Posts of interest to local history buffs, written by local history buffs!

AADL Productions Podcast: Madcat Ruth

MadcatMadcat

Peter "Madcat" Ruth, a world-class harmonica player who's lived and played in Ann Arbor for over 30 years, celebrated his 60th birthday last April. We had the privilege of talking with Madcat about his varied career, which included lessons from Chicago blues harmonica legend Big Walter Horton; touring with Dave Brubeck; inventing the Madcat harmonica microphone; and winning a Grammy for his solo performance in Songs of Innocence and Experience. Madcat also reminisces about playing the many lost music venues in Ann Arbor and treats us with his signature harmonica rendition of "Take Five".

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AADL_Productions_Podcast-madcat.mp3 26.3 MB

Celebrate the AA Farmers Market

A 90th birthday celebration for the venerable Ann Arbor Farmers' Market is Saturday Aug. 8. Stop by for gelato, music, birthday cake, and kids' activities. Vendors and market goers will tell stories at the Oral History Booth from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To get excited about market history, see The Farmers’ Market Bounces Back and Reinventing the Farmers' Market in Ann Arbor Observer: Then and Now, a rich collection of more than 100 articles recently archived by AADL.

AADL Productions Podcast: JT Abernathy & Stan Baker

JT AbernathyJT Abernathy

In celebration of the 50th Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, AADL brings you an interview with the only artist whose art has appeared in every fair, JT Abernathy. Fresh off a recent successful show at the Clay Gallery, JT sat down with us and Stan Baker, another Ann Arbor pottery great and former student of JT's, to talk about his career and how pottery is different from half a century ago. Stan and JT gives us a good look at how they think about their work and how their 30-year relationship has shaped them as artists.

To learn more about the history of the event that defines Ann Arbor in the summertime, visit the new online exhibit 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.

AADL Productions Podcast: Mr. B

Mr. BMr. B

Local musician Mark Lincoln Braun, aka Mr. B, is celebrating his 30th year playing street boogie-woogie piano as part of the original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair. We talked recently with Mr. B about his memories of art fairs past; his musical influences; and his most recent venture, Mr. B's Joybox Express, a 125-mile bike ride he began July 13 for charity, riding a special bike designed to haul his piano. You'll find Mr. B playing every day during the art fair, Wednesday, July 15 through Saturday, July 18, on North University near Ingalls Mall.

AADL is also happy to help the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair celebrate another milestone with 50 Years of Originality: A History of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, a website of images, text, audio and video from the past half century of Ann Arbor's first fair.

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AADL_production_podcast-mrb.mp3 26.3 MB

Five women cook up some local history in 1899

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While testing the recipes in Ann Arbor Cooks you can savor an extra slice of Ann Arbor history: Several recipes, particularly within the 1899 Ann Arbor Cookbook, bear the names of prominent Ann Arbor citizens. On your next visit to Allmendinger Park you can take along Miss E. C. Allmendinger's Quince Tents; or you can enjoy Mrs. W. B. Hinsdale's Cream Puffs at the Broadway Park near the former intersection of 19th century Indian trails mentioned in her husband's book, The Indians of Washtenaw County. Mrs. Junius Beal probably whipped up her Marguerites at her home on the corner of 5th Avenue and William St., now the site of the Downtown library. Mrs. Samuel W. Beakes, whose husband wrote The Past and Present of Washtenaw County, baked Excellent Cocoanut Cookies, and Mrs. Frank Kelsey actually makes Prune Pudding sound...ok.

The names Allmendinger, Hinsdale, Beal, Beakes and Kelsey are frequently cited within the text and image collections of The Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, Ann Arbor Founders, The Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit and The Making of Ann Arbor.

AADL Productions Podcast: Grace Shackman

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Last week we had the opportunity to talk with local historian, author and teacher, Grace Shackman, about how Ann Arbor has changed over the years. Throughout the discussion, Grace looks back at articles she's written; how she got her start writing about Ann Arbor history; the importance of preserving local landmarks; and her memories of early Ann Arbor art fairs. Over 130 of Grace's articles are featured in Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, a new website with full text searching and browsing access to articles on local history from the Ann Arbor Observer.

The Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now

Ann Arbor Observer: Then & NowAnn Arbor Observer: Then & Now

This Wednesday, June 24, we'll be launching Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, a new site with searching and browsing access to over 130 full-text articles on local history written for the Ann Arbor Observer over the past three decades by local historian and author, Grace Shackman. Stop by for a demonstration of the site, refreshments, and a lively discussion by Grace and Observer editor, John Hilton, at 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown lower level Multi-Purpose Room.

Fifty Years of Books and Authors

Since about 1958, a lively local book group -- under the umbrella of the U-M Faculty Women's Club -- has been reading favorite books and meeting to discuss them. Several years ago members hosted Peter Ho Davies, and last night, Michael Byers, author of Long for this World, who even received a copy of the group's 1958-2009 reading list to take home with him. For an idea of this group's tastes, visit LibraryThing.

AADL Blogs

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I’m sure many aadl.org visitors are familiar with the staff written blogs that show up on the main catalog page. If you don’t wish to read through them all and just want to read ones on music, magazines, or perhaps movies, with a few clicks you can. Blogs are accessible on various pages of aadl.org, under Services, Events, Research, etc. (You can also see a refined list by clicking on the blog’s categories.) Did you know there is a Local History blog and a Developer’s blog? Have a peek! Here is a quick list of the blogs, with a quick link so you can easily RSS them and stay on top of AADL and community happenings.

Sidney Fine, who taught history at UM for 53 years, has died

Sidney FineSidney Fine

Beloved historian Sidney Fine, who taught at the University of Michigan for 53 years, died Tuesday at the age of 88. Professor Fine is thought to have held the longest active teaching career in UM history, teaching over 26,000 over the course of his career before he retired in 2001. Read more about Mr. Fine on wikipedia and his obituary in the Detroit Free Press.

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