Women’s History Essay Contest

Don’t Waste Our Times Productions and the Adelia Cheever Program are sponsoring a Women’s History essay contest with cash prizes for the top essay writers in the following categories: Youth (grades 6-8); Young Adult (grades 9-12); and Adult (18 and up). Essays should be postmarked by Friday, March 9th, 2007.

Name a woman, not known to you personally (e.g. not a relative), whom you believe should be remembered for Women’s History Month. Explain your choice.

Include on the first page:
Entrant’s name
Age/Year in school
Address
Phone number or email address
Number of Pages
School affiliation (if any)

Include last name and page number on subsequent pages

Send entries via email to cheever@umich.edu or snail mail to DWOT Productions, PO Box 4315, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. DWOT & Cheever may reprint all or part of entered essays. Call (734) 763-6301 or email cheever@umich.edu with questions. Visit us at www.dwot.org

The Mercury 13

On June 16, 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space—during the Vostok 6 mission. It was 20 years later (almost to the day) that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space—as a crewmember on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 on June 18, 1983.

In Martha Ackmann’s The Mercury 13, we are introduced to 13 women who should have been among the first in space. They included Jerrie Cobb, Wally Funk, Myrtle Cagle, and Bernice "B" Steadman, who were some of the most accomplished pilots of their time, male or female. These women passed the same rigorous tests (in 1961) that the original Mercury 7 astronauts underwent in the late 1950s. The women's testing program was eventually scrapped and women astronaut candidates weren’t selected by NASA until the 1978 class of Space Shuttle astronauts.

To find more books on women astronauts click here.

Happy Birthday Michigan

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Michigan turns 170 on Friday, January 26th. It was on that date in 1837 that Michigan joined the Union as the nation's 26th state. Join in the birthday celebration at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing on Saturday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hands-on activities, exhibits and even birthday cake for the first 100 visitors. In what city was the Frostbitten Convention held that paved the way for Michigan's admission to the Union?

President Gerald Ford 1913-2006

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Former President Gerald Ford, the only non-elected chief executive, died Tuesday, December 26, 2006. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor provide exhibits, history and papers of Michigan’s only president and his family. The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have extensive coverage of the President's life.

Sancho’s Scene: Community Events that Wander off the Path

Why pull out all the decorating stops when someone else has already done it for you? According to the Ann Arbor News, the Museum on Main Street is serving up nostalgia this holiday season—glass ornaments, aluminum trees, and even a tree made from goose feathers (!) fill the small house on the corner of Beakes and Main. The museum is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4, and procrastinators need not fret—the exhibit runs until January 17. For the industrious at heart, the library also carries a large selection of holiday decorating books.

Eureka! Land in sight.

This week is the anniversary of the discoveries of two significant land masses. On December 13, 1642, Captain Abel Tasman of the Dutch East India Company first sighted New Zealand. In 1769, Captain James Cook landed and took possession for Great Britain. To read more on New Zealand, try Traveller's History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands by John H. Chambers.

On December 14, 1911, the South Pole was located and visited by Roald Amundsen. Although more has been written about Ernest Shackleton, his expedition to Antarctica was in 1914, a few years after Amundsen's discovery. Last Place on Earth is a book by Roland Huntford and then a film based on the rivalry between Amundsen and Scott who came one year apart to the Pole.

Local Historian Grace Shackman to Speak

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Grace Shackman, well-known Ann Arbor historian and author, will discuss her latest book Ann Arbor Observed at the library's 'Sunday Edition' program on Sunday, December 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Pittsfield Branch. Ms. Shackman's book consists of a selection of articles she has contributed over the years to the 'Ann Arbor Observer's' 'Then and Now' feature. She will read from the book, speak about her research methods and local history sources and resources. The book, which makes a fine holiday gift, will be for sale at the event and a book signing will follow. It's a great opportunity to meet a delightful local author and learn about some intriguing chapters in Ann Arbor's history.

Let Them Eat History

It’s easy to admire Kirsten Dunst’s acting in Marie Antoinette – but it’s also admirable that plenty of educational asides on the history of the French and American revolutions found their way into Sofia Coppola’s new film. Check out reviews at metacritic, including this one from The Christian Science Monitor: “Freighted by its contentious reception at Cannes, writer-director Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" is destined to become this year's love-it-or-hate-it movie. Is it OK to say I merely liked it a lot?” The film continues this week at Quality 16 theater on Jackson Road. At the library we have loads of good books and films about the last queen of France, including the popular new book Abundance:A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund.

A Salty Story

Mark Kurlansky is back with another magical tale for children, The Story of Salt, an adaptation of his best-selling book, Salt, for grown-ups. Kurlansky spins the history of the compound, “the only rock we eat,” in fascinating historical vignettes accompanied by lovely illustrations, earth tones accented with white echoing throughout the book. Though it’s meant for kids, (ages 8-12), there’s plenty to whet the appetite of adults, too.

"Give me your tired..."

On October 28, 1886, the The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor. Originally conceived by the French sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi who titled it "Liberty Enlightening the World," the statue symbolized immigrants' dreams of freedom and prosperity. Emma Lazarus' poem, "Collossus" contains the famous words inscribed inside the pedestal of the statue.

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