Digital Exhibits - UWM Libraries Special Collections
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Resources for Further Research


Are you doing research with popular romance or want to start but need help discovering primary resources for you topic?

We’re happy to connect you with materials in our collections so don't hesitate to set up a reserach consultation with the Special Collections Department.

Are you interested in using romance literature for research but not really sure what lines of inquiry are possible or what theories and methods to use?

I highly recommend heading over to the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, "a double-blind peer reviewed interdisciplinary journal exploring popular romance fiction and the logics, institutions, and social practices of romantic love in global popular culture." You'll get a great sense of what's trending in popular romance scholarship today as well as gain an understanding of the discipline's vast methodological approaches.

Get Social!

The popular romance community is very active online; it's made up of fans, authors, and scholars who connect with one another for far more than gushing about new title releases or swapping reviews. The online community is doing digital media scholarship, collaborating on projects, connecting one another to resources, and documenting the history of the romance genre as well as documenting the history of the field itself:

  • Check out the Teach Me Tonight blog where scholars collect and share resources meant to assist in romance scholarship and teaching. 
  • Look at Tumblr posts the UWM Special Collections department has made using the Nurse Romance Novel collection.
  • Follow the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University on Twitter (@BGSU_PopCultLib). Their library is one of the most comprehensive for popular culture.
  • Join the Romance Scholar Listserv.

      And, reach out to us at UWM Special Collections. Our professional staff and graduate student interns are experienced with primary source research/instruction and we are constantly expanding our own "popular culture" fluency in order to provide exactly this type of reference help! 


      Like the idea of using primary sources for instruction but you’re not sure how to get started?

      Take a look at the Teaching and Learning section of the JPRS, which publishes "peer-reviewed studies of the teaching and learning of popular culture, and features articles on the theoretical and practical issues involved in teaching the popular culture of romantic love." Contact us to talk about the possibilities of an instruction session or class vsit!

      Curious to know if any of our materials connect more deeply to your specific course themes?

      We would be thrilled to collaborate with you to find the appropriate primary resources for your course or project. Overall, we get the most requests for instruction sessions from the Art, Art History, History, and Women's and Gender Studies departments; we're pretty excited to start exploring the Nurse Romance Novel collection with them. We're hoping to increase our engagement with other departments, too. We are confident that we can design subject-specific instruction sessions using the Nurse Romance Novel collection for a lot of UWM's academic departments and certificates:

      • Urban Studies, Social Work, Nursing, African and African Diaspora studies, American Indian studies, JAMS, Comparative Ethnic Studies, Cultures and Communities, Global Studies, Healthcare Administration, International Studies, Latin American, Caribbean, & US Latin@ Studies, Public Health, and Sociology.
      • Keep in mind that the exhibition only explores a few of the many issues and themes raised by these novels, admittedly from the bias of an historian. The exhibition not exhaustive of their potential, which is precisely why we're promoting this collection. Let's test the limits of these resources for scholarship!

        Ok, so you're still not sure that this makes sense for your class?

        It's not for everyone and that's ok. Don't forget, our popular culture materials are certainly not limited to nurse-themed romance novels. Let's chat about using other genres of category fiction, magazines, comic books, or zines! 

        Already an expert at primary source instruction and just want to link to it in CANVAS, adapt sections as course reading, or design an assignment that utilizes some of the ideas or resources?

        Awesome, go for it! If you need help doing so, let us know. Otherwise, please feel free to adapt and adopt anything you'd like according to academic fair use guidelines.

        For distribution or reproduction outside of academic fair use situations, please attribute exhibit text authorship to Katie E. Stollenwerk in accordance with your preferred citation style guidelines. Note: many of the primary sources are still under copyright; reproduction of images beyond academic fair use will also require you seek permission to reproduce them from the copyright holder. UWM Special Collections cannot grant permissions but we may be able to advise you on how to determine the copyright holder.

        We'd also be happy to host visits for student groups like the Military and Veterans Resource Center (MAVRC), the Women's Resource Center, and the JAMS or Art & Design LLCs. 


        Popular Culture and Popular Romance Studies

        Cawelti, John. Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.

        Dixon, jay. The Romance Fiction of Mills & Boon 1909-1990s. London: UCL Press, 1999. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Dugger, Julie M. “‘I’m a Feminist, But…’ Popular Romance in the Women’s Literature Classroom.Journal of Popular Romance Studies 4, no.2 (October, 2014). 

        Frantz, Sarah S.G. and Eric Murphy Selinger. New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction: Critical Essays. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2012.

        Gleason, William A., and Eric Murphy Selinger, eds. Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom?. London: Ashgate, 2016.

        Giroux, Henry A. Disturbing Pleasures: Learning Popular Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994.

        Grescoe, Paul. The Merchants of Venus: Inside Harlequin and the Empire of Romance. Vancouver: Raincoast Books, 1996.

        Jensen, Margaret Ann. Love's $weet Return: The Harlequin Story. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1984.

        Journal of Popular Romance Studies.

        Vivanco, Laura. For Love and Money the Literary Art of the Harlequin Mills & Boon Romance. Genre Fiction Monographs. Tirril, England: Humanities -, 2011. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Nurse Romance Novels

        Asmundarson, Grettir. The Tiny Pineapple Nurse Book Collection (blog).

        Casey, Bill. “Nurse Novels.Southwest Review 49, no. 4 (1964): 332-341. 

        Clark, Susanna. “Drama! Intrigue! Romance! Adventure!.Scrubs, Winter 2013. 

        Clark, Susanna. Vintage Nurse Romance Novels (blog).

        Investigations of Book Aesthetics and Paratext

        Bowring, Joanna and Margaret O'Brien. The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs. Munich: Prestel, 2008.

        Genette, Gérard. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Translated by Jane E. Lewin. Literature, Culture, Theory 20. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Kamble, Jayashree. “Uncovering and Recovering the Popular Romance Novel.” PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 2008.

        Kamble, Jayashree. "Branding a Genre: a Brief Transatlantic History of Romance Novel Cover Art." In Romance Fiction and American Culture: Love as the Practice of Freedom?, edited by William Gleason and Eric Selinger, page #s. London: Ashgate, 2016.

        Matthews, Nicole, and Nickianne Moody. Judging a Book by Its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Pub., 2007.

        McKnight-Trontz, Jennifer. The Look of Love: The Art of the Romance Novel. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Nursing History

        Ashley, Jo Ann. Hospitals, Paternalism, and the Role of the Nurse. New York: Teachers College Press, 1976.

        Bass, Linda Polk. “Professional Socialization in Nursing Education Between 1900 and 1975.” PhD diss. University of Texas at Austin, 1994.

        Bullough, V. L., and B. Bullough. The Emergence of Modern Nursing. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

        D’Antonio, Patricia. American Nursing: A History of the Knowledge, Authority, and the Meaning of Work. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 

        Hine, Darlene Clark. Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950. Blacks in the Diaspora. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Kalisch, Philip A. and Beatrice J. Kalisch. American Nursing: A History. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.

        Malka, Susan Gelfand. Daring to Care: American Nursing and Second-Wave Feminism. Champaign, Illinois: U of Illinois P, 2007.

        Staupers, Mabel Keaton. No Time for Prejudice; a Story of the Integration of Negroes in Nursing in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1961.

        Nurses and Media Studies

        Gordon, Suzanne. Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care. The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Judd, Catherine. Bedside Seductions: Nursing and the Victorian Imagination, 1830-1880. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

        Kalisch, Philip A. and Beatrice J. Kalisch. The Changing Image of the Nurse. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1987.

        McAllister, Margaret, and Donna Lee Brien. "Narratives of the 'Not-So-Good Nurse': Rewriting Nursing's Virtue Script." Hecate 41, no. 1/2 (2015): 79-97,191,193.

        Meier, Eileen. "The Image of a Nurse—Myth vs. Reality." Nursing Economics 17, no. 5 (Sept. 1999): 273-275.

        Turner, Keaghan Kane. “In Perfect Sympathy: Representations of Nursing in New Woman Fiction.” PhD diss. University of South Carolina, 2006.

        Womens’ History

        Honey, Maureen. Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984). [Read a Digital Copy].

        Lehman, Katherine J. Those Girls: Single Women in Sixties and Seventies Popular Culture. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2011.

        Meyerowitz, Joanne, ed. Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

        Spigel, Lynn. Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. [Read a Digital Copy].

        Juvenile Nurse Fiction  

        Finlay, Adrianne. "Cherry Ames, Disembodied Nurse: War, Sexuality, and Sacrifice in the Novels of Helen Wells." Journal of Popular Culture 43, no. 6 (2010): 1189-206.

        Philips, Deborah. "Healthy Heroines: Sue Barton, Lillian Wald, Lavinia Lloyd Dock and the Henry Street Settlement." Journal of American Studies 33, no. 1 (1999): 65-82.

        Resources for Further Research