Around the Worlds

Around the Worlds

There's a neat subgenre of history that wants to tell the entire story of human civilization. A lot of the older ones are very much focused on Europe, with a chapter or two devoted to those vague people somewhere else who were doing whatever. For some reason, I find this combination of bias and ambition strangely charming, and […]

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Save The Books!

timbuktu

It is said that those who burn books have no problem burning people, and that has certainly been true over the past century. Whether Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot, tyrants have tried to control people by controlling culture and the past. Fortunately, there are people like those documented in The Monuments Men (read my blog post on that here) […]

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Family History Day Is October 15 at HWLC

historical photo of girl in hat

Interested in tracing your family tree? Come to Family History Day on Saturday, October 15 at Harold Washington Library Center. We'll hold events throughout the day: Ask a Genealogist: Professional genealogists and librarians are available for short one-on-one consultations. Genealogy & Family History Expo: Speak with representatives from The Newberry Library, National Archives, Story Corps and Photo Graphix. Genes […]

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All In the Family

All In the Family

What would it take to build a dynasty? To gather together ambitious relatives, pump out ambitious children and use your collective skill to own a good chunk of the world? You'd figure these people would just wind up killing each other in the end, but some can make it work. I don't quite have the same drive […]

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National Park Service Centennial

Tunnel View, Yosemite Valley

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100!  The centennial celebration pays homage to the Organic Act of 1916, which established the Park Service and brought a number of parks already in existence together under its auspices.  However, the rich history of the parks movement predates this, beginning in earnest in the 1860s. […]

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Through the Eyes of Vietnam Veterans

Source: Library of Congress, Carol M. Highsmith

Years ago, a Vietnam veteran I knew was asked how long he served in Vietnam. Instead of estimating in weeks or months, he rattled off the precise number of days. I was struck by the intensity of his response—as if the experience remained close to his thoughts—and it inspired me to learn more about the […]

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Firestarters

Firestarters

Politicians, activists, blowhards, pundits, loudmouths and the like all pretend to think they're on the vanguard of a glorious revolution. One quick dip into history proves it's all been done before. Just when you think you've been inspired, you hear about someone who was led by the messages of angels. Donald Spoto's Joan follows Joan of Arc […]

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Remembering the Holocaust: Books for Kids

Always Remember Me book cover

This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, begins on the evening of May 4 and ends on the evening of May 5. During this time, people around the world will remember the millions of people who lost their lives. It is difficult to talk about the Holocaust, but everyone wants to make sure it […]

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Sisters in STEAM

featured image

Nathalia Holt's newest book is out, and it's a real treat. Rise of the Rocket Girls chronicles the women "computers" of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from the Cal Tech students who set it up to the launch of the space probe Juno, which is scheduled to start orbiting Jupiter in July. Under various managers, the computing department […]

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CPL Hosts Mayor Harold Washington Summit

In honor of the late Mayor Harold Washington, for whom the main library is named, Chicago Public Library will host the Mayor Harold Washington Summit on Monday, May 9. We'll celebrate and explore the life and legacy of Mayor Washington, the city’s first African-American mayor, during the daylong summit, highlighting the ways in which Mayor […]

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