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The Origins of May Day

Did you ever wonder about the origins of May Day? The National Museum of American History offers a fascinating look into the origin of the holiday in this 2 part blog article:

At one point, they note “The resurgence of May Day traditions began in the 1870s on women’s college campuses, where the children of wealthy families donned white outfits, [and] danced traditional folk dances”. Such was the case at Greenville Woman’s College. May Day pageants featuring queens, courts, and ladies in white outfits were a common tradition from the 1920s through the 1950s. The Furman Historical Images digital collection offers a small selection of May Day Photographs. View all May Day photographs here

Women standing in a circle twirling ribbons around a May pole

The 1930 May Day celebrations. On the left is the May Queen and her full court. In the center is the May Pole and the May Pole dancers.




Language Personality Quiz

Mango Languages is an online language learning resource freely available to all Furman students, faculty, and staff. Find it in the All Databases list.

Whether you’re an adventure-hungry explorer with a knack for grammar, or a creative who loves high fashion, there is a language out there for you!

The goal of learning a new language is a noble one, but choosing the right language to learn is also important! It helps boost your internal motivation (you know, that thing that keeps you up studying verb conjugations before bed when you’d much rather be asleep, or checking Instagram just one last time). But with almost 7,000 languages out there, the choice can be a little paralyzing. No need to worry – Mango’s got your back with a fast, fun, and (maybe) accurate language personality quiz to point you in the right direction.

So, go ahead — take our quiz below to see which language is destined to be your own personal lingua franca. (If you aren’t sure about a question, just go with your gut feeling!)

ILL and PASCAL Deadlines

Classes end April 30th!

4/22/19 – the last day to submit Interlibrary Loan requests for books, audiobooks, DVDs, and music scores

4/30/19 – the last day to submit Interlibrary Loan requests for articles

These deadlines apply only to those items needed before the end of Spring term. Requests submitted after these deadlines will be addressed on a case by case basis.

The book deadline applies only to books ordered through Interlibrary Loan. Books may be ordered via PASCAL Delivers until the end of the term.

If you are in a pinch, PASCAL Delivers, PASCAL Visiting Patron or PASCAL PickUp Anywhere could be helpful. Please see our PASCAL page for more information.

How to Behave


A group of courtesy books and etiquette manuals to add to our growing collection in Special Collections and Archives.

Calling all bibliophiles!

Our Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist, Dr. Jeff Makala,  will host a show and tell highlighting recent acquisitions.

  • 60s & 70s counterculture materials
  • feminist comix
  • contemporary queer zines
  • 17th century emblem book
  • 18th century French book printed entirely in red ink

Dr. Makala will also answer questions about how and why he acquires materials for Special Collections.

When:  Wednesday, April 17  at 3:30
Where:  Pitts Room on the  2nd floor of the James B. Duke Library

Easter Break Hours

Easter Break Hours for the James B. Duke Library

April 18
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
April 19
April 20
April 21
April 22
10:00 am – 1:00 am


Should Easter Break be longer? Students were asked this question for the April 12, 1985 issue of the Paladin.

picture of Paladin newspaper

Need a quiet spot for an interview?

The James B. Duke Library now has an audio recording studio co-sponsored by Furman Libraries and Information Technology Services. The Audio Recording Studio is a sound-insulated room located on the lower level of the library near the IT Service Center.

The room is equipped with a microphone and a laptop computer with Camtasia and Audacity installed.
Students, faculty, and staff may reserve the studio for up to 4 hours per week with reservations made no more than two weeks in advance.
Make a Reservation​ – Please keep the email confirmation of your reservation.

Textbooks on Reserve

Textbooks are expensive for our students, and we want to help. This spring, we purchased select textbooks and put them on reserve in the Libraries for student use.

According to current studies, the average student at a private university spends more than $1,200 per year for textbooks. From what we’ve heard from students, Furman is in alignment with this figure. As a consequence we’ve seen increased requests to purchase textbooks for the Libraries’ collections. In the past, textbooks have not been part of our acquisition plan, but as textbook prices continue to skyrocket, we decided to adopt a more nuanced approach to textbook acquisition.

We already support many affordable learning options for our students. Interlibrary Loan, PASCAL Delivers, multi-user eBooks, and support for the adoption of open educational resources provide alternatives to the traditional textbook model. We are taking this a step further with our new textbook acquisition pilot program.

This spring we are collaborating with faculty and placing textbooks on reserve for multiple sections of more than half a dozen classes. At the end of the semester we will assess the success of the program. So far use has been strong in some classes and we hope to promote the program more in the fall of 2019.

For more information, stop by the Circulation Desk in the James B. Duke Library.

picture of blackboard with student opinions about textbook prices

Tell us what you think about textbook prices!

Revealing the Forgotten


Finding forgotten cities : how the Indus civilization was discovered  Just a century ago, scholars believed that civilization in the Indus Valley began three thousand years ago during the Vedic Age. But in the autumn of 1924, John Marshall made an announcement that rocked the understanding of the ancient world and pushed back the boundaries of Indian history by two thousand years more: the discovery of the civilization at Harappa, located in present-day Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan. A sophisticated culture dating back to 2600 BCE, this ancient city was notable for its well-planned streets and for having the oldest known urban sanitation system. Based on previously unknown archival materials, Finding Forgotten Cities not only details an archeological discovery on the same scale as Troy, but introduces us to the colorful cast of characters who made it possible and overcome the challenges and travails of this colossal excavation.  -from the publisher

bookjacketDixie’s forgotten people : the South’s poor whites  Poor whites have been isolated from mainstream white Southern culture and have been in turn stereotyped as rednecks and Holy Rollers, discriminated against, and misunderstood. In their isolation, they have developed a unique subculture and defended it with a tenacity and pride that puzzles and confuses the larger society. Written 25 years ago, this book was one scholar’s attempt to understand these people and their culture.  – from the publisher

bookjacketThomas Jefferson and the Tripoli pirates : the forgotten war that changed American history  When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, America was deeply in debt, with its economy and dignity under attack. Pirates from North Africa’s Barbary Coast routinely captured American merchant ships and held the sailors as slaves, demanding ransom and tribute payments far beyond what the new country could afford. For fifteen years, America had tried to work with the four Muslim powers (Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco) driving the piracy, but negotiation proved impossible. Realizing it was time to stand up to the intimidation, Jefferson decided to move beyond diplomacy. He sent the U.S. Navy and Marines to blockade Tripoli—launching the Barbary Wars and beginning America’s journey toward future superpower status. Few today remember these men and other heroes who inspired the Marine Corps hymn: “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.” Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates recaptures this forgotten war that changed American history with a real-life drama of intrigue, bravery, and battle on the high seas.  – from the publisher

bookjacketThe forgotten : how the people of one Pennsylvania county elected Donald Trump and changed America  The people of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania voted Democratic for decades, until Donald Trump flipped it in 2016. What happened? In The Forgotten, Ben Bradlee Jr. reports on how voters in Luzerne County, a pivotal county in a crucial swing state, came to feel like strangers in their own land – marginalized by flat or falling wages, rapid demographic change, and a liberal culture that mocks their faith and patriotism. Fundamentally rural and struggling with changing demographics and limited opportunity, Luzerne County can be seen as a microcosm of the nation. In The Forgotten, Trump voters speak for themselves, explaining how they felt others were ‘cutting in line’ and that the federal government was taking too much money from the employed and giving it to the idle. The loss of breadwinner status, and more importantly, the loss of dignity, primed them for a candidate like Donald Trump.  – from the publisher
bookjacketForgotten citizens : deportation, children, and the making of American exiles and orphansThe United States Constitution insures that all persons born in the US are citizens with equal protection under the law. But in today’s America, the US-born children of undocumented immigrants–over four million of them–do not enjoy fully the benefits of citizenship or of feeling that they belong. Children in mixed-status families are forgotten in the loud and discordant immigration debate. They live under the constant threat that their parents will suddenly be deported. Their parents face impossible decisions: make their children exiles or make them orphans. In Forgotten Citizens, Luis Zayas holds a mirror to a nation in crisis, providing invaluable perspectives for anyone brave enough to look. Zayas draws on his extensive work as a mental health clinician and researcher to present the most complete picture yet of how immigration policy subverts children’s rights, harms their mental health, and leaves lasting psychological trauma.  – from the publisher


JFK’s forgotten crisis : Tibet, the CIA, and Sino-Indian War U.S. President John F. Kennedy faced two great crises in 1962 – the Cuban missile crisis and the Sino-Indian War. While his part in the missile crisis that threatened to snowball into a nuclear war has been thoroughly studied, his critical role in the Sino-Indian War has been largely ignored. Riedel’s telling of the president’s firm response to China’s invasion of India and his deft diplomacy in keeping Pakistan neutral provides a unique study of Kennedy’s leadership. Embedded within that story is an array of historical details of special interest to India and the backstory to the China-India rivalry.  – from the publisher

bookjacketHistory of a disappearance : the story of a forgotten Polish town  Lying at the crucible of Central Europe, the Silesian village of Kupferberg suffered the violence of the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, and World War I. After Stalin’s post-World War II redrawing of Poland’s borders, Kupferberg became Miedzianka, a town settled by displaced people from all over Poland and a new center of the Eastern Bloc’s uranium-mining industry. Decades of neglect and environmental degradation led to the town being declared uninhabitable, and the population was evacuated. Today, it exists only in ruins, with barely a hundred people living on the unstable ground above its collapsing mines. – from the publisher

bookjacketThe forgotten fifth : African Americans in the age of revolution  As the United States gained independence, a full fifth of the country’s population was African American. The experiences of these men and women have been largely ignored in the accounts of the colonies’ glorious quest for freedom. Gary B. Nash tells of revolutionary fervor arousing a struggle for freedom that spiraled into the largest slave rebellion in American history, as blacks fled servitude to fight for the British, who promised freedom in exchange for military service. The Revolutionary Army never matched the British offer, and most histories of the period have ignored this remarkable story. The conventional wisdom says that abolition was impossible in the fragile new republic. Nash, however, argues that an unusual convergence of factors immediately after the war created a unique opportunity to dismantle slavery. The founding fathers’ failure to commit to freedom led to the waning of abolitionism just as it had reached its peak. In the opening decades of the nineteenth century, as Nash demonstrates, their decision enabled the ideology of white supremacy to take root, and with it the beginnings of an irreparable national fissure. The moral failure of the Revolution was paid for in the 1860s with the lives of the 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War.  – from the publisher

bookjacketThe island at the center of the world : the epic story of Dutch Manhattan and the forgotten colony that shaped America  In the late 1960s, an archivist in the New York State Library discovered an astounding 12,000 pages of centuries-old documents from the Dutch colony centered on Manhattan. For the past thirty years, scholar Charles Gehring has been translating this national treasure, and now, Russell Shorto has used this vital material to construct a sweeping narrative of Manhattan’s founding that gives a startling, fresh perspective on how America began.  – from the publisher

bookjacketForgotten ally : China’s World War II, 1937-1945 For decades, a major piece of World War II history has gone virtually unwritten. The war began in China, two years before Hitler invaded Poland, and China eventually became the fourth great ally, partner to the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain. Yet its drama of invasion, resistance, slaughter, and political intrigue remains little known in the West.  – from the publisher