Love in the stacks

Beneath the calm façade of the Main Library’s exterior, among the dusty book stacks and studious scholars, lies the secret side of the Libraries’ holdings: a seething bed of love, lust, and early 20th-century greeting cards. In our dedication to exposing these hidden collections, Digital Library Services brings you a romantic “Best of” from the stacks — a digital mix tape of artifacts chiefly drawn from the Libraries’ research collections and selected to put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day.

But perhaps you think Valentine’s Day is an ersatz holiday that persecutes the single? As part of the Libraries’ commitment to inclusiveness, we made sure to represent both points of view. Pro-Valentine’s patrons can enjoy images of tennis-playing cherubs and the comically foreign-accented, and accounts of holiday celebrations by Iowa women in the 1940s and 1950s. Those against can peruse the UI Press collection’s tales of discount chocolates and abused cashiers, or the post-WWI (yet sadly relevant today) Valentine’s Day cartoons from political satirist Ding Darling.

Browse the collection here

…and join us for a Valentine’s Day show & tell session, featuring additional artifacts from the Libraries’ research collections, behind-the-scenes info from its curators and archivists, and heart-shaped treats. Feb. 14 at noon, Main Library, room 2032 (second floor, near the south entrance).

–Jen Wolfe
Metadata Librarian