History: Primary Sources

New TV: Ken Burns’ The Roosevelts

A new TV mini series getting a lot of buzz lately is documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ latest conquest: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.

Seven discs go though 1858-1962. The series “profiles Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor as the most prominent members of the most important family in history. Through their stories, PBS chronicles the history they helped to shape, from the Square Deal to the New Deal, San Juan Hill to the Western Front, to the founding of the United Nations.”

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

It's National Aviation Week!

Happy National Aviation Week, all! Today is the start of an entire week dedicated to celebrating aviation. National Aviation Day, which is also Orville Wright's birthday, will be on August 19th, but if you can't wait until then to start learning about aviation, we've got you covered! Here are some great choices:

For kids:
A is for Airplane: An Aviation Alphabet: Little ones can work on their alphabet using all aviation-themed words!
The Wright Brothers: How they Invented the Airplane is a Newberry Honor book that follows the Wright brothers and will teach young ones about how they got started.
The Wright Brothers for Kids: How they Invented the Airplane: 21 Activities Exploring the Science and History of Flight: For kids that want to take a more hands-on approach to learning about flight, this book offers up a variety of fun aviation-themed activities.
Night flight : Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic: This beautiful book's exciting details and daring illustrations will leave kids wanting to learn all they can about Amelia Earhart. If they're begging for more, direct them to the fabulous Amelia Lost :The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart!

For adults:
Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies is a new book that traces the first people to fly in planes as they fought to control publicity and show off their own inventions and bravery.
Feel like watching something? Enjoy the 2004 Oscar-winner The Aviator, or delve into Amelia Earhart's story (among other!) with Unsolved Mysteries: Strange Legends.

Finally, no aviation list could be complete without the classic movie Airplane! or How to Build a Hovercraft: Air Cannons, Magnet Motors, and 25 other Amazing DIY Science Projects, a book that will teach you how to build your own unstoppable paper airplane!

The Monuments Men Revisited

The Monuments Men, the movie with George Clooney and Matt Damon, was based on the book The Monuments Men : Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history by Robert M. Edsel.

The real Monuments Men were a group of men and women from thirteen nations, most of them volunteers, who were museum directors, curators, art scholars and educators, artists, architects, and archivists. These mostly middle-aged family men, walked away from successful careers into the epicenter of the war, risking—and some losing—their lives. They raced against time in order to save the world’s greatest cultural treasures from destruction at the hands of Nazi regime.

Two of these brave men lived among us quietly for decades, one, Charles Sawyer was previously blogged about here, the second was Ralph Hammett.

Professor Hammett taught in the architecture department at U of M starting in 1931, with a hiatus to join the army in 1943, and retired from the University in 1965. His work as one of the Monuments Men and a noted architect will be forever remembered in Ann Arbor having designed some homes as well as buildings such as an addition to the Ann Arbor (then Women's) City Club on Washtenaw, the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church parish hall and chapel, the Lloyd Douglas Memorial Chapel, and the Lutheran Student Center. He also designed the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Springfield, Illinois. He was named “Architect of the Year” in 1957 by the Michigan Society of Architects. Hammett died in 1984. You can read Old News articles about him here. There is also an extensive website created by his grandson here.

The Secret of Raven Point

My memories of my late grandfather always involve the stories he told about his time in the army during World War II. I feel lucky that I was able to hear them before he died ten years ago. But did he talk only about the happy ones? What else did he experience that I will never know about? The Secret of Raven Point is a beautiful, moving story about a teenage girl who learns the hard way about the horrific nature of war and what it can do to people. I feel that this book deepened my connection with my own grandfather because it gave me a clearer glimpse of what he may have experienced, and why he needed to tell his story over and over.

The main character in the book, Juliet Dufresne, lies about her age, becomes a nurse and travels to the front lines in Italy when she receives a cryptic letter from her enlisted brother. She learns that he is missing and is desperate to find out what happened to him and whether he can be rescued. Meanwhile, she begins to work with a psychiatrist who is trying to prevent a patient who has experienced post-traumatic stress from facing court-martial for desertion in battle. The patient is so traumatized he cannot even speak. By coincidence, this same man may be the only one who knows what happened to Juliet’s brother, and helping the patient overcome his PTSD may be the only way to save him.

Myths and Common Fallacies

Have you ever wondered if what you were taught in school is completely wrong? Is blood really blue in the veins as it travels back to the heart like it is in textbook illustrations? Were Greek statues really colorless, boring decorations in the ancient world? By reading The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn't Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew you’ll learn that so much of the information that you think you know is factually inaccurate.

Did Marie Antoinette really say "Let them eat cake"? Did Columbus really discover that the world was round in 1492? Find out by reading more about common historical misconceptions like Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History or Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History.

Nerd Nite Ann Arbor: June 19, presented by AADL at LIVE 102 S First St.

Thursday June 19, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm -- LIVE (102 S 1st Street)

This event is intended for Adults
This event will be recorded

For the last year, crowds have gathered each month in the early evening - in bars and venues around Ann Arbor. Around 7pm, it begins: three boisterous speakers geek out up front. What is this? Some secret club?

Nope! It's Nerd Nite Ann Arbor! And it's open to anyone and everyone who loves to learn or share what they love.

For the uninitiated, Nerd Nite (NN) has been described as “...like the Discovery Channel™…with beer!” Sounds fun, right? It is! NN is held monthly in 70+ cities, giving several folks the opportunity to give 18-21minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines. Imagine learning about everything from the science of the Simpsons to the genealogy of Godzilla. Fun stuff!

The next Nerd Nite will be Thursday, June 19 at LIVE (102 S 1st St.). Doors open at 6:30, and speakers start at 7pm.

This month, we'll consider the ethical system that governs the United Federation of Plants, the Prime Directive; hear some interesting/weird stories a researcher found while writing a book on Ann Arbor architectural history, and learn about a parasite that can literally manipulate the behavior of its human host!

Marcus Dillon - Prime Directive: The Ethics of Star Trek
Patrick McCauley - Obsessively Researching Historic Buildings, and the Weird Things You Find
Aric J Schultz - Meet your Puppet Master: Toxoplasma gondii

So show up, have a drink, meet other nerds, and learn a bunch of awesome new junk!

Want to see past topics and a little more info? Check NNA2's site.

AADL is sponsoring this month's event, so there will be NO COVER (usually $5)!

Mark your calendars and spread the word! Any and all nerds (and non-nerds!) who love learning and having a great time are welcome to join us for the AADL + NNA2 Mashup!

The African-American Cultural & Historical Museum Of Washtenaw County Living Oral History Project

Sunday September 28, 2014: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

Join the AADL and the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County for this premiere of their Phase II of the Living Oral History Project. The African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County began this project in March 2013 in collaboration with AADL. This second phase was filmed in May 2014,

Five individuals were identified to initiate the project by participating in a series of interviews that were professionally filmed and edited. These interviews serve as a roadmap to what African Americans witnessed, experienced, shared, and contributed in building the community we see today. Those interviewed for the second phase include John Barfield, Sr., Tessie Freeman, Barbara Meadows, Paul Wasson, and Dorothy Wilson. A short program and an opportunity to speak with those interviewed will follow the premiere.

The individuals selected represent a broad section in gender, education, faith, and socioeconomics. Areas of community concern such as race, gender and education equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and infrastructure were presented and discussed. These topics provide a spectrum that is relevant to current issues and concerns within Washtenaw County today and into the future.

This premiere of this second phase of the Living Oral History Project will include a short program and an opportunity to speak with those interviewed. Light refreshments will also be served.

Take a family adventure with Larry & Pete!

With summer fast approaching, the whole family can share in the fun of vacation planning with the help of the Larry Gets Lost Series!
These fantastic books have brightly colored, retro-like illustrations and great rhymes that take your family on a journey with Larry and Pete through the streets of Seattle, New York and Chicago, to name a few. In every book Larry the dog lets the tasty smell of local foods lure him away from his good pal Pete and spends the day exploring a new city in his quest to be reunited with his boy. The stories combine fun verse, geography and history to create a wonderful travel guide for children and adults alike!

Databases for the History Buff

A click on the aadl.org Research tab at the top of the page will introduce you to a wealth of databases covering such subjects as Car Repair, Literature, and Investing.

For those with a history interest, the databases are especially rich.

Start at the History and Biography Page and go from there. You'll find local history aadl.org-hosted sites like Ann Arbor Observer: Then & Now, Freeing John Sinclair, and Old News. An exploration of Other Sites reveals a yield so diverse, you can find, within minutes, the legend of the Birth of Hatshepsut, National Security discussions between Henry Kissinger and President Gerald Ford, a transcript of the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War, and the actual scanned pages of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from May 24, 1883 touting the Opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (click on "View" and then "View Item in PDF" to get the full article) along with the May 31, 1883 edition recording the subsequent, deadly Panic on the Bridge and much more.

The Newspaper section allows you to browse historical editions of the Ann Arbor News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and others. If you know what you're looking for, you can easily track down such unusual items as the Washington Post's 1933 Obituary of Mrs. George A. Custer.

Let your love of history go wild and see what you can find.

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