Beyond the Reading Room

Anecdotes and Other Notes from the U-M Special Collections Library

Passenger Pigeons: The University of Michigan’s Elegiac Displays of an Extinct Species

Illustration of a male and female passenger pigeon beak to beak on branches

A singular bird’s last breath is not often met with sadness, nor does it necessarily signify the emphatic end of an era. However, on September 1, 1914, the last living passenger pigeon, Martha, passed away at the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. In the course of a century, the passenger pigeon went from being the most abundant land bird in North America to an extinct species. As September 1st, 2014 marks the centennial of Martha’s passing, the University of Michigan’s Special Collections...

The Ted Kaczynski Papers: FBI Files and Photographs

The Ted Kaczynski Papers are part of the Special Collections Library’s Joseph A. Labadie Collection which documents the history of social protest movements and marginalized political communities from the 19th century to the present. The Ted Kaczynski papers were acquired in 1998 and the bulk of the collection includes correspondence written to and by Kaczynski since his arrest in 1996. Other materials in the archive include legal documents used during his trial, writings by Kaczynski, clippings...

An Early Predecessor of "American Beauty"?

Peter Tröschel (1615-1680). Hierinnen mann befind dass recht loss Haussgesind. [Nuremberg:] Paulus Fürst, [ca. 1650].

We have recently purchased an engraved broadside (259 x 339 mm.) depicting what at first sight looks like a regular scene of family life in the seventeenth century. However, a closer examination reveals a very different picture: a dysfunctional household or, to be more precise, a satire of domestic happiness...

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