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Read More Poetry: The Langston Hughes Edition

By Leah Dobrinska. Feb 16, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Poetry

We're a little over one month into the new year. How are your new year's resolutions shaping up? One of our promises for 2017 was (and is!) to read more poetry. You should make it a habit to do so, too. Today, we’ll help the poetry cause by presenting poems from legendary poet and author, Langston Hughes.

     
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Collecting Famous Inaugural Addresses

By Leah Dobrinska. Jan 20, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

The presidential inaugural address is the speech that sets the stage for the presidency. It tells the nation what one person thinks he can do to change the course of history. It goes on to be dissected and discussed in an effort to determine presidential plans and motives. With the advent of broadcast media and more recently social media, presidential inaugural addresses are viewed and shared now more than ever. But for the political collector or history buff, a written copy of certain inaugural addresses makes for a fantastic addition to one’s collection. What are some of the most famous inaugural addresses in print? What should you consider when beginning or adding to your collection?

     
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Historical Accuracy of Little House on the Prairie

By Andrea Diamond. Dec 13, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

"A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin."

One of the most beloved opening lines in children’s literature comes from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s third book in the Little House series, Little House on the Prairie. It details the experience of a northern family’s migration in their covered wagon and working the land they eventually call home. From Wisconsin to Kansas to Minnesota, the Wilder family embodies the pioneer spirit carried by many in the late 1800s.

     
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Willa Cather and Pioneer Novels

By Andrea Diamond. Dec 7, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

As a hardened millennial, I am well-versed in the first-world problems of modern life. I've been reduced to drinking lattés made with soy milk when my preferred dairy-substitute of almond milk is unavailable. I have made the arduous journey into the gas station when the pay at the pump feature is out of order. I’ve accidentally put clothes that are labeled “lay flat to dry” in the dryer and been left with a pile of sweaters that look like they belong to a Chihuahua. Faced with such difficulties in 2016, I am hard pressed to imagine what daily life must have been like on the frontier for early Americans. Other than the narrative provided from my American Girl Doll, Kirsten, and the first-hand experience of dying from dysentery while playing the board game “Oregon Trail,” I do not have much information on the pioneer life―but I love to learn. If you’re like me, a dry history book probably isn’t your favorite genre to curl up with at the end of the day. Instead, consider reading one of these seven pioneer novels by Willa Cather to get a glimpse of life before Netflix.

     
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Three Book-Inspired Recipes for Thanksgiving Day

By Matt Reimann. Nov 23, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

Tomorrow, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, a holiday of family—and yes—food. We know the usual staples—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy—but there’s always room for some creativity to enliven an old tradition. Here are some delicious, literary-inspired dishes to impress your entire guest list, or at least make you excited for a festive and hearty meal.

     
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What to Read on Election Day

By Andrea Diamond. Nov 8, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Literature

Presidential election season; the high-stakes political race that comes around once every four years and determines the leader of the United States, the future of the American people, and the mood of our relatives at Thanksgiving dinner. When faced with such a big decision, it can often be helpful to first take a look into the past. As you head to the polls this November day, consider checking out one of these seven presidential books.

     
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Book It: Five of the Most Interesting U.S. Libraries

Let’s face it: Visiting a library while traveling to a new city is not always atop everyone’s must-do list. Even for the most bookish or literary-minded traveler, libraries as destinations often get lost in the fray when whipping up itineraries or sightseeing spots. Museums. Parks. Skyscrapers. Food markets. Sporting events. These activities more times than not reign supreme over buildings of archaic texts and decaying books where most travelers feel ‘You’ve seen one library, you’ve seen them all.’

But there are a number of libraries across the country that not only warrant serious investigation but also reward visitors with insight into our nation’s history and heritage. Whether simply marveling at the architectural wonders of these buildings or getting lost in the sheer number of volumes they offer, the U.S. plays host to some of the most aesthetically stunning, comprehensive, and interactive libraries the world over.

     
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Nothing But Land: A Literary Tour of the Great Plains

“A place where there was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the materials out of which countries were made.”

A bleak sentiment, yes, but perhaps one that has been the basis for some of the most stark, intimate, and revealing writing in the American literary tradition. Taken from the mind of Jim Burden, the central character in Willa Cather’s masterpiece novel, My Antonia (1918), this moment expresses a place where imagination, creativity, and fortitude are not merely boons to intellectual survival: they’re essential. But perhaps it makes sense that these aforementioned qualities are also often found in the lives and stories of some of America’s most famous authors.

     
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How the Founding Fathers Help Us Understand Ourselves

By Matt Reimann. Jul 4, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Biographies

The term “Founding Fathers” was coined by a speechwriter named Judson Welliver. He wrote under the administration of Warren G. Harding, who said the phrase nearly a century after the last of that group perishedthe fourth president James Madison, who died in the year 1836. Yet even before they had a collective name, the legacies of the founders were constantly being reinterpreted.

     
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Literature of the Civil War

By Matt Reimann. Apr 12, 2016. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature, History

Today marks the anniversary of the start of the Civil War. It began on April 12, 1861 after months of political tension and declarations of secession. It came to a head when the North and South were first brought to conflict at Fort Sumter, a Union base by Charleston, South Carolina. From these fires raged years of bloodshed and war—forming the most harrowing period in the nation’s history. But you probably knew this already.

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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