U.S. Government Printing Office partners with the Digital Public Library of America

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) have partnered to increase public access to the Government information that GPO makes available through the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). The DPLA is a repository of digitized content from American libraries, archives, and museums that is available for free to the public. Through the partnership, nearly 150,000 records from GPO’s CGP will also be available to the public through the DPLA website. Examples of records include: the Federal Budget, laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Federal regulations, and Congressional hearings, reports, and documents. GPO continuously adds records to the CGP which will also be available through the DPLA, increasing the discoverability of and access to Federal Government information for the American public.

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Center for Ethics resources

Library staff have compiled a list of resources, most of them available online, by and about speakers participating in this year’s Center for Ethics program.
Here is a small sample of the available resources to whet your intellectual appetite:

Works by Barbara Cruikshank

“Feminism and Punishment.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society. 24.4 (1999). Available here. “Too, and Too Little.” Politics & Gender. 1.2 (2005): 336-341. Available here.

Works by Scott Lemieux

“Author Page for Scott Lemieux.” Web blog post. Lawyers, Guns & Money. 2014. Available here.

“Scalia Gets It Right.” Web blog post. The American Prospect. 3 June 2013. Available here.

Works by Erik Loomis

["Labor Online Blog Posts by Erik Loomis."] Labor and Working Class History Association. 2014. Available here.

Loomis, E, and R Edgington. “Lives Under the Canopy: Spotted Owls and Loggers in Western Forests.” Natural Resources Journal. 52.1 (2013): 99-134. Available here.

Works by Ursula Rucker

“For Women.” YouTube. N.d. Available here.

“I Ain’t (Yo Punk Ass Bitch).” YouTube. 2010. Available here.

Works by Daniel Pellow

Brulle, Robert J, and David N. Pellow. “Environmental Justice: Human Health and Environmental Inequalities.” Annual Review of Public Health. 27.1 (2006). Available here.

“From “Just Us” to Justice: Connecting the Environment, Community, and Academy.” Sociological Forum. 14.2 (1999). Available here.

Works by Caroll Bogert

“What Are the BRICS Building?” Slate. The Slate Group, 28 Mar. 2013. Available here.

“Old Hands, New Voice.” Columbia Journalism Review. 24 March 2009. Available here.

Works by Nancy Fraser

“Recognition Without Ethics?.” Theory, Culture & Society 18.2/3 (2001): 21. Available here.

Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Available here.

Feel free to integrate these readings into your courses to promote a lively and conversation around this year’s theme of “Civility and Disobedience.”
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With the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. Government Printing Office is making the official, digital version of the law available on the agency’s Federal Digital System (FDsys).  The Civil Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, prohibited segregation and discrimination in schools, public places and activities, and employment practices.

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ProQuest databases unavailable 10PM Saturday -11AM Sunday, June 14-15

On June 14, 2014 ProQuest will make improvements to its internal systems to accommodate a growing number of users and to reduce the need for future downtime.

ProQuest expects the products and platforms listed below to not be available from approximately 10:00 PM EDT, Saturday, June 14, 2014 through 11:00 AM EDT, Sunday, June 15, 2014.

  • ProQuest
  • ProQuest Support Center
  • ProQuest Dialog
  • ProQuest Congressional
  • ProQuest Digital Microfilm
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Special Collections & Archives Highlights: Emily Dickinson Letter

On this date 128 years ago, May 15, 1886, poet Emily Dickinson passed away in Amherst, MA. Special Collections is the repository for a letter that Dickinson wrote to a friend towards the end of her life.

Emily Dickinson letter uncat-1

Page 1

The notably reclusive poet was an active correspondent,  and one of her particular friends during her later years was Eugenia Hall, the “Genie” to whom our letter is address. Though undated, the four-page letter was probably composed ca. 1885.  It appeared in the first published collection of Dickinson’s letters in 1894 (811.4 D553L, p. 427).

Dear “Genie,”

The love-flower you sent me is like a little vase of spice and fills the hall with cinnamon.

You must have skillful hands to make such sweet carnations. Perhaps your doll taught you. I know that dolls are sometimes wise. Robins are my dolls.

Emily Dickinson letter4

Page 4

I am glad you love the blossoms so well. I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.

Lovingly, Coz. Emily.

This autograph letter, as well as documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and others, may be viewed upon request by visiting Special Collections.


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Special Collections & Archives Highlights: William Penn Land Grant

William Penn signed land grant

Pennsylvania land grant to John Tizacke, signed by William Penn, 12 May 1684

In 1681, Charles II of England granted William Penn approximately 45,000 square miles of land in the New World—the region now known as Pennsylvania. Penn, though a well-known dissident and Quaker, had maintained a civil relationship with the Stuart ruler, and the land is said to have been given to Penn as settlement for a debt of £16,000 owed to his father, Admiral William Penn, a long-serving naval officer. This was by far the largest and most liberal land grant given by the Crown.Badge_final

Penn, long an advocate for religious tolerance, sought to create in Pennsylvania a haven for Quakers and others facing religious persecution across Europe. This indenture, or deed, effectively sells 1,000 acres to one John Tizacke for the small sum of five shillings, to be held free and clear after one year’s rent of “one pepper corn.” Even today, a “peppercorn” is the legal term for a nominal payment that creates a legally binding transaction.

John Tizacke (or Tyzack)detail1_sm came from a family of glass-makers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the English county of Northumberland, and he was a documented Quaker. He and his wife, Sarah, were members of the Gateshead Society of Friends, and John was reportedly jailed and tried for attending a Quaker meeting and refusing to swear an oath of conformity per the Quaker Act of 1662 (swearing oaths is antithetical to Quaker beliefs). One can only imagine that he was grateful for the opportunity to emigrate to Pennsylvania.

Penn's signature

Penn’s signature

Since Penn’s desired glass-making industry in Pennsylvania was largely unsuccessful until the Revolutionary period, Tisacke returned to England by 1691, but there are numerous records of his having become something of a real estate mogul, with his name appearing on land transaction documents both in Philadelphia and in England.

This indenture is largely printed on parchment, or vellum, with the names and locations filled in by hand. The fading that can be seen in Penn’s signature is characteristic of the corrosive effect of iron gall ink– the standard writing medium from the fifth through the nineteenth century–which eventually disintegrates the fibers of paper or parchment. This is one of several Penn family deeds held in Special Collections.

William Penn's seal

William Penn’s seal


Penn, William, and Mary Maples Dunn. The Papers of William Penn. Vol. 2. Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982.

Soderlund, Jean R.. William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania, 1680-1684: A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

“The Travels of John Tyzack, Broadglass maker.” The Tyzacks. http://www.tyzack.net /all4.html (accessed April 15, 2014).

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2014 Library Scholars Announced!

The Library Scholar award recognizes students who have demonstrated growth in and increased understanding of information literacy through independent study or research. Students were nominated by faculty; winners were chosen through an application process reviewed by the award committee.

A hearty thank you to all faculty who submitted nominations and to the many students who produced such quality work and applications.

The winners (and nominators) of the 2014 Trexler Library Scholars competition are:

  • Kristen Wendt ‘15 – Nominated by Prof. Susan Clemens and Prof. Sally Richwine
  • Michael Schramm ‘14 – Nominated by Prof. Daniel Wilson

A library display highlighting this year’s award winners will be posted near the reading lounge on Level A of Trexler Library.

A special thank you to our judges: Dr. Michael Huber, Dean of Academic Life Rachel Hamelers, Librarian Peter Schartel, Class of ‘15, 2013 Library Scholar

Congratulations to our 2014 Trexler Library Scholars!

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First Annual Edible Book Festival Recap

Our first annual edible book festival, which took place Friday, April 11th, was a smashing success! Over a dozen contestants contributed a veritable buffet of edible books representing an array of literary genres and authors. Prizes were awarded for Most Booklike, Most Humorous, Best Student Entry, People’s Choice, and Best in Show. Attendees were invited to sample the entries after the awards presentation and all agreed the entries were both imaginative and delicious!

most book like

WINNER: Most Booklike
Bake at Fahrenheit 451
Faculty/Staff Entry: Katy Mangold

most humorous

WINNER: Most Humorous
12 Angry Henz – 12 Angry Men
Faculty/Staff Entry: Rachel Hamelers

people's choice

WINNER: People’s Choice
WINNER: Best Student Entry
Cinnamon World of Roald Dahl – The works of Roald Dahl/ Student Entry: Alex McKhann, Emily Baldasarra, Hannah Cook, Matt Dicken, Brian Pacelli, Marc Jablonski

best in show

WINNER: Best in Show
The House of Seven “Clark” Gables
Faculty/Staff Entry: Joy LeFevre

Visit our Facebook page for additional photos.

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Special Collections & Archives Highlights: “Frakturs: American Illuminated Manuscripts”

Hand-decorated birth certificate of Michael Lang, 1802

Hand-decorated birth certificate of Michael Lang, 1802

To commemorate important rites of passage, such as births, baptisms, graduations, and marriages, the Pennsylvania Germans celebrated with an art form that is unique in American folk art: the fraktur.Badge_final

Though frakturs have their antecedents in European models descended from illuminated manuscripts, examinations of examples in French, Swiss, and German folk art museums show that they cannot compare with American frakturs in complexity, vividness, or sheer number.

Birth and baptism certificate for Heinrich Motz, 1832

Birth and baptism certificate for Heinrich Motz, 1832

The word “fraktur” was derived from a 16th-century type font of the same name. A fraktur essentially must meet two qualifications: it must utilize this font, and include designs in or around the text. Typically, the design would be symmetrical, and comprised mostly of greens, blues, reds, and yellows. The most common style of fraktur was that of the birth or baptismal certificate, but other formats included decorated books and bookplates (like the one pictured below), Valentines, Vorschriften or writing specimens, and religious broadsides.

Bookplate of Christian Steeley, 1826

Bookplate of Christian Steeley, 1826

The earliest frakturs produced in America came from the Ephrata Cloisters in the 1740s. The artists creating frakturs were typically teachers and ministers, and fully handmade frakturs continued to be created alongside printed versions which were to be hand-colored and filled in with names and dates. The demand for birth and baptismal frakturs was so great that first Ephrata, then Reading and Allentown, became centers of mass-production.

Detail of 1829 partially-printed birth certificate

Detail of 1829 partially-printed birth certificate







Surprisingly, frakturs were not intended for display, but to be tucked away inside of Bibles or chests to be kept as vital records. Thus, away from potential sun-damage, they have often remained bright and well-preserved.

While artists typically did not sign their works, a few of the examples in Special Collections contain the initials of the artists.

While artists typically did not sign their works, a few of the examples in Special Collections contain the initials of the artists.

Trexler Library’s frakturs are part of the Pennsylvania German Collection, held in Special Collections and Archives.








Conner, Paul and Jill Roberts. Pennsylvania German Fraktur and Printed Broadsides.   Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1988. (P.G. 745.6709748 L697p)

Shelley, Donald A. The Fraktur-Writings or Illuminated Manuscripts of the Pennsylvania Germans. Allentown, PA: The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society, 1961. (P.G. 974.81 P4154 v.23)

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Edible Book Festival Rules



The rules are simple: all entries must be made of edible materials, and must be somehow inspired by the title or contents of a book. Each entry can be a reflection, representation, or interpretation. Use your imagination!  Muhlenberg students, faculty, staff, and members of the Allentown community are invited to participate.

Prizes will be awarded for the following categories:

Most Booklike • Most Humorous • Best Student Entry • People’s Choice • Best in Show

A few requirements to ensure an enjoyable Festival:

– Entries should be constructed only of technically EDIBLE substances. (Non-edible support materials such as toothpicks are permitted but must be listed on the registration form).

–Registration takes place on the day of the Festival. There will be an entry form to complete when you bring your submission.

– You are welcome to display your book inspiration [or cover image] alongside your entry.

– Entries must not need any additional care like refrigeration during the festival.

–By entering, you give Trexler Library permission to photograph your entry, (and you, if you are a prize-winning entrant).

–The Trexler Library Edible Book Festival planning committee reserves the right to reject any entry that they believe is unsuitable for the competition. (Nothing in poor taste, please!).

–Entrants and guests are invited to share the tasting of the entries at the end of the Festival, but Trexler Library accepts no responsibility for the food safety of said items. Participants consume at their own risk.

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