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American Holidays & Culture

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

Resources from the Modern Graphic History Collections

The Modern Graphic History Library is comprised of original art and printed material from many fields of 20th century popular American pictorial graphic culture.

Types of materials include: original artwork, magazines, tear sheets (a page removed from a magazine), advertisements, illustrated fiction, children's books, book proofs, comic books, graphic novels, and zines.

Below are some recommendations for where to find images and information about holidays and traditions.


Articles, Fiction, and Images about Holidays & Traditions:

The Periodicals Collections include 25 different titles published during the late 19th century to the mid-20th century. A complete list of titles is available on the MGHL site.

We recommend:

  • Ladies’ Home Journal (issues from 1910-1925 at MGHL)
  • Delineator (issues from 1918-1930 at MGHL)
  • McCall’s (issues from 1929-1930 at MGHL)
  • Good Housekeeping (issues from 1952-1954 at MGHL)

Greeting and Holiday Cards:

Jewish Holidays & Traditions:

 The Robert Andrew Parker Collection contains original artwork and children's books about Jewish holidays and traditions:

  • A Great Miracle Happened There: A Chanukah Story, by Karla Kuskin

        •  Original artwork -- Series 1, Box 84 & 85

        •  Print Book -- BM695.H3 K87 1993

  • The Magician's Visit: A Passover Tale, by I.L. Peretz

       • Original artwork, book cover, book proof pages -- Series 1, Box 87

                   • Print Book -- PZ7.G5674 Mag 1993

LUNA (Digital Image Database)

Our image database, LUNA, contains nearly 3,000 digitized images from our collections, and includes many relevant to holidays and traditions. You may browse or search for specific terms such as "Santa" or "Christmas."

You can access LUNA by using your WUSTL key to log in. (If you are not affiliated with Washington University and are interested in accessing images, please use the information in the sidebar to the left to contact us.) To learn more about using LUNA, see this tutorial.