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    A Guest Blog By Ellen Peck

    To music historian Richard Traubner, operetta evokes “gaiety and lightheartedness, sentiment and Schmalz” (Traubner, Operetta: A Theatrical History, revised edition, 2003). If any song in the history of American musical theatre has earned a reputation for schmaltz, it would have to be “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” from the 1910 Victor Herbert and Rida Johnson Young operetta Naughty Marietta.

    Its purple expressions of finding the greatest gift known to humanity, the love to end all sorrows, have subjected the song to perennial ridicule.  (Mel Brooks infamously used it as a post-coital anthem for his 1974 film Young Frankenstein.)  But as we must not judge a book by its cover, nor should we judge Naughty Marietta solely on its most famous song over a hundred years later.  When its first audiences left the New York Theatre on November 7, 1910 humming the tune, Herbert and Young (and producer Oscar Hammerstein I) had a major hit on their hands.  Naughty Marietta would be each writer’s most enduring work and lead to a film in 1935, a television special in 1955, and enter the repertories of light opera companies all over the United States.

    In 1910, the up-and-coming playwright Rida Johnson Young had garnered attention not just for her successful plays Brown of Harvard and The Boys of Company ‘B,’ but also for the incidental songs she had written for them. When Hammerstein hired Young to write the lyrics and libretto for the new Victor Herbert operetta, she had little knowledge of the challenges inherent in the form.  Although no stranger to songwriting – she had spent two years as a staff lyricist at Tams-Witmark – operetta required a different dramaturgical approach than her non-musical plays. For Naughty Marietta, Young had to tie the songs to the action and emotion of the scene and characters, yet still make them able to stand on their own, outside the context of the show, in order to sell sheet music (still a booming business in 1910).  Other matters of practicality intervened as well, such as following the conventions of operetta.  The form that had taken Vienna by storm in the 19th century spawned a wave of American imitators eager to cash in on its increasing popularity in the United States.  When Herbert and Young began working on Naughty Marietta, New York was still buzzing about the American premiere of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow only three years before.  The Viennese style of operetta featured lush, romantic music, dashing characters, popular dance forms (including the ultimate expression of romantic love, the waltz), and a palpable sense of nostalgia for a fairy-tale past. Fortunately, Herbert and Young were experts at their respective crafts.

    The setting for Naughty Marietta fulfilled one basic requirement, that the operetta take place in a remote time and locale that never really existed. (The term “Ruritania” had often been applied to European operetta settings: an Eastern European mountain village or kingdom, populated by beautiful ladies and handsome men, and bathed in the golden glow of nostalgia.)  But this being an American operetta, the locale – New Orleans around 1780 – had a decidedly raw feel to it. And this New Orleans was populated entirely by French settlers, not the Spanish ruling class who actually occupied it in the 1780s. Thus, although Herbert and Young did not invent New Orleans, they fictionalized it to create a world that could only belong to Marietta D’Altena (runaway  Italian countess) and her dashing hero, Captain Dick Warrington (American commander of a band of rough-and-ready rangers). 

    Marietta, played by the fiery Italian soprano Emma Trentini, has escaped from a life of familial servitude on a French ship headed for New Orleans, full of casquette girls bearing gold and land deeds from the French king to present to potential husbands in the growing colony. Marietta yearns for the man who will finish the tune spinning in her head (the “Dream Melody,” which is the basis for “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”), and greets every man she meets by singing it. Meanwhile, Captain Dick has two missions to fulfill: return Marietta to France and capture the pirate Bras Pique, who has been terrorizing the high seas.  Marietta convinces him to harbor her in New Orleans.  The two bicker and protest any romantic feelings toward each other, but there is no doubt from the beginning that Dick will be the man to finish Marietta’s song. Etienne Grandet, the son of the Lieutenant Governor, has his eyes on Marietta and a secret: he is Bras Pique. Etienne  plans to take over New Orleans, but his attraction to the feisty Marietta and trouble with his quadroon slave, Adah, interrupt his schemes.  Another subplot features the comic character Silas Slick, a servant with lofty ambitions, and Lizette, a casquette girl who cannot get a husband and latches onto Silas. (This character originated as Simon O’Hara, a broad ethnic stereotype; Hammerstein toned down the character and renamed him in the second year of the run.) When Etienne threatens to kidnap Marietta, Dick allows him to escape with his secret as long as he leaves Marietta behind. The show ends with Dick professing his love for Marietta in the song she has been singing throughout the show, proving that he is the only love for her.  Several other songs from the show became hits, including “I’m Falling In Love With Someone” and “Italian Street Song.”

    The 1935 MGM version of Naughty Marietta put Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy together for the first time and their onscreen chemistry led to seven more pairings in films of operettas. Unfortunately for Herbert and Young – and for musical theatre purists – much of the original script and score were excised for the sake of film conventions. Only five of Herbert’s songs remained and two of Young’s three plots were axed to put all the focus on MacDonald and Eddy. But the movie’s success also produced a trend of beloved operettas on film, including Maytime (Young and Sigmund Romberg) and The Student Prince (Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly).  The 1955 television version starred Patrice Munsel and Alfred Drake. In 1959, a revision penned by Phil Park and Ronald Hanmer replaced the previously licensed version.  The Ohio Light Opera Company’s complete recording of their 2000 production is available from Albany Records.

    Ellen Peck is Assistant Professor of Drama at Jacksonville State University. Additionally, she has worked as a freelance Stage Manager for several theatres and opera companies around the country, including Michigan Opera Theatre, Goodspeed Musicals, Spoleto USA, and Utah Opera. She has been a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA) since 2000 and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) since 2001. As a historian, Ellen specializes in Musical Theatre History, with an emphasis on the early twentieth century. She has presented at several national theatre conferences, published an article in Contemporary Theatre Review, and has two forthcoming articles for Studies in Musical Theatre. She is also contributing entries to the 2nd edition of the Grove Dictionary of American Music, as well as an essay in a forthcoming book on female artists of the early twentieth century.

    Download the Libretto 

    Transcribed by Ann Fraistat from a typescript in the Morton Da Costa papers at NYPL

    Encoded for web and eBooks by Doug Reside 

    File type What it's for ePub eBook readers (except Kindle) Mobi Kindle PDF Adobe Acrobat HTML Web browsers Plain Text Just about anything TEI Digital Humanities Geeks

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    This year the musical Newsies got nominated for eight Tony Awards. The popularity of the Disney Broadway show based on the Disney film has led many of our younger patrons to ask about the newsboys and the strike they led in 1899 on which the film and play  are based.

    If you are interested in learning more about the strike of 1899 (there were other strikes before and after) simply do a search for "Newsboys strike 1899" in the following database which can be accessed from any library location: Proquest Historical Newspapers: New York Times or Proquest Historical Newspapers: New York Tribune.

    The strike occurrred during the summer of 1899 when the Evening World and Evening Journal decided to raise the wholesale price of its newspapers ("Newsboys Go On Strike," 1899). Newsboys not only had to pay more for the newspapers they sold but they were not refunded for unsold papers. At the time newsboys were earning on average 26 cents a day.

    The articles paint a vivid picture of the challenges the newsboys faced and bring to life many of their colorful leaders. The 1899 New York Times article "Newsboys Act and Talk: Fight and Champion Their Cause in Mass Meeting" details how a floral horseshoe was presented to Kid Blink, one of the leaders of the strike for presenting the best speech.

    "Ten cents in the dollar is as much to us as it is to Mr. Hearst the millionaire. Am I right? We can do more with ten cents than he can do with twenty five. Is it boys? I don't believe in hitting the drivers of the news wagons. I don't believe in dumping the carts same as was done last night. I'll you tell you the truth I was one of the boys that did it, but it ain't right. Just stick together and we'll win."

    Long before the strike the newsboys were the subject of many articles. A search for newsboys and lodging houses bring up many articles that detail their daily lives. In 1853 a reporter describes the young urchins as "A distinct class amongst themselves... They eat and sleep and make their living and amuse themselves in their own way perfectly independent of the world so long as their world will buy their papers." The article goes on to detail how a favorite pastime is to go to the theater ("Walks Among the New-York Poor"). The newsboys surely  would have gotten a kick out of the fact they are the inspiration for a major Broadway play.

    Kids on Strike! by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
    Describes what drove workers, including children, to various strikes.

    Breaker Boys: How A Photograph Helped End Child Labor by Michael Burgan
    Lewis Hine's photographs exposed the hardships of child labor to the masses.

    We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip M. Hoose
    This book details the lives of young people at center of many historical events throughout this country's history.

    How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York by Jacob A. Riis
    The candid photographs in the books are a window into what life was like in the Lower East Side Tenements towards the end of the 19th century.

    Striking Back: The Fight to End Child Labor Exploitation by J. Dennis Robinson
    Details the many strikes that children participated until the passage of the Fair Labor Act.

    Sources Cited:

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    Every year, spring sparks my desire to get out of my stuffy apartment, stretch my legs, and enjoy what the city has to offer. I want to enjoy a little time outside or find an event that requires some movement.

    Certainly getting out, exercising, and discovering a new activity has many great benefits to your general health, but finding the activity that puts a smile on your face can also give you something to look forward to after a hard day at work or add a little fun to your Mondays.

    With so many positives, how can you argue?

    My first spring in the city I was bit lost where to start but spotted an ad for New York City Parks and Recreation. Deciding to check it out and see what my new city's parks have to offer, I found lots of free and inexpensive fun all around the boroughs. There are some real gems out there if you're willing to go a tad off your normal trail and try something new.

    Enjoyable activities in the NYC Parks and recreational centers are plentiful and waiting for you. Take a walk, join in on some African Dancing, learn to swim (or join the swim team), you can even have an adventure with a Park Ranger.

    Are the programs offered not your pace? BeFitNYC invites you to create your own activity with their Facebook App.

    Love the parks and want to be even more involved this season? There are lots of volunteer oppourtunities.

    Parks and Rec doesn't actually plan activities for all the parks in the city. You'll want to check the offical calendars for some of the different parks throughout the city.

    For instance, Bryant Park offers yoga, fencing, juggling, tai chi, and other fun activities.

    Central Park has several events each month. While they don't share the same popular appeal as the events Bryant Park offers, they are a great excuse to get out and try something different or learn something new about a favorite spot. I always keep an eye on the Central Park Calendar for new and interesting walks and events.

    Same goes for Prospect Park Events in Brooklyn.

    New York Public Library also has health and wellness events at a few of our branches. Check out our events calendar for more information.

    Need some music to get you moving? Download DRM-free music for your iPod or MP3 player with Freegal and your library card.

    If these events don't fit your schedule, I've included some library materials you might find helpful.

    Children's Books

    The Busy Body Book: A Kid's Guide to Fitness
    Rockwell, Lizzy

    From Head to Toe
    Carle, Eric

    Get up and Go!
    Nancy L. Carlson

    Keeping Kids Fit: A Family Plan for Raising Active, Healthy Children
    Len Saunders

    Strong Kids, Healthy Kids: The Revolutionary Program for Increasing your Child's Fitness in 30 Minutes A Week
    Fredrick Hahn

    Teen Books

    Seventeen Presents 500 Health & Fitness Tips

    Breathe: Yoga for Teens
    Mary Kaye Chryssicas

    Toning for Teens: The 20-minute Workout That Makes You Look Good and Feel Great!
    Joyce L. Vedral

    Adult Books

    Working Out Sucks! (and Why It Doesn't Have To) (also available as an eBook)
    Chuck Runyon

    LL Cool J's Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle: A Full-Circle Guide to Developing your Mind, Body, and Soul
    LL Cool J

    The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to A Long, Healthy Life
    Robert N. Butler

    Champions Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength

    Strength for Life: The Fitness Plan for the Best of your Life
    Shawn Phillips

    T.O.'s Finding Fitness: Making the Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection for Total Health
    Terrell Owens

    NYPL has more resources and fun stuff for you to check out. One of my favorite blog posts: Start a New Hobby with the Help From NYPL's Periodical Collections!

    This post on 50+ Fitness Fairs also has information on local organizations that promote fitness for all ages.

    Have any hidden treasures in the city for us to discover? Share in the comments.

    See you outside!

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    I used to think the world was a very small boring place, filled only with cookie crumbs and empty soda bottles... And then I met Dwight and Jeremy. They taught me that earth can be a magical place. They taught me that magic does exist... in the form of a card game!

    Gather around YO! -ABRA CA DORKA-

    Let's talk about Magic.

    Saddle up your Griffin and...


    Join me for a very special interview with Young Adult patrons, Dwight and Jeremy (The Nighthawks) as we discuss Magic the Gathering. Remember the links are your best friends. 

    I hear you call yourselves The Nighthawks, is that because you lack originality?

    Jeremy: Yes, that's exactly why!

    Dwight: No it's because it's Jeremy's favorite card.

    What is a nighthawk?

    Jeremy: BEST CARD EVER! [Vampire Nighthawk is an amazing card... he's basically untouchable.]

    Do you feel like New Dorp Library has become like your home base?

    Dwight: Basically.

    Jeremy: Yes this is where we reside, I prefer to call it The Forge!

    Do you see it as a training ground?

    Jeremy: I feel more like a teacher or a mentor, since all the younger kids started playing a lot more and come to us for advice on their decks.

    Dwight: Well it is a training ground because I can play as long as I want without the fear of failure.

    Since you've been exposed to the other teens in the library do you feel they have become more interested in the game?

    Dwight: Definitely, they all started playing now, when we first come here everyone was playing Yu-Gi-Oh! 

    Comic Book Stores vs. Libraries, where would you rather play?

    Dwight: Library definitely; this is a less hostile environment.

    Jeremy: Here — I like helping people here. I teach them new things and strategies; I just don't do that over there...

    If you play magic does that make you a magician?

    Dwight: Yes!

    Jeremy: It makes you a wizard!

    Dwight: No really, it does...

    I've noticed while you're playing you have nervous habits... What's going on there?

    Jeremy: I over analyze everything, I'm constantly suffling the cards in my hand. It serves as a comfort while my brain is freaking out saying: "What's he going to do next?"

    How much time do you spend building/improving your deck?

    Dwight: When am I not! 6 hours a day...

    Jeremy: Well I'm in school for 6 hours and I sleep for 8... 3 hours a day.

    Have you ever read the book Hawkleberry Finn?

    Dwight: (Laughs)

    Jeremy: No... I'm still working on my memoir.

    Who was your toughest opponent to beat?

    Jeremy: I played a mirror match at the PTQ [Pro-Tour Qualifier]. He had pretty much the exact same deck as me but I played it different. I almost lost. 

    I've heard that people that play card strategy games have poor social skills — tell me how you would respond to the following social situations...

    Someone holds the door open for you... You say ____

    D & J: Thank You!

    Someone says good morning are you enjoying the sunshine today? You say _____

    Dwight: Yes I'm enjoying the flipping sun!

    Jeremy: Yeah, but it's been raining for 2 weeks... *Throws a card across the table* I wanna ride a Vorapede!!!

    Someone says "oh my thats a nice shirt you are wearing"... You say _____

    Jeremy: Thank you I like it too, that's why I bought it...

    Dwight: Sooo... we're proving that we are not impolite jerks?

    Someone drops their keys by your feet... you ______

    Dwight: Hey you dropped your keys!

    Jeremy: Grab them and see what kind of car it goes to — No I say Heyyyyyy your keys!

    Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start playing Magic The Gathering?

    Dwight: Read the manual.

    Jeremy: Dont play like a "NOOB," Don't mix colors. [Noob is a term for a new player]

    I've learned a few magic tricks... Check this out!

    For magic players interested in coming to the New Dorp Library we have our Teen room open on most Mondays and Wednesdays. We will also be having a tournament within the year with prizes! [Ages 12-18 for tournament entry]

    Check out some of our books that involve Magic!

    Magic, the Gathering the Official Strategy Guide

    Path of the Planeswalker

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    I'm finally discovering what everyone loves about Minecraft through the recently released Xbox 360 Edition: the whimsical soundtrack, pixelated sunrises and sunsets, and surprisingly fun split-screen multiplayer keep drawing me back in. If you haven't tried it yet, the free, time-limited demo may win you over.

    On my phone, Waking Mars (iOS) has been a refreshing change of pace. While the conversations between characters can be almost comically awkward at points, figuring out the mechanics of each seed and plant is actually a lot of fun.

    I've also been making incremental progress in Hack, Slash, Loot (available on PC/Mac/Linux) which has charming 8-bit inspired art, but an absolutely punishing difficulty level. The latest advice I've gleaned from the forums is to pick the Amazonian and tackle the Mask of the Boy King quest first. Download the free demo here.

    Lastly, we recently kicked off our very first NYPLarcade Game Club series featuring the games of Jenova Chen: I will be playing Flower to brush up for next week's discussion and perhaps pick up some of the remaining Trophies I've missed. If you'd like to join us, we'll be playing and talking about the game on Tuesday, 5/29 starting at 7 p.m. at the Mid-Manhattan Library.

    How about you? What games are you playing this Memorial Day Weekend?

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    John Cheever lived at 61 Jane Street when The New Republic published his first short story. His birthday is May 27.

    Here are some words from the writer:

    Art is the triumph over chaos.

    The Stories of John Cheever

    I can't write without a reader. It's precisely like a kiss — you can't do it alone.

    Christian Science Monitor (October 24, 1979)

    He was a tall man with an astonishing and somehow elegant curvature of the spine, formed by an enlarged lower abdomen, which he carried in a stately and contented way, as if it contained money and securities.

    Description of a Yankee rector in The Wapshot Scandal

    See also: Robert Armitage's "Cheever Country," John Cheever collection of papers, 1942-1982.

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    For more than two decades, Haw King Cheng has wanted to learn English so that he could get ahead in his new country.

    Finally, thanks to The New York Public Library, he is getting that chance.   Cheng, who moved to New York City from Hong Kong in 1985, is now learning to read, write, and speak English at the Seward Park Library on the Lower East Side with the help of NYPL literacy specialist Theresa Sheehan.   “The Library is helping me learn English so I can move up,” says Cheng, a father of three who works in a tour-boat restaurant cleaning tables but dreams of becoming a waiter.   “Simple English is OK for a busboy,” he says. “But a waiter needs to speak fluently.”   Free English classes for immigrants and other essential Library services could be dramatically cut back due to a proposed $43 million reduction in funding for The New York Public Library. Please do your part to protect your branch and the countless patrons who rely on it. Sign a letter of support for NYPL today!   For Cheng’s first 20 years in New York City, he worked in restaurants in Chinatown six or seven days a week to provide for his family, which left little time or opportunity to learn English. But now that he has two days off a week at his current job, he arranges his schedule so he can spend them honing his skills at Seward Park’s Adult Learning Center.   “Before, I could not read the simple letters that come to my house from the government or advertisements from companies,” Cheng recently wrote for a class project. “Now I can read the letters. Some vocabulary I check in the dictionary, but now I can understand the whole letter.”   Sheehan, who oversees the Center where Cheng attends classes, says the Library’s free English instruction gives immigrant students the tools and confidence they need to find their way in their new home.   “All of our students say these programs are essential to living here,” says Sheehan, who has worked with the program for more than 20 years. “It helps them navigate every part of their lives, from speaking to a neighbor or asking a question at a child’s school to applying for a job or reading important documents.”   Please join Haw King Cheng and other Library users who depend on NYPL’s services in speaking out against the proposed cuts. If they are not reversed, up to 12 neighborhood libraries could close and the remaining branches could be open just four days a week. It takes just a few clicks to send a letter to your elected officials urging them to restore funding.

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    Midlife career change is not easy, but it can be done. Four members of the Financial Women Association have successfully transitioned from the corporate sector to nonprofit and government jobs. Here’s how.

    On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the Not-for-Profit Committee of the Financial Women Association of New York (FWA) Educational Fund presented “Broaden Your Job Search Horizons-Tips on Transitioning to the Public Sector” hosted by SITI Corporation.

    The four members of FWA , Betsy Werley, Elaine A. Kloss, Doris Simmons-Brown and Mary Ann Grossman, discussed their job search strategies and presented practical and effective tips which are summarized as follows:

    • Job search strategy: Networking is important. Try utilizing the contacts you’ve acquired throughout the years in the workplace and people you have known for a long time. Join professional associations, use social networking sites such as LinkedIn and volunteer for your favorite cause including environmental protection, community development and overcoming poverty.

    Job search on the Internet is also effective. One of the panelists suggested to include two main paragraphs in the cover letter when applying for a job in the nonprofit sector. One paragraph presents an instant in your life that inspired you into this kind of profession and another paragraph highlights your job skills, transferable skills and professional credentials.

    • Job skills and credentials: Find out what kind of job skills and transferable skills you have for the new career and what kind of professional development may enhance your competency as a new professional. Professional certifications are increasingly important in the workplace as they increase credibility, enhance professional image, demonstrate professional knowledge and enrich self esteem.

    For example, the FWA panelists made their career change with appropriate credentials. Betsy Werley took courses in nonprofit technology and fundraising at New York University before making the transition. Mary Ann Grossman prepared for the move with the CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certificate. Doris Simmons-Brown holds several professional certifications.

    • Do what you love: Self-exploration is essential in choosing a satisfying career. Find out what you enjoy doing or the kind of work that you feel passionate about. Do what you love will unleash the power of creativity, enhance promblem solving skills, increase job satisfaction and make life meaningful.

    Please note that the Job Search Central blog, Resources for Choosing a Satisfying Career, will help you with self-exploration and occupational information.

    Brief bios of the FWA panelists:

    Mary Ann Grossman has a corporate background that includes working at Citigroup as a business development officer and at Standard & Poor’s as the National Business Development Manager. For the past ten years, she has directed private fundraising, community outreach and public relations for New York nonprofits. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Career Gear.

    Mary is a graduate of the University of Pittsburg, majoring in psychology and English, she holds a Master's degree from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and the Harriman Institute, where she was a Ford Fellow. She holds a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) certificate.

    Elaine Kloss, the Treasurer of the City of New York, is responsible for the City’s treasury operations. She leads a treasury staff of 32.

    Prior to joining the NYC Department of Finance in 2010, Elaine held various treasury and financial executive positions at a vast range of companies in the New York area and in Australia. She began her career at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.

    Elaine has a B.S. degree in economics from Alliance College and an M.A. degree in Economics from Georgetown University.

    Doris Simmons-Brown, transitioned from the private sector to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2009 to develop the Bank’s Business Process Excellence (BPE) program.

    Prior to joining the Fed, Doris served as Vice-President, Operations Executive at JPMorgan Chase; National Account Executive at AT&T; and Circulation Manager for Telecommunications Report and MacRae’s Blue Book.

    Doris has an MBA from NYU, holds several professional certifications and serves on the board of a non-profit civic association.

    Betsy Werley is Executive Director of The Transition Network which is an inclusive community of professional women over 50 exploring “what’s next” in their personal and professional lives.

    Prior to working in the non-profit sector, Betsy spent 25 years in the for-profit sector as a corporate lawyer and business executive at JPMorgan Chase.

    Betsy received a JD from the University of Chicago Law School and a BA in History and English (Phi Beta Kappa) from Duke University.

    For more information, please visit the Job Search Central online or in person at 188 Madison Avenue and 34th Street.

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  • 05/29/12--04:27: Books, Embodied
  • What can books become? A response to this query may be found in "Bookman," (2010), an exuberant sculpture of a man, made entirely of discarded library books. The work, a self-portrait by Barry "Butch" Sigel, was, until the week before last, on view in an adjunct gallery space, at Westbeth, the artists' community, in the Far West Village. Now partially dismantled, it is scheduled to be exhibited again in a storefront window on the ground floor of the complex.Bisected at the waist by a colorful tablelike structure made of inlaid book covers, "Bookman" appears to be in contrapposto position, standing with most of his weight shifted to his right leg, or, possibly, seated, at his own table that bears the weight of his midsection made of two stacks of books. In contrast to the heaviness of his trunk, his arms, fashioned out of paperbacks strung together at their center with metal pipes, move lightly and expressively: his left hand sits playfully on his hip, and his right arm is upturned with his palm extended in a welcoming gesture. While the face, arms, and the right hand of the figure are sculpted — which, possibly disturbing to some, required the cutting of books — the legs and feet are fashioned simply by stacking books of various sizes in a single pile. In Sigel's earlier self-portrait, "Bookhead" (2009), discarded books are ingeniously stacked, arranged, and shaped to form a head with a large, protruding nose. As in the later work, "Bookhead" incorporates black line drawing for features, in this case eyes, mouth, moustache, and ears.

    With titles, such as Confessions of Taoist on Wall Street (by David Payne), House of Mirth (by Edith Wharton), and Culture and Mental Health (insufficent title information for a link) plainly readable on the spines of his books, "Bookman" evokes a man that is his own bookshelf, or perhaps, a man that is the embodiment of his life as a reader. I couldn't help but see in "Bookman" also, a metaphor for the intensely powerful physical and personal engagement one can have with printed books, that can't be had with digital information. In the midst of the digital age, libraries must also maintain their rapidly expanding collections of printed volumes. With his bookshelf weight, and his beckoning paperback hand, "Bookman" represents to me, lastly, both the burden and the happiness found in our connection with books.

    As the "DISCARDED" stamps on their fore edges declare, these books were removed or "weeded," (a practice common to many college and public libraries, including the branch libraries of the NYPL, where seldom-used, out of date or damaged materials are routinely withdrawn) from the collection of the Fashion Institute of Technology, where Sigel teaches painting, drawing and design. He created "Bookman," for the "Art From Books," contest sponsored by FIT's Gladys Marcus Library in 2010 as part of its annual LYL (Love Your Library) event, and encouraged his students to likewise submit entries, which several of them did. "Bookhead" was entered in the library's contest for 2009. His classroom assignments sometimes require the use of found objects, and he has been inspired by the works his students have created using such things as straws and small plastic cups. An artist who has focused on self-portrait, Sigel usually works in painting, drawing and collage, but he was inspired by the library's challenge to creatively use its discarded books. "I kept going back and back to the library for books," he said.

    Disclaimer: It should go without saying that one would never use the books that are part of any library's actively circulating collection in any way that would permanently change or disfigure them.

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    It takes just seconds to sign a letter urging elected officials to reverse the harshest cut to The New York Public Library in its history. 

    For the week of May 27, 2012 we have hardcover fiction, hardcover non-fiction, and children's series.

    If you have an iPhone, iPad or Android phone, there is a free app! Use it with your library card/username and pin.

    Click on any of the titles below and place a hold to request the item. Remember to update your contact information (phone number or e-mail address), so you are notified when the book arrives for you at your local library. Don't have a library card yet? It's simple! Find out how to get one. Titles are available in regular print, large print, audio, and in electronic format — for FREE!

    Week of May 27, 2012

    Hardcover Fiction

    1. 11th Hour, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro   
    2. Deadlocked, by Charlaine Harris
    3. Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel
    4. The Road to Grace, by Richard Paul Evans
    5. In One Person, by John Irving

    Hardcover Nonfiction

    1. The Passage of Power, by Robert A. Caro   
    2. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen
    3. Screwed!, by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
    4. Most Talkative, by Andy Cohen
    5. Prague Winter, by Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward

    Children's Series

    1. The Hunger Games, by  Suzanne Collins  
    2. Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan
    3. The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare
    4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney
    5. Big Nate, written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce

    For more information on this week's best sellers, visit the New York Times website and check out the full list. There is also a special section for Best Sellers in the Library's catalog, BiblioCommons.

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    Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease. Actually it can be viewed as a group of disorders that results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior and affects approximately 4 million Americans and as many as 15 million through out the world. Medical care, education and a support strategy can make the difference and help family and loved ones cope.

    Alzheimer's Disease. (2004). In The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health. Credo Reference.

    The Alzheimer's Association
    The Alzheimer's Association is the leading, global voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research.
    225 N. Michigan Avenue #1700
    Chicago, IL 60601

    Gray Panthers Project Fund
    1319 F Street NW, Suite 302 Washington, DC 20004
    In New York, 165 West 86th Street
    Work for social and economic justice and peace for all people.

    Administration on Aging
    Washington, DC 20201
    One Massachusetts Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20001
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aging: 1-202-401-4634
    Public Inquiries: 1-202-619-0724
    Eldercare Locator (to find local resources): 1-800-677-1116
    The mission of AoA is to develop a comprehensive, coordinated and cost-effective system of home and community-based services that helps elderly individuals maintain their health and independence in their homes and communities


    National Institute on Aging
    Public Information Office Building 31, Rm: 5C27
    31 Center Drive MSC
    Bethesda, MD 20892-2292
    Federal Government Social & Human Services Resource.
    Find legal resources, support services nationwide and information about reporting elder abuse and prevention.

    National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Formerly NCCNHR National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform)
    The Consumer Voice
    1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 425
    Washington, DC 20036
    1-202-332-2275 (phone)

    These resource centers supports the continous development and operation of federally mandated nationwide long-term care ombudsman programs. The Consumer Voice can connect you to state and local resources that might be able to help. Citizen advocacy groups, ombudsmen, state agencies and other resources are available through this website.

    USA.Gov: Government Made Easy
    Find government resources for seniors on money, housing, health, consumer protection, and more. The site's resources can be useful for seniors and caretakers.

    Senior Net
    One Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104
    SeniorNet is a nonprofit educational 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded to teach and access computer technologies to share their knowledge and wisdom.


    Older people -- Care -- United States.
    Aging parents -- Care -- United States.
    Caregivers -- United States.

    Related Reading:

    Elder Care
    The 250 Eldercare Questions Everyone Should Ask by Lita Epstein

    See also:

    Are You Experiencing "Care-grieving"?

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    This summer, children at the Ottendorfer Library are participating in our library advocacy campaign. Children are invited to tell Mayor Bloomberg how much they love their library by stopping in our children's room to write or color a special letter to the Mayor.  Support for our libraries is more important than ever before, so parents don’t forget to sign your own letter while visiting the library!

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    Earlier this year, the NYPL Manuscripts and Archives division acquired the papers (PDF finding aid) of the acclaimed novelist and children's book author Lore Segal. The collection contains letters and literary manuscripts documenting her life as a Jewish refugee in England during World War II and her subsequent writing and teaching career. Among the papers is a small, but delightful, batch of items from the late Maurice Sendak.

    Segal and Sendak collaborated on a wonderful collection of Grimm Brothers' fairy tales entitled The Juniper Tree, and Other Tales from Grimm, published in 1973. Together, the pair selected and sequenced 27 stories for the book, choosing several lesser-known Grimm tales. Segal wrote the translations and tried to keep the English versions as close to the German as possible. With guidance from her uncle Paul Stern, who was also an Austrian émigré, Segal captured the nuances of the Grimms' archaic language, as well as the images of magic and horror found in the original folk tales. Sendak illustrated the stories with black and white etching-like drawings, perfectly depicting the Grimms' grotesque characters: a half-hedgehog boy, an ogre with one foot and one hoof, and many ugly toads, to name a few.

    Their letters and notes contain some of their discussions on story selection, translation details, and whether or not to include an introduction. One note contains this scrap of feedback from Sendak regarding the story Allerleirauh (in the book entitled Many-Fur) a story involving incest that, through narrative amnesia, has a happy ending. After first throwing it into the "maybe" pile, Sendak reconsidered:

    "I suddenly love this story. The first sentence is glorious—as is the last—such lovely incest disguised & such sweet nonsense—The only part that bothers me—seems to drag—is the queen's murder. The fake queen. The ghost queen. Unlike the rest of the story—it's vague—but that's obviously Grimm."

    The queen's murder did not make it into the book. But while Segal pruned the stories for literary reasons, she did not shy away from the gorier of the Grimm's plot twists, nor did she dull any of their strange (and sometimes alarming) ideas on virtue and morality. Segal took her editorial decisions seriously, as shown in the undated notes she sent to Sendak:

    "Let me explain the extent to which I've interfered with the story. Obviously we can't add any ideas or [incidents]...We're not going to add any ideas or even bring what would be our post Henry James instincts to bring the original idea [of incest] back in the end."

    The collection's batch of Sendak letters reveals that he and Segal communicated about their work as early as 1969. In a letter from Sendak dated June 7, 1969, he described a much beloved scene from the not-yet published In the Night Kitchen. Sendak wrote:

    "Here is the 'Scenario'. It needs just a little explaining—since much of the clarifying action will take place in the pictures"…The Milky Way is an enormous Milk bottle à la Empire State Building. Mickey flies over it + jumps out of his plane into the milk..."

    Another highlight is a letter that Sendak wrote to Segal's young daughter, Beatrice, on June 29, 1967. In this brief note, Sendak gives a sense of how gentle, friendly, and encouraging he could be with his young admirers. After offering an excuse for why it took him so long to reply to her letter, he wrote:

    "I like chicken soup with Rice best too. It was what my mother gave me when I was a little boy — and I didn't feel well! It always made me better.
    Maurice Sendak
    p.s. Your pictures are charming!"

    In addition to the Lore Segal papers, researchers can find Sendak manuscript material in the following NYPL collections:

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    Many New Yorkers no longer have much choice about who their health care provider is. Many times New Yorkers — if they are fortunate enough to have an employer sponsored or other health care plan — may be asked to choose from among those health care providers who belong to a particular heath care maintenance program or other health insurance program.

    Other New Yorkers may be enrolled in the Medicare Program if they are over a certain age — which in many cases means that your health care may also be provided by a private insurer who has a contract with New York State (or you may possibly have a Medigap plan for the many areas of health care that Medicare does not pay for; evaluations of various Medigap plans are provided by Consumer Reports that is accessible on one of the many databases available from the New York Public Library that are available from home).

    If you have limited means, you may determine whether you are eligible for Medicaid in New York City. In New York state Medicaid may be administered by private health insurance plans for profit. And a substantial number of New Yorkers have no health insurance plan at all but still need to see a doctor, a dentist, a physical therapist or a psychotherapist or a number of other providers of what is broadly defined as "health care."

    Whether one's health care provider must be chosen from a health maintenance organization or insurer, may provide health care as part of Medicare or Medicaid, or is recommended by family or friends, it is always wise to find out more about the health care provider. If your doctor practices in New York State, s/he is licensed by the New York State Department of Health and a good deal of basic and supplemental information is available about him or her in their New York State Physician Profile. In order to search the Physician Profile, it is necessary to have the proper spelling of the physician's name which should be available from either your health insurance provider or from the office of the doctor. This site provides such basic information as whether this physician is licensed by the State of New York, whether the doctor went to an accredited medical school in the United States, where s/he did a residency or internship (a period of from one to several years of training after medical school but before receipt of a medical license) and whether s/he is "Board Certified" in the field. That is, after finishing formal medical training, s/he received post graduate training and supervision that indicates additional training in a specific medical field such as orthopedics or psychiatry. It should also indicate where his or her medical office is, what hospitals licensed in the State of New York s/he can practice in, whether s/he has published research papers in his medical field or has been teaching medicine or providing community service.

    One can also determine if a doctor takes one's form of private health insurance or if the doctor provides care to those enrolled in Medicare. Note that certain doctors accept Medicare payments as payment in full while others only accept it as partial payment and you are responsible for the balance. You should also confirm in advance whether a doctor takes any form of private or public medical insurance, and to what extent, by contacting the doctor's office. Only certain doctors in New York accept Medicaid patients. However, if a doctor accepts any Medicaid patient in New York he must accept all.

    One may determine if a dentist is licensed to practice in New York from the Office of Professions. And one may determine if a doctor or dentist is licensed to practice outside the state of New York from the database Reference USA available at certain NYPL locations. Physical therapists should have a license from the state of New York. Psychotherapists may be psychiatrists who are licensed physicians in New York who may treat patients and prescribe medication. Clinical psychologists are licensed by the state of New York and usually possess a doctorate from an accredited University training program. Licensed clinical social workers (who possess a Master's Degree in Social Work and three years of post-degree supervised experience) and licensed masters of social work (who possess a Master's Degree in Social Work) are also registered with New York state. Note that there are numerous other accrediting agencies, especially for psychotherapists.

    See also J. Soucé's post concerning health care issues of interest to Seniors. More NYPL blog posts about health and medicine.

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    Did you know that The New York Public Library now has an easy new interface that allows you to order offsite Library materials from anywhere? You can also request that a portion of your materials be scanned and delivered to you electronically.

    At a recent town hall meeting, CUNY historian David Nasaw said that where NYPL stores its books is not the issue as long as we can deliver them within 24 hours. ”They could be on the moon for all I care,” he remarked.   I couldn’t agree more. As the NYPL staff member in charge of ensuring that books and other materials are delivered from our storage facility in New Jersey to the Library’s four research centers, I certainly know there have been challenges in recent years with timely delivery. Currently, 90 percent of materials requested each weekday are delivered within 24 hours. But we’re taking a number of steps to make that 100 percent.   First of all, we have added a sixth delivery day. We now deliver on Saturdays to each of the research centers, provided requests are made before 2:30 p.m. on Friday. And we’re planning a second midday delivery during the week.   The new online ordering process, which began on May 10, 2012, has been a huge step forward. It allows people to make up to 15 requests per day without having to come to the Library. Here’s how it works:   1.   Go to the Library’s “classic” catalog at 2.   Search for “Proust and Venice” by Peter Collier.   I happen to use this book as an example because it’s stored off-site. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a grey button labeled “Request from Off-Site Storage”. This button takes you to an order form that also includes the option to make an electronic delivery request. This fantastic service allows you to receive up to 50 pages of your requested materials, for free of course, delivered to your email address within 24 hours on weekdays.   I also want to say that I and my staff, including a lot of back-office folks the public never sees, are very proud to be serving Library users, and we are well aware that we are delivering crucial materials into the hands of some of the world’s most renowned researchers. Every day, we are thinking, talking and actively planning how we can improve our delivery service.    Stay tuned for future updates.

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    You still have time to read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace before Hudson Park's next book discussion on Saturday, June 9, at 10:30 a.m.

    Called by many the greatest writer of his generation, Wallace can be challenging, especially his 1079 p. novel Infinite Jest. The essays in this book are easier to digest. They are funny and lively and they offer close observations of American life. They are fun to read. Wallace makes footnotes fun to read.

    Read the whole book. You'll want to, but we will be discussing just three of the essays: On visiting the Illinois State Fair, on tennis player Michael Joyce, and on taking a luxury Caribbean cruise.

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    Archival collections can harbor surprises — which makes the job of processing them fun!  The personal archives of artists not only document their careers and personal lives, but often contain material reflecting their interests and their times.

    Jerome Robbins, a choreographer of prolific and complex genius whose work spanned ballet and musical theater, was a long-time supporter of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division. On his death in 1998, Robbins willed his archive to the Dance Division, which was re-named in his honor. The Jerome Robbins Collection includes correspondence and other papers, artwork, film, video, and audio recordings.

    In March, 2011, I began work on preserving and cataloging more than 200 of these sound recordings with the help of Oral History Archive assistant Cassie Mey, and generous financial support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation. This audio collection includes working tapes relating to Robbins’s theater works, audio notebooks, and music and other recordings from his personal collection. The surprise was a number of items relating to current events of the 1950s and ‘60s, which demonstrate how Jerome Robbins was stimulated and influenced by the social and cultural ferment of these years.

    In particular, Robbins was keenly interested in the civil rights movement. One treasure discovered in the audio collection is “Project 65: Mississippi Summer,” a two-hour radio documentary produced in 1965 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, exploring the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. This detailed, probing documentary allows activists and locals, blacks and whites, mayors and tenant farmers and schoolchildren to speak for themselves, creating a visceral yet thoughtful, multi-faceted portrait of the cultural and moral clash surrounding the struggle for African-American civil rights. Fannie Lou Hamer describes being beaten in a Winona, Mississippi jail; a young volunteer from Wisconsin canvases for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; the president of the pro-segregation White Citizens’ Councils defends their purpose; farmer Hartman Turnbow describes his attempt to register to vote and the subsequent firebombing of his home. Produced less than a year after the events of the Freedom Summer, the documentary provides a rare contemporaneous look at the civil rights movement, long before its victory was assured.

    Also in the Jerome Robbins Audio Collection is an archival recording of a 1964 gathering of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greenwood, Mississippi, at which Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier (who are heard on the tape delivering speeches) appeared to present funds raised for SNCC; and radio news reporting about race riots in Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities in July, 1967.

    Another gem to emerge from the collection is a complete audio recording of the television program Night Beat, on which John Wingate interviews Jack Kerouac and Earle Hyman. Hyman discusses his struggles and triumphs as an African-American actor and his love of theater. Kerouac, on the occasion of the publication of The Subterraneans, defines Beat vocabulary for his host and discusses the controversy surrounding the “Beat Generation,” his writing process, his cats, his painting, and his study of Buddhism.

    These extremely rare sound recordings are now available for research use on-site at the Library for the Performing Arts, along with a two-hour lecture-performance by Stephen Sondheim at the 92nd Street Y in 1971, a radio interview with Lee Harvey Oswald, a recording of Arthur Miller’s biblical musical Up From Paradise, archival recordings of traditional Japanese music, and other audio materials reflecting Jerome Robbins’s wide-ranging, ever-searching intellect.

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    Before he was the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, John Masefield scrubbed floors in a saloon at Greenwich Avenue and Sixth Avenue in the Village.

    My guess, that's good training to be a poet or a writer of any kind.

    His birthday is June 1.

    Here's the first part of one of his poems:

    "Sea Fever"

    I must go down to the seas again,
    to the lonely sea and the sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship
    and a star to steer her by;
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song
    and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face, and
    a grey dawn breaking

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  • 05/31/12--10:10: A List of Lists: May 2012
  • Visit NYPL's BiblioCommons for these lists and many more. You can also create your own and share them with us in the comments! See below for some interesting staff picks from the past month, on topics both timely and timeless:

    Genre Fiction Music Nonfiction Kids La literatura en español Movies Performing Arts Food

    Thanks to the listmakers!

    Ask NYPL, Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral, Children's Center at 42nd Street, Dance Division, Dongan Hills, Fort Washington, Great Kills, Hamilton Fish Park, High Bridge, Huguenot Park, Kingsbridge, Kips Bay, Mid-Manhattan, Mulberry Street, New Dorp, Public Programs, Roosevelt Island, Seward Park, South Beach, St. Agnes, Todt Hill-Westerleigh, and Van Cortlandt.

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  • 05/31/12--10:44: 2011 NYC Book Awards
  • Did you know that there were more than 150 books about New York City published last year? Given this prodigious output, the New York Society Library, in hosting the New York City Book Awards, makes a significant contribution by directing Big Apple lovers to books that "evoke the spirit or enhance the appreciation of New York City." The 17th annual awards ceremony this May was my first, but it won't be my last. This is a literary event I'll surely try catch in the future.

    Part of the evening's charm stemmed from the grace of both the presenters' and awardees' remarks. Roger Pasquier, the Awards Jury Chair, set the stage by describing the selection process. Individual jurists read a wide selection of nominated titles and eliminate "error ridden and poorly written" books at the outset. The ten members of the selection committee then all read the remaining titles that form the finalists' core and determine the winners by unaninmous vote. The New York Book Awards Jury is not bound to make awards in specific categories each year. They thus neatly sidestep the awkwardness of the Pulitzer's recent very public "pass" on a 2011 prize for fiction.

    Pasquier's description of the process rang a bell. I realized that the NYPL staff on the Bernstein Prize in Journalism committe at the Library for the past 25 years uses a similar winnowing process to determine its finalists. Which reminds me that the list of past Bernstein winners is another terrific source of "must reads" for book lovers seeking insights into current global issues.

    Presenting the award for fiction was Meg Wolitzer, a jury member whose evocative remarks about Teju Coles' winning novel made me want to read not just Open City, but her novels too. By atmospherically describing the meditations of Open City's protagonist, Julius, a psychiatrist who meanders throughout New York City neighborhoods to unwind from his grueling hospital stints, Wolitzer mesmerized the audience. Then Cole read an excerpt from his book with a disturbing image that startles narrator Julius during a Morningside Heights amble. We listeners were disturbed and startled, too, even though Coles' conversational style is easy on the ear.

    Wolitzer's alluring introduction, punctuated by a shout-out from an audience member who said he'd finished Open City in one long engrossed sitting, moved Teju Cole to profess to being as pleased by the fact that people are reading his book as he is by the award itself. (In fact, this recognition is one of many nods he's received including being named a NYPL Young Lions finalist.) What pleased me was learning from Teju Cole during the book signing that he used SIBL as a quiet and inspirational novel-writing venue during breaks from his art research at the Morgan Library, our neighbor across the street. (See also: Robert Armitage's midwinter review of Open City.)

    Jurist Jules Cohn extended the perfect tribute to the next award winner with his pointed observation that Carla Peterson, an accomplished literary critic, had nabbed the 2011-12 NYC Book Awards prize for history. In her acceptance remarks Peterson noted how much this recognition — and readership — meant to her given that her training and scholarship in another academic discipline.

    Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth Century New York City may have grown out of Dr. Peterson's yen to trace her family's roots, piqued by scraps of memorabilia like ticket stubs. But the resulting Gotham narrative has a far broader sweep, documenting the history of a Black cultural elite with vibrant institutions — newspapers, churches, and literary societies — thriving in surprisingly heterogenous and integrated NYC neighborhoods. Peterson's educated professionals — physicians, attorneys, teachers — venerated the art of writing and cultivated a highly developed culture of the book. Copies of Washington Irving, Dickens, and Tennyson titles were awarded as prizes for literary achievement.

    I was not surprised to hear that Carla Peterson made substantial use of the comprehensive collections of The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture including, for example, the papers of Harry A Williamson to whom she ultimately discovered she is distantly related. As an early fellow in the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, Peterson had shared drafts of her work with a cadre of other writers and researchers as she plumbed both Schomburg riches and the special collections in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. An engaging presenter, Peterson is extending the reach of her marvelous book with an interactive archive of historical material.

    The segue to the Hornblower Award for a First Book was provided, aptly enough, by Jenny Lawrence, the daughter of George Marshall Hornblower whose foundation has helped the Society LIbrary to support a community of writers. With the evening's hallmark sensitivity and grace, Awards chair Pasquier in his introduction of this final winner underscored the fact that the candidates for first book prize were evaluated with the same rigor applied to all of the finalists.

    The Hornblower Award for a First Book went to The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn: Gentrification and the Search for Authenticity in Postwar New York by Suleiman Osman, an assistant professor of American Studies at George Washington University. This aspiring academic, who grew up in Park Slope, has produced an architectural, literary and social history of neighborhoods like Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill. It is also a nuanced analysis of gentrification across demographic shifts.

    The jury, Dr. Osman suggests, is still out on whether the development of these neighborhoods has been a success. Depending on one's perspective, the displacement of the working-class residents who kept the Brooklyn factories and piers humming by hordes of young urban professionals is either masterful city planning or urban revitalization run amuck. Brownstone Brooklyn is seen by detractors as a social experiment that failed or by its defenders as an expression of progressive political action such as bike lane concessions won by transportation alternative activists and food coops maintained by consumer advocates.

    As one might expect, Dr. Osman found much of his material at the New York Society Library as well as in the Brooklyn Historical Society and Municipal Archives. NYPL's special collections yielded gems like the papers of Truman Capote, the owner of a Brooklyn Heights brownstone. SIBL was the source of old city directories and government documents.

    The host of this magical evening and, established in 1754, the city's oldest cultural institution, the New York Society Library provides reference collections and some events and services for free and borrowing privileges by subscription. A young 'un (at one hundred and one years old), the New York Public Library goes a step further and provides borrowing privileges for free. Every title on the list of New York City Book Award winners since 1996 is accessible somewhere at the New York Public Library. In addition to Carla Peterson, several of the winners have been Cullman Scholars and one awardee, Jean Strouse, author of Morgan, is currently the Cullman Center director. Other awardees like Mike Wallace, who won for (another) Gotham, are avid users of the Frederick Lewis Allen Room — a wonderful resource that writers should explore. Given these winners with Gotham in the title, I'll close with a link to an NYPL post about the origin of the phrase "Gotham" that was the most viewed NYPL blog for several weeks running.

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