The ABCs of Katherine Anne Porter: C is for…

Cats!

It is widely acknowledged that cats choose their owners, showing up out of the blue and making themselves at home. This was definitely the case for Katherine Anne Porter, who often took in strays that came wandering into her garden from the street. She would treat them to canned fish or anything else she might have on hand and end up with a new furry friend.

No matter where she traveled, from Mexico City to New York to Paris, a cat always seemed to find its way into Porter’s home. As a solitary writer, her cats were sometimes her only companions through long days of writing. Porter shared stories of their antics in her letters, recounting her cat Satchmo loved to play with marbles and her white cat Lucifer enjoyed going on picnics. Lucifer is photographed below in 1957 on a picnic with Porter’s niece Anne Holloway Heintze and family. Porter loved cat throughout her life, and celebrated her 82nd birthday with a cat piñata!

Images of Katherine Anne Porter throughout the years and her various feline companions. From the Katherine Anne Porter papers.

You can explore digitized letters by Katherine Anne Porter’s online in the online exhibit Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives, 1912-1977.

Digitized photographs of Katherine Anne Porter can be found in our Digital Collections repository.

Browse the finding aid to the Katherine Anne Porter papers and contact us to learn more!


Mattie Lewis is a student in the Masters of Library and Information Sciences program and Graduate Assistant with the Katherine Anne Porter Collection at UMD.

New Resource: Subject Guide for The Eugene Istomin Collection

Special Collections and University Archives is highlighting items from the Eugene Istomin collection within the Literature and Rare Books collections with a new subject guide, The Eugene Istomin Collection!

Eugene Istomin was a great American pianist, renowned for his artistry in recitals, chamber music and orchestral solos. Among his many accolades, Istomin was the Director of the University of Maryland piano festival, and beginning with President Eisenhower’s administration through the 1980s, Eugene Istomin served as a cultural ambassador, performing on three occasions at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In addition to his music, Eugene Istomin had many other interests, including visual arts, literature, history, and sports.

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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.

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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Special Collections Spotlight: Science Fiction Pulp Magazines

The Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines contains a variety of science fiction pulp magazines. Pulp magazines were inexpensive popular fiction works published from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, characteristically printed on cheaply made wood pulp paper. Pulp magazines initially contained a variety of different genres of fiction, including mystery and adventure genres, but in the 1920s magazines devoted to science fiction began to appear more frequently. Science fiction pulp magazines typically featured colorful cover art, along with short stories that embraced futuristic and fantasy themes, highlighting technology, space travel, otherworldly creatures, scientific innovation, and unexplored environments.

Some of the pulps such as Air Wonder Stories attempted to provide educational value to their stories by basing them on accurate scientific principles. Other titles, such as Astounding Stories of Super-Science, focused on providing the best price value with high page counts and low prices. The addition of letter columns in pulp magazines helped the fandom surrounding the genre grow as fans began to reach out to the addresses published alongside the letters. As science fiction progressed into the 1930s and 1940s, stories began to place a greater emphasis on plot and characterization. This collection’s titles include multi-genre pulps like The Strand and pulps devoted solely to science fiction such as Stirring Science Stories. Early titles featured stories written by H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Pushkin, and Jules Verne.

The collection contains 365 volumes of Sci-Fi pulps from 12 different title families. The pulps were published between 1891 and 1990, with the majority published between 1930 and 1961.

Explore the Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines finding aid.

To view any Science Fiction Pulp Magazines 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.

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