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Popular Culture

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The Oberlin College Library collection has roots that reach back to the 1830s, and in the intervening years of growth the library swallowed up the holdings of many college literary societies, the local public library, and the private collections of numerous donors. The early twentieth century was also a period of active trading and gift solicitation for Oberlin College Library, and so the nineteenth century is unusually well represented in our holdings. Much of the material acquired in the past did not fit the traditional definition of academic literature or "high" culture. Rather, the growing proportion of nineteenth century literature was intended for the leisure of the newly literate and moneyed mass audience, as well as the commercial benefit of publishers. This characteristic lack of a socially redeeming purpose (indeed, quite the opposite is often argued) within this "popular" literature has caused it to be marginalized for generations. However, recent scholarly work in what has become Popular Culture Studies has turned up some rich history and surprising social commentary. In the spirit of this new inquiry, Oberlin College Library Special Collections has currently added the following collections:

Last updated:
June 13, 2014