Posts tagged as history

History and Biography Resources

March 31, 2014 by pjorgensen

This section of our site has been discontinued.



Tagged in: websites, web guides, history, historical, biography, biographies, biographical, Britain, United States, American,
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"Devil in the Grove" by Gilbert King

November 20, 2013 by PatLeach
Over the weekend I finished "Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America" by Gilbert King. I came across this title in the list of Pultizer Prize nominees--a goldmine of reading ideas.

Before he became a Supreme Court justice, and before he brought the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall's work at the NAACP took him all over the southern United States where race was a factor in court cases. A general pattern in his work was that the goal was to set up a successful appeal of a conviction. An acquittal was an impossible dream in nearly all of his cases.

Such was his strategy in the case of the Groveland Boys--four black men accused of raping a young white woman near Groveland, Florida, in 1949. King introduces a host of characters in setting the stage for this story--from the remarkable Sheriff Willis McCall to a woman reporter for a local newspaper to the four accused black men to the governors of Florida to members of the Ku Klux Klan to members of the local NAACP. King works hard to place the actions in the context of the time, where one foot is squarely in a system that as a matter of course denies justice to black people, and the other is stepping toward landmark decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education.

He traces a chronology of beatings, shootings, and palpable danger for the men in custody, and  for the outsider attorneys who arrive in Florida in their defense. In the end, what justice looks like seems pretty unimpressive. What does impress is King's ability to maintain the connection to context, and to weave a good deal of background information without losing the sense of story.

King's focus on Thurgood Marshall further highlights context, knowing what we do of his later Supreme Court career. In terms of how the story works, the immense scope of his personality and impact balance the intensity of what happened at Groveland. From my vantage point in 2013, continual questions arose regarding how things have changed--or not--since 1949.

I'm a nonfiction fan generally, and especially seek well-told stories of American History. I've been recommending this to others who seek such a book, and especially to people with an interest in justice. I think this could be an excellent nonfiction choice for book groups who typically choose fiction. There is much to learn, and to discuss, in "Devil in the Grove."


Tagged in: nonfiction, history, Thurgood Marshall,
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Nebraska Governors

November 27, 2012 by sdc
Nebraksa Governors page logo

Master List of Governors of the State of Nebraska

Click here for a listing of all of Nebraska's Governors

The Nebraska Governors List is available as a PDF file, which requires the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader. Help for viewing PDF files is available.

Vertical Files Material

The Lincoln City Libraries maintains a collection of over 1300 clipping folders, known traditionally as our Vertical File Collection. These folders are all located In the basement Periodicals Room of our main headquarters -- Bennett Martin Public Library, 136 S. 14th St. 68508 -- in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. This collection of clippings is primarily from the Lincoln newspapers from the 1930s through the 1990s, as well as a few other sources. Contents of folders can vary from just a few articles to many articles. Vertical Files materials are part of our reference collection and must be used in the library only. Photocopiers are available in the Periodicals room for local researchers wishing to make copies. Long-distance researchers wishing to make use of our Reference-by-Mail [mail your request to the Reference Department, c/o the address in the paragraph above] or Reference-by-Email services, can have copies made of any documents in the Vertical Files. See the Reference-by-Email page for a list of possible fees.

 

The following folders of clippings about the Governors of the State of Nebraska exist in our Vertical Files Collection:

 

  • Nebraska -- Governors
  • Nebraska -- Governors -- Mansion
  • Nebraska -- Governors -- Messages
  • Nebraska -- Governors -- Wives
We also have several Vertical Files folders about individual past Governors of Nebraska:

 

  • Morton, J. Sterling [1858] -- appointed position
  • McKelvie, Samuel [1919-1923] -- this and all below were elected
  • Griswold, Dwight [1941-1947]
  • Peterson, Val [1947-1953]
  • Crosby, Robert [1953-1955]
  • Anderson, Victor Emanuel [1955-1959]
  • Brooks, Ralph [1959-1960]
  • Burney, Dwight [1960-1961]
  • Morrison, Frank [1961-1967]
  • Tiemann, Norbert [1967-1971]
  • Exon, J. James [1971-1979]
  • Thone, Charles [1979-1983]
  • Kerrey, Robert [1983-1987]
  • Orr, Kay [1987-1991]
  • Nelson, Ben [1991-1999]

Other Resources

The library also has a microfilm reel containing clippings about the following Nebraska Governors: Victor A. Anderson; Ralph G. Brooks; Robert L. Cochran.

 

Official Web site of the
Governor of the State of Nebraska

Return to the Reference Department


Tagged in: Lincoln City Libraries, library, Lincoln, Nebraska, NE, libraries, public, public library, public libraries, Governors, Nebraska Governors, history,
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An Especially Good Nonfiction Notable--"Destiny of the Republic"

March 04, 2012 by PatLeach
"Destiny of the Republic" by Candice Millard is subtitled, "A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of A President." In this American Library Association Notable book, Millard tells the story of President James Garfield, who was elected in 1880 and died in 1881.

Some readers may recall Millard as the author of "The River of Doubt" which was a One Book One Lincoln finalist a few years ago. That focused on an episode in the life of Theodore Roosevelt. She excels at writing history as story.

Millard opens this story with a prologue that introduces us right away to Charlies Guiteau. Guiteau survived a collision between two steamships in 1880. His own survival when others died led him to believe that he was saved for an important purpose, and when that belief combined with his mental illness, it twisted itself into his intention to kill President Garfield.

Chapter One picks up at the United States' Centennial Exhibition in 1876, where James Garfield, a congressman, strolls the grounds with his family. Millard uses this event to introduce two key angles that will be highlighted when Garfield is shot--the work of Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, and pioneering work regarding antiseptic procedures in surgery.

Millard spends enough time with Garfield's remarkable rise from poverty to presidency to set the context of the time, and to tell the parallel story of Guiteau's descent. The events following the shooting take up a good deal of the book, yet she doesn't lose the narrative's momentum.

I appreciated how much I learned in the course of this book. This takes several forms. The sense of the United States shortly after the Civil War, the personalities engaged in politics, the dirtiness of the politics, and the lack of cleanliness as it impacted Garfield, are staying with me.

This may not be the book for serious students of American history, but for readers who have a general interest in the time and who are unfamiliar with James Garfield, Millard unrolls a fine story. I'll recommend it both to those with that interest in American history, and also to fiction readers who are willing to try nonfiction "when it reads like a story."

You can read an additional review of this book in the library staff review section of our website, with thanks to Alyse at Bennett Martin Public Library.


Tagged in: Notables, nonfiction, history, "Destiny of the Republic, " James Garfield,
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"Citizens of London"

February 22, 2011 by PatLeach

I'm continuing in my annual trek through the American Library Association Notable Books List. Over the Presidents Day holiday, I finished reading "Citizens of London: The Americans who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour" by Lynne Olson.

This book exemplifies what I love about each year's Notable List--it brings forward splendid books that got little attention.

"Citizens of London" also allows me to get up on my soapbox to encourage America to read more nonfiction, or to read it at all.

Lynne Olson does a great job of creating a narrative thread in this book, even as she weaves in necessary information to create context. In this case, the story is about the Americans in London, primarily a small group of men, who worked long and hard to promote the British case for the United States to become involved in World War II.

Readers may recall that many in the United States held a strong isolationist stance in the late 1930s. President Franklin Roosevelt instituted the lend-lease program to assist Britain, but it was seen in Britain as not nearly enough, at too dear a price. Journalist Edward R. Murrow, Ambassador to the Court of St. James Gil Winant, and Lend-Lease representative Averell Harriman became "citizens of London" and promoted the position that the United States had to do more to support England against Germany.

Of course, much changed with the United States entering the war after Pearl Harbor. Olson takes this story through the end of the war and just past, showing how these three men continued to play a role in maintaining the relationship between the United States and Britain. The story begins fairly simply with the focus on the three men, and as the war progresses, more people enter the picture as joint military campaigns must be agreed to and staged, and finally a post-war world shaped.

I'm left with much respect for these three, and for Dwight Eisenhower, who was placed in the position of having to make a joint command work.

I'm also left with Olson's gift of connecting these world-changing events to the everyday lives of common people in London during this time. Her ability to tell a specific story that illustrates a wider point is what made me enjoy this book so much.

I'll recommend this to readers who enjoy history, and to that large group of people with special interest in World War II. I'll also recommend it to fiction readers who are willing to dip into something a little different, into a nonfiction book that still follows the thread of a compelling story, and that develops interesting characters.

 



Tagged in: Notables, Good Reads, history, "Citizens of London", "Lynne Olson",
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