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History

Exploring America

In the spirit of Columbus Day read about some of the other explorers who ventured out in search of new worlds:

Amerigo: the man who gave his name to America by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

Henry Hudson: dreams and obsession by Corey Sandler

La Salle: a perilous odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico by Donald S. Johnson

Over the edge of the world: Magellan's terrifying circumnavigation of the globe by Laurence Bergreen

Champlain's dream by David Hackett Fischer

Hernando de Soto: a savage quest in the Americas by David Ewing Duncan

The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 10, 1871. The fire started in or around a barn on DeKoven Street, but despite the fact that the O'Leary family lived in the area, the legend of Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern is probably just that - a legend. More than 300 people died in the fire, 100,000 were left homeless, and four square miles of the city were destroyed. Although the Chicago fire, perhaps, the most well known from in American history, there have been significant fires in other major cities as well - Boston, Pittsburgh and Detroit included. To learn more about them check out Seven Fires: the Urban Infernos that Shaped America.

The great fire by Jim Murphy

Smoldering city: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871- 1874 by Karen Sawislak

City of the century: the epic of Chicago and the making of America by Donald L. Miller

City of big shoulders: a history of Chicago by Robert G. Spinney

October Birthdays

Read about some of the fascinating people who were born in the month of October!

Home: a memoir of my early years by Julie Andrews — October 1

Keeping faith: memoirs of a president by Jimmy Carter — October 1

The life of Graham Greene by Norman Sherry — October 2

Buster Keaton: cut to the chase by Marion Meade — October 4

Chester Alan Arthur by Zachary Karabell — October 5

Rocket man: Robert H. Goddard and the birth of the space age by David A. Clary — October 5

This little light of mine: the life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills — October 6

Italian-American Heritage Month

About 5.5 million Italians immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 2004. The greatest surge occurred between 1880 and 1920 when more than 4 million Italians came to America. October is the time to celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Americans of Italian descent in all walks of life.

California Statehood

California was admitted to the United States on September 9, 1850. Originally colonized by the Spanish in the 17th century, it became part of Mexico in 1821. In 1846, a group of American settlers declared an independent California Repulic shortly after the beginning of the Mexican-American War. The California Gold Rush of 1848 led to a huge increase in Califronia's population and started an economic boom. Some of the many figures connected to the state's rich and complicated history include Sir Francis Drake, Junipero Serra, John Fremont, Leland Stanford, Upton Sinclair, and William Randolph Hearst. Learn more:

School Days

Now that school has begun for another year, this would be a good time to learn about some extraordinary teachers both past and present:

A schoolteacher in old Alaska: the story of Hannah Breece by edited and with an introduction and commentary by Jane Jacobs

Nothing daunted: the unexpected education of two society girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden

The water is wide by Pat Conroy

Teacher man: a memoir by Frank McCourt

Beyond the miracle worker: the remarkable life of Anne Sullivan Macy and her extraordinary friendship with Helen Keller by Kim E. Nielsen

In the sun's house: my year teaching on the Navajo reservation by Kurt Caswell ; afterword by Rex Lee Jim

The March on Washington, 1963

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. One of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history, it was the site of Martin Luther King's historic I Have a Dream speech. In a year marked by racial unrest and numerous civil rights demonstations, Dr. King pleaded to "let freedom ring."

Nobody turn me around: a people's history of the 1963 march on Washington by Charles Euchner

Behind the dream: the making of the speech that transformed a nation by Clarence B. Jones and Stuart Connelly

The dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the speech that inspired a nation by Drew D. Hansen

The 1963 civil rights march by Scott Ingram

Doctors and Nurses in War

The new book Surgeon in Blue is the biography of Jonathan Letterman, the Civil War surgeon who, as chief medical officer for the Army of the Potomac, revolutionized combat medicine during four major battles of the war. Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg resulted in an unprecedented number of casualties, and his innovations saved countless lives. Among them was the first organized ambulance corps, and the establishment of hygiene and dietary standards. Learn about other brave doctors, nurses, and medics whose bravery and medical care saved lives while risking their own.

Revolutionary medicine, 1700-1800 by C. Keith Wilbur

Medics at war: military medicine from colonial times to the 21st century by John T. Greenwood, F. Clifton Berry Jr

Islamic Presentation

mosqueCome join us as Dr. Palmer and Dr. Siddiqui talk about Islam and its history on Thursday September 19 at 7 PM. Dr. Siddiqui is a PhD candidate in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan and Dr. Palmer is a medical doctor in our community. They will be available afterward for questions and comments.

Davy Crockett

Davy Crockett was born on August 17, 1786. While he is probably best known for having perished at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas in 1836, he also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1827 to 1831, representing the 9th district of Tennessee.

Born on a mountaintop: on the road with Davy Crockett and the ghosts of the wild frontier by Bob Thompson

David Crockett: the Lion of the West by Michael Wallis

Davy Crockett [videodisc] by A & E Television Network

The Alamo: an illustrated history by Edwin P. Hoyt

The blood of heroes: the 13-day struggle for the Alamo— and the sacrifice that forged a nation by James Donovan

Go West!

In 1890 the U.S. Census Bureau declared the American frontier to be "closed" - ending one hundred years of expansion. In July, 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered his essay The Significance of the Frontier in American History at the World's Columbia Exposition in Chicago, explaining his views on how the idea of a frontier helped to shaped America's characteristics. Beginning with the mountain men and Lewis & Clark, and ending with the closing of the frontier, the Library has a great collection of resources available about our country's westward movement. Start with some of the titles below:

Across the Great Divide: Robert Stuart and the discovery of the Oregon Trail by Laton McCartney

After Lewis and Clark: mountain men and the paths to the Pacific by Robert M. Utley ; maps by Peter H. Dana

The American West by Dee Brown ; photos edited by Martin F.Schmitt

Medicare Signed Into Law

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. The event took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, where former president Harry Truman was enrolled as the health insurance program's first beneficiary. The program, which provides hospital and medical insurance for Americans 65 years or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. For complete information on your Medicare benefits go the official website.

Social Security Handbook: overview of Social Security programs, 2013

Student's guide to landmark congressional laws on social security and welfare by Steven G. Livingston

The people's pension: the struggle to defend Social Security since Reagan by Eric Laursen

Alexis de Tocqueville

Born in Verneuil, France on July 29, 1805, Alexis de Tocqueville was the author of the classic text Democracy in America. Originally published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840, it was based on the author's 1831 visit to the United States, and described the social and economic changes taking place in the young nation. It is considered by some historians to be one of the most insightful books written about democracy.

Democracy in America by translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Democracy in America by translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Tocqueville's discovery of America by Leo Damrosch

Alexis de Tocqueville: a life by Hugh Brogan