Presidential locks, clips, and snips

In honor of President's Day, The Academy of Natural Sciences museum is exhibiting the locks, clips, and snips of presidential hair from their collection of hair albums. Curious? Check out their online exhibit.

Want to learn more about a former president? Find presidential biographies, articles, websites (and no hair!) in our Biography Resource Center database.

Make a Mobile of Peace

Do you like being creative and learning about history too? The Ann Arbor Community Center will celebrate Black History Month with an art workshop on February 23 from 2-3pm. Learn about Martin Luther King while creating a mobile with the guidance of staff from Abrakadoodle. Call 662-3128 to reserve your place in this free workshop.

Happy Birthday Ernie

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It's not spring until you hear Ernie Harwell open the baseball season with ...

For the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the song of the birds has come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Ernie turns 90 on Friday, Jan. 25th. Both the News and Free Press have done nice articles on Ernie. Here's hoping Ernie opens many more Tiger seasons.

Chess as psychic murder...?

...at least at the highest levels, according Bobby Fischer. With his death on January 17th, 2008 (at the age of 64), now might be a good time to look at his life and game he loved.

He was the first (and currently only) World Chess Championn from America (unless you count Wilhelm Steinitz, who won in 1886 but didn't become an American citizen until 1888). Fischer took the title in 1972; since the previous seven champions were Russian, this created quite a stir in a cold-war crazed world. Three years later he forfeited his title and fell into relative (and enigmatic) obscurity.

Want to know more? For details on his life, try a general biography, but I recommend you skip right to the good stuff and read Bobby Fischer Goes to War, which focuses on his championship-winning game. To truly understand him you also really need to read the books he wrote on chess. His strategy is pretty advanced, however, so you might want to start with a simpler book on chess (we have many, for all age groups and skill levels).

The Goose is Golden

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Goose Gossage entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame today, joining 285 other greatest of the great in America's pastime. Gossage joins the Pride of the Yankees and the Bambino and way too many others from the team we all love to hate.

The More Things Change ...

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"The question of street repairs and improvements will always be with you and cannot be too thoroughly studied." So said the Mayor of Ann Arbor. No, not Mayor Hieftje in 2008, but Mayor Francis M. Hamilton in 1905. The collection of Council Minutes and Proceedings of the City of Ann Arbor in the Local History Room at the Downtown Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library provides ample proof that elected officials may come and go (and come again) but the issues, concerns and downright quirkiness of Tree Town remain constant.

But Wait ... There's More

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The Local History Room at the Ann Arbor District Library also boasts a complete run of the Ann Arbor Observer from 1976 as well as the Observer's City Guide from 1987. We use the Observer constantly at the Reference Desk to answer all questions local. The covers alone are worth a visit!

Good News on Old News

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There is a treasure trove of area newsletters in the Ann Arbor District Library Local History Room and they provide histories of our streets and neighborhoods, social events and social groups, churches and businesses that cannot be found anywhere else. We have Washtenaw Impressions from 1943, Old West Side News from 1975, Family History Capers from 1979 and Washtenaw Jewish News from 1977 to name just a few. The Local History Room is located on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Branch Library.

1964- a groundbreaking year

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty that began a series of programs that among other things would help educate pre-school children, fund health care for millions of Americans and help college students finance their education. Johnson in his March, 1964 speech before Congress, charted a new course that would change indelibly the government's role in helping the poor and underserved.

Sanborn Maps

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Want to know more about your house? Then you need the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These indispensable tools for historical cartographic research were created by the Sanborn Map and Publishing Company to help fire insurance companies find who they needed to bill and what they needed to pay, they now serve as an important record of America's urbanization.

The maps cover some 12,000 cities and towns across the country and were published from 1867 to 1970. Many libraries and historical societies will carry maps of their surrounding areas. The Ann Arbor District Library has copies (on micro film) for Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Milan, Saline, and Ypsilanti (with dates from 1884 to 1948). They can be found in the micro film drawers (2nd floor, way behind the periodicals desk).

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