Special Collections Spotlight: German Expressionism

German Expressionism is a cultural movement that is challenging to define as it is not distinguished by a singular style or method of creation, but rather is better described by both the mindset of the artist creating the work and the generation they lived in. The German Expressionists were artists, writers, and thinkers who were of age in Germany prior to World War II, and lived during Wilhelm II’s reign. German Expressionism developed as a result of the younger generation’s reaction against the bourgeois culture of Germany during this time period. The German Expressionist movement was more than just a style of creating works of art or of telling a story, rather it was more of a mindset that had social, cultural, and political aspects. German Expressionism can be understood as a means of approaching life and, in particular, change.

The significance of German Expression is in its ephemeral nature. Many of the publications that resulted from the movement were serials printed on cheaply made paper that has become brittle over time. The movement as a whole was transitional, and it reflected German culture in that moment of change. The movement did not last an especially long time, and started to fade out as its artists and writers aged. As the National Socialists gained power in Germany, Expressionism was rejected and condemned, and many of the works produced in the style of the movement were burned and destroyed.

Explore the German Expressionism collection Subject Guide.

To view any German Expressionism titles visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us!


What is a Subject Guide?

A Subject Guide, also called a LibGuide, is a web page developed by library staff that focuses on a specific subject area. In any subject guide you may find databases relevant to the subject area, links to websites, journals and magazines, recommended books, library contacts for a specific subject, and much more.

New Resource: LibGuide on Gothic Literature in Special Collections

With the start of October we are officially entering spooky season! If you’re in the mood for omnious reading, check out the new subject guide, Gothic Literature in Special Collections! This guide highlights many of the titles influential to the Gothic genre that are available in Literature & Rare Books in Special Collections & University Archives  in Hornbake Library.

Gothic literature is an extensive literary genre. These works often include themes of romance, horror, and a prevailing atmosphere of mystery and terror. The term Gothic is a reference to the architecture of medieval buildings and ruins, which served as inspiration and backdrop in gothic novels with omnious castles/manors surrounded by eerie landscapes outside and subterranean passages, hidden panels, and trapdoors on the inside. The golden age of Gothic literature is roughly defined as beginning in the late 18th century up to the end of the 19th century, although its imprint can clearly be seen long past this timeframe leading into the modern horror genre in film, literature, comics, and more.

Authors highlighted in the new subject guide include grandfather of Gothic literature, Horace Walpole whose 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto is widely considered to be the first Gothic novel. Additional highlighted authors are the prolific Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and John William Polidori, whose 1819 novel, The Vampyre,  is considered the one of the first modern novels of the vampire genre in fiction. The Literature and Rare Books collection holds two first editions of The Vampyre. Illustrated editions of Frankenstein and works by Edgar Allan Poe are also prominent in the collections. Also included are notable Southern Gothic writers William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor and works that branch out beyond traditional Gothic genre.

Contact us for more information about these titles or other materials located from Literature & Rare Books in Special Collections & University Archives!


Victoria Vera is a graduate student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program at UMD and a student assistant in the Literature and Rare Books Collections, Special Collections and University Archives.

Special Collections Spotlight: First Appearances collection

The First Appearances Collection consists of over 1,300 periodicals containing the “first appearance,” or first public dissemination, of literary works and other excerpts of novels, poems, and essays written by notable 20th century authors. The publications range from literary magazines, such as Little Review, Texas Quarterly, and Partisan Review to popular titles such as Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and the Saturday Evening Post.

Spanning 1915 to 1977, the First Appearances Collection contains pieces such as “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway, “Ulysses” by James Joyce, and “Ship of Fools” by Katherine Anne Porter. The collection is also notable for its early editions of publications such as Time Magazine, the New Yorker, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as more specialized publications such as the Yale Quarterly Review.

Authors represented in this collection include Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, Thom Gunn, William Carlos Williams, Jack Kerouac, Langston Hughes, Flannery O’Connor, Gertrude Stein, Amiri Baraka, Ezra Pound, and more.

Explore the First Appearances collection finding aid.

To view any items in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

Featured Collection: Frontlash records

Frontlash was an activist group, led by young adults, instrumental in increasing voting and political engagement among American youth and minorities. Frontlash also served as a training ground for future personnel in the labor movement. It was created as a nonpartisan organization to challenge political and electoral apathy among youth in the 1960s.

Frontlash staffer handing out registration material

Frontlash stepped up their voter education efforts for young people when the 26th Amendment was passed in 1971. The organization sent members door-to-door, created poster displays, and set up public stands on sidewalks and college campuses to encourage wider political education and to register young voters. Later, they expanded their activities beyond voting rights to include international democracy and fair labor practices, such as child labor, apartheid, minimum wage, and workers rights.

This collection has extensive material related to instruction in labor organizing and union support, as well as significant material relating to Frontlash’s political activity. Types of records include organizational records, financial records, minutes, mission statements, reports, and photographs.

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New Exhibit: Mysteries, Monsters, and the Macabre

Fall is coming to campus! Leaves will be changing color, there will be a crisp cool breeze and longer nights, and Halloween is right around the corner! To help you get into the mood for the spooky season visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to explore our latest exhibit in Special Collections and University Archives titled Mysteries, Monsters, and the Macabre.

Mysteries, monsters and the macabre have plagued our minds for millennia. Medieval creatures lurking in the depths of the sea. Ghastly gothic tales of murderous guilt. An unexplainable 15th century code rumored to provide the key to immortality. Memorializing the dead with plaster casts. A curious purple vampire with a compulsive urge to count all he sees. These are a few of the intriguing stories you’ll uncover when literature, folklore, and history converge in the Special Collections exhibit Mysteries, Monsters, and the Macabre.

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Special Collections Spotlight: African American and African Pamphlet collection

The African-American and African Pamphlet Collection consists of 20th century materials on African, African-American, and Caribbean culture and literature. The collection spans the years 1905 -1979, although the majority of the pamphlets date from the 1960s and 1970s. The pamphlets are in English, French, and a variety of African languages, such as Swahili, Tsonga, Tswana and Xhosa. Some of the unique publications include a transcript of a 1931 worker’s trial by the U. S. Communist Party on a race-related incident, 1970s university studies on integration, and texts of speeches given by American radical leaders and leaders of African countries.

The collection is organized in thirteen series that include; African Culture and History, African Literature, African-American Culture and History, African-European Literature, American Literature, Black Workers in America, Canadian Literature – Poems, Caribbean Culture and History, Caribbean Literature, Desegregation, Race Relations and Racism, Revolutionary and Radical Literature.

Explore the African American and African Pamphlet collection finding aid.

To view any items in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

Exhibition Extended: Get Out the Vote

We are excited to announce the extension of our gallery exhibition Get Out The Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America through August 2023. Get Out The Vote highlights the history of suffrage in America and specifically the fight for the right to vote for women and African Americans. 

With the upcoming midterm elections, we hope that Get Out The Vote will inspire visitors to exercise their right to vote as well as illustrate the history of the expansion and contraction of voting rights. Get a sneak peek by visiting the online exhibition.

To learn about voting in early Maryland, the work of grassroots organizations, the unsteady progress toward greater enfranchisement, and more, visit us Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm in the Hornbake Library gallery. To visit outside these hours or inquire about a personalized tour, contact us!


Post by Clio Reid, volunteer
McGill University, 2023

Featured Collection: The Committee on Political Education

The AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) was founded in 1955 to encourage workers to participate in political life. COPE conducted research into legislative issues and politicians, organized grass-roots mobilization efforts to track the voting records of state and local legislators, interviewed and screened candidates running for office, and made endorsement recommendations to the AFL-CIO. COPE also worked directly with candidates for political office by providing financial contributions to those supportive of worker’s rights.

COPE representative talking to two people in front of a COPE poster that says "Give a buck to COPE"

Focusing on union members and their families, COPE led registration drives, prepared public relations and education campaigns, and created and distributed publications about candidates and their positions on the issues affecting workers’ lives, such as health care, pension benefits, and safe working conditions.

The materials consists of correspondence, voting statistics, printed materials, and clippings pertaining to election campaigns, politicians, and political issues. While COPE may have compiled voting statistics and published some of the printed material, this collection contains mostly secondary material issued by others and collected by office staff.

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Special Collections Spotlight: The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection 

The Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection consists of printed and illuminated manuscript leaves from Europe dated from the 12th -16th centuries. The collection includes 70 whole and partial leaves, representing a variety of styles and techniques that serve as a sampling of early print and manuscript book history. “Leaves” refers to a single sheet that was once part of a bound book. Manuscript books were entirely hand-produced, representing the earliest form of bookmaking across Europe. With the emergence of the printing press and movable type in Europe in the 1400s, printers utilized mechanical techniques to produce books more quickly than their manuscript counterparts. The collection is an excellent resource on book history and the art of printed and manuscript books.

The leaves in the collection were originally part of a variety of texts including several books of hours, Bibles, missals, and the Cologne Chronicle. The leaves come from a variety of countries in Europe, particularly Italy, France, and Germany.

Explore the Early Printed and Manuscript Leaf collection finding aid.

To view any early printed or manuscript leaves visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us!


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

The Strange and Fantastical World of Sci-Fi Pulp Advertisements, Part 3

We’re back with a final look at the captivating advertisements printed in the Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines in UMD Special Collections. We previously took a look at patriotic, employment, and novelty advertisements in Part 1 and beauty and wellness products in Part 2. Now we take a look at mid-century consumerism, fashion, and technology!

Advertisements in the 1950s highlight the cultural shift after World War II, emphasizing consumerism and the American Dream of a nuclear family with a beautiful home full of the latest appliances. The “Kalamazoo Direct to You” advertisement, offers readers “rock bottom factory prices” and the convenience of catalog shopping, as seen in the ad below from the October 1940 issue of Astonishing Stories.

The mail order advertisement layout that typically featured dozens of small novelties like magic sets (as seen in The Strange and Fantastical World of Sci-Fi Pulp Advertisements, Part 1), can be found again in an advertisement in the April 1952 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries. Instead of penny toys, must-haves for the automobile owner are showcased including seat covers, sun visors, and the “new miracle automatic auto washer”. The familiar “send no money – mail this coupon” line is given top billing, with a small print reminding the reader that payment for the item plus postage is due to the mailman upon delivery.

Portable garages, car radios, “readi-cut homes”, and “haircuts at home” are just a few of the products advertised to the American family. What family could resist an inexpensive way to keep everyone “barber -fresh” with “a complete haircut at home.” At only $0.98, the Sta-neet “magic knob” trims, shaves legs/underarms, thins, cuts and “pays for itself after first time used.”

In the 1950s, the Cold War led to a real fear among Americans that nuclear war with Russia could happen at any time. One of the most unusual advertisements we can across was a plain advertisement printed in the August 1951 issue of Super Science Stories for “Flash-Ready” mask and mittens that protect its wearer from nuclear fallout. 

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