One popular way that people observe Women’s History Month is by reading works written by women. If you’re looking for more ways to celebrate women in literature why not learn more about women in publishing?
One woman who took part in the publishing industry was Kathleen Tankersley Young. Young was an African-American poet and editor at the time of the Harlem Renaissance. In 1929 Young, in collaboration with Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler, published Blues: A Magazine of New Rhythms. Blues was a literary magazine that contained contributions from noted modernists such as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams. Blues can be found in the Serials series of the Authors and Poets collection.
As we come back from winter break, you may be looking for something to keep you in the holiday spirit. Well there’s no better place to look than the Carolyn Davis collection of Louisa May Alcott! You can now view and request individual items from this collection through the updated finding aid, making it easier than ever to access these timeless stories.
The Carolyn Davis collection of Louisa May Alcott contains numerous editions of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, including everything from a first edition copy of the novel, a Danish translation, an edition from 1995, and more! Seeing how Little Women has been interpreted throughout time and across countries can allow you to experience this classic story in new ways. The Carolyn Davis collection also contains other works by Alcott such as Hospital Sketches and Rose in Bloom and works about Alcott and her family.
Non-fiction writing by black authors covers a wide variety of topics, including pamphlets on politics, racism, activism, and culture in our African American and African pamphlet collection. The subject guide also highlights fiction ranging from children’s books by Chinua Achebe to literary masterpieces by writers such as James Baldwin. Contributions of black artists and printers to other parts of the bookmaking process, such as illustrators like Cledie Taylor and black owned presses like the Broadside Press, are also included.
Whether it is novels like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, major franchises like Star Trek, or recent television series like Lovecraft Country, science fiction is one of the most popular and profitable genres in pop-culture. And now you can discover science fiction among the Literature and Rare Books collections in Special Collections and University Archives! You can now explore the stories which have influenced the genre, and take a look at our new finding aid for the Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines!
For decades girls’ series books like the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories have been entertaining and inspiring readers of all ages. However there are many other girls’ series books such as the Dana Girls Mystery Stories or the Cherry Ames Nurse Stories. If you want to learn more about Hornbake’s collection of girls’ series books take a look at the finding aid for the Rose and Joseph Pagnani Collection of Girls’ Series Books. To learn more about the collection and girls’ series books in general be sure to visit our online exhibit Girls’ Series Books Rediscovered: Nancy Drew and Friends or our Flickr albums on Nancy Drew and other Girls’ Series books.
Even if you have never studied literature you are likely familiar with authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson or Charles Dickens. While these authors may have written in different styles and about different subject matter, they were among the most notable authors of the 19th century. To learn more about Emerson, Dickens, and other notable writers of the 19th century take a look at our new libguide on 19th Century Literature!
The libguide draws attention to some of the main collecting areas for Literature and Rare Books, such as illustrated works. Hornbake’s holdings include a variety of different kinds of illustrated works that were popular in the 19th century, from scientific illustrations (Thomas Bewick’s woodcut portrayals of animals) to satirical illustrations (Punch Magazine). The libguide also features highlights from our collection of 19th century literature, such as books published by Kelmscott Press, which reacted against the consumerism and mass production of the late 19th century by producing expensive, high quality books that doubled as works of art.
Katherine Anne Porter was a young, aspiring writer when she contracted influenza during the 1918 pandemic in Denver, Colorado. Her case was so severe she was essentially given up for dead before making a surprising, albeit slow recovery. Read more about her experiences in “Katherine Anne Porter and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic Part I, The Influenza Pandemic in Colorado”. Shortly following her recovery, Porter moved to New York and began her professional writing career. By the 1930s, she waswell on her way to becoming an established author, publishing, among others, the short stories “Maria Concepcion” (1922) and “Flowering Judas (1930).
Katherine Anne Porter portrait, circa 1934-1935. Katherine Anne Porter papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.
Pale Horse, Pale Rider
Nearly two decades after surviving the 1918 influenza pandemic, Porter drew upon her experience for the short novel “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”. First published in 1938, it is a tragic, surreal, and striking portrayal of facing death during both a pandemic and a period of American history that was already dominated by the immense death and devastation of the First World War.
“I think of my personal history as before the plague and since the plague.” – Katherine Anne Porter to Alfred Crosby, 13 June 1975
An unknown illness, shortage of hospital beds, fever induced hallucinations, and growing fear about a contagious and deadly plague. All of these frightening realities take place against the backdrop of young love and the First World War in Katherine Anne Porter’s “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.” “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” tells the story of trauma and survival during the 1918 Influenza pandemic. A masterfully written short novel woven with poetic and, at times, surreal prose, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” is also a personal story for Porter, recalling her experience contracting the illness in Colorado in October 1918. With striking similarities to the current pandemic, it is a beautiful, complex, and intimate glimpse into the experience of making it through the other side of a pandemic and the First World War.
Portrait of Katherine Anne Porter taken in early spring, Texas, 1918. Katherine Anne Porter papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Maryland Libraries.
In the years leading up to the 1918 influenza pandemic, Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) had already faced a tumultuous life. Born in Texas, she was largely self taught and moved often with her family following the deaths of her mother and grandmother in 1892 and 1901 respectively. She was married and divorced three times, briefly worked as a movie extra in Chicago, taught children in a Dallas hospital, and wrote for several newspapers. Although she had begun writing, she had yet to publish her work in earnest.
For years, works by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Frost have been staples of high school English classes across America. While The Great Gatsby and “The Road Not Taken” may now be regarded as classics, modernism, the literary movement that Fitzgerald and Frost participated in, was originally considered to be a disruptive force against the literary establishment.
We may be self-isolating for the time being, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t travel the world! If you want to learn more about German history and culture, visit the Internet Archive to view digitized items from the University of Maryland’s collection of German books and periodicals.
This digital collection of 29 items spans from 1832 to 1923 and includes a variety of topics. With works on subjects as diverse as the Napoleonic Wars, the Dada movement, bacteriology, art and architecture, World War I, and German poetry, there is something for everyone!