Michigan State University

RCAH master guide

Literary / cultural journals

Our holdings

We have print copies of several leading cultural journals from the period 1914-1941.

Also check out The Modernist Journals Project, created by Brown University and the University of Tulsa, a digital library of American and British cultural journals from the period 1890 to 1922. All the journals listed below (and more) are available there.

How to find

The Crisis. New York, 1910-1922. "Quickly became the most important voice of the African-American struggle for cultural identity and civic justice in the U.S." Reprint edition in Main.

The Little Review. 1914-1922. "...probably did more to promote modernism than any other American journal." Print copies in Fine Arts Library.

The Masses. New York, 1911-1919. "...distinctive mix of art and politics..." Print copies in Special Collections.

The Seven Arts. New York, 1916-1917. "Its mission was to promote an American renaissance, whereby the arts in the country would finally come of age by taking American life as their subject matter and the American people as their intended audience." Print copies in Special Collections.

(Quoted descriptions are from the The Modernist Journals Project.)

Modern dance: Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers

Our holdings

Rare booklets and commemorative volumes by and about the dancer Ted Shawn (1891-1972); his wife and collaborator Ruth St. Denis; their dance school Denishawn; and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival founded by Ted Shawn. About 12 items in Special Collections; secondary material in Main.

How to find

Search the MSU Library Catalog using Basic Keyword Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Subject search shawn, ted
  • Subject search st denis, ruth
  • Author search shawn, ted

Visual arts

Our holdings

We have limited holdings of primary sources on the art world from the period 1915-1941. However, here are a few items which may be of interest.

How to find

The Masses, a socialist political magazine published 1911-1917, was known for its cover art.

The American Artists' Congress was a group of artists committed to opposing fascism.

  • Author search american artists congress

We have a rare copy of the 1918 Catalogue of the First Exhibition of Work by the Alumni of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Genre fiction: Science fiction

Our holdings

Thanks to the Popular Culture Collection, we have extensive holdings of science fiction from 1915-1941, which was also a critical period in the early development of this genre.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Keyword search: science fiction
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941

Genre fiction: Westerns

Our holdings

Westerns are a significant genre of popular fiction and represent a significant element of American identity. We have more than 450 examples from 1900 to the present.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Keyword search: "western stories" (use quotation marks to get the exact phrase instead of separate words)
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941

Genre fiction: Romance

Our holdings

Romances may provide significant evidence about gender role expectations. Thanks to the Popular Culture collection we have extensive examples of this genre.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941
  • Keyword search "street & smith" (publisher)
  • Keyword search "dell romance" (series title)

In addition to romance novels we have scattered issues of many romance fiction magazines. This list only includes titles published in the U.S. for which we have issues dated between 1915 and 1941:

There's even an entire genre of Western romances. This list only includes magazine titles published in the U.S. for which we have issues dated between 1915 and 1941:

Movie programs

In the early days of cinema, printed programs were created for each release, much like the program given to audience members at live performances today. They typically contained interviews with the cast and crew, and gave the producer and director an opportunity to explain their vision for the film.

Our holdings

About 600 individually cataloged programs, with some additional titles cataloged as collections. About 45 programs from the period 1915-1941.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Keyword search: motion picture programs
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941

Political parties

Our holdings

We have selected examples of literature from the mainstream political parties and extensive collections from the far right and far left, thanks to the Radicalism collection.

How to find

An author search for the name of the party will retrieve the majority of our holdings. For comprehensive results, you may also need to search the party name by subject (your results will include material about, but not issued by, the party) or author searches for prominent party members. Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941
  • Author search communist league of america
  • Author search communist party of the united states of america
  • Author search democratic national committee (u.s.)
  • Author search democratic national convention
  • Author search republican party (u.s.)
  • Author search socialist party (u.s.)

Immigration

Our holdings

Although there was one group spearheading immigration issues (the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born) many other individuals and organizations wrote on the issue, so it's best to search by subject.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941
  • Author search american committee for protection of foreign born
  • Subject search aliens--united states
  • Subject search foreign workers--united states
  • Subject search immigrants--united states
  • Subject search naturalization--united states
  • Subject search united states--emigration and immigration
  • Subject search united states--nationality

Items about immigrants of specific nationalities will have a subject heading with name of group + geographic name, such as:

  • Japanese--United States
  • Chinese--California
  • Mexicans--United States

Labor issues

Our holdings

Thanks to the Radicalism collection we have extensive holdings on the labor movement from the period 1915-1941. Here are several ways to find relevant material.

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941

Unions

  • Author search amalgamated clothing workers of america
  • Author search international ladies garment workers union

Labor organizations and publishers

  • Author search american labor party
  • Author search brookwood labor college
  • Author search independent labor league of america
  • Author search international labor defense
  • Author search labor defense council
  • Author search league for a revolutionary workers party
  • Author search league for industrial democracy
  • Author search national child labor committee
  • Author search national committee for the defense of political prisoners
  • Author search revolutionary workers league
  • Author search social economic foundation
  • Author search trade union educational league
  • Author search workers library publishers
  • Author search workers literature distributors
  • Author search workers party of america
  • Keyword search highlander folk school
  • Keyword search united automobile workers of america
  • Title search progressive labor party pamphlet (series title)

Subject headings

  • Subject search child labor
  • Subject search strikes and lockouts
  • Subject search children--employment
  • Subject search labor laws and legislation
  • Subject search labor unions
  • Subject search sit-down strikes
  • Subject search united states national labor relations act 1935
  • Subject search working class

Haldeman-Julius Little Blue Books

Emanual Haldeman-Julius, a Jewish-American socialist writer, atheist thinker and social reformer, set up his own press to distribute inexpensive reading ("Little Blue Books") to working people.

Haldeman-Julius published thousands of 16 to 64 page booklets, including many serious essays on education, politics, culture, sexuality, and religion. He also published DIY topics and literary reprints.

Our holdings

1100+ examples of Haldeman-Julius' "Little Blue Books" published between 1920-1951, and secondary sources from 1950s to present.

How to find

Search the MSU Library Catalog using Basic Keyword Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Search term: haldeman julius.

World's Fairs

How did the United States present itself to the world at the two major world's fairs of the 1930s?

Our holdings

Souvenir books and other items produced for distribution at the Century of Progress International Exposition (Chicago, 1934-35) and the New York World's Fair (1939-40). About 8 items in Special Collections; about 100 items in Main, including secondary sources.

How to find

Search the MSU Library Catalog using Basic Keyword Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections (optional)
  • Search term: new york world's fair 1939-1940
  • Search term: century of progress international exposition 1933-1934

Popular music

Our holdings

An extensive collection of 20th century sheet music, with 400+ items dated between 1915 and 1941.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • Keyword search: popular music
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941

American cookbooks

Our holdings

Among the 20,000 items in the Cooking and Food Collection, we have about 35 cookbooks, published between 1915 and 1941, with "modern" or "20th century" in the title.

Did these cookbooks represent a genuine change in the way cookery and homemaking were understood, or was it simply smart marketing to put "modern" in the title of a cookbook? Our extensive cookbook holdings offer plenty of material from earlier decades for comparison.

How to find

Use the MSU Library Catalog Advanced Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections.
  • First search box: cooking, american.
  • Second search box: modern or 20th or twentieth
  • Limit publication dates: after 1915 and before 1941
Michigan State University