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American Holidays & Culture

A guide to locating archival sources about American holidays, celebrations, and customs

Contact Info

contact special collections

Archive, Manuscript & Rare Book collections are accessed in Olin Library at the Special Collections reading room.

HOURS:  Monday - Friday 9:00-5:00 by appointment

LOCATION:  Olin Library, 1st floor, Danforth Campus


*collections stored offsite require advance notice for retrieval and use

Questions about a specific topic? Contact:

University Archives: Sonya Rooney

Rare Books: Cassie Brand

Manuscript: Joel Minor 

Local History: Miranda Rectenwald

Dowd Illustration Research Archive: interim curator

Film & Media Archive: Andy Uhrich

Researching Holidays

This page is an overview of primary sources available at Special Collections about American festivals, celebrations, and holidays, with an emphasis on St. Louis, and WU events. Secondary sources are also available from the WU Libraries.

Primary Sources - Campus Holidays

May Fete, St. Fatima's Day & St. Patrick's Day

  • Volkman Files (not online), Box 07, May Day / May Fete programs and clippings (1911-1943, non-consecutive)
Greeting Cards & Parties
WU Anniversaries

Primary Sources - St. Louis Holiday Celebrations

Christmas (post WW-II)

4th of July
19th Century Fairs
Gay Pride Parades

Diaries & Journals

Examine how holidays or events are chronicled by an individual in their personal notes:

Online Primary Sources