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Some of you may remember a popular exhibit we had in 2009 titled “Creating Community: African Americans in San Diego.” The exhibit featured materials from various African American archives and collections housed in Special Collections. Since the time of that exhibit, a lot of people have been working hard to build a broader collection, one with a strong emphasis on the Civil Rights Era in San Diego.

That hard work has resulted in The Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection, named after Harold K. Brown, a prominent leader of the civil rights movement in San Diego. Brown is an SDSU alumnus (class of 1959) who later became the first African American administrator at SDSU. Mr. Brown is one of those people who worked hard to create this collection, so I’m going to let you listen to what he has to say about it in this video created by the Urban League of San Diego County:

On October 22 at 4pm, we’re celebrating the Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection with a reception at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Lynn Hawkes at

More about the collection:
Oral Histories in Special Collections
Creating Community Online Exhibit


LughnasaIn the time of the ancient Celts, Thanksgiving was called Lughnasa, and it was celebrated on August 1 (Lunasa is the Irish Gaelic name for August). Lughnasa marked the beginning of the harvest season and the ripening of the first crops. Traditionally, it was a time for community gatherings, market festivals, and reunions with family and friends. In areas throughout Europe, and especially in Ireland, people still celebrate Lughnasa with bonfires, dancing, and feasts. In the United States, where many Irish immigrants settled during the 1800s, August became the time chosen for family reunions and parties. In a nod to modern U.S. work schedules, later generations have moved Lughnasa get-togethers to the Fourth of July.

How do I know so much about an obscure Celtic holiday? To begin with, I researched it via our Articles and Research Guides.

On our main Web page, click on “Find” and then “Research Guides.” You can search by subject matter, type of source (newspaper, dissertation, book, etc.), or type in some keywords in the “Search” bar. For Lughnasa, I searched under “Religious Studies” and also typed in keywords such as “Celtic,” “festivals,” and “harvest.” You can do the same for just about any subject. My search for “harvest festivals” returned 56 hits. Searching “Lughnasa harvest” returned three. If you find an article that interests you and the library doesn’t own it, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Online articles aren’t the only sources we have available. Some older publications are in microfilm/microform and can be found in our Current Periodicals and Microforms Center. We also have books on most subjects. I’ve listed a few of the sources I found on Lughnasa at the end of this post.

You may be familiar with the word “Lughnasa” from the excellent play titled Dancing at Lughnasa by Ireland’s leading playwright, Brian Friel. If you haven’t seen the movie adaptation, we have it in the Media Center. Check it out.

Dancing at Lughnasa (video recording)
The Druid Chronicles (microform)
Celtic Mysteries: The Ancient Religion (book)
The Religion of the Ancient Celts (book)

Did you know that March 4 is National Pound Cake Day? No? Well, it may be too late to send out cards and decorate your house, but there’s plenty of time to bake a pound cake! Here’s a scrumdiddlyumptious recipe I plucked from The Montana Cookbook,* one of the 2,436 entries listed on the SDSU Library’s book catalog when you type in “cooking” under “subject”:

    Chocolate Pound Cake

    1 (4 oz.) package German sweet chocolate
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup butter
    4 eggs
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 cup buttermilk
    3 cups sifted flour
    ¼ tsp. baking soda
    ½ tsp. salt

    1 (4 oz.) package German sweet chocolate
    1 tbs. shortening
    ¼ cup water
    1 cup powdered sugar
    Dash of salt
    ½ tsp. vanilla

    To make cake: Melt chocolate in top of a double boiler. Cool and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add buttermilk and flour mixture to creamed mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate until well-blended. Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 9-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake 1-1/2 hours at 300 degrees. Remove from pan immediately and wrap in foil until cool.

    To make glaze: Melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Combine sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in melted chocolate. Add vanilla and blend well. For a thinner glaze, add a small amount of water. Drizzle over cake. Serves 12-16.

Here’s fair warning: there are more national food days on the horizon this month. We have shelves of cookbooks on the 5th floor of Love Library if you want to get a jump on the festivities. Here’s what’s coming up in March:

    7th – National Crown Roast of Pork Day
    14th – National Potato Chip Day
    19th – Poultry Day
    23rd – National Chip & Dip Day
    24th – National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day
    25th – Waffle Day
    28th – Something On A Stick Day
    31st – National Clams On The Half Shell Day

Bon appetit!

*The Montana Cookbook also has a recipe for Jellied Moose Nose. I kid you not. I think that would be the perfect dish to take to your next family potluck!

Every year around this time, librarian Cecilia Puerto creates an altar in the Chicano Collection (Room LL126) to celebrate Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. And every year, people place such lovely, tender, and sometimes even amusing mementos on the altar as their way of remembering a deceased loved one. Here are a few photos of the 2010 altar. It’s going to be up through November 4. Perhaps there’s someone special you’d like to remember this year?

Day of the Dead altar 2010
Day of the Dead altar 2010
Day of the Dead altar 2010

There’s a lot going on today in the library. First, the new exhibit “Unidos Por la Causa: The Chicana and Chicano Experience in San Diego” officially opens. It’s located in the Reference Services area and runs through December 31. The exhibit displays photos, art and documents from the early years of the Chicano movement in San Diego.

Next up, in conjunction with the exhibit, is a lecture by Martin Gómez, city librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library. He’ll discuss “Archiving a Movement” at 7 p.m. tonight in Room LL430 of the library.

Also at 7 p.m. is the second installment of our Mark Twain Movie Nights. We’ll be showing Part I of the Ken Burns documentary Mark Twain in Room 1500 of the Student Services Building. It’s free, so all you need to bring is yourself and some popcorn!

Read more about the exhibit in SignOnSanDiego.

Talking, laughter, cameras, and eating in Reference Services? Really? That can’t be right…can it?

Yes, it can, and yesterday around 3:30 p.m., that’s exactly what was going on as the library held the dedication ceremony for the second restored WPA-era mural, “San Diego Industry.”

Painted by student George Sorenson in 1936, the mural’s original home was in the basement of Hardy Tower, which in the 1930s housed SDSU’s first library as well as art classrooms. Damaged by renovations and lost for years behind ceiling tiles, the mural was found accidently in 2004 and underwent restoration before being relocated to its new permanent home on the wall behind the Reference Desk.

We listened to speeches by Interim Dean Jon Cawthorne, SDSU President Stephen Weber, and Professor Seth Mallios, who spearheaded the effort to restore the mural. The artist’s son, George Sorensen, flew in from Oregon to help us celebrate. The local media filmed the event to share with the rest of San Diego. We talked, laughed, and noshed on canapés and lemon bars. And the mural was dedicated. But what we also celebrated was the dedication of so many individuals—library staff, faculty, and administrators; members of our Friends of the Library; donors from outside organizations; Seth Mallios and President Weber; and many more—who saw the value in preserving a piece of SDSU’s history, who brought to fruition what seemed like an impossible task. Kudos to all of you hard-working dreamers. You pulled it off!

Want to learn more about the murals of SDSU? Here’s a few links:

The Depression-Era Murals of San Diego State University
San Diego Union-Tribune
Uncovering Local Art and Industry: The Discovery of Hidden WPA-Era Murals at San Diego State University

Enjoy some photos from Tuesday’s dedication. If you’d like to see more, visit our Flickr page.

George Sorensen being interviewed

George Sorensen was interviewed regarding his father's mural.

Seth Mallios and the mural

Seth Mallios, chair of SDSU's Anthropology Department, discusses the mural's history.

SDSU President Stephen Weber

SDSU President Stephen Weber shares some thoughts about the mural.

"San Diego Industry" mural

San Diego Industry in its permanent home in the Library Addition.

Professor Gregg Camfield

Gregg Camfield

Tomorrow is the day a lot of us have been looking forward to: the day Gregg Camfield will be at the SDSU Library to discuss “The Provincial Cosmopolitan: Mark Twain as Californian.” His lecture will be held at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430.

Camfield is a professor of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced. He has published widely on American literature and culture—from 18th century poet Joel Barlow to the television cartoon Beavis and Butt-Head. Mostly he has worked on the ethical and esthetic debates of the nineteenth-century, concentrating on the works of Mark Twain, American literary humor, literary sentimentalism and domesticity. These perspectives inform his three books: Sentimental Twain: Mark Twain in the Maze of Moral Philosophy (1994), Necessary Madness: The Humor of Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1997), and The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain (2003).

Come early so you can get a good seat. Stay late so you can join us for a reception following the talk.

Mark TwainAfter a summer hiatus, the library’s yearlong “The Adventures of Mark Twain: A Centenary Celebration” picks up again on August 27. Below is the schedule:

August 27–December 17: “Mark Twain: An American Original.” Vanderbilt University traveling exhibit in Special Collections. Features first editions and original materials.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday 10am-7pm, Wednesday-Friday 10am-5pm

September 13–December 17: “Laughing Matters: Researching American Humor in Special Collections.” The exhibit will be located in the 4th floor foyer of the Library Addition.

September 14: Lecture by Gregg Camfield, professor of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at UC Merced, “The Provincial Cosmopolitan: Mark Twain as Californian,” at 3:30 p.m. in Room LL430.

Professor Camfield has published widely on American literature and culture—from 18th century poet Joel Barlow to the television cartoon Beavis and Butt-Head. Mostly he has worked on the ethical and esthetic debates of the nineteenth-century, concentrating on the works of Mark Twain, American literary humor, literary sentimentalism and domesticity. These perspectives inform his three books: Sentimental Twain: Mark Twain in the Maze of Moral Philosophy (Pennsylvania, 1994), Necessary Madness: The Humor of Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Oxford, 1997), and The Oxford Companion to Mark Twain (2003).

A reception will follow the lecture.

Fall 2010: The library will be presenting a series of films related to Mark Twain during the fall term. The movies will be shown in Student Services Room 1500 at 7 pm, and they’re free!

October 13Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
October 20Mark Twain, a Ken Burns documentary (Part 1)
October 27Mark Twain, a Ken Burns documentary (Part 2)
November 3Mark Twain Tonight! (Hal Holbrook one-man show)

Women's Studies
The fact that many universities have a Women’s Studies department doesn’t raise an eyebrow today, but in 1970, it was a pretty radical idea. Feminism was still in its infancy when faculty, students, and community activists at San Diego State College (now SDSU) came up with the bold idea that there should be a department—and a curriculum—that focused entirely on issues affecting women. In fall 1970, the SDSU Senate approved the formal beginning of the Women’s Studies Department, which became the first program of its kind in the world. The rest, as they say, is herstory.

To commemorate its 40th anniversary this year, the department is presenting “Sustaining a Revolution: Women’s Studies Turns 40.” The exhibit will run from August 24 to December 20 in the SDSU Library’s Donor Hall. The exhibit focuses on the issues facing women in the 1970s and on the development of Women’s Studies departments both at SDSU and nationwide. The exhibit features original materials, including departmental records, photographs, news clippings, brochures, correspondence, two quilts, and more. The Women’s Studies Department organized the exhibit with materials housed in the library’s Special Collections and University Archives Department, including many from the Bonnie Zimmerman Papers collection.

The SDSU NewsCenter published an article yesterday about SDSU’s National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and its summer reading recommendations. In the article, Alida Allison, professor of children’s literature, and our own Linda Salem, children’s literature librarian, discuss how to select good books for your children and the library’s children’s book collection. The article also includes a link to a video that includes footage taken during the “Celebration of Kids Books” event, which was held in the library on April 13, 2010. A direct link to the video on YouTube is also included below.

Best Summer Reads for Kids

Flickr Photos

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