Premier French author, Marcel Proust, was considered among the greatest writing talents of the contemporary world. His most recognizable work, Swann’s Way was first published in 1913. Proust never kept a journal, however he did write hundreds of letters to family, friends and acquaintances, which are continually being discovered and added to the known historical record of Proust’s life.
University of Illinois Rare Book and Manuscript library recently procured a set of sixteen Proust letters ranging from the 1890’s to 1921, shortly before Proust’s death in 1922. This collection, which provides an invaluable and unique look into the life of the renowned author, was purchased under the Dr. E. Kenneth Gray endowment fund. Dr. Gray graduated from the University of Illinois in 1922 and in 1983 made the incredibly generous endowment for the Rare Book and Manuscript library which enabled the purchase of the Proust letters. Housed in the rare book room of the main library, the letters are part of the non-circulating collection, and may be viewed upon request.
It’s 1949. Four men of the press sit awkwardly on chairs pushed tightly together. One smokes a pipe. These men are facing Republican Senator Baldwin, ready with questions, introduced by Miss Martha Roundtree and sponsored by Maxwell House coffee… “good to the last drop.”
Meet the Press online, a surprising database, is a leap back in time. Starting in 1949 one can watch full episodes of Meet the Press, taking in, not only the politics of the time, but local ads and marketing, fashion and language trends as well as noting there was once a time when one could smoke indoors, while on public television. This database is a fascinating artifact not just for the political scholar but anyone looking to understand historical time periods from the 40’s to the present.
If you are a Political Science major, active in politics, or just interested in the history of politics, you will find the Proquest digital archive of Congressional House and Senate Unpublished Hearings to be a treasure trove of information. Proquest calls it “The most comprehensive Web-based resource available for congressional hearings, public issues, legislation, history, and legal research.” (www.proquest.com)
The University of Illinois Library has recently made this archive available digitally. Instead of a necessary trip to the library to gain access to material, this database allows serious research to occur wherever you are.
CAB eBooks is an incredibly comprehensive database of resources for scholars in the areas of agriculture and applied life sciences. A wide range of topics are available in three databases of archival materials from 2000 – 2010 and a current database of materials from 2011 to present. Cab offers high-quality current materials to be explored in five overarching categories: Agriculture, Animal and Veterinary, Environmental Science, Human Health and Nutrition, Leisure and Tourism, Plant Sciences.
“High quality content written by world experts.”(www.cabi.org)
Stalin digital archives is an amazing collection of documents written by Stalin, books from his personal library with handwritten margin notes, as well as correspondence and other documents. Joseph Stalin, communist leader, had a place on the world’s stage during a critical time in history. Access to archives of this sort is an invaluable primary resource which allows scholars direct access to the interior workings of politics during both world wars and many major events throughout the course of Stalin’s dictatorship until his death in 1953.