Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

On January 16 come to the Downtown Library at 7 pm to hear prize-winning author and historian Timothy B. Tyson talk about Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story, a carefully researched memoir of a 1970 racial murder in Oxford, N.C. The book is being made into a movie. I'm eager to hear the author speak. I'm also wanting to respectfully ask his opinion of The New Republic article about the unfortunate book Angel at the Fence: the true story of a love that survived.

Will the real Anne Boleyn please stand up?

anne boleynanne boleyn

I recently watched the movie The Other Boleyn Girl, based on the novel about the ill-fated relationship of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn, and was disappointed in the lack of historical accuracy. Seeking the truth behind the Hollywood version, I started looking for the story of the "real" Anne Boleyn and was quickly overwhelmed by the numerous conflicting accounts of this infamous woman. After some sleuthing, I've discovered two authors/Tudors scholars with reputable accounts of her life. Alison Weir is a fantastic author to start with if you seek information about Tudor history. Check out her book The six wives of Henry VIII for information on all of of the monarch's wives, including Anne Boleyn. Another well-respected British historian to check out is Eric William Ives. Try his book The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn for a well-researched, well-written account of this controversial figure. For those of you who prefer the steamier Hollywood adult version of Tudor history, the AADL has Season One of the Showtime series The Tudors on dvd.

T-o-o-o-o-o-t! Trains in Toyland sounds fun

Tomorrow Dec. 13 the Washtenaw County Historical Society opens its Trains in Toyland exhibition which runs through Sunday Jan. 25 at the Museum on Main Street, 500 N. Main St. Hours are 12-4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday, and demos will be offered each Saturday and Sunday by the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club. Firefly the Magic Clown is scheduled for Sunday Dec. 14. Remember, the exhibition will be closed Dec. 24 and 31, but open on Jan 19 Martin Luther King Day. Sounds like a good winter outing for young train fans, who may want to prepare by checking out a train book, maybe C is for Caboose: Riding the rails from A to Z or Puff, puff, chugga-chugga.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Diego!

Diego RiveraDiego Rivera

Today marks the birthday of famed Mexican artist and revolutionary Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Born in Guanajuato in 1886, Rivera showed an interest in art from a young age, and by the time he reached his twenties he had become a well established painter. In 1907, Rivera left Mexico for Europe where he would remain for fourteen years. Rivera was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance style of painting known as the fresco form. Upon returning to Mexico, Rivera began using the fresco form in a number of his works. Feeling that it was important to bring art to the people where they lived and worked, Rivera painted murals in public buildings such as universities, hotels, schools, etc. These giant murals often depicted scenes of Mexican history, industrialization, and the worker’s struggle. In the early 1930s Rivera worked on commissions for a number of prominent American businessmen. One of these works included a mural entitled "Detroit Industry" commissioned by Henry Ford to be painted on walls of the Detroit Institute of Art. A tribute to the American industrial worker, the 27 panel mural depicts industrial life in the United States, and that at the Ford Motor Company in particular. Diego was also well known for his marriage to another prominent Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. For more information on Rivera’s life and works, check out author Anne E. Neimark's biography entitled Diego Rivera : artist of the people. The 2002 film Frida also provides an entertaining view of Diego and Frida's tumultuous marriage. If you are intersted in seeing Rivera's Detroit Industry mural in person, you can check out a pass to the Detroit Institute of Art from the ADDL, for more information visit http://www.detroitadventurepass.org/index.php.

Dec. 6, 1947 - Everglades National Park, Florida dedicated by President Harry S Truman

"Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country." With these words, Truman formally dedicated Everglades National Park. This event culminated years of effort by a dedicated group of conservationists to make a national park in the Florida Everglades a reality. For a fascinating and comprehensive history of this amazing wetland, check out Michael Grunwald's The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise. Thinking of visiting the park? Check out Hidden Florida Keys and Everglades or Adventure guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades National Park.

Studs Terkel American Treasure Gone at 96

studs terkelstuds terkel

Most famous for his oral biographies, Studs Terkel, sage, humanitarian, philosopher, author, radio talk show host and television star for many years, died recently at age 96.

Division Street: America (1966) about urban conflict in the 1960s was his first best seller, followed by Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression.

He perfected the oral biography form with Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do and the Pulitzer Prize-winning ‘The Good War’: An Oral History of World War II.

Born in the Bronx, Mr. Terkel spent most of his life in Chicago and had several radio and television programs there for many years. His personality can only be described as effervescent and curious, he never failed to impart optimism and humor about the human condition.

Check out the Ann Arbor District Library Catalog to see our collection of works by Terkel.

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past are Condemned to Repeat It

history profhistory prof

Journalism is said to be the first draft of history. A 24 hour news cycle makes it a very rough draft.

The History News Network exists to help put events in context and exposes those that misrepresent history intentionally or because of ignorance.

Read what historians are saying about current events—scholars with a depth of knowledge who look to the past to interpret the present.

Gain a better understanding of current events and at the same time save yourself from condemnation with HNN!!

Crusader for human rights

Tomorrow, October 29, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be the featured speaker at the Wallenberg Foundation lecture. Archbishop Tutu, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, has been a tireless supporter of human rights in South Africa. He helped establish the the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa which investigated abuses of human rights. Tutu emphasized the importance of justice as well as forgiveness in this process. His work reflects that of Raoul Wallenberg who risked his life to save thousands of Hungarian Jews during World War II. Every year, the Foundation honors a person who embodies Wallenberg's quest for peace and justice. Desmond Tutu's lecture will be at 7:30 in Hill Auditorium.

More October Films

"The true-life tragedy of Evelyn Nesbit (1884-1967) supplies the framework for French director Claude Chabrol's latest romantic thriller" -A Girl Cut in Two, writes John Anderson of The Washington Post.

The story of Evelyn Nesbit is one of glamour, money, romance, madness, and murder. Famous by her sixteenth birthday in 1900, Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit was the most photographed woman of her era, an iconic figure who set the standard for female beauty. Women wanted to be her. Men wanted her. When her jealous millionaire husband, Harry K. Thaw, killed her lover--celebrity architect Stanford White, she found herself at the center of the "crime of the century" and the scandal that marked the beginning of a national obsession with youth, beauty, celebrity, and sex.

Author Paula Uruburu's American Eve : Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the "It" Girl, and the Crime of the Century (2008) is highly recommended for further reading on this sensational episode in our cultural history. Filmgoers might also want to check out the The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, a 2007 reissue of the 1955 film that dramatized the Nesbit/Thaw/White triangle.

New Additions to Ann Arbor Historical Signs Collection

Standard Oil, 1973Standard Oil, 1973

The Ann Arbor Historical Signs Collection in pictureAnnArbor just got bigger. We've recently added over 100 new photos, bringing our portrait of 1970's Ann Arbor up to 570 images. These new additions include many businesses from Main, Maple, and East Liberty. We've also reorganized the collection to help you browse through all of the photos more easily. If you happen to want to look at a specific street or find a specific business, just enter those words into our Image Gallery Search at the bottom of any image gallery page and see what pops up.

Ann Arbor Historical Signs is a collection of photographs taken by the Ann Arbor Sign Inspector. Mostly taken in the 1970's, the collection gives a rich picture of the businesses and goings-on in Ann Arbor 35 years ago.

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