Presidents Day

Instead of going to the mall for the Presidents Day sale, you can really celebrate by brushing up on some presidential history. A great place to start is the Internet Public Library's POTUS which provides biographical information, historical documents, and audio and video files. If this doesn't satisfy your historical sweet tooth, check out Public Papers of the Presidents at the American Presidency Project which has digitized over 85,000 documents related to the Presidency, including audio and video. Still not enough? The Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections contains detailed national results of all U.S. presidential elections since 1789. And if you want to compare today's presidential campaigns with those of the recent past, browse the Museum of the Moving Image's site The Living Room Candidate where you can find more than 300 commericals from every presidential elections since 1952. Of course, the library has many great books on the presidents — both biographies of individual presidents and histories of the office.

Rosa Parks' 100th Birthday

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. On December 1, 1955 she refused to obey a bus driver's order to give up her seat  to a white passenger, setting off the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This became one of the defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement leading to nationwide efforts to end segregation of public facilities. She eventually moved to Detroit where she lived until her death in 2005.

Rosa Parks: my story by Rosa Parks with Jim Haskins

Rosa Parks by Douglas Brinkley

Vietnam War Peace Agreement Anniversary

Forty years ago, on Januuary 27, 1973 the Paris Peace Accords were signed - ending the Vietnam War. During the long conflict, the United States suffered over 58,000 soldiers killed and approximately 153, 000 wounded, as well as 1,943 missing in action.

A bright shining lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan

Ending the Vietnam War: a history of America's involvement in and extrication from the Vietnam War by Henry Kissinger

The best and the brightest by David Halberstam

Gold!

165 years ago, on January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill setting off the California Gold Rush. People began flocking to the state later that year, but the majority didn't arrive until the next year — hence the term "forty-niners." All told, the news drew some 300,000 people from all over the world (Latin America, Europe, Australia and China) between the years 1849 and 1855, to seek their fortune in California.

The age of gold: the California Gold Rush and the new American dream by H.W. Brands

The California Gold Rush and the coming of the Civil War by Leonard L. Richards

Days of gold: the California Gold Rush and the American nation by Malcolm J. Rohrbough

Super Bowl Kickoff!

The NFL playoffs are in full swing and Super Bowl 47 is right around the corner. While you're waiting, catch up on some of the lives of some of the sport's greatest players and coaches — both past and present:

Moving the chains: Tom Brady and the pursuit of everything by Charles P. Pierce

Namath: a biography by Mark Kriegel

The Bus: my life in and out of a helmet by Jerome Bettis and Gene Wojciechowski

Manning by Archie and Peyton Manning with John Underwood

When pride still mattered: a life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss

The Battle of New Orleans

On January 8, 1815, during the War of 1812, British forces suffered more than 2,000 casualties in their attack on New Orleans. The defending U.S. forces were led by General Andrew Jackson who became a national hero as a result. Ironically, neither side knew that the war had already ended two weeks before with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.

The Battle of New Orleans by Robert V. Remini

Patriotic fire: Andrew Jackson and Jean Laffite at the Battle of New Orleans by Winston Groom

The pirates Laffite: the treacherous world of the corsairs of the Gulf by William C. Davis

Happy Birthday Elvis!

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He would have turned 78 this year. A multi-dimensional performer, Elvis' diverse talents are on display in the many recordings and movies that he left behind:

Careless love: the unmaking of Elvis Presley by Peter Guralnick

The Colonel: the extraordinary story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley by Alanna Nash

Dead Elvis: a chronicle of a cultural obsession by Greil Marcus

Elvis and me by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley with Sandra Harmon

Elvis Presley by Bobbie Ann Mason

Year 2012 Top Movie Picks

The artist written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius — An actor famous for his roles in silent films forms a relationship with an actress who is headed for fame in the new era of sound films.

The avengers written and directed by Joss Whedon — Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America assemble together for the very first time ever in this epic, action-packed blockbuster.

The best exotic Marigold Hotel directed by John Madden — A group of British retirees decide to outsource their retirement to a newly renovated hotel in Jaipur, India, that is being marketed as a retirement residence - but when they arrive, they find it to be in less luxurious condition than they had imagined.

The big year directed by David Frankel — Three men put their lives and careers on hold in an attempt to set a new record for the number of bird species spotted during a year.

Emancipation Proclamation 150th Anniversary

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. It declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." Every advance of Union troops into the Confederacy expanded former slaves' freedom. Additionally, the Proclamation allowed black men into the military, and by the end of the Civil War almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had joined and fought for the Union cause.

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: the end of slavery in America by Allen C. Guelzo

Abraham Lincoln and the road to emancipation, 1861-1865 by William K. Klingaman

I Spy

The recent film Argo  starring Ben Affleck tells the true but improbable story of a covert operation to save six Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy during the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. The history of espionage is filled with many such hard to believe tales and the Library's collection has many great titles to pick from.

Double cross: the true story of the D-day spies by Ben Macintyre — What did a Polish patriot, a Peruvian party girl, a Serbian playboy, an eccentric Spanish chicken farmer, and a volatile dog-loving Frenchwoman have in common? These five spies formed the nucleus of the Double Cross system which tricked the Nazis into keeping an entire army waiting for a fake invasion, thus assuring the Allied success on D-Day.

Wild Bill Donovan: the spymaster who created the OSS and modern American espionage by Douglas C. Waller — A fascinating biography of the father of today's CIA.

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