Lost Libraries

“Herman Melville’s books? One bookstore bought an assortment for $120, then scrapped the theological titles for paper. Stephen Crane’s? His widow died a brothel madam, and her estate (and his books) were auctioned off on the steps of a Florida courthouse. Ernest Hemingway’s? To this day, all 9,000 titles remain trapped in his Cuban villa.”

With a glance at experimental novelist David Markson, Craig Fehrman looks at Lost Libraries: The Strange Afterlife of Authors’ Book Collections:

“An author’s library, like anyone else’s, reveals something about its owner. Mark Twain loved to present himself as self-taught and under-read, but his carefully annotated books tell a different story. Books can offer hints about an author’s social and personal life. After David Foster Wallace’s death in 2008, the Ransom Center bought his papers and 200 of his books, including two David Markson novels that Wallace not only annotated, but also had Markson sign when they met in New York in 1990. Most of all, though, authors’ libraries serve as a kind of intellectual biography. Melville’s most heavily annotated book was an edition of John Milton’s poems, and it proves he reread Paradise Lost while struggling with Moby-Dick.

“And yet these libraries rarely survive intact. The reasons for this can range from money problems to squabbling heirs to poorly executed auctions. Twain’s library makes for an especially cringe-worthy case study because, unlike a lot of now-classic authors, he saw no ebb in his reputation — and, thus, no excuse in the handling of his books. In 1908, Twain donated 500 books to the library he helped establish in Redding, Conn. After Twain’s death in 1910, his daughter, Clara, gave the library another 1,700 books. The Redding library began circulating Twain’s books, many of which contained his notes, and souvenir hunters began cutting out every page that had Twain’s handwriting. This was bad enough, but in the 1950s the library decided to thin its inventory, unloading the unwanted books on a book dealer who soon realized he now possessed more than 60 titles annotated by Mark Twain. Today, academic libraries across the country own Twain books in which ‘REDDING LIBRARY’ has been stamped in purple ink.”

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

End of the Slave Trade in Washington DC

Slave Code of the District of Columbia 1862 (Library of Congress)

One hundred seventy years ago today, as part of the Compromise of 1850 that hoped to stave off Civil War, the US Congress abolished the slave trade – but not slavery – in the nation’s capital.

From its founding in 1800, slaves had lived and worked in Washington DC. And, despite abolition of the traffic in human beings, slavery continued to exist in the District of Columbia until April 16, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation ending the District’s slave code and freeing 3,000 African Americans.

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Joy of Your First Library Card

Nash Hinkle proudly displays his very first library card.

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Citizenship Day 2010

Saturday’s 2nd Annual Citizenship and Constitution Day, coupled with the aptly scheduled meeting of the National Association of Parliamentarians, drew dozens of Haysville citizens, young and old, and numerous other Kansans to the library.

Here are a few of the scenes from Citizenship Day:

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best-Selling Author Nancy Pickard Visits HCL Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night at 7:00 pm, acclaimed Kansas author Nancy Pickard will present a discussion of “The Mysterious State of Kansas” in the Community Room at the Haysville Community Library.

While perhaps best known to local readers as the author of the best-selling and Kansas-centered The Virgin of Small Plains, Ms. Pickard has written nearly two dozen popular works including several in each of the “Jenny Cain”, “Marie Lightfoot” and “Eugenia Potter” series of mysteries, along with current best-seller The Scent of Rain and Lightning and numerous others.

Books will be available for signing, and refreshments will be served.

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Citizenship & Constitution Day Tomorrow

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Constitution Day

Two hundred twenty three years ago today, as the final signers of the newly penned Constitution filed past to sign the document, Benjamin Franklin looked toward the chair in which the president of the Constitutional Convention, George Washington, had sat throughout the proceedings. Franklin noted to those about him that he had often wondered, during the long deliberations and negotiations, at an image of the sun which was painted there.

As James Madison reported in his Notes on the Convention, Franklin then observed, “I have, said he, often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.”

How very right he was.

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 8:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Before the Civil War: Fall Book Discussions Set to Begin in October

“So, you’re the little woman that started this big war,” Abraham Lincoln is reputed to have said when introduced to abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin – one of the five titles in our fall book discussions, sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council.

Beginning on Monday October 11th at 7 pm with a discussion of Jane Smiley’s The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, set in 1855 Kansas, all five featured volumes offer an intriguing gateway into the ante bellum world.

This series is especially appropriate for Kansas readers as we prepare to celebrate the Kansas Sesquicentennial this coming January 29th, as well as the national Civil War Sesquicentennial beginning with the December 20th 150th anniversary of the secession of South Carolina as the opening act.

Copies of our first featured novel are available now at the circulation desk, along with brochures describing the upcoming discussions, complete with brief descriptions of all five works and suggestions for further reading.

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

How Hot Can It Be?

With the rising controversy and increased politicization surrounding the question of global warming, few books could be more timely than Paul N. Edwards’ A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data and the Politics of Global Warming.

Edward’s work is largely an exposition of the history of meteorology and climatology – “the almost heroic efforts made over the past century or so by tens of thousands of people worldwide to render weather and climate intelligible” — and an assessment of the current state of these allied sciences.

Writing for American Scientist, Noel Castree (Professor of Geography at Manchester University) quite favorably reviews A Vast Machine in How We Make Knowledge About Climate Change. He sums up his appraisal by indicating that “I recommend this book with considerable enthusiasm. Although it’s a term reviewers have made into a cliché, I think A Vast Machine is nothing less than a tour de force. It is the most complete and balanced description we have of two sciences whose results and recommendations will, in the years ahead, be ever more intertwined with the decisions of political leaders and the fate of the human species.”

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Empire of Dreams

“From the moment he put Hollywood and himself on the map in 1914 with the silent western ‘The Squaw Man’ until he took his final curtain in 1956 with ‘The Ten Commandments,’ which was his greatest success of all, in the American film industry there was Cecil B. DeMille, then there was everyone else. It was DeMille who, more than anyone, fashioned the international image of the Hollywood director as a tyrant with the high boots, riding crop and bullhorn to shout orders to thousands of extras.”

In Monarch of the Movie Set, Todd McCarthy reviews Scott Eyman’s new biography of legendary film director Cecil B. DeMille, Empire of Dreams.

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scavenger Hunt at the Library

More than fifty members of the Haysville Boys and Girls Club gathered in the Haysville Community Library this afternoon for a rousing scavenger hunt. Here’s how it started:

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Citizenship Day 2010

Published in: on September 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment