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The Founding of the Smithsonian Institution: Increasing & Diffusing Knowledge

By Katie Behrens. Jul 13, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Libraries & Special Collections

Imagine you wake up one morning and discover that a mysterious benefactor left you a small fortune, stipulating that the funds be used to help others. How would you spend it? Now imagine that you have to make that decision with 293 other people without splitting the money. This is the task that the 24th Congress of the United States faced when it created the Smithsonian Institution

     
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Book Collecting Spotlight: Decision Points by George W. Bush

By Leah Dobrinska. Jul 6, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

Today is former President George W. Bush's birthday. We've written numerous times before about presidents as authors and award winning books by political leaders. We thought today would be a good opportunity to take a closer look at President Bush's book, Decision Points

     
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Patriotic Poems to Read in Honor of the Fourth of July

By Leah Dobrinska. Jul 4, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

It’s Independence Day here in the USA. Whether you’re firing up the grill, attending a local parade, or saving seats for the firework show, we hope you have a safe and celebratory 4th of July. If you’re looking for another way to get in a festive spirit, we’d recommend seeking out the following four poems. While America is certainly not a utopia, these poems both remind us of the good and challenge us to be better. The list of great American, patriotic poems is a long one, so we’ve only scratched the surface here. Share your favorites with us in the comments. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

     
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Getting Lost in Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 30, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Legendary Authors, Movie Tie-Ins

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell has staying power. Today, the book turns 82 years young, and it continues to be heralded as a favorite by readers of all ages. Gone with the Wind has become a sort of benchmark for Southern Literature since its publication in 1936, and while some contest its portrayal of African American and period-based racism, it remains widely studied and referenced both by scholars and readers alike. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937, and a now well-known and well-loved film by the same name was released in 1939. We've collected everything we could pertaining to  Gone with the Wind to help celebrate its publication. Read on for facts about the film, Mitchell herself, and more!      
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How Harriet Beecher Stowe (and Lincoln) Freed the Slaves

By Andrea Koczela. Jun 14, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, American Literature

In the mid-eighteen hundreds, women had no voice in American politics. Yet one woman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, played a central role in triggering the Civil War and bringing about the abolition of slavery. Prior to Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, abolitionists were considered an extremist group—even in the North. Yet the publication of Uncle Tom changed everything. In honor of her birthday, let's take a look at Harriet Beecher Stowe's influence.

     
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Collecting the Works of President and Peace Prize Winner, Jimmy Carter

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 12, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

“To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others.” ~Jimmy Carter, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1977

Do you have a collection of books by U.S. presidents? Or, are you interested in Nobel Peace Prize winners, twentieth century history, or human rights? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, the works of Jimmy Carter should be on your radar.

     
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The Importance of Remembering D-Day

By Leah Dobrinska. Jun 6, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Legendary Authors, History

Today marks the anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The day is commonly referred to as D-Day, and nearly everyone knows that. But, do we remember its significance? Or are we quick to dismiss it as another marker of a long-past historic battle? Have the intermittent years of war since numbed us to the cost of it all?

As the years tick on, we have fewer and fewer first-hand witnesses of these events in our midst. The unimaginably brave men who stormed the beaches and survived that gruesome day (and the ensuing Battle of Normandy, which lasted until August, 1944) are now dying of old age. And when the last of them dies, how will we honor them? How will we remember what they fought for? We believe that it is crucial to keep the events of D-Day, and all that followed, fresh in our memory, so that we can teach it to our children and our children's children—those who may never get to hear an eye-witness account in person. How can we do that? Certainly the literature surrounding D-Day and all of World War II can be of help.

     
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An Economist for the People: John Kenneth Galbraith

By Adrienne Rivera. Jun 5, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Book Collecting

John Kenneth “Ken” Galbraith was one of the most well-known economists and diplomats of the 20th century. Born in Ontario, Galbraith received his masters and doctorates in agricultural economics from University of California Berkeley. He went on to teach at both Harvard and Princeton University, and he held fellowships at the University of Cambridge in England. Galbraith published widely and became well known for his positions as a diplomat and as the editor of Fortune magazine during World War II. His role was exceedingly important at a time when understanding the politics and economy of agriculture was necessary for a nation at war and a people who had not yet recovered from the harsh impact of the Great Depression.

     
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R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford University

By Audrey Golden. Apr 19, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History, Libraries & Special Collections, Art

Who was R. Buckminster Fuller? In Stanford University Library’s description of the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection, the description describes Fuller as a “20th century polymath,” while the Buckminster Fuller Institute describes the man as “a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limit himself to one field but worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems.” He was, indeed, a person of many interests, many academic pursuits, and many talents. Fuller lived through most of the twentieth century and published novels and essays, wrote poetry, designed architectural geodesic domes and works of contemporary art, and built prototype cars of the future.

His books are highly collectible, and if you are interested in seeing and learning more, you can access the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection at Stanford’s Special Collections and University Archives.

     
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Five of the Best Western Novels

By Matt Reimann. Mar 22, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Topics: American History

In place of Romulus and Remus, of Ra and Isis, Americans created two popular mythic heroes: the superhero and the cowboy. While the superhero has only grown in its capacity as one of the United States’ most recognizable cultural exports (and as cinema’s most lucrative subject), the Western genre has diminished in status, falling from the wide popularity on television it enjoyed as recently as 40 years ago. The shift has come with justifiable reason, as an increasingly skeptical audience finds it hard to identify heroism within a violent environment built on the deliberate extermination of the American Indian, and other historical crimes.

     
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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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