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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The Strange and Fantastical World of Sci-Fi Pulp Advertisements, Part 2

A sensational offer! Tremendous price slash! Send no money, your satisfaction guaranteed! 10 day free trial for our readers! We’re back exploring the strange world of science fiction pulp magazine advertisements found in UMD Special Collections! In case you missed it, be sure to check out The Strange and Fantastical World of Sci-Fi Pulp Advertisements, Part 1, where we put the spotlight on patriotic ads, mail away novelties, and much more!

For part 2, we take a look at the wellness marketing in science fiction pulp magazines. Advertisements marketing health and beauty were extremely popular. Readers were often bombarded with quick-fix gimmicky offers and products targeting a physical flaw perceived by a self-conscious reader, like the promise to build muscle fast or remove unsightly blemishes. For male audiences, opportunities to “make you a new man” and “develop muscles of a super-man” were common, as seen in the advertisements below. One advertisement from a February 1930 issue of Air Wonder Stories sells exercise equipment that is guaranteed to help you “get strong and amaze friends” and “easily master feats which which now seem difficult.” For the low price of $5, readers can send the coupon to Crusader Apparatus Co. in New Jersey. No money is required upfront, but rather readers pay the postman upon delivery. Satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back!

Is baldness necessary? The Vitex Hair Institute tells readers an emphatic “NO”. Just 10 minutes a day using their hair treatment products will help you maintain a healthy scalp and “help keep baldness away.” If you live in the New York area, this advertisement encourages you to stop by their Fifth Avenue salon and “see convincing proof of the results achieved.”

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The Strange and Fantastical World of Sci-Fi Pulp Advertisements, Part 1

Looking for a patriotic glow-in-the-dark necktie? How about a convenient portable garage? Can we interest you in a futuristic Sony micro TV? These are just a few of the interesting product advertisements that can be found throughout our Science Fiction Pulp Magazine collection in the Literature and Rare Books collection.

The Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines contains 365 volumes of Sci-Fi pulps, with the majority being published between 1903 and 1961. Pulp magazines were inexpensive popular fiction works published from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, characteristically printed on cheap wood pulp paper. Science fiction pulp magazines typically featured colorful cover art, along with short stories that embraced futuristic and fantasy themes. Within the pages of these magazines are also a multitude of advertisements that provide a glimpse into consumerism, novelty, and American life through the decades.

A common theme in pulp magazine advertisement is asking readers to send away for products in the mail. One example below is the handy “10 tools in one” multi-tool featured in a 1930 issue of Air Wonder Stories. Simply cut out the coupon and send in $1 to receive your own “small but handy article which serves every possible need of the all around mechanic.”

Pistol sling-shots for $1, humless radio tubes, a Dick Tracey radio watch sure to catch the attention of comic book fans, and prize money for the eagle eyed reader who can spot the identical cartoons can all be found within the pages of Air Wonder Stories and Fantastic Adventures in the 1930s and 1940s.

Magic tricks and small novelties such as the “ooh-la- la ring”, a lumnous skeleton, a “wizarddeck” of cards, invisible ink, and the curious “nose blower” could be sent away for as little as 10 cents. The full page advertisement below from the February 1930 issue of Air Wonder Stories, features more than two dozen of these small prizes, likely targeting young readers awed by fantastical sci-fi stories and inventions, looking to spend some pocket change.

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Special Collections Spotlight: French Pamphlet collection

The French Pamphlet collection documents significant events and periods in French history throughout the 17th-20th centuries. It contains approximately 9,600 pamphlets pertaining to public figures, political events, foreign relations, religion, and conflict. The pamphlets are an invaluable resource for the insight they provide into their contemporary conversations, social climates, and ways of thought.

The largest part of the collection is made up of over 5,700 pamphlets and includes government publications from the first ten years of the French Revolution, over 1,700 decrees and laws published from 1789 to 1795, and documents France’s involvement with the Middle East, centering on the conflict with the Ottoman Empire, 1900-1924, among other topics of interest. Pamphlets and other printed ephemera also became more common on the eve of the Revolution when the old system of royal regulation of printing and bookselling collapsed. The pamphlets document these important periods of transition.

Explore the French Pamphlet collection finding aid.

We also have fully digitized items from the French pamphlet collection in the Internet Archive.

To view any French pamphlets in Special Collections 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 contextu