The 60th Anniversary of Polio in Ann Arbor

Kids showing off their vaccine marks

60 years ago, the announcement of the success of the Salk polio vaccine took place right here in Ann Arbor. This momentous announcement followed one of the largest peacetime mobilization of volunteers in American history to undertake the 20th century's greatest public health experiment. Like many other community newspapers, the Ann Arbor News documented the determination of its citizens to fight polio, with feature stories on the afflicted and the swirl of local fundraising efforts to raise awareness, find a cure, and vaccinate area children. Local historian Grace Shackman has written a feature story on Polio in Ann Arbor for our Oldnews site, pulling together dozens of articles and photographs on the history of polio in our community and the announcement of the polio vaccine on April 12, 1955.

Join us on the 60th anniversary, Sunday, April 12, for a special discussion at the Downtown Library with Dr. David Oshinsky, Director of the Division of Medical Humanities, NYU School of Medicine, Professor of History, and author of the Pulitzer prize-winning Polio: An American Story.

February is Black History Month

Signal of LibertySignal of LibertyThe best way to celebrate and honor Black History Month is to delve into history. What better place to do that than the Library?

This February, AADL has several events and resources to help you mark Black History Month by honoring those who came before, their traditions, and our hopes for the future.
EVENTS:
April Ryan, a 30-year journalism veteran, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House has just released a new book, The Presidency in Black and White: My Up-Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America, a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of race relations as it relates to the White House. She will be at the Downtown Library on Monday, February 16 at 7 pm to discuss the book, her career, the three presidents she’s covered, and her experiences.

The Sankofa Ensemble takes their name from a word that means “to retrieve the goodness from the past”. They will teach us about the traditions of Ghanaian and West African music and play authentic instruments from Ghana. Families will especially enjoy being able to get up and dance to the music, and learning more about traditional African dancing. The Sankofa Ensemble will perform on Saturday, February 21 at 2 pm in the Downtown Library’s Multi-Purpose Room.

The last very special Black History Month event features the relatives of a prominent Civil Rights figure: Rosa Parks. Sheila McCauley Keys is Rosa Parks’ niece, and she and her siblings grew up very closely with their aunt when she moved to Detroit. They have recently released a new book of memories of their aunt, Our Auntie Rosa: the Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons, and Sheila will visit the Downtown Library on Tuesday, February 24 at 7 pm. She will talk about her new book and her Auntie Rosa, and she will take questions from the audience.

PRIMARY SOURCES:
Of course, libraries are fantastic resources for more than just events. Here at AADL, we have the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County’s Living Oral History Videos. These are recorded interviews with local African-Americans discussing what they witnessed and experienced and their perspectives relating to race, gender, education, equality, faith, housing, employment, community building activities, and social infrastructure in our area. These amazing videos show what a historical resource our own people are, and make learning about history as easy as a conversation with your grandparents.

Newspapers are also great historical resources. AADL has digitized copies of local abolitionist newspaper Signal of Liberty which was started in April 1841 and published almost every week from an office on Broadway Street in Ann Arbor. Issues featured local and national news, anti-slavery poems, interviews with emancipated slaves, minutes from anti-slavery meetings, and stories by abolitionists about helping people escape from slavery. Reading these articles helps us to understand issues surrounding slavery, why people opposed this dark part of our past, and how ordinary people participated in the fight for freedom.

Whatever part of history you are interested in, your library is a resource for research, learning, and commemorating.

Celebrating African-American History In Ann Arbor

Dating back to the Underground Railroad, Ann Arbor boasts a rich and vibrant history for African-Americans. A wonderful piece about this time in Ann Arbor’s history is written by Grace Shackman and can be found here.

There are many African-Americans that created their own piece of history in Ann Arbor. For instance, you can read about Ann Arbor’s first African-American mayor, Albert H. Wheeler, first African-American teacher and later principal at Northside Elementary, Harry Mial and his wife, Joetta Mial, Huron High School's first female African-American principal.

O.Herbert Ellis, who passed away last year is notable for being the first African-American to serve on and to chair the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. You can read more history and the individuals that created it here.

Ann Arbor responds to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kids showing off their vaccine marks

In the days following the assassination, Ann Arbor held a memorial at Hill Auditorium and Ann Arbor News photographers snapped dozens of photos of townies and students participating in marches and peaceful demonstrations. Here they are, for the first time, from the Oldnews archive.

Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor

Wednesday December 17, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Author Patti Smith will share stories and a slideshow of images from her new book, Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor, which was released in early November. The book looks at the remarkable people and businesses who have helped build our town. Its images show a town with mud streets, wooden sidewalks, liveries, tanneries and telegraph offices. It also features businesspeople, merchants, and citizens who lived and worked in our downtown. Described as a "love letter to a beloved city", Images of America: Downtown Ann Arbor provides a look at the past and the people who helped to make Ann Arbor what it is today.

Author Patti Smith wanted to move to Ann Arbor since she was five years old, and is very grateful to live near downtown. She teaches special education and has recently finished writing a YA book. In addition to local history, Patti enjoys storytelling, social media, boxing, writing, and brewing beer. She lives in the Kerrytown area with her fiance, Ken, and their two cats.

Books will be available for sale and signing.

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

Halloween ClownHalloween Clown

Don’t look now, Ann Arbor, but just in time for Halloween, we’ve unearthed a few frightening photos from our Oldnews vault.

Did you know Ann Arbor had a Haunted Tavern? Or that a roving band of Devil Dogs terrorized Tree Town in the late 1930s?

In 1945, a pirate, some clowns and...a singing cornstalk(?) took over the former WPAG radio station at Main and Liberty, and in 1952 Ann Arbor Civic Theatre conjured up this disturbing scene during its production of The Spider.

We've also exhumed ample evidence that witches, goblins and other monster mites haunted the Burns Park neighborhood in 1951 and 1952. Similar creatures appear in a 1957 JCC Halloween Parade. And in 1964, this vampire stalked Art Fair booths.

So click if you dare, Ann Arbor. You can browse all things Halloween or search the past at Oldnews - your gateway to Ann Arbor's hair-raising history.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Salk!

Dr. Jonas SalkDr. Jonas Salk

In honor of Dr. Jonas Salk's 100th birthday, we've just posted a few photographs and articles from our archives celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Jonas Salk, the American medical researcher and virologist who spent time at the University of Michigan doing critical research on the influenza virus before inventing the first successful polio vaccine.

On April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared to be safe and effective and within weeks was being shipped around the world.

Falling Water Books & Collectibles to Close

Falling Water on AshleyFalling Water on Ashley

The owners of one of Ann Arbor's signature stores, Falling Water Books & Collectibles, just announced they will be closing after 26 years. Here's a 1988 article and photograph (left) from the store's grand opening in July of that year. Falling Water was first located at 318 S. Ashley St., and later moved to Main St.

Fairies in the Library!

Wow! Have you seen the new display in the downtown youth department? It was created by FAIRIES! As many of you know, the fairies have a special house here at the downtown library. Lots of fairy-lovers come and leave little notes and gifts at this house for the fairies—which they love! To say thank you for all these beautiful presents, the fairies have displayed some of them next to the youth desk along with a special thank-you note!

Of course, fairies don’t just live at the library: there are fairies all over Ann Arbor! There is even an urban fairy village near the library and another fairy village in Nichols Arboretum. It’s clear that we in Ann Arbor love fairies… and that fairies love us! Are you interested in creating your own fairies? The library has lots of resources that might be of help to you. Try Drawing Faeries: A Believer’s Guide, How to Draw and Paint Fairies, or Forest Fairy Crafts: enchanting fairies and felt friends from simple supplies.

If you’d rather just read and learn more about fairies, of course there are tons of great fairy stories at the library too. We have The complete book of the flower fairies: poems and pictures, which has beautiful illustrations accompanied by memorable and detailed poems about fairy life. There’s also My Treasury of Fairies and Elves: a collection of 20 magical stories, the beautiful The Little People: stories of fairies, pixies and other small folk and The Hidden Folk: stories of fairies, gnomes, selkies and other hidden folk.

Are fairy movies your thing? There’s the classic Ferngully, in which fairies help to save a rainforest from being cut down, and the enchanting Fairy Tale: a True Story, which tells of how two little girls discover real fairies and get swept up in the ensuing controversy in post-World War I England.

Happy fairy-seeking!

Now Available at AADL: Instant Streaming of 'The Michigan Beer Film' and Podcast of Ann Arbor Brewing History

Michigan craft beer has taken off in recent years, developing hoards of dedicated followers and providing some truly amazing beers to our local communities. In fact, the Michigan beer scene is experiencing rapid growth and what better way to explore this fascinating (and fun) local craft industry than with The Michigan Beer Film?! Produced by Rhino Media, a Kalamazoo based visual media production company with lots of talent, The Michigan Beer Film is a top-notch documentary about the beer that our great state is crafting and the people behind it.

AADL is proud to be partnering with Rhino Media to make this film available through instant stream directly from our catalog! Just click on this link or search the catalog, sign in to your library account (linked to your AADL library card), and – voila! – watch the movie. Watch it instantly online without worrying about setting up apps, or going through a third party. Easy!

And if that’s not enough, check out this podcast interview with local beer historian and author of “Ann Arbor Beer” David Bardallis. He discusses the history of brewing in Ann Arbor for a fresh and entertaining perspective on our town’s important role in the making of Michigan beer.

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