Michigan State University

RCAH master guide

Zines by African American women

Zines are "self-publications, motivated by a desire for self-expression, not profit." Read more at the Barnard Zine Library.

Our holdings

MSU has a strong collection of British and American punk zines from the 1970s and 80s, and we're working to expand our holdings of more recent zines.

How to find

Search the MSU Library Catalog using Basic Keyword Search.

  • Limit your search to Special Collections (optional)
  • Keyword search: Osa Atoe
  • Keyword search: Nia Diaspora
  • Keyword search: Monica Trinidad
  • Title search: mixed girl zine

Cookbooks by African American women (1880-1960)

Our holdings

MSU Special Collections has more than 25,000 cookbooks from all over the world, dating back 500 years, including several hundred titles by African American authors. They often include significant autobiographical content.

The subject heading "African American cooking" can be deceptive because some early cookbooks on that topic were actually written by white authors, who included recipes they had learned from African American cooks.

However, the book Black Hunger: Soul Food and America by Doris Witt includes a Chronological Bibliography of Cookbooks by African Americans covering the years 1800 to 1998. You'll need to logon with your MSUnet ID and password to read this e-book.

In the Appendix preceding the bibliography, Witt mentions a few of the historical and political issues that cookbook history touches on.

How to find

Consult the bibliography above. Then search the MSU library catalog by author or title. Note that "cookbook" was almost always written as two words ("cook book") up to the 1950s and sometimes later.

Images of African Americans in cooking pamphlets

Blatant stereotypes of African Americans can be seen in commercial cooking pamphlets, the small brochures with recipes that often accompany new grocery products or appliances.

Our holdings

Special Collections has an extensive collection of these cooking pamphlets, dating from the 1860s to the present. The library's Little Cookbooks website has descriptions for each item in the collection, and images for about 40% so far.

All the items (digitized or not) can be used in the Special Collections reading room.

How to find

Go to the Advanced Search page on the Little Cookbooks website.

  • Use the search term ethnic stereotypes.
  • Limit by date if relevant to your topic.
  • If you don't have time to visit Special Collections, click Show only items with pictures.

Women's movement periodicals

We have a good collection of newsletters and magazines from the contemporary women's movement.

Use the library catalog Advanced Search:

  • Limit to Special Collections
  • Subject search feminism--united states--periodicals
  • Subject search lesbianism--united states--periodicals
  • Subject search women--united states--periodicals

Advice books

Throughout history, different cultures have had expectations about how women should behave, and their proper role in the family and in society. And, after the invention of the printing press made books cheaper and literacy more common, both men and women began writing "advice books" to instruct women about these expectations.

The subheading "conduct of life" is used in the subject headings to identify these books. Books with the subheading "health and hygiene" may also be of interest. Sort your results by date for a quick overview of how the content has changed over time.

Use the library catalog Advanced Search:

  • Limit to Special Collections
  • Subject search girls--conduct of life
  • Subject search women--conduct of life
  • Subject search women--health and hygiene

Black feminists

  • Author search national black feminist organization
  • Keyword search black woman's manifesto
  • Author search third world women's alliance
  • Keyword search kitchen table women of color press

Black Women Oral History Project

Photograph of Maida Kemp, interviewee in the Black Women Oral History Project

The Schlesinger Library for the History of Women in America (Radcliffe College) carried out the Black Women Oral History Project from 1976 to 1981.

Hundreds of women were nominated to be interviewed, and 72 chosen. They represented a cross-section of African American women who had made "significant contributions of varying kinds to American society in the early and mid-decades of the twentieth century."

Special Collections has the full set of print transcripts of the interviews and a guide to the transcripts.

The finding aid on the Schlesinger Library website has:

  • A biographical paragraph about each woman interviewed
  • Page images of the transcripts
  • Audio files for some of the interviews

Feminist Federal Credit Union papers

The Feminist Federation Credit Union established in Detroit in 1973 was the first of its kind, and it inspired similar organizations in Lansing, Ann Arbor, and other cities nationwide. Its goal was to empower and unite women by allowing them to pool their financial resources, so that women who were saving money could provide loans to women who needed them.

Terri L. Jewell Papers (MSS 220)

Cover of The Black Woman's Gumbo Ya-Ya, edited by Terri Jewell

Black lesbian poet Terri Lynn Jewell (1954-1995) was born in Louisville but attended MSU and lived in the Lansing area as an adult.

The Terri Jewell Papers (MSS 220) include her personal papers, drafts of poetry and essays, and material gathered for unpublished writing projects.

Our archival collections are stored off-site. Please request three days before your visit.

Michigan State University