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Reading Toni: Explore Morrison’s Body of Work

Toni Morrison book collage

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.”

—Toni Morrison (1931-2019)

 

Toni Morrison, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, and American Book Award winner, passed away today at the age of 88. On the eve of a new biopic about Morrison, Kallie Stahl looked back on the library’s collection of her work. In honor of her life and incredible contribution to American letters, we are re-running a portion of the blog, originally featured in June.

Whether you’re familiar with Morrison’s narratives, looking to re-experience her storytelling before the film, or new to the author’s work, Falvey Memorial Library has a number of Morrison’s novels for you to explore:

    • The Bluest Eye (1972) The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlover—a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others–who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different.
    • Sula (1973) Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies.
    • Song of Solomon (1977) With this brilliantly imagined novel, Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars, and assassins…inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
    • Tar Baby (1981) The place is a Caribbean island. In their mansion overlooking the sea, the cultivated millionaire Valerian Street, now retired, and his pretty, younger wife, Margaret, go through rituals of living, as if in a trance.
    • Beloved (1987) Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is considered to be Toni Morrison’s greatest novel and the most spellbinding reading experience of the decade.
    • Jazz (1992) This passionate, profound story of love and obsession moves back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of Black urban life.
    • Paradise (1997) In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present. 
    • Love (2003) A Faulknerian symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town.
    • A Mercy (2008) Reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter—a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
    • Home (2012) The story of a Korean war veteran on a quest to save his younger sister. Frank Money is an angry, broken veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. He is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from that he’s hated all his life.
    • God Help the Child (2015) A tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love.

Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Her favorite Toni Morrison novel is The Bluest Eye.


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Confronting the Legacy of Slavery: Villanova Students Uncover Fragments of American Family Histories

Tomorrow, July 2, marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, enacting landmark legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education. It also outlawed racial segregation in public spaces. The act laid the groundwork for the country to progress forward toward equality, yet the wounds caused by slavery’s past remain even today.

This past spring, a group of Villanova students in Professor Judith Giesberg’s Slavery in the Modern World course attempted to piece together the separated strands of African-American families torn apart prior to and during the Civil War, when family members were sold away, escaped to the North, or joined the Union army.

After the Civil War and following the abolition of slavery, African-Americans began to look for loved ones with the help of newspaper ads. Although historical evidence tracing the lives of former slaves is limited, there is census evidence that some families reunited with the help of these ads. Based on life records found through Ancestry Library, students crafted digital timelines that narrated the lives of the individuals identified in the ads. Some of these stories have what appear to be happy endings; in other cases, individuals seem to have disappeared from the historical record.

last seen headline image

Dr. Giesberg is the driving force behind the Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery project which collates, publishes, and transcribes this kind of newspaper ad. The digital project website is supported by the Department of History, the Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, as well as by Mother Bethel AME Church and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. Villanova graduate students browsed through countless reels of microfilm in their search for personal ads placed by African-Americans looking for lost family members and friends, scanned the ads, and posted them to the website. Transcription of the ads is crowd-sourced and depends entirely on volunteers. Many of these ads are easy enough to identify by the recurring Information Wanted headline.

spreadsheet of Last Seen entries

Students in Dr. Giesberg’s course used the Last Seen website to find a personal ad that piqued their curiosity. They learned the basics of the Timeline JS software in a library research workshop. Timeline JS is free software created and maintained by Knight Lab at Northwestern University. All story elements for the timeline including images, maps, and text are captured in a Google spreadsheet. This sounds simple enough, but students spent considerable time researching and presenting the histories hidden behind a single short personal ad.

slavery in the modern world 2019 timeline projects

They researched historical context such as geographic locations and regional slave laws and they identified appropriate and copyright free images to make their timelines visually pleasing. In short, they learned a lot about the research and publishing process. Then, two days before their final deadline, Google changed its software and broke every student’s timeline in the process. Everyone held their breath, not sure if functionality would be restored before the projects were due. With only eight hours to spare, the problem was fixed thanks to the advocacy of the folks at Knight Lab.

Links to the student projects have been posted to the Library’s website together with projects from prior years. Library resources used by the students include Ancestry Library, the African-American Studies Center, and African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century. For images students mostly relied on Wikimedia Commons which includes images from the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Interested readers are invited to explore these at times bittersweet, at times uplifting, and at times devastatingly sad narratives of African American lives in the 19th century.

Learn more about the Last Seen Project.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.


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The Curious Cat: #FalveyIncludes: Baldwin and Bechdel

Celebrating Pride Month, the Curious Cat asked Falvey Memorial Library staff,

“What is your favorite LGBTQ+ novel and/or who is your favorite author?”

Jesse Flavin, Acquisitions and Electronic Resources Coordinator: “James Baldwin.”


Caroline Sipio, Access and Collections Coordinator: “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel.”


Laura Hutelmyer, Acquisitions and Electronic Resources Coordinator: “Maurice Sendak.”


David Burke, Metadata Librarian: “Oscar Wilde.”


Chris Hallberg, Library Technology Developer: “Molly Ostertag, the artist and co-author (alongside Brennan Lee Mulligan) of the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist.”


Rob LeBlanc, First Year Experience Librarian: “It is a toss-up between Annie Proulx and David Sedaris.”



Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Share your favorite authors on Falvey Library’s Diversity and Inclusion Subject Guide! (This blog is was originally published June 20, 2018, in a slightly altered form.)

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A Study in Economy: Meet Matthew Fagerstrom, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Matthew Fagerstrom receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.

Matthew Fagerstrom receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.

 

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 4 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Matthew Fagerstrom ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Hershey, Pa.

Faculty Mentor: Michael Curran, PhD, Assistant Professor, Economics

Research: The Financial Industry in the Era of Fiat Currency: An Empirical Approach

Other Honors: Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellows Summer Program Grant

 

In his own words:

Matthew’s Research:

My research project involved curating a literature review covering developments in the measurement of financial regulation, monetary policy, and the growth of the financial industry.

Following understanding the literature surrounding these topics, I conducted a Vector Autoregression (VAR) and Structural Vector Autoregression analysis using data on financial compensation, monetary policy, financial deregulation, and unionization.

Through my research I found that as the money supply in the economy increases that wages in the financial industry rose faster than wages in the rest of the economy. Between 1973 and 2015 employees in the financial industry saw their wages grow from 80 percent of averages wages to 150 percent.

Today, we assume that money is neutral. This study suggests significant non-neutralities of money due to the persistent relationship between the monetary base and financial variables. Banks need to be aware of how their policies will impact the distribution of jobs and production, and plan monetary interventions accordingly.

 

Matthew’s “Falvey Experience”:

The library was of immeasurable value, especially in writing the literature review. Writing the literature review involved reading and compiling sources from the Matthew Fagerstromcutting edge of the economics discipline, as the topic I researched has not been researched by many other scholars. I accessed almost every journal through the library, as they were restricted by “paywalls,” which made my research efficient.

Moreover, the private study spaces that populate Falvey Memorial Library were oases where my productivity could flourish.

In previous, but related research, Linda Hauck, Academic Librarian for Business and Human Resource Development, assisted me with finding data sources that I carried over into this project.

The Impact on Him:

I learned a great deal about writing literature reviews from this process, and I also learned applications of matrix algebra in the VAR setting. This experience has made me more confident about becoming an academic economist and has given me the confidence to write literature for my graduate-level political science classes.

What’s Next:

I am continuing my Villanova education next year in order to earn a master’s in political science and Government. Beyond that, I plan to pursue a pre-doctoral fellowship then a PhD.

 


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Reading Toni: Explore Morrison’s Body of Work Before New Biopic “The Pieces I Am” Premieres in Theaters

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, a new biographical film about the Nobel Prize-winning author premiers in select theaters Friday, June 21. Whether you’re familiar with Morrison’s narratives, looking to re-experience her storytelling before the film, or new to the author’s work, Falvey Memorial Library has a number of Morrison’s novels for you to explore:

    • The Bluest Eye (1972) The story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlover—a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others–who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different.
    • Sula (1973) Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies.
    • Song of Solomon (1977) With this brilliantly imagined novel, Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars, and assassins…inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
    • Tar Baby (1981) The place is a Caribbean island. In their mansion overlooking the sea, the cultivated millionaire Valerian Street, now retired, and his pretty, younger wife, Margaret, go through rituals of living, as if in a trance.
    • Beloved (1987) Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is considered to be Toni Morrison’s greatest novel and the most spellbinding reading experience of the decade.
    • Jazz (1992) This passionate, profound story of love and obsession moves back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of Black urban life.
    • Paradise (1997) In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present. 
    • Love (2003) A Faulknerian symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town.
    • A Mercy (2008) Reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter—a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
    • Home (2012) The story of a Korean war veteran on a quest to save his younger sister. Frank Money is an angry, broken veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. He is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from that he’s hated all his life.
    • God Help the Child (2015) A tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love.

Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Her favorite Toni Morrison novel is The Bluest Eye.


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Celebrate Juneteenth with Critical Resources

Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, the 19th of June, and the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two and a half years earlier in 1863, at that time without mass media, it actually took the physical arrival of Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, to announce to the last of the slaves held there that the Civil War had ended and that they were free. Hence, the birthing of a new Independence Day.

Juneteenth not only commemorates the abolition of slavery, but also is growing to be a multicultural and global celebration of  freedom in general. Specifically, it is an opportunity to build cultural awareness, and in many communities, to educate young African-American generations about the struggles of their past and how their ancestors prevailed. Gratitude and pride, story and song make up many Juneteenth celebrations.

Dig Deeper

Explore further the intriguing times after the Emancipation through the following Falvey resources about Juneteenth , curated by history librarian, Jutta Seibert. Contact Jutta for her guidance through your research needs and also for her help navigating the wealth of books and online library materials.

  1. African American Studies Center Online (AASCO)
    http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?URL=http://www.oxfordaasc.com/
    AASCO is a great source about African American history in general.  It includes the Encyclopedia of African American History: 1619-1895, Black Women in America, and the African American National Biography project. AASCO also includes primary sources and images.
  2. African American Newspapers: The Nineteenth Century
    Follow the life of Harriet Tubman as chronicled in the African American Press.
  3. Historical New York Times, 1851-2009

A report about the white resistance to emancipation in Texas from July 1865:

“The Negro Question in Texas.” New York Times (1857-1922), Jul 09, 1865.
http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?URL=?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/91903644?accountid=14853.

Secondary sources about the tradition of Juneteenth celebrations in the Falvey collection:

Kachun Mitch. “Celebrating Freedom: Juneteenth and the Emancipation Festival Tradition.” InRemixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial, edited by Thomas J. Brown, 73-91. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. [E641 .R45 2011]

Links and resources prepared by Jutta Seibert, director of Academic Integration and subject librarian for History. Contact information: Jutta.Seibert@villanova.edu, telephone: 610-519-7876, office:  room 228.



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Researching Hallowed Ground: Meet Jubilee Marshall, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Jubliee wins Falvey Scholar Award

Jubilee Marshall receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun “Jee” Davis.

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 3 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Jubilee Marshall ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Faculty Mentor: Whitney Martinko, PhD, assistant professor of History

Research: Public Health and Urban Space in Philadelphia’s Black Burial Grounds, 1750-1850, presented at the American Historical Association’s 2019 annual meeting and the Organization of American Historians’ 2019 conference

Other Honors: Fulbright U.S. Student Program award winner, Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship

In her own words:

Jubilee’s Research:

I began this research project in the fall semester of 2017, in the History department’s Junior Research Seminar, where I conducted a broad literature review to help narrow my topic, and wrote a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant application for the summer of 2018.

During the summer, I focused on primary source research, and met with countless historians, archivists, and site managers (including Dr. Aaron Wunsch, Terry Buckalew, Adrienne Whaley, and Dr. Nicole Dressler) to get a sense of the landscape of churches and burials in Philadelphia in the revolutionary period. I spent a lot of time in archives.

Jubilee Marshall

There, I examined newspapers, church records, death records, land deeds, board of health regulations, maps, and other historical documents. In conducting this primary source research, I worked to identify trends and themes and in doing so eventually came to recognize that public health was a major concern for Philadelphians in the era.

Upon the completion of the summer grant period, I then spent the fall semester of my senior year completing supplementary secondary source research to get a broader understanding of how public health and urbanization may have affected black residents of the city from 1750-1850. In the spring semester, I wrote my thesis.

This process, which I’ve undertaken with extensive guidance from my advisor, Dr. Martinko, culminated in a 60-page, two-chapter thesis that I defended and plan to submit for publication.


Jubilee’s
“Falvey Experience”:

I could not have completed this project without Falvey Memorial Library. Much of my research depended on access to online databases, such as JSTOR and Accessible Archives. Over the summer, I met with a research librarian who helped me to navigate the specific databases I was using for my project which allowed me to locate and analyze sources I would not have been able to find on my own.

I checked out countless monographs from Falvey’s own collection, and regularly used EZ-Borrow and Interlibrary Loan to access other relevant texts that were not available in the stacks. Having access to this network of libraries allowed me to incorporate secondary source works that ended up being central to my broader argument. I also learned from the research librarian that I could request microfilm through ILL and view it in the library.

This was very helpful as I relied heavily on church records, many of which have been transferred to microfilm but are not yet available on the web. In addition to these services, I also used the library for my logistical needs. It provided me with a place to work, and with crucial access to a disk drive — my computer does not have one, and local historians frequently sent me CDs full of historical data. Falvey Memorial Library not only enhanced my project but made it possible, providing me with the resources and active guidance necessary to ensure my work would be well-supported.


The Impact on Her:
Jubilee Marshall

I have learned a lot and developed a wide array of skills from my research experience. In addition to learning how to locate, organize, and analyze sources, I have also learned how to navigate physical and digital archives; how to network with other historians in order to tap into existing networks of shared knowledge surrounding my research topic; how to successfully manage a long-term project; what work style best suits my needs and habits; how to apply for grant money; how to think broadly about historical evidence and think creatively about how to answer questions when the answers are not immediately evident in the historical records; how to write a thesis-length paper; and, finally, how to present my information and argument in multiple mediums in a way that is both engaging and convincing.

In addition to these skills, this research experience has also enable me to present my research at professional conferences, including the American Historical Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and the Organization of American Historian’s 2019 conference, which has given me insight into the world of academia and helped to inform my post-graduate plans.


What’s Next:

Jubilee will work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, she intends to pursue a graduate degree in the field of Public History.

 


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Kallie’s Chords: The Mamas and the Papas


Celebrating Father’s Day, the latest installment of Kallie’s Chords features tracks celebrating the bond between parent and child. Check out the playlist above for father-daughter songs, father-son tunes, and melodies that capture the joys of parenthood. Happy Father’s Day to all the ‘Nova Nation Dads!

Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Her father ends every text message with the signature “From Dad.”

 


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#TBT: A Tribute to Our Library’s Father

Reading Room, Old Falvey, 1964, Father Falvey, Father's Day
THROWBACK THURSDAY

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, so what better way to celebrate than by honoring the Library’s namesake and founding father, the Rev. Daniel P. Falvey, OSA, MSLS, with a #TBT?

Father Falvey, who served as head librarian from 1940-1962, was a driving force to unify the library’s physical collection and fund raise to facilitate the creation of a modern building for Villanova. During his tenure as University Librarian and until his death in 1962, he was committed to the continued growth of the Library.

This is a snapshot of students hard at work in the Reading Room in October of 1964. The Reading Room first opened in 1949, in what was then the Villanova College Library. It was renamed Falvey Hall in 1963 in honor of Father Falvey.

Happy Father’s Day to all of ‘Nova Nation!

Discover more photos like this in the University Archives.


Gina's headshot

Regina Duffy is Communications and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. Her father likes to send emails in “All Caps.”


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#FalveyIncludes: Visit the Diversity & Inclusion Subject Guide During Pride Month

New York City – August 18, 2007: Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, site of the June 1969 Stonewall Riots that commenced the Gay Liberation movement

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT+ Pride Month) is celebrated each June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which occurred in 1969 in New York City. This five-day uprising by LGBT+ community members against police brutality is acknowledged as a turning point in the fight against anti-gay discrimination; it is also widely considered to be the birth of the gay rights movement in the United States. June 28, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The anniversary is marked each year by pride parades, picnics, workshops and historical tributes, as well as respect for those lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

At Falvey Memorial Library, our mission is to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment and to make the library a place where all feel welcome. Encouraging the exploration of different viewpoints, we’d like to take this time to remind the Villanova community to search the various LGBTQ+ resources gathered below and in our collections. 

Remembering the liberation moment, librarians shared their recommended reading and resources:

Sarah Wingo, Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature

Darren Poley, Theology, Classics and Humanities Librarian

Susan Turkel, Sociology & Criminology, Global Interdisciplinary Studies, and Gender & Women’s Studies Librarian

  • Falvey books and DVDs on the topic of the Stonewall Uprising
  • Gender Studies Database (Articles from scholarly and popular sources on Stonewall and the gay rights movement)
  • GenderWatch (Articles from non-mainstream magazines and newspapers, dating back to the 1970s, as well as scholarly articles and books)

 

Be sure to check out Falvey’s Diversity and Inclusion Subject Guide for more LGBTQ+ resources.

Click here for information about the various LGBTQ+ groups at Villanova University as well as to read and contribute to the resources gathered on the Diversity and Inclusion Subject Guide.


(This blog is was originally published June 20, 2018, in a slightly altered form.)
Sources:
Boeckman, J., Cracuin, C. & Goldberg, A., (June 15, 2018). LGBT pride month a time to celebrate, bring awareness. The News Press. Retrieved from https://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/contributors/2018/06/15/lgbt-pride-month-time-celebrate-bring-awareness/701381002/
https://www.glaad.org/publications/pridekit 
https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/
Thomas, G.; (June, 2013) History of pride month. FEW’s News; Alexandria,  Vol. 45, Iss. 5, (Jun 2013). Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1415379907/fulltext/54F38FC0B5FD4163PQ/1?accountid=14853
Photo by Lee Snider/Depositphotos.com

Joanne Quinn ’15 MA, ’84 CLAS is Director of Communication and Marketing at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Last Modified: June 12, 2019