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Blog Posts by Subject: American Studies

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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The 20 Books Every Irish American Should Read

Not Just Another New York Travel Guide

In these tight economic times, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and as summer approaches this applies to vacation plans as well. About this time of year Americans start to dream of vacations to faraway places, respite from the daily grind and a little sun and relaxation. Conventional wisdom says that in recessions we lean towards travel options light on the wallet, heading to locales closer to home, such as a national park or an American destination city.   Well, the budget ... Read More ›

The Pony Express: History and Myth

Nearly everything you thought you knew about the Pony Express is wrong. Well, perhaps not wrong, but exaggerated or romanticized. If you’re like me, you’re probably imagining men dressed in fringed leather uniform on horses, riding at break-neck speeds to carry important business and love letters hundreds of miles, perhaps while simultaneously shooting their Wincester rifles in the air. When not dashing across the prairie, the riders would be found roping cattle, drinking and playing cards in saloons, hunting buffalo, and dodging Black-Hatted Bandits and 

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The City of Light Before the Advent of Electricity: New York City Travel Writing, 1600s

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City of Light. Crossroads of the World. And my personal favorite: the City of Superlatives. These are all sobriquets that have been applied to New York City at one time or another.

The city that has insinuated its way into the hearts of so many travelers has inspired an incredible outpouring of travel guides and literature.

Travel writing at its best is half reporting and half myth-creating by the adventurer fortunate to visit an unknown, perhaps exotic destination. These treatises offer a 

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Is Feminism Dead?

Working as an archivist I often come across collection items that change the way I see the world around me. I had such an experience recently when processing a manuscript collection. As I sorted through the papers of a woman who had donated her papers to the library, an article title caught my eye, “Is Feminism Dead?”

Those who are interested in the Feminist movement will remember the Time magazine cover from 1998 that asked this question, featuring the images of four women across a stark black 

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Log Cabins R Us

Folk singer Pete Seeger looked up 'log cabin' at The New York Public Library when he wanted to build a home in upstate New York, according to a recent New Yorker interview (Wilkinson, Alec. "The Protest Singer." New Yorker v.82, no. 9 (April 17, 2006): p44).

Curious, I repeated his query in the library catalog starting with a simple search for "log cabin*" (the asterisk wildcard finds both singular and plural). Now I've posted a guide to these resources, attached 

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Free Produce Societies

Last week, while doing some research on abolitionism in one of our best historical newspaper databases, I came across some references to organizations called Free Produce Societies. As I had previously never come across these groups, I decided to do some further research. Free Produce Associations were formed in the early decades of the 19th century by radical abolitionists, generally Quakers and free blacks, who hoped to disengage themselves from participating in a culture they found to be both un-Christian and un-American. Through 

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