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

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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.

October 14, 1964 - Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Have you ever wondered about the Nobel Prizes? We all know them as a mark of prestige, but where did those world-famous awards come from and who decides the winners? Check out The Nobel Prize : A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige and wonder no more. Burton Feldman relates the lively history of the awards, touring their century-long existence forward from the will of dynamite mogul Alfred Nobel. Readers will learn about the quirky preferences of the award committees, winners who really didn't deserve to win, losers that should have been winners, and amusing bits of Nobel trivia (like the awarding of the prize in medicine to the inventor of the lobotomy). For details on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his award, the AADL has a GIANT collection of MLK materials for you to peruse. Enjoy!

Campaign Commercials

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Tired of all the presidential campaigning that's been going on for so incredibly long? Take a break from all the political ads with some...um, political ads. The Museum of the Moving Image has created an online exhibit that charts the history of presidential ads on television, beginning with Dwight Eisenhower's first commercials 56 years ago. The Living Room Candidate contains over 300 commercials from the last 15 presidential elections, with analysis of the themes that pop up over and over, election after election. Let yourself be charmed by 1952's singing cartoons or reminded that attack ads and calls for change as strategies to win elections are not recent inventions.

Noteworthy October Biopics @ a Theater Near You

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Based on the biography of Georgiana (Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman, The Duchess is the story of an extraordinary woman who rose to fame by staying true to her passion in a world of protocol, gossip, and social rules - and paid the price. (The New York Times review)

Flash of Genius is adapted from a 1993 New Yorker article by John Seabrook, about a lone crusader doing battle with the big bad establishments - in this case, Ford and Chrysler.

In 1967, Dr. Robert W. Kearns, an electrical engineer and college professor invented and patented the intermittent windshield wiper, only to watch Ford steal the idea two year later for its redesigned Mustang. Read an early review from the Traverse City Film Festival's sneak preview of this Oscar-worthy film, starring Greg Kinnear.

Bronze Bow shines with characters, rich language

The Bronze Bow, which won a 1962 Newbery Medal, is a highly literate, entertaining historical novel for upper elementary and middle-school-age readers (also for me, a parent read-along). Set in Israel at the time of Jesus, the narrative is laced with religion, intrigue, romance, politics, coming-of-age issues. Next on my list by Elizabeth George Speare is The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Two Great Books About the Aftermath of World War II

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History and Foreign Affairs Fans will enjoy these two books about the aftermath of World War II in Japan and Europe. Rebuilding a country and a continent wasn’t easy but smart, committed people with a plan managed to do a pretty good job of it.

Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II, by John Dower, a Pulitzer Prize winning look at Japan during the occupation years, begins with the astonishment of the Japanese people upon hearing their emperor’s voice for the first time as he announced “the war did not turn in Japan’s favor, and trends of the world were not advantageous to us.” It details the development of the enormous black market nationwide, MacArthur as Viceroy, Kasutori culture, economic redevelopment, the Tokyo Tribunal and the promotion of democracy in Japan. Promoting democracy in Japan included giving women the vote and, interestingly, strong American pressure to form trade unions.

Katrina remembered

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. It is classified as one of the most devastating storms in American history, destroying communities in Louisiana and causing the break in the levies in New Orleans. Within two days, 80% of the city was underwater, trapping thousands of people. The death toll was more than 1,300 people.

45 Years Ago Today Martin Luther King, Jr. Had a Dream

This week and next week you will hear many speeches (including tonight, Barack Obama's acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee), but 45 years ago today, in a 15-minute speech captured here on YouTube, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the greatest orations of the 20th century, a hopeful vision during one of the most fractious periods of American social history that has since served as a rallying point for our country's better nature.

The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves

Even if you've read a lot about the Civil War you have never read anything like this.

The Slaves’ War by Andrew Ward is a riveting narrative in the actual words of slaves from the beginning of the Civil War to shortly after its’ end. Woven together from interviews (done in the 1920s and 30s with former slaves), memoirs, diaries and letters, it is a poignant portrait of an incredibly diverse group of people—soldiers, cooks, seamstresses, teamsters, runaways, field hands, house servants, blacksmiths and laborers.

In their own words they discuss memories of battles, politics, slavery, hardship, betrayal, Lincoln, Davis, their enslavers, trying to stay alive and finding loved ones.

Most importantly, Ward had access to Ophelia Settle’s interviews with former slaves conducted under the auspices of Fisk University in the 1920s. Her interviews were much more candid than those conducted by the Federal Writers’ Program with the WPA because she was African American and allowed interviewees anonymity.

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