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What Makes a Monster?: Exhibit Materials from the Libraries Collections

The new exhibition What Makes a Monster? explores how human have long found wonder in the strange and macabre, from mythical creatures to the real world freak show artists, microscopic pathogens, and monstrous criminals.

USC Cinema Library

Film still from Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)

Film still from the movie Freaks (1932)

Film still from Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Film still from The Mummy (1932)

Press book for King Kong (1933)

Promotional brochure for Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Promotional brochure for The Wolfman (1941)

Script for The Bride of Frankenstein (1934)


Ian Nathan, Alien Vault (London: Aurum Press, 2011)

Richard Siegel and Jean-Claude Suarès, Alien Creatures (Los Angeles: Reed Books, 1978)

 “Wasp Woman” from Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen, and Candy-Stripe Nurses (New York: Abrams, 2013)

Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (New York: Universe Books, 1975)

Denis Gifford, A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (New York: Hamlyn, 1973)

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries

Those who argue homosexuality has “destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences have long demonized the LGBTQ community. 

The Demon Dyke (San Diego: Corinth Publications, 1968)

The mid-20th Century medicalization of homosexuality and the salacious nature of the cover art for some pulp fiction conspired to produce negative imagery and stereotypes, which literally demonized lesbians, transgendered people and gays.  This particular volume is an egregious example of that unfortunate trend, which would now be considered reprehensible

Demon magazines, nos. 1–4 (1984)

USC Special Collections

A wide selection of materials from the USC Libraries Special Collections is on view in the Doheny Library Treasure Room

Ulisse Aldrovandi, Monstrorum Historia (Bologna, 1642)

Ulisse Aldrovandi, De Piscibus (Bologna: Nicolas Tebaldini, 1638)

Astounding Science Fiction, vol. 61, no. 3 (May 1958)

George Bishop, The World of Clowns (Los Angeles: Brooke House Publishers, 1976)

John Bullwer, Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d: or The Artificial Changling (London: William Hunt, 1653)

Lewis Carroll, Jabberywocky: A Book of Brillig Dioramas (New York: Abrams, 1996)

Das III Reich in der Karikatur (Prague: Stop-Verlag, 1934)

Demonographia (Seattle: Trident Books, 1999)

Pierre Denys de MontfortHistoire naturelle (1801)

Gustave Doré, Dante’s Inferno (New York: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1866)

Max Ernst, Une semaine de bonté (New York: Dover, 1976)

Christian Friedrich von Reuß, Ausführliche und accurate Beschreibung nebst genauer Abbildung einiger vorhin fabelhafter Geschöpfe welche in der heutigen Naturgeschichte berühmter Schriftsteller gänzlich verändert und ins Licht gestellet sind (Leipzig: W. Nauck, 1794)

Isidore Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, Histoire générale et particulière des anomalies . . . (Paris: J.-B. Baillière, 1832)

Konrad Gesner, Historia Animalium (Zurich, 1551–1587)

Edward Gorey, Gorey Posters (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1979)

Dragon, from the story “The Four Clever Brothers,” in the Brothers Grimm, Grimm’s Fairy Tales (London: Constable & Co., 1909)

Flea, from Robert Hooke, Micrographia Restaurata (London: J. Bowles, 1745)

Homer, His Odysses Translated (London, 1665)

James Landon, Book of Colored Drawings (England, 1790–1791)

Le Sifflet, vol. 27 (July 26, 1872)

Fortunio Liceti, De monstrorum caussis (Padua, 1634)

Malleus Maleficarum (London: Pushkin Press, 1951)

Ambar Past, Portable Mayan altar with hex books in Tzotzil and English, 2007

Pictorial History of the American Circus (1957)

David Rose, Courtroom sketch of Richard Ramirez aka “The Night Stalker,” November 14, 1985

J. R. R. Tolkien, Beowulf (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

Martin Schongauer (Munich: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 1991)

Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (London, 1818)

Side Show (New York: Amjon, 1975)

Mark Sloan, Wild, Weird, and Wonderful: The American Circus 1901–1927 (New York: Quantuck Lane Press, 2003)

 “The Divine Insect,” from The Extermination of Evil (1927 facsimile of a 12th century scroll)

Warhafft (Munich: Adam Berg, 1589)