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Friday, August 18, 2017

Poetry Friday--Ratification of the 19th Amendment

An illustrated poem by Alice Duer Miller appeared in the magazine, Puck, February 20, 1915.

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was ratified. It signaled the end of the long struggle for a woman's right to vote. The amendment is short, but very sweet:
Amendment XIX. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The struggle for the right to vote is documented in the DVD, One Woman, One Vote [DVD 324.623 ONE]. Not to be missed is fictionalized film, Iron Jawed Angels [DVD IRO].

So where does poetry come in? You'll find a whole volume of little ditties in Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times by Alice Duer Miller, a book that was published in 1915, and can be found on the Gutenberg Project website.

Here are two sample poems to make you smile on this 97th anniversary of the ratification.

The Revolt of Mother

("Every true woman feels----"—Speech of almost any Congressman.)

I am old-fashioned, and I think it right
     That man should know, by Nature's laws eternal,
The proper way to rule, to earn, to fight,
     And exercise those functions called paternal;
But even I a little bit rebel
     At finding that he knows my job as well.

At least he's always ready to expound it,
     Especially in legislative hall,
The joys, the cares, the halos that surround it,
     "How women feel"—he knows that best of all.
In fact his thesis is that no one can
     Know what is womanly except a man.

I am old-fashioned, and I am content
     When he explains the world of art and science
And government—to him divinely sent—
     I drink it in with ladylike compliance.
But cannot listen—no, I'm only human—
     While he instructs me how to be a woman.

Warning to Suffragists

("The Latin man believes that giving woman the vote will make her less attractive."—Anna H. Shaw.)

They must sacrifice their beauty
Who would do their civic duty,
     Who the polling booth would enter,
     Who the ballot box would use;
As they drop their ballots in it
Men and women in a minute,
     Lose their charm, the antis tell us,
     But—the men have less to lose.

The "anitis" were those who opposed a woman's right to vote. [Note: many refer to the women who fought for suffrage as "suffragettes," but the term applies to British women. In the U. S. they were called "suffragists."]

Take A Journey through the Pages for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Keene State Children's Literature Festival

Are you a fan of children's books and their creators? Then you'll be pleased to learn that right here in New Hampshire the Keene State Children's Literature Festival will be taking place on October 28. It is a day long event that celebrates contemporary children's writers and illustrators. This is the forty-first year the festival is being held.

You might think that Keene is too long a drive from Windham, but, rest assured, on October 28, at the height of leaf-peeping season, the drive will go by in a flash.

The featured speakers at this year's festival with be Sophie Blackall, illustrator of the 2015 Caldecott Award winner, Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsay Mattick [JP MAT]. Another Caldecott Winner is author/illustrator Brian Floca who won the award in 2014 for Locomotive [JP FLO]. Grace Lin, writer of the Newbury Honor winner, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon [J LIN]. Daniel Salmieri, illustrated the amusing Those Darn Squirrels books and the Dragons Love Tacos books written by Rubin [JP RUB]. Rounding out the presenters list is New Hampshire's own David Elliott, whose latest book, Bull [YA ELI], will probably be a contender for a Newbury Award in 2017. Learn more about the speakers here.

Registration is now open, so add the Keene State Children's Literature Festival to your fall calendar, you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Forty Years Gone!

Elvis Presley died on this date back in 1977 at the age of 42. He's been gone almost as long as he lived. However, his legend continues, as does his following.

He's become a legend, and his status has grown to the point where Elvis, and that includes Elvis impersonators, have become "characters" in these works of fiction:

Couloumbis, Audrey. Love Me Tender. [J COU]

Henson, Laura. Ten little Elvi. [JP HEN]

Thomas, Diane C. The Year that Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern-Isaacs and Elvis Presley. [F THO]

Wilde, Lori. License to Thrill. [F WIL]

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

More Fun Things Available Online

Yesterday's post dealt with sewing patterns that were made available online. Shortly after I wrote that, a friend told me about another "fashion" resource.

Google has been digitizing fashion archives (with 175 partners) in a project titled, "We Wear Culture: The Stories Behind What We Wear." I urge you to take a look at what is available through "We Wear Culture." If you thought fashion was just about skinny models and magazines, it's time for a rethink!

There are photos galore, videos, commentaries, and more. Here's an example:

Before there was downloading, before there were CDs, and before that LPs and 45s, there were 78's. 78s were large format, although smaller than LPs, records made to play at 78 revolutions per minute. The 78 format was popular starting around 1900 to the 1950s.

"The Great 78 Project" is undertaking the digital preservation of the sounds contained on 78s. The project is explained here. You can find out how to get involved here.

Everything is preserved "as is," which means recordings on scratched records must be listened to with the scratches, hisses, and skips. If you're ready just to start listening, click here where you can find more than 5,000 78s that are listed as in "very good" or better condition.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Do you sew? It's almost a lost art in the 21st century. When I was growing up, no one would admit to the fact that their clothes were home-sewn. It was generally a sign that a family was poor and couldn't afford department store fashions. My, have times changed. Now "handmade" is a term resulting in awe--"Wow! You made that?"

If you're one of the lucky ones who knows your way around a sewing machine, you may be interested in a recently revealed treasure trove of vintage patterns. More than 83,000 patterns are now available online at Vintage Patterns Wikia. The patterns go back to the 1920s, and cover the decades through the 90s. Here's one pattern from the 20s:

Not only are the patterns useful for home sewers, but they'd also be useful for social historians and theater costume designers.

If you do sew, check out our collection of sewing books, such as Patternreview.com 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips: Top-Rated Favorites from Sewing Fans and Master Teachers by Deepika Prakash [646.2 PRA] and magazines such as Threads [MAG THR], and be prepared to be the one who inspires a "Wow!"

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry Friday--"Moonlight"

I was flipping through an old book (published in 1935), The Heavenly Guest and Other Unpublished Writings by Celia Thaxter [811 THA]. Celia Thaxter died in 1894, and the volume was created for the 100th anniversary of her birth in 1835. In the "Preface" to the book is this:
The reader must remember that as Celia did not publish these poems she probably considered them unfinished, or below the standard of her best work.

I read a poem that appealed to me "Moonlight," and rather than type it out here, I went looking for it online so I could cut and paste it into the post. I was surprised to find it in a magazine, The Century, from March 1891. It seems that this poem should not have been labeled as "unpublished."

The poem as it appears in the book was not labeled, "Picture by Childe Hassam." What a shame it wasn't, because it gives a whole new meaning to the poem.

Of course, I looked online for Hassam's painting "Moonlight." I found it listed as having been created in 1892. Then, in a beautiful book in our collection, Childe Hassam: American Impressionist by H. Barbara Weinberg [751.93 WEI], I found a chronology of exhibitions showing that it had been shown in the spring of 1891, so it must have been painted some time before then.

Perhaps Thaxter was present at its creation since she and Childe Hassam were friends and spent time together on the Isles of Shoals (in New Hampshire).

In any case, "Moonlight," the poem, is a work of ekphrasis, that is, art about art. I would not have known it unless I had come upon the poem in The Century.

Head down to the bayou for this week's Round-Up being hosted by Margaret at Reflections on the Teche.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Goodbye, Glen Campbell

By now you've heard of the passing, on Tuesday, of singer and guitarist, Glen Campbell. At 81, Campbell had a long, successful career as a musician.

I'm also sure you're aware that Campbell had been stricken with Alzheimer's Disease, but did you know that he had taken part in a film immediately following his diagnosis that followed him on his "goodbye tour." It was a brave act to subject himself to the prospect of someone filming his decline. Yet, he toured for a year and a half and his appearance in the film brought even more awareness to the disease that seems to be afflicting more and more of our population.

The film is Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me and it is in our DVD collection [DVD 782.42 GLE].