National Library Week Event: Wild Swan Theater Presents 'Shipwrecked!'

Monday April 9, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

It is the 100th anniversary of one of the most incredible shipwrecks of all time - the sinking of the Titanic. With this in mind, AADL invites you to a special National Library Week presentation of Wild Swan Theater's new play - "Shipwrecked!"

Set in 1893, "Shipwrecked!" is about a Detroit family of three: mom, dad, and 12 year old son--who carry cargo on the Great Lakes for their livelihood. They set sail on Lake Huron through "Shipwreck Alley" with a load of Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula only to be battered by one of the fierce November storms that have over the years imperiled thousands of ships on the Great Lakes.

This event is for grade 3 and up, as well as adults and teens.

National Library Week Pre-Event! Wild Swan Navigates "Shipwreck Alley" In Their Newest, Original Play

Thursday April 5, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Go behind the scenes as playwright Jeff Duncan, director Hilary Cohen, and Wild Swan actors discuss the making of Shipwrecked! - the newest play by Ann Arbor's award-winning Wild Swan Theater. Discover the process and the people behind this exciting play about Michigan's maritime heritage and greatest natural resource -the Great Lakes!

Shipwrecked! is the story of an 1893 Detroit family who set sail on Lake Huron through Shipwreck Alley with a load of Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula only to be battered by one of the fierce November storms that have imperiled thousands of ships on the Great Lakes.

Wild Swan will also present a special showing of Shipwrecked! for youth (grades 3 and up), teens and adults, on Monday, April 9 at 7:00 pm at the Downtown Library.

Genealogists and Historians are Celebrating! The 1940 Census Records are Here!

Today, after 72 years of waiting, the 1940 U.S. census has been released by the National Archives and Records Administration. Hooray!

At 9:00 am this morning, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) began rolling out the census records for the "Greatest Generation" online. As these records will show, 132 million people were living in the 48 Continental United States in 1940. Tens of millions of people living in the United States in 1940 are still living today, making this a record set that connects people with recent family records. The 1940 census included several standard questions, such as: name, age, gender, race, education, and place of birth. The 1940 census also introduced some new questions. One example is that the enumerator was instructed to mark (with a circled x) who in the household responded to the census questions. Other questions included whether the person worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, Works Project Administration, or National Youth Administration the week of March 24-30, 1940, and the income for the 12 months ending December 31, 1939.

These census images will be uploaded and made available on a multitude of websites, including the big genealogy players Ancestry.com, Archives.com, FindMyPast.com, and FamilySearch.org. Don't expect images to be readily searchable by name -- a community of eager volunteer indexers will work to make that possible. A wealth of information about this census can be found at Ancestry.com. Anyone interested in volunteering to index this census may find information here.

Interested in searching for your family history but not sure where to begin? Check out our library's collection of genealogy materials to get yourself started, try your hand at one of our genealogy research databases, or explore some of our recommended genealogy select sites.

P. S. Wondering why this is happening today? Because of The 72 Year Rule: The U.S. government will not release personally identifiable information about an individual to any other individual or agency until 72 years after it is collected for the decennial census. This "72-Year Rule" (92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416; October 5, 1978) restricts access to decennial census records to all but the individual named on the record or their legal heir. The census date was April 1, 1940. This means that the census records for 1950 will not be released to the public until April 1, 2022.

Grandma Helen, 1942Grandma Helen, 1942

The Forgotten Spaghetti Farmers

On this date in 1957, the BBC aired a groundbreaking report on the harvesting of spaghetti trees in southern Switzerland. Up until this time, many people in the UK did not consume spaghetti, and therefore were unaware of the painstaking process involved in spaghetti farming.

Though the images from the story are quite pastoral, spaghetti tree cultivation is not for the faint of heart. Improper care of the spaghetti tree can result in a crop of difficult-to-eat dancing spaghetti or the accidental transmogrification of the spaghetti tree into a pizza plant. At first thought, this may sound even better, but pizza plants are an invasive species, and almost always attract most of a neighborhood’s pests to one’s garden. Even worse, spaghetti storms (sometimes including meatball hail) have been known to happen in areas where genetically modified spaghetti plants are grown in large quantities. Scientists are unsure of why this may happen, but some hypothesize about a process similar to that where it rains frogs: waterspouts (spaghetti trees are largely farmed in low-lying wetlands or artificially-created ponds) rip the spaghetti from the tree limbs (which are weakened by unnaturally large spaghetti pods), transporting it to relatively high altitudes, and carrying it over large distances. The winds are capable of allowing the spaghetti to fall in a concentrated fashion in a localized area. Some tornadoes can suck up a spaghetti pond entirely, resulting in what we loosely translate as the fabled “rain of pasta.”

C-SPAN's 2012 StudentCam Local Winners

Today, C-SPAN announced the 75 winning videos in the 2012 StudentCam video documentary competition. C-SPAN's StudentCam is an annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think seriously about issues that affect their communities and the nation.

This year students were asked to create a short (5-8 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the competition theme “The Constitution and You." Students were asked to focus on any section of the Preamble, Articles, or Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

148 students from across the country are winning a total of $50,000. A record 1,203 entries were received in this year's competition.

Congratulations to our local winners!!!

Ruby Emberling, Maria Newton, and Delaney Wright
11th Grade Pioneer High School
"Students' First Amendment Rights"

Tamar Hofer, Andrew Siddall, and Jassadi Moore
11th Grade Pioneer High School
"First Amendment Rights for Students"

Samuel P. Sturgis, Local Photographer Remembered

Celebrated Ann Arbor photographer Samuel Payne Sturgis passed away on March 11 (see obituary).

A graduate of the Rochester (New York) Institute of Technology, Mr. Sturgis served in the Naval Reserve as photo reconnaissance pilot on USS Bennington in the South Pacific, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medals as a combat pilot, retiring in the early 1950's.

He joined the Dey Studio in Ann Arbor as a portrait photographer, earning "Michigan Photographer of the Year" Award from the Michigan Association of Professional Photographers in 1959. In 1962, he opened his own studio at 1112 South University, a space designed by local architect David Osler.

His extensive collection of antique photographs of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding areas, donated to the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, is available as the Sam Sturgis Photograph Collection. A few of these outstanding photographs are part of the Making of Ann Arbor collection and the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit program.

Over the years, Mr. Sturgis's works have been widely exhibited and he has been active in community service. See Ann Arbor News articles.

Shhh.....A Friendly Introduction To Modern Cryptology With Brett Hemenway, Ph.D.

Thursday March 22, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Cryptography was originally developed to facilitate secret communication. Modern cryptography now encompasses an amazing variety of tasks and cryptographic algorithms which are embedded in a surprising number of everyday devices. From car-keys to metro-cards, from providing anonymous access to preventing satellite collisions the applications of cryptography are growing rapidly.

This lecture by UM Assistant Professor Brett Hemenway will present a history of the development of modern cryptography, along with the ideas and tools needed to provide security in an increasingly complex world. Along the way we'll see some of the successes and failures of modern cryptographic schemes.

Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director Of The Clements Library, Discusses Urban Agriculture in Detroit, Part I: The History Of Agricultural Land Use

Sunday March 18, 2012: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room AB

Join us for a fascinating look at early Detroit history when AADL and the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor welcome Brian Leigh Dunnigan, Associate Director and Curator of Maps at the William L. Clements Library.

Brian will discuss Detroit as an agricultural settlement from its founding in 1701 into the 19th century, when the growing city largely consumed the original French-pattern farms along the Michigan side of the Detroit River.

Brian has written numerous books and articles on the history of the Straits of Mackinac, the Niagara River region, and the early Great Lakes.

Michigan Basketball & The Cazzie Years

Starting LineupStarting Lineup

Read all about it! The University of Michigan Wolverines are in the thick of the NCAA’s annual contest to name the No. 1 men’s college basketball team. To celebrate this annual hoopla, the Ann Arbor District Library is offering an opportunity to turn back the clock and experience the triumphs of an earlier Wolverine team, the 1963 ~ 1966 squad. The ups and downs of the three-time Big Ten champions was chronicled in the Ann Arbor News, especially in the passionate reporting of Wayne DeNeff. These photos and articles are available online through the Old News site, presenting the dramatic story of a great team.

Presentation By The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - Deadly Medicine: Creating The Master Race, Insights from the Exhibition

Friday March 9, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Join us for an informative presentation by The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in conjunction with their traveling exhibition, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race (now on display at the UM Taubman Health Sciences Library through April 13).

Dr. Dieter Kuntz, historian at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, DC, will discuss the theme of the exhibit, which illustrates how Nazi leadership enlisted people in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good to legitimize persecution, murder, and ultimately genocide. This event is co-sponsored by The Taubman Health Sciences Library and the UM Center for the History of Medicine.

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