Our special collections support research, but who says you can’t have fun while learning? Here are some ways to take a break and refocus by engaging with our rare book, manuscript, and archival collections. Share with us on Facebook or Instagram.

Special Collections Valentines

Much like today, the cards people gave to each other in the 19th century would be either store-bought or homemade. For those of you longing to prove that your love is of a fine vintage, we are pleased to share with you historic Valentine’s Day cards from our collection.

Download the DIY Special Collections Valentines packet

Valentines packet pdf download

The Woman Suffrage Cook Book

Enjoy holiday-themed sweets and treats from three different American women’s suffrage cookbooks in our Special Collections. Find gingerbread recipes and other wintry Suffragette favorites!

Download the Cook Book (pdf)

How to Bake an Almond Hedgehog

Read about the history of this confectionery delight and then attempt to bake your own. Tag @jhulibraries in your photos so we can celebrate along with you!

Download the Recipe Book (pdf)

Gallery of Majors

Whether you’re an incoming freshman trying on your major for the first time or a graduating senior who’s been wearing it for a while, how would you outfit yourself in the garb and gear of your major?

Have a glance at our gallery of images from Nicolas de Larmessin’s Costumes Grotesques and then use download the template to create your own academic outfit.

Explore the gallery

Download the template (pdf)

Read the blog post

Women’s Suffrage Cookbook

Connect with the suffragettes through a delicious homemade dish with this cookbook that share excerpts from the historic Washington Women’s Cook Book. Published in 1909, it is an extraordinary example of how a community cookbook could be used to improve one’s daily life and to think more broadly about contemporary issues.

Download the Cookbook (pdf)


Download and play this pro-women’s suffrage board game at home! Dating from the early 1900s, the goal is to avoid all the pitfalls of suffragette life, such as run-ins with the police or nasty remarks from politicians, in order to storm the British House of Commons and get “Votes for Women”!

Download color pdf Download grayscale pdf

Take the Toymaker Challenge

Follow this set of instructional toymaker cards created by illustrator Kate Angus in the early 1930s to make your own vintage toys. The cards were designed to provide children with afternoons of fun by using common and inexpensive household objects to make toys.

Watch a video with Special Collections librarian Heidi Herr about how to make a matchbox ship

Read a blog post about the #JHUMakesToys Challenge

Color our Collections

Check out our coloring book featuring images from our rare book collections. Share your creations by tagging #JHUAtHome.