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Today’s database: a powerful tool for research on MLK and African American and African History and Culture

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Falvey Memorial Library is fortunate to be able to provide access to hundreds of instructional databases for the Villanova Community. While the choices may be vast, each searchable collection presents a unique treasure trove of information. Today, in commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we’d like to direct your attention to a uniquely browsable resource, the Oxford African American Studies Center. Touted as “the online authority on the African American Experience,” the Oxford AASC provides a wide array of primary source documents, educational resources and articles, and multimedia.

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The database provides students, scholars and librarians with online access to the finest reference resources in African American studies. At its core, AASC features the new Encyclopedia of African American History: 1619-1895, Black Women in America, the highly acclaimed Africana, a five-volume history of the African and African American experience, and the African American National Biography project (estimated at 8 volumes). In addition to these major reference works, AASC offers other key resources from Oxford’s reference program, including the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature and selected articles from other reference works.

Feel free to contact a librarian if you’d like further help exploring and utilizing any of Falvey Memorial Library’s databases.

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Procrastifun on the Internet Archive


 I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.

It’s spring semester! Break was fantastic, right? Exactly what you needed? Me too. Among the hundreds of reasons recesses rule—Christmas cookies and sleeping in ranking first and second, of course—is using the Internet for procrastifun™ again and not having to feel guilty about it.

Internet_Archive_logo_and_wordmarkHave you ever visited the Internet Archive? Be careful you don’t get lost forever. I’ve used the archive for a few classes so far, once to find really obscure scans of a folklore journal from the 1800s, and very frequently to listen to the Ulysses audiobook (Dear Ulysses audiobook, you are the real MVP of last semester, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, you darling, sweet child).

But I’m starting to use it for fun—admittedly when I should probably be doing other things—because so much is archived on this site and it blows my mind. Their tagline, “Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more,” is an undersell.

The archive got a lot of attention in tech and gaming circles recently for hosting an archive of MS-DOS games (they also host libraries of classic arcade and console games). I just revisited the classic Aladdin game and while I failed miserably, I failed in a nice, nostalgic way. Lemmings is next on the list—or maybe Oregon Trail.


I also browsed a collection of sheet music and found a user-uploaded Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue cat people) medley, a whole medley—not a preview—for free use. Looks like I’m going to have to brush up on piano again.

I’d say if you’re not looking for anything in particular, scroll to the “Top Collections at the Archive” at the bottom of the homepage and just poke around. Today, my poking around has led me to a collection of video game speedruns. And, oh no, my weakness: live music performances.

The coolest part of this choice of procrastifun is you might easily stumble upon something really useful for research. Honestly, if you’re going to procrastinate on schoolwork, you might as well put yourself in the same general region of actual research, right? It’s a big step up from the Robot Unicorn Attack tournaments I had on Facebook as an undergrad, right?

… I’ll keep telling myself that.

Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.


Librarian Voices: #WoolFreeWinter

Alex Williams

Alexander Williams is the research support librarian for the social sciences and liaison to the communications, sociology, and criminal justice departments. 



(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Winter is coming. No, seriously. I’m not just quoting the motto of House Stark from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Winter is really coming and, to many of us, that means getting out the wool blankets, scouring online stores for the most fashionable wool clothing, and getting ready for the holiday shopping season. However, many of us perhaps aren’t aware that the wool industry is an inhumane one and that buying wool directly contributes to the suffering of sheep. Please join me and millions around the globe by participating in #WoolFreeWinter (warning: some viewers may find the content upsetting).

Q: What is #WoolFreeWinter?

A: As first reported by NBC, eyewitness investigations into the wool industry led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) revealed the horrific conditions under which sheep are raised and sheared in the United States and Australia, the world’s biggest wool exporter. As a result of this international exposé, PETA initiated the campaign #WoolFreeWinter to educate the public about this cruel industry and to raise awareness about ethical alternatives to wool before the winter season.

Q: But don’t sheep need to be shorn?

A: Unlike wild sheep, which naturally shed their wool, domesticated sheep have been bred for increased wool growth and do need to be shorn. While this industry sounds humane theoretically, it is, in reality, a nightmare.

Undercover investigators found that sheep were killed, mutilated, stomped upon and brutally beaten during the shearing process. These acts occur because shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour.

An experienced shearer can “handle” more than 350 sheep a day over a four week period. Shearing sheep as quickly as possible for profit inevitably leads to a disregard for their wellbeing.

A sheep’s skin is quite wrinkly because it is maximized for wool growth, but it also collects moisture making it prone to infection. Flies are attracted to this moisture and lay eggs in the folds of skin (flystrike), leaving fly larvae (maggots) to nest and then eat the sheep alive. In the wool industry, a barbaric operation called “mulesing” is performed to prevent this condition, during which strips of flesh are cut from a lamb’s back and buttocks to create scar tissue that won’t collect moisture. However, this procedure is not always effective. Mulesing, in addition to castration, dehorning, and tail docking, is often performed without anesthetics, and infections from these mutilations can lead to a slow and agonizing death. Once sheep cease to produce quality wool, they are then shipped worldwide in overcrowded, multilevel ships to slaughterhouses without concern for their welfare.

Q: What can I do?

A: The best thing you can do is to not buy wool products. Check clothing labels and, if an item includes wool, put it back on the shelf. Wool may also be listed as mohair, pashmina, shahtoosh, or cashmere, but any kind of wool amounts to animal suffering.

If this information shocks you, you can help save the lives of animals everywhere from the horrors of the fur, leather, angora and down feather industries, too.

Q: Is there such a thing as “humane wool?”

A: While PETA states that “there is no such thing as humane wool,” wool suppliers have taken significant steps to establish more humane wool practices since PETA’s initial investigations into the industry, which caused widespread protest and millions of dollars in company losses. If you would still prefer wool clothing, be sure to enquire of the retailer whether their products are ethically sourced. The Merino Company, (http://www.merinocompany.com/index.asp), New Merino (http://newmerino.com.au/wp/brand-owners/mulesing/), and Plevna Downs (http://www.plevnadowns.com.au/index.htm) are three companies that pride themselves on supplying non-mulesed wool to numerous brands and retailers. Humane companies like these usually undergo auditing, on-site veterinarian evaluations, and something called a traceability, traceback, or “Sheep to Shelf” system, so that one can identify the growers (or even the individual sheep themselves!) who produced the wool. It might also be worth investigating smaller farms, societies, and organizations in your area that shear sheep as a heartfelt hobby and create only small amounts of wool products for limited distribution.

Q: What are the alternatives to wool?

Alternatives to wool include cotton, cotton flannel, hemp, bamboo, polyester fleece and other cruelty-free fibers. Two other options include Tencel, a new durable and biodegradable substitute, and Polartec Wind Pro, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and offers four times the wind resistance of wool. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free shopping guide for revealing information about the fashion industry and ethical alternatives to animal products.

By choosing an alternative, you will not only directly help the lives of sheep but also avoid the common problems with wool: prone to retaining unpleasant odors, open to moth and mildew damage, not very durable, expensive, difficult to clean, able to shrink and stain easily, very itchy and/or can cause allergies.

Do more for these gentle and intelligent beings that share many characteristics with us. Spread the word by sharing on Facebook and Twitter and ignite change this #WoolFreeWinter.


Online Resources

Schecter, A. (2014, July 19). PETA: There’s no such thing as humane wool. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/peta-theres-no-such-thing-humane-wool-n151326

Withnall, A. (2014, July 10). US and Australia wool industries exposed in shocking undercover footage captured by animal rights group. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-and-australian-wool-industries-exposed-in-shocking-undercover-footage-captured-by-animal-rights-groups-9597552.html

PETA. (2014). The wool industry. Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). Inside the wool industry (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-clothing-factsheets/inside-wool-industry/

PETA. (2014). International Expose: Sheep killed, punched, stomped on, and cut for wool. Retrieved from http://investigations.peta.org/australia-us-wool/

Galbraith, F. (2009). Died in the wool (with bibliographic references). Retrieved from http://www.thebigcoverup.org.uk/wool/


Animal Rights @ Falvey

Aaltola, E. (2012). Animal suffering: Philosophy and culture. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cohen, C., & Regan, T. (2001). The animal rights debate. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Garner, R. (2013). A theory of justice for animals: Animal rights in a nonideal world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gruen, L. (2011). Ethics and animals: An introduction. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Linzey, A., & Clarke, P. A. B. (2004). Animal rights: A historical anthology. New York: Columbia University Press.

Regan, T. (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs: An introduction to moral philosophy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Rowlands, M. (2009). Animal rights: Moral theory and practice (2nd rev. ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Waldau, P. (2011). Animal rights: What everyone needs to know. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

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One Hundred Years Ago – The World War I Christmas Truce

Christmas Truce 1914, as seen by the Illustrated London News.

The Illustrated London News’s illustration of the Christmas Truce: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”

In December 1914 conditions for soldiers on both sides of No Man’s Land in Flanders were dreadful – water logged trenches, mud, cold rain, and dead bodies in various states of decomposition lying unburied in the land between the lines. Out of this misery came the Christmas Truce, a truce that evolved from the lower ranks upward. Earlier, Pope Benedict XV had asked for a Christmas cease-fire, but both sides rejected his request.

Both the German and English troops had received Christmas packages, some from families and friends and others, official gifts from their governments. The English soldiers received “Princess Mary boxes”: metal boxes engraved with an outline of the princess, daughter of King George V. These gift containers were filled with butterscotch and chocolate, tobacco (cigarettes for the soldiers and cigars for officers), a picture of Princess Mary and a greeting from King George V, “May God protect you and bring you safely home.” Germans received their gifts from Kaiser Wilhelm II. Each soldier received a meerschaum pipe and their officers received cigars. The German troops were also given small Christmas pine trees with candles and decorations. And by Christmas Eve the rain had stopped and skies were clear.

Thus a sense of goodwill had spread through the trenches by Christmas Eve (and Weintraub, p. 3, explains, “… the ordinary British soldier had no strong feelings about fighting the Germans …”); in one area Germans sent a chocolate cake to the nearby English soldiers, accompanied by a request for a truce so that the Germans could celebrate their captain’s birthday. They planned a concert for that evening and would place candle-lighted trees on the parapets of their trenches. The English accepted the German proposal and offered tobacco as a gift. At 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve the Germans began to sing; both sides applauded each song and the English were invited to join the Germans in singing.

On Christmas Eve at Lille the British Royal Flying Corps flew over the German airfield and dropped a well-padded Christmas pudding. The following day, a German pilot bombed the English with a bottle of rum.

On Christmas day, soldiers exchanged newspapers, cigars and cigarettes; held joint religious services in No Man’s Land; buried their dead; and talked to each other in English and broken English (few English soldiers spoke German, but many of the Germans spoke at least some English, having worked in England before the war). Soldiers exchanged food, sang, took photographs of each other and played soccer. They also drained and repaired the trenches, repaired wire entanglements and brought ammunition and other supplies to their front lines.

On the day after Christmas, Boxing Day in England and St. Stephen’s Day for the Germans, some areas continued to observe a truce, but generally hostilities were reluctantly resumed. The war, which both sides had expected to be brief, continued into 1918. There were no more Christmas truces. But for one short time there was “Peace on earth and good will toward men.” Today, a wooden cross set in a concrete base surrounded by poppies that bloom in season commemorates the Christmas Truce.

On December 12, 2014, the Duke of Cambridge attended an English dedication ceremony for a monument to the Christmas Truce. The monument is located in the National Memorial Arboretum, a 150 acre site in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The memorial is funded by the Football Remembers partners; it is part of a series of events being held in December.

Dig Deeper
For a comprehensive examination of the truce see Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub.

In December 1914, German and British Soldiers Took a Brief Christmas Holiday from World War I” by Leslie Stuart Carter.
Christmas Truce” by Peter Hart.
The Christmas Truce” by Kristof Grievas.

For general information about World War I, see any of the numerous histories in Falvey’s collections. A few are listed below.
Almanac of World War I by David F. Burg.
World War I: A History
World War I: Encyclopedia
The First World War by Ian Cawood.

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‘Cat in the Stacks: Stacks Aversion


I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.



Shortly before Thanksgiving break, I took out two books from Falvey—the first books I’ve taken out from our library all semester. I guess that’s not super scandalous; I’ve been busy reading the books I actually bought for the semester, and I’ve mostly used online databases for journal articles for all my supplementary research. Now that it’s paper-writing time, I went for a swim in the stacks.

But this is kind of scandalous: as an undergraduate English major, I never took a book out of the library.

Not once.


If you’re cringing, I’m sorry. But if you’re embarrassed for me, don’t be. I did very well.

Still, even though I didn’t use the library in the traditional sense, every single resource I used was provided to me through the library—library subscriptions, interlibrary loans.

But I don’t advocate a life without the stacks! My stacks aversion meant I did five times more work than I actually had to by draining databases dry instead of checking out dozens of relevant books. And I missed out on so many incredible research avenues because I was too, what, lazy? Afraid of asking a librarian for help?

Why didn’t I browse the stacks? I had all sorts of excuses.

Wah, it’s outdated, wah! It’s not. I just took a book out about digital culture in World of Warcraft. This isn’t grandma’s local library.

Wah, it’s hard! It’s not. Falvey’s online catalog even has maps. The circulation desk has signs to point you where you go about checking out and returning materials and your Wildcard does the rest. I’m partially allergic to approaching Front Desks, and I survived.

Wah, I don’t want to leave my room! Well, I still don’t wanna leave my room.

But I did! just took out three awesome books on video games (and if you want them, too bad. You’ll have to wait until the end of January because I’m doing super important research. But then I promise I will stop monopolizing the video game holdings. Maybe.)



Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.

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The Highlighter: Who is the Ultimate Fact-Checker?


Need to check your facts before turning in that big paper? This video shows how to contact a University librarian: the ultimate fact-checker. (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


2015 World Meeting of Families coming to Phila.

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The confirmed announcement of the Pope’s participation in the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia has created a lot of buzz lately. What is the World Meeting of Families, who are its patron saints, and what are patron saints? News articles, even from credible sources, are usually too short to provide many details. And the Internet, unfortunately, delivers a great deal of misinformation about saints and the Catholic Church.

DSC_00031-300x245The New Catholic Encyclopedia, however, in print and as an eBook provides an excellent example of an authoritative source of information. The library’s print edition is in the Falvey West stacks (call No. BX841 .N44 2003). You can also search the online edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia, because like many (but not all) reference books, its content is now electronically accessible through Falvey’s web page. Links for online version and eBooks are also embedded in the Library’s catalog record for the item. Find the holdings record by using the online search engine for discovering it in the library’s catalog.

For authoritative information on the 2015 World Meeting of Families’ two patron saints—Saint Pope John Paul II and Saint Gianna Beretta Molla—you can either rely on a credible online source, such as the Vatican Website in English for highlights, or search the Falvey Library Catalog or core databases on the Theology and Religious Studies Subject Guide for citations to published, academic sources of in-depth background information, and on their thought and writings. Searching by subject will achieve optimal results: for the first one use JOHN PAUL II, POPE, 1920-2005, and for the other use BERETTA MOLLA, GIANNA, SAINT, 1922-1962.

So, what is a patron saint? The New Catholic Encyclopedia says that “saints came to be regarded as the special advocates and intercessors.” Sacred places, solemn events, and even causes and occupations have, over the years, become associated with a particular patron or patroness. Therefore a patron saint, who is very much alive in heaven, is called upon to be an advocate and asked to pray for us here on earth, particularly on certain occasions.


Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Saint Gianna was a twentieth-century Italian doctor and also a mother. She risked her life for the sake of her unborn child, and died in 1962, rather than terminating the pregnancy in an effort to save her own life. She is a martyr, which is a witness, to the importance of respecting life from conception to natural death. Her husband and children attended her canonization ceremony in 2004. She has become the patroness of mothers, unborn children, healthcare workers, professional women, and the pro-life movement.

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For more information about the World Meeting of Families 2015 in Philadelphia, visit the official website.



darren_edArticle by Darren G. Poley, Scholarly Outreach team leader and theology librarian. 


Upcoming Chicago-Style Workshops

chicago-manual-of-stylesmallAre you confused by the different formats required by Chicago-style for footnotes and bibliographies?  Are you unsure about how and when to use “ibid.”?  –  Answers to your questions are just around the corner.

Come to Falvey Memorial Library for a quick introduction to Chicago-style rules for footnotes and bibliography.  Sessions will be held in Falvey 204 in the second-floor Learning Commons. For more information, contact history liaison librarian Jutta Seibert (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu).

Thursday, December 4:     4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


“Very Short Introductions”: Concise Information, Perfect for the Train Ride Home

GIRL TRAIN trThis time of year, every minute counts – especially with finals less than two weeks after we return from Thanksgiving holiday – hashtag: for real, dude! Fortunately, the Library has resources designed to pack a lot of information into a little bit of time. So instead of perusing Buzzfeed on the train ride home, buzz through one or two Very Short Introductions to get a head start on crunch time!

Sometimes we need background information for a speech or project. Maybe, we need to become more familiar with a subject before seeking more, in-depth, scholarly information. Sometimes, we just need a very short introduction. That’s where Oxford University Press’s “Very Short Introductions,” published since 1995, can help. Over 200 of these concise, pithy “pocket-portable introductory lectures” (Guardian Review) covering such topics as archaeology, arts & architecture, biography, business & management, economics & finance history, language & linguistics, law, literature, mathematics & sciences, medicine & health, music, sociology, philosophy, politics, psychology & neuroscience, religion & bibles and the social sciences can be found at Falvey.


Noted authors in many fields have contributed to these short successful volumes about the world. This series has spawned literary events and lectures on both sides of the Atlantic. So, are you game? Just seeking leadership, or logic? Seeking the more spiritual leadership? Try short introductions to the New TestamentAugustine, or IslamKant, you say? We’ve got that too. Everything from the mystical to the mind bending, consciousness to Christian ethics, from American politics to chaos theory, from relativity to Tocqueville. And we’d bet nine of out ten of you would want to shorten statistics!

However, as a prominent reviewer described one of the series titles “The brevity of this volume is both its strength and its weakness.” Judge for yourself. Find out more about “Very Short Introductions” (VSI) at You Tube. Or learn more from one of the VSI study guides at Oxford University Press.  Better yet, check one out at Falvey.

SteinMerrill Stein is team leader of the Assessment team and liaison to the Department of Political Science.



The Economics of the Great War

The economic challenges wrought by the First World War were many and wide ranging, if not structurally lasting, spanning agriculture, employment and labor, manufacturing, transportation, trade and public finance. Scholarship on these topics is robust, presented in several formats, and written from various national viewpoints and scholarly approaches.

Christy, Howard Chandler, 1873-1952. Fight or buy bonds : Third Liberty Loan.. Boston, Mass.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc325/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

For interesting artifacts highlighting the role the liberty and victory bonds played in financing the war in the United States, see the University of Texas Digital Collection of posters or the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs. If you prefer an auditory approach, you can check out the sheet music for jingles written to encourage sales for the Library of Congress.

An example of a primary source in our collection is a book by John Maynard Keynes. Keyes is an important macroeconomic theorist who was in attendance at the Paris Peace conference, and argued against harsh reparations in the Economic Consequences of Peace, which is available as an open source ebook on Project Gutenberg or – for those who long for the tactile pleasures of the printed page – in our Special Collections.

Remember the glad of libertyLeading economic scholars are in the process of compiling a collection of essays on the economics of the Great War for its centennial. To date, the VOX:  WWI site has articles on how economic factors influenced the outcome of the war, opining that the economic policies that worked  during the war lead to later policy missteps, exploring the fallout the economic crisis of 1907 had on the initiation of hostilities in 1914 and measuring the economic cost of the war for Great  Britain. A nice succinct summary of the economic history of WWI is posted by Hugh Rockoff al leading economic historian on the Economic History Associations’s website.

Airplane, Possibly World War I Fighter Plane, 1916. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-D418-407 DLC.

For an understanding of how industry ramped up during the First World War to manufacture needed munitions, trucks, and tanks and planes for the Allied forces, turn to the War Industries Board publication, American Industry in War. Another insider perspective is provided by Grosvenor B. Clarkson, a civilian member of the Council of National Defense, in the book Industrial  America in the World War:  The Strategy Behind the Line, 1917-1918. If you prefer historical perspective, pick up Conner’s  The National War Labor Board: Stability, Social Justice and the Voluntary State in WWI or  Cuff’s The War Industries Board:  Business Government Relations During WWI.

Any examination of the role of labor in the United States has to include readings from Marxist historian Philip Foner. Volume 7 of his History of the Labor Movement in the United States covers Labor and World War I, 1914-1918. For a counterpoint read Larson’s Labor and Foreign Policy:  Gompers, the AFL and the First World War, 1914-1918  Army, Industry and Labor in Germany: 1914-1918 by Feldman provides insight into the labor and industrial policies of the enemy. For an interesting thematic discussion of the labor and home fronts around the globe see Civilians in a World at War by Proctor.

To find additional resource on economic aspects of WWI, search our catalog, Historical Abstracts, American History & Life and EconLit.

Images used in order of display:

Christy, Howard Chandler, 1873-1952. Fight or buy bonds : Third Liberty Loan.. Boston, Mass.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc325/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

United States. Dept. of the Treasury. Publicity Bureau. Remember! the flag of liberty, support it! : buy U.S. government bonds, 3rd. Liberty Loan.. New York. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29409/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

Airplane, Possibly World War I Fighter Plane, 1916. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-D418-407 DLC.

RS4522_FML164_LindaHauck_003_EDITResources selected by Linda Hauck, subject librarian for business.


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Last Modified: November 19, 2014