiance ever has. Or will.

Lorraine Dyer doesn’t understand the sudden change in her best friend, but if Gloria wants to release her inner flapper, why not? After all Lorraine is known for innovating the flapper style among their circle of friends. 

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President's Day Biography Reading List

Presidents' lives have always been favorite subjects for biographers. Here is a list of the some of the latest examples at the NYPL branches.

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Field Trip! Adult Literacy Students Visit Three Faiths Exhibit

Students outside the Three Faiths exhibitLast week, students from the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the Library's free adult literacy program, took a field trip to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to see the exhibit, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

As the group trundled up the library 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska (1982)

Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, for fans and critics alike, marks the point in Springsteen's songwriting where the barren landscapes of the American Dream are laid most bare.

The title song chronicles the true-crime killing spree of Charlie Starkweather and girlfriend, also the subject of 1973 film Badlands. Springsteen captures so vividly on record what is most human in the 

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Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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