October Is American Archives Month

October is American Archives Month, celebrating the work of archivists and raising awareness on the value of archives to our community.  An archive is a collection of historical records and/or the physical place such records are located. Archives are important because they provide long-term preservation and access to records of enduring cultural and historical value. […]

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Canada!

I'm not sure why, but a few weeks back, I got the Canadian national anthem stuck in my head, and it got me thinking. I never thought about it before, but Canada's a country. It's not just a punchline to a joke about friendly neighbors or a place where some celebrities come from. It's got […]

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How We Make The Funny

The Daily Show was a little nothing of a property when it debuted in the mid-90s. With the leadership of Jon Stewart, however, it became a cultural touchstone and the place where millions got their news. The Daily Show (the Book) by Chris Smith is an oral history of the high times and raucous humor of this staple […]

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Your Bellevue Reading List

David Oshinsky has written a lucid history of the storied Bellevue Hospital, naturally titled Bellevue. It also deals with the history of medicine and New York City, which Bellevue is intrinsically part of. From its days as the infirmary of a poorhouse to Hurricane Sandy (the only time in Bellevue's history that it closed its doors), […]

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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!

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

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

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

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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