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Founders Memorial Library Exhibits

February 2017

Celebrating African American History Month

Selections from NIU Libraries’ African American Collection

This exhibit features selections from the NIU Rare Books and Special Collections’ African-American Collection, which includes over 200 books and other materials in all subject areas by and about African Americans and other people of African descent throughout the world. In the collection, special emphases are placed on Black history, civil rights movements in the United States, literature by African American authors and pamphlets by Black authors on slavery, emancipation, and the Black experience in the United States.

Contact persons: Kathy Ladell,, (815) 753-5290 or Sarah Holmes,, (815) 753-8392

Rare Books and Special Collections exhibit – Fourth floor

“Adventures across Oceans and Time: American Popular Sea Fiction, 1860 to Present”

Hall cases:

Nineteenth-century dime novels and story papers, the first mass-produced, inexpensive forms of popular fiction in the United States, introduced legions of readers to multiple genres, prominent among them the seafaring adventure.  This exhibit illuminates the long history and enduring appeal of popular sea fiction in America with displays of original copies of dime novels, pages from 1860s story papers, and related works from the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries.  It showcases several stories dealing with Pacific romances written by a prolific dime novelist who published almost exclusively in the nautical genre: Augustus Comstock (1837-?), a veteran of several whaling voyages who wrote under the pen name Roger Starbuck.  On display are original pieces from the 1860s by Starbuck alongside reprints that appeared over the next several decades, illustrating how long his works remained in print as well as some of the publishing practices during the dime-novel era.  The exhibition also highlights a few connections between some of Starbuck’s fiction and the work of more recognized authors such as Herman Melville and Horatio Alger, Jr.  Many of the dime novels on display are matched with barcodes so that viewers with compatible devices can access digitized scans of the complete texts online.

Most materials in this exhibit come from the Albert Johannsen and Edward LeBlanc Collections in Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University.

Research was supported through the Horatio Alger Fellowship for the Study of American Popular Culture and the assistance of faculty and staff at The University Libraries, Northern Illinois University.

Rare Books Reading Room cases:

Items displayed represent a continuation of sea fiction from many different genres.

Contact person: Angie Schroeder,, (815) 753-9838.

Southeast Asia Collection exhibit – Fourth floor

“Clothing, Textiles, and Fashion in Southeast Asia”

The Southeast Asia Collection is featuring a new exhibit entitled “Clothing, Textiles, and Fashion in Southeast Asia.  The exhibit’s main focus is on modern fashion in Southeast Asia.  On display are books about the fashion industry in Southeast Asia, as well as books of fashion photography, and magazines.  The exhibit also highlights the work of three Indonesian designers; Peter Sie, Poppy Dharsono, and Ramli. 

Traditional clothing and textiles (among them, some Burmese and Filipino clothing) are also on display, along with books about Southeast Asian textiles.  There is also a section of the exhibit which highlights fashion and Islam. 

Contact person: Joanna Kulma,, (815) 753-1819.

Contact Us

Chalermsee Olson, Interim Dean

Phone: (815) 753-1995


Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

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