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Check out Subject Guides

Trapped in a research project with nowhere to turn? At the end of a dark database alley with no relevant sources in sight? … Never fear, Subject Guides are here!

Drawing together important resources for research in every discipline, the subject guides are a great starting point for digging up everything from statistics and data sets to elusive primary sources. Unsure where to start? There’s even a subject guide for doing research.

Student Activism and the Role of Student Newspapers

“Student Activism and the Role of Student Newspapers, 1967-1970” is now on display in Burling Gallery on the lower level.

Using newspapers and photos from the Special Collections and Archives, this exhibit looks at the alternative and underground newspapers printed by Grinnell students between 1967 and 1970. The changing, and often tumultuous, cultural and political landscape of the 1960s and 1970s lent itself particularly well to the creation of alternative newspapers.

Alternative newspapers at Grinnell created a space to stage dialogues and demonstrations, and connect students to larger movements outside of Grinnell that related to both local and national issues.

These student publications also pushed the boundaries of the purpose of newspapers in fascinating ways. Among the newspapers included are the Pterodactyl, the High and Mighty, the Brotherhood, and a variety of single-issue publications.

Any items in the display and mentioned in the brochure are available for library patrons to examine at Special Collections, also located on the lower level of Burling.

This exhibit was curated by Hana Lord ’18, with poster design by Han Trinh ’17.

A Book Talk with Dr. Edward C. Cohn

Grinnell College Libraries presents a book talk with Dr. Edward C. Cohn on Friday, April 15, at 4:15 p.m. in Burling Lounge. Dr. Cohn, Associate Professor of History, will discuss his book, The High Title of a Communist, published by Northern Illinois University Press in 2015. 

The High Title of a Communist analyzes the Soviet Communist Party’s system of internal discipline in the The High Title of A Communist by Ed Kohntwenty years after World War II, focusing on investigations of corruption, war-time collaboration with the Nazis, drunkenness, and sexual misconduct among Communists. Professor Cohn has now begun a new research project on the KGB’s efforts to fight dissent and political unrest in the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In particular, this project focuses on the tactic known as the “prophylactic conversation,” in which the KGB sought to prevent low-level offenders from becoming hardened enemies of the regime by “inviting” them to supposedly informal “conversations” or “chats.”

Edward Cohn came to Grinnell in 2007 after completing a Ph.D. in Russian history at the University of Chicago. A 1999 graduate of Swarthmore College, he worked for a year as a journalist before entering graduate school and specializes in the social and political history of the Soviet Union in the decades after World War II. Professor Cohn is also the chair of the Russian, Central, and Eastern European Studies concentration (RCEES). He travels frequently to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and is always happy to work with students on independent research projects related to the region.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you plan to attend this event and need accommodation, please contact Burling Library as soon as possible to make your request.

A Book Talk with Dr. Aysha Pollnitz

Grinnell College Libraries presents a book talk with Dr. Aysha Pollnitz on Friday, April 8, at 4:15 p.m. in Burling Lounge. Dr. Pollnitz, Assistant Professor of History, will discuss her book, Princely Education in Early Modern Britain, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2015. 

Princely Education in Early Modern Britain investigates one of the earliest attempts to use liberal Pollnitz book covereducation to effect political reform in Europe.  More specifically, it considers the fortunes of a humanist campaign, led by Erasmus of Rotterdam (c.1466-1536), to deter European princes from vainglorious warfare by teaching them knowledge of scripture and classical literature.  Erasmus’s prescriptions and curriculum had a particularly strong impact on the British isle, where humanist pedagogy transformed the upbringing of Tudor and Stuart princes between 1485 and 1649. The schooling of fifteenth-century princes had emphasized the sword but the education of Henry VIII and his successors prioritized the pen.  This shift in princely pedagogy played a critical and hitherto unappreciated role in reshaping the political and religious culture of early modern Britain.  Erasmus may have been intending to deter rulers from conquering additional territories but, in practice, his curriculum gave princes the skills and (inadvertently) the impetus to assert their supremacy over their subjects’ souls. Ultimately, a mode of education which was meant to prevent over-mighty monarchy in Europe actually taught kings and queens to extend their authority over church and state. 

Aysha Pollnitz arrived at Grinnell College in August 2013 following research fellowships at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC. She has taught at the University of Cambridge, Georgetown University, and Rice University, where she served as a resident faculty associate at Baker College. Dr. Pollnitz teaches courses on medieval and early modern European history, British history, the history of political and religious thought, on the history of sex, gender, and family, on cultural encounters, on the transmission of knowledge, and on historical method and argument. She has advised undergraduate and graduate student research on topics in British, European, and intellectual history.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you plan to attend this event and need accommodation, please contact Burling Library as soon as possible to make your request.

Check out JournalFinder

Need to know whether Grinnell College Libraries has access to your favorite journal, magazine, newspaper, or other periodical? Try out JournalFinder!

Under Find It! on the Libraries’ homepage, change the pull-down menu to Journals. Then type the first few words of the periodical title:

Under Find it select Journals and type in title of journal underneath.  Click Search

Hit enter, and you’ll see your journal’s availability. Our example, Colonial Latin American Review, is available through several subscriptions, including online and print formats. Click on the link of your choice for access to the journal:

Results of JournalFinder search "colonial latin america" show number of records retrieved (1) and links to where you can find issues.

Grinnell College Libraries subscribes to more than 57,000 periodicals. Explore JournalFinder to find out more!

#Charlestonsyllabus Display in Burling Library

On June 17, 2015, nine people were shot to death at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  The shooting was a racially motivated hate crime against black lives perpetrated by a young white man, Dylann Roof.  In response to the news of the horrific event, historians, scholars, and non-academic readers alike took to Twitter under the hashtag #Charlestonsyllabus to amass a list of resources any person could turn to in order to educate themselves about the history of race and racial violence in America.

Dr. Keisha N. Blain, the co-founder of the #Charlestonsyllabus movement, keeper of the online syllabus, and author of the forthcoming book, Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence, visited Grinnell College to speak to the community in the college’s 2016 celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. Blain discussed the bridging of scholarship and activism and the immediate connections made possible by social media.

In response to Dr. Blain’s visit, Grinnell College Libraries has documented the locations and availability of the resources suggested in the #Charlestonsyllabus. The libraries have 228 of the 296 books and films listed on the #Charlestonsyllabus. The #Charlestonsyllabus is listed here in its entirety, with links to the catalog for the materials that our library currently owns.  Many other resources are available through Interlibrary Loan.

The resources don’t end here, either. Look around in the stacks at the books surrounding the ones on this list, or think about additions you would make to it.  The #Charlestonsyllabus was a community effort, one that required a deeper engagement than just consumption (although in a list of over 300 materials, consumption is a good place to start). Share your thoughts and opinions on the list and the readings with those around you and/or online.

And be sure to visit the #Charlestonsyllabus display, located between the Latino Collection and the jungle gym in the southwest corner of Burling Library.

#Charlestonsyllabus is found on the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS) webpage.

Optima Typewriter Owned by David Lustbader ‘65

Just before winter recess, Special Collections and Archives received a very exciting new acquisition — an Optima portable typewriter! We don’t have a large collection of artifacts, but once we heard the story behind this typewriter we knew we had to have it for our collection. This particular typewriter was owned by alum David Lustbader ’65 during his time here at Grinnell College and in his years at law school.

The summer before his first year at Grinnell, Lustbader and his father visited a typewriter shop in Newark, New Jersey.  There were two portable models available, the popular Olivetti and an Optima. According to Lustbader, the Olivetti was thin and light weight, while the Optima keyboard was not as flat. Lustbader preferred the Optima, which was manufactured in West Germany. His father, however, was very reluctant to purchase anything from Germany.

Lustbader’s father had good reason for not wanting to support German manufacturing. During WWII, he had worked in the shipyards in Kearney, New Jersey, building Liberty Ships. Additionally, several of his father’s close friends, including the best man at his wedding, had served in the army during the war. However, he relented when he saw how much his son liked the Optima. In a fun twist to the story, during his second year at Grinnell, Lustbader became good friends with a German exchange student named Wolf Grabendorff. The two remain good friends to this day.

According to Lustbader, all of his school papers and correspondence during undergrad and law school were written using his Optima typewriter. The Optima owned by Lustbader is an Optima Elite, which was manufactured between 1955 and 1961. Amazingly, the original owner’s manual and cleaning brushes are still inside the case. The manual details helpful tips such as how to type capital letters and change the ribbon, and explains the movement of the carriage. The typewriter and its accompanying case are in beautiful condition, showing how much care they were given during their years of use.

We encourage anyone with an interest to drop by Special Collections and examine this typewriter in person.  Special Collections and Archives is open to the public 1:30–5 p.m. Monday through Friday and mornings by appointment.

Christopher Kloeble, Author of "Almost Everything Very Fast", Visits Grinnell College

The  Grinnell College German Department presents a book talk with German author Christopher Kloeble on Tuesday, March 8, at 4 pm in Burling Lounge. Kloeble will discuss his latest novel, Almost Everything Very Fast, translated from the German by Aaron Kerner and published by Graywolf Press in February of this year.Christopher Kloeble's book

Kloeble’s novel is set in a Bavarian village and centers on Albert, a 19-year-old who was raised in an orphanage, and Fred, who is an older man but child-like due to brain damage suffered long ago. The two set off together to investigate Albert’s past, and as their journey progresses, his complicated history is revealed. In its November 2015 review of the book, Publisher’s Weekly called the novel “disturbing [and] ultimately moving” and stated that “Kloeble’s cinematic vision and vivid storytelling encompass a range of human emotion and iniquity.” Copies of the novel will be available during the March 8 book talk.

Christopher Kloeble was born in Munich in 1982 and currently lives in Berlin and Dehli. In 2014, he was a Grinnell College Writer-in-Residence, and he most recently served as a guest professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Kloeble is the author of three novels, a collection of short stories, several plays, and the script for the movie Inklusion. Almost Everything Very Fast is Kloeble’s first book to be published in English.

For more information about the author and his latest novel, please visit his website.