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Year 130 – 1990: “G” Is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton

Published: New York, 1990 You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to understand why students might need a break from the rigors of an MIT education. For many decades, the Libraries’ collection of detective fiction has served to provide that escape. Before the Internet, before there was a television in every dorm room, students here […]

Year 129 – 1989: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

Published: New York, 1989 When people think about women’s liberation today, the images that come to mind are often of young women in the 1970s burning their bras. Those willing to probe a bit more deeply into the past might remember consciousness-raising groups, or demonstrations held by women fighting for recognition and for equal rights. […]

Year 110 – 1970: MIghTy Dead by The Grateful Dead

Live performance recorded: Cambridge, Mass., May 6, 1970 On the morning of May 4, 1970, four unarmed students were shot dead during student protests at Kent State University. That afternoon, over 1500 members of the MIT community, including over 200 faculty, flooded into the Kresge Auditorium and voted overwhelmingly to strike “in solidarity with the […]

Year 109 – 1969: Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto by Vine Deloria, Jr.

Published: New York, 1969 Before the American Indian Movement temporarily seized the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, and before its occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, Vine Deloria cast the Native American struggle into the public consciousness with what remains one of the most esteemed nonfiction books in the American Indian corpus. Deftly blending […]

Year 108 – 1968: Canticle of Freedom by Aaron Copland

Published: New York, 1968 (original version premiered: Cambridge, Mass., 1955) “Freedom is a noble thing!” That is the first line intoned by the chorus in the finale of Aaron Copland’s Canticle of Freedom, a piece commissioned by MIT for the 1955 dedication of Kresge Auditorium and the MIT Chapel. Famed modernist architect Eero Saarinen designed […]

Year 107 – 1967: Economics: An Introductory Analysis by Paul A. Samuelson

Published: New York, 1967 Paul Samuelson’s Economics is the very definition of the “standard text in its field”: according to the New York Times, it was the nation’s best-selling textbook for 30 years. Originally published in 1948, it’s still selling briskly more than 60 years later. Generations of budding economists and countless other college graduates […]

Year 106 – 1966: The Polite Americans: A Wide-Angle View of our More or Less Good Manners over 300 Years by Gerald Carson

Published: New York, 1966 Today, if you please, we’d like to survey American manners. Gerald Carson’s The Polite Americans starts out in the rigid confines of Colonial Massachusetts, where propriety dictated that the populace was allowed to wear “Gold or Silver lace, or Buttons, or Points at [their] knees” only if they possessed “a capital […]

Year 104 – 1964: Il “Sidereus Nuncius” di Galileo Galilei

Published: Pisa, 1964 MIT’s rare book collections contain many treasures. One of our prized possessions is the 1638 Discorsi e Dimostrazioni Matematiche, Intorno à Due Nuove Scienze, or Discourses on the Two New Sciences. This is the last book published by Galileo during his lifetime, and a landmark of scientific literature. Another of Galileo’s groundbreaking […]

Year 103 – 1963: Explosive Working of Metals by John S. Rinehart and John Pearson

Published: New York, 1963 Welding of metals is a process crucial to technology and industry, but certain metals defy conventional welding. Explosive welding was developed as a solution to this problem, allowing such welded pairings as titanium with steel, and copper with steel. The research partnership of Rinehart and Pearson was among the first to […]