Special Collections has a new digital exhibit in honor of Black History Month: Life in America: Sixteen Black Magazines from 1953 to 1998, curated by John Henry Adams. Magazines offer a snapshot of everyday life, both as it was and how some people might have wished it to be. What makes someone beautiful? What should people be wearing? Who are the important entertainers? What is the best music? What is happening in the world? What should children and teenagers be interested in? All of these are questions that magazines give answers to, and that is before we take into account what is being advertised in the magazines themselves. What is for sale? Who is expected to buy it? Taken together, magazines give us a chance to approach the culture of the past, but also to consider the present through the same lens.
The exhibit features magazines from a recent acquisition, the Samir Husni Magazine Collection, on topics ranging from beauty and fashion magazines to news and lifestyle magazines.