This Blog Is No Longer Being Updated

Hello, please enjoy looking around our blog.

This blog was created and maintained as part of a grant the Southeast Steuben County Library received from the American Library Association and the Dollar General Foundation to promote and expand our services for adult learners of English.

The grant period has ended and due to budget cuts at the library we are no longer maintaining this blog.

If you wish to know more about the budget cuts and the upcoming library funding vote, being held on October 21, 2014, please click the following link to visit the Southeast Steuben County Library website:

Thanks for your attention!
Linda Reimer
Southeast Steuben County Library


Requesting Feedback!

The American Dream Grant period has ended.

And due to the failure of a public vote last fall that would have created a new funding structure for the Southeast Steuben County Library;  we’ve suffered budget cuts, we’ve had our hours cut and we’ve had our staff cut.


I need an answer to the following question from as many of the 411 people who follow this blog as possible!

And here is the question! Would you’d like to see us continue to do interactive monthly posting that highlight events that have occurred in American history?

Please let us know!

You can leave feedback by posting on the blog itself, or, you can send an email with your feedback to; DIGLIT@STLS.ORG

Thank you very much for your feedback!

Linda Reimer

SSCL Digital Literacy Services

Southeast Steuben County Library

A Selection Of Events in American & English Language History & Popular Culture For April

April 4:

On April 4, 1915 Chicago Blues pioneer Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Waters was an exceptionally influential singer and guitarist who played a great part in the development of the electric blues style known as Chicago Blues. Waters influenced a great many musicians in subsequent generations including Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones who actually took their name from a Muddy Water’s song titled Rollin’ Stone.

Muddy Waters died in 1983.

Here’s a link to a YouTube clip of Muddy Waters singing and playing the song Louisiana Blues

And here is a link to an All Music biography of Muddy Waters:

April 5:

Classic Hollywood era actor Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California. Peck was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar five times and won for his portrayal of the courageous civil rights lawyer Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird.

Peck usually starred in dramas including Cape Fear, Gentlemen’s Agreement, Mirage and Twelve O’Clock High; but occasionally he starred in more light weight comedies and suspense films and among these are Roman Holiday in which he co-starred with Audrey Hepburn and Arabesque in which he co-starred with Sophia Loren.

Peck was also known for starring in Westerns and some of his most popular Westerns include: The Big Country, The Bravados, The Stalking Moon and The Gunfighter.

Gregory Peck died in 2003.

April 7:

Jazz legend Billie Holiday was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 7, 1915 as Eleanora Fagan. Holiday had no formal musical training and despite that is known as one of the most influential singers in Jazz history. Her smooth and emotion tinged singing and her eloquent phrasing lead to critical acclaim for her work and a long-lasting popularity. Among her best known songs are: God Bless The Child, Lover Man, Strange Fruit and T’aint Nobody’s Business If I Do.

Billie Holiday died in 1959.

Here’s a link to a YouTube clip of Billie Holiday singing the classic song The Very Thought of You:

And here’s a link to an All Music biography of Billie Holiday:

April 9:

The U.S. Civil War formally ended on April 9, 1865 at 1:30 p.m. when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. Army General Ulysses S. Grant at the house of Wilmer McLean in the Village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The surrender of Confederate forces ended the very bloody four year Civil War fought over the issue of slavery.

Here’s a link to a National Parks Service webpage that offers a brief bit of info on the surrender:

And here’s a link to a short YouTube clip of the first part of Ken Burns groundbreaking series on the Civil War simply titled The Civil War:

Note: You can check out all the discs in Ken Burns 660 minute documentary at the library – and the series was groundbreaking because of its use of both primary documents read by actors and actresses and re-enactments to tell the dramatic story of the war in the words of those persons who lived through it.

April 12:

Singer, actor and 1970s icon David Cassidy was born in New York City on April 12, 1950. Cassidy was born to two acting parents Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward. His parents divorced when he was still a small child and Jack Cassidy remarried the actor Shirley Jones. In 1970 Shirley Jones and David Cassidy were cast as mother and son in a new TV series about a musical family. The series was called The Partridge Family andchronicled the humorous and musical adventures of a widowed mother with five children.  There were even several Partridge Familyalbums – and the handsome David Cassidy became a teenage idol and a house hold name. Cassidy recorded his own albums and performed concerts in front of hundreds of thousands of fans on the weekend while he worked on filming the Partridge Family TV show during the week. And during this time Cassidy’s picture appeared in magazines and on many consumer products that ranged from lunch boxes to T-shirts.

Cassidy left the TV show at the height of its popularity in the mid-seventies and has continued to sing, perform on stage and record and occasionally has appeared in TV shows; however, he still remains most famous for his portrayal of the handsome eldest brother, Keith Partridge, in the TV series the Partridge Family.

Here’s a link to a YouTube clip taken from an episode of The Partridge Family of the family group singing and playing their hit I Can Feel Your Heartbeat:

And here’s a link to a Biography bio of David Cassidy:

And you can check out episodes of the light, fun and family friendly TV series The Partridge Family at the library!

April 13:

Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 at Shadwell, Virginia. Jefferson was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States. Jefferson’s accomplishments are too numerous to describe in a short blog posting so here’s a link to White House biography of Thomas Jefferson:

And if anyone would like to know more about the man who was Thomas Jefferson – I’d suggest you check out the biography American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by the Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph Ellis or, if you’re more in the mood for a video biography, the DVD Thomas Jefferson – A Film by Ken Burns. You can request both via StarCat or by simply calling the library at: 607-936-3713.

April 18 & April 19:

At about 10 p.m. on April 18, 1775 Paul Revere and William Dawes road around the countryside between Boston and Concord, Massachusetts warning local residents that British troops were marching towards Concord looking for a supply of weapons and gunpowder stored by local rebel soldiers. The troops were also looking for the rebel leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Adams and Hancock made their escape and colonial soldiers roused by the call to arms clashed with British regulars at Concord and Lexington the next morning — April 19. These two small battles collectively became known as “The shot heard ‘round the world;” because they are seen as the starting point of the American Revolution.

Here’s a link to a short Paul Revere House description of Paul Revere’s ride on that April night in 1775:

And a link, from the same website, to a brief biography of the American patriot Paul Revere:

Also of note, the midnight ride of Paul Reverewas not famous in the 18th century but became well known in the 19th century after the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his most famous poem about Revere’s ride – the poem is simply called The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and you can read it in its entirety by clicking on the following link which will take you to the official website of the Academy of American Poets:

April 24:

On April 24, 1800 The Library of Congress was established. On that date the U.S. Congress passed an act that President John Adams signed that approved “the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress…and for fitting up a suitable apartment to contain them;” and the Library of Congress was born. The Library of Congress has gone on to become one of the most famous, and most substantial, libraries in the world. And in the 21st century The Library of Congress has many resources and interactive collections that can be accessed for free though its website!

Here’s a link to a history of the Library of Congress found on the Library of Congress website:

And here’s a link to the Library of Congress homepage where you can access numerous resources that offer insights into American history and culture:

Have a great month!

Linda R.


3. Thomas Jefferson. The White House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Appomattox Court House: The Surrender. National Parks Service. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014.

Bush, John. Artists Biography: Billie Holiday. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Chase’s Calendar of Events. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2014.

David Cassidy. Biography. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Deming, Mark. Muddy Waters: Artist Biography. AllMusic.Online.

Accessed April 7, 2014,

History of the Library. Library of Congress. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere’s Ride. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Paul Revere: A Brief Biography. The Paul Revere House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

The Real Story of Revere’s Ride. The Paul Revere House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,

Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography. Monticello. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014.


Events in American & English Language History & Popular Culture March 1 – 12

March 1:

The famous 19th Century American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on March 1, 1803 in Boston, MA. Emerson is one of the most famous writers of the American Transcendentalism movement of the 19th Century. The Transcendental ideology held that every single thing in the world even something as small as a rain drop is actually a microcosm of the universe; and Emerson used this ideology for the basis of his very creative poetry.  Ralph Waldo Emerson died in 1882.

Here’s a portion of Emerson’s work called “Nature” from 1836, taken from the PBS website:

“Nature is the incarnation of thought. The world is the mind precipitated.”

“What is a farm but a mute gospel?”

“The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation.”

“Between man and vegetable. I am not alone and not unacknowledged.”

And here’s a link to the PBS website itself which offers you more excerpts from Emerson’s works and a brief biography:

The library owns many of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s books so if you’d like to read more of his poetry ore essays just stop by the library and ask the staff for details!

March 2:

The original Hollywood classic film King Kong made its debut on March 2, 1933. The plot summary of the film doesn’t sound super exciting – basically a film producer captures a giant ape on a strange tropical island and takes the ape back to New York City with him to try and use the ape, King Kong, to boost his career. King Kong becomes exceptionally fond of a beautiful young actress in the film director’s company, portrayed by Fay Wray. Kong escapes from captivity in New York City and winds up the taking the young starlet in hand, literally, all the way to the top of the Empire State Building where he fights a battle with men in planes – Kong himself doesn’t fare well in the film, but the special effects which were extraordinary for the time, had a lasting impact on future fantasy film producers and the movie is considered a Hollywood classic.

Here’s a link to a clip from King Kong that shows the great ape meeting the beautiful young actress for the first time! The scene is set on the mysterious island Kong was discovered on and the actress has been tied up by the local villagers:

March 3:

Telephone Inventor Alexander Graham Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. As a young man Bell moved to Canada and eventually wound up working on voice communication technology that became the first working telephone system. Bell was one of the three men who formed the Bell Telephone company and later was primarily responsible for creating and overseeing the building of the first commercial telephone network in the world – which was built in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878. The Bell Telephone Company later became known as American Bell and still later as The American Telegraph and Telephone Company which today is known simply as AT&T.

Here’s a link to a Bio biography of Alexander Graham Bell which offers more information on his life, career and his influence on modern technology:

March 5:

On March 5, 1770 The Boston Massacre took place in Boston, MA. The Boston Massacre occurred when a fight broke out between a rowdy group of American colonists, who were protesting both British taxes imposed on the colonies without their consent and the fact that the British Army had soldiers stationed in Boston, and a small group of British regulars. The fight escalated as protesting colonists threw rocks and snowballs the British soldiers who were guarding the Boston Customs House; and in response the soldiers fired several shots into the crowd killing five of the colonists.

This very famous event is seen as a milestone in the struggle between the American Colonists and the British Colonial government that cumulated in the outbreak of the American Revolution six years later.

Here’s a link to a brief explanation of the Boston Massacre found on the Library of Congress “America’s Library” site:

And here’s a link to the Boston Historical Society website on the Boston Massacre:

And here’s a link to a brief 3 minute History Channel re-enactment of the Boston Massacre which has a running historical commentary to offer you an even better idea of what happened in Boston on March 5, 1770:

March 12:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office as President of the United States in 1933, at the height of the economic downturn known as The Great Depression. The banking system in the U.S. collapsed in the fall of 1929 and many Americans were out of work and many were destitute. And to boost the morale of Americans during what was a very dark era of American history President Roosevelt began making radio broadcasts to both inform the American people of what was being done to make the economic situation in the U.S. better and to boost their morale with what might be described as a fatherly pep talk. President Roosevelt made his first Fireside Chat on March 12, 1933 and he continued to broadcast his Fireside Chats throughout most of the Great Depression and World War II era making the last of those broadcasts on June 12, 1944.

Here’s a link to the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Presidency Projects page that offers links to texts of twenty seven of President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats which offers a glimpse what into the main events that were impacting Americans in the years spanning 1933 – 1944:

And here’s a link to a History Channel webpage on the Fire Side Chats that features video commentary by Tom Brokaw which offers you an even better idea of why the Fireside Chats were important:


Alexander Graham Bell. Biography. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Boston Massacre March 5, 1770. America’s Story from America’s Library. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Boston Massacre Historical Society. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

A Brief History: Origins. AT&T. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Chase’s Calendar of Events 2014. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2014.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Preview. Google Books. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Fireside Chats. Online. Accessed March 14, 2014,

Thomas Hampson I Hear America Signing: Profiles: Poet/Writer: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). PBS. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

King Kong, IMDB. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Ralph Waldo Emerson. Online. Accessed March 4, 2014,

Events in American & English Language History & Popular Culture February 17, 2014 – February 28, 2014

February 17:

A Prairie Home Companion radio show made its debut on National Public Radio on this day in 1979. This weekly variety show, which is still on the air, is hosted by Garrison Keillor and features folksy skits and musical guests and the dry humor of the host Garrison Keillor which is sprinkled throughout each episode.

The show is very popular and host Garrison Keillor is the main reason for that popularity – Keillor was born in Minnesota and has a dry Midwestern grounded humor which he uses to comical effect in the Prairie Home Companion shows.

Here’s a link to the official Prairie Home Companion website where you can access the most recent show and even a number of old shows through the Archives section of the website:

And here is a link to a Bio biography of host Garrison Keillor:

February 18:

Celebrated glass maker Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City on February 18, 1848. Tiffany started out as a painter but in his twenties he switched to glass making and his works are truly pieces of art. He is most famous for his jewelry, windows and lamps. And today if you were to purchase an originally Tiffany piece at auction you’d pay a pretty penny for it!

Tiffany’s works are truly beautiful and you really do have to see some of them to understand why – so with that in mind – here’s a link to a Metropolitan Museum of Art page that offers you access to a cool slide show featuring many Tiffany glass items:

And here’s a link to Morse Museum overview of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s life and work:

February 20:

Photographer & Conservationist Ansel Adams born February 20, 1902 in San Francisco, California. Adams grew up in California and began taking photos of the natural world as a young man. He came to the attention of the general public when he published his first photography portfolio titled Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras and his fame and the popularity of his breathtaking black and white photos grew steadily from the 1920s on. And by the mid twentieth century Adams was known as one of the best American photographers in history. And as with the glass works of Louis Comfort Tiffany you really do have to see some of the photos and prints of Ansel Adams to appreciate their beauty – with that in mind – here’s a link to the Official Ansel Adams site, titled The Ansel Adams Gallery where you can look at many of his photos and learn more about this truly creative individual:

And here’s a link to a Bio biography of Ansel Adams:

February 22:

President George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Washington served in the Colonial Militia as a young man and went on to become a delegate to the Continental Congress, the Commander in Chief of the Continental, and later U.S., Army during the American Revolution; he served at the U.S. Constitutional Convention and then became the first President of the United States serving two terms from 1789 to 1797. George Washington’s life was, of course, filled with many more events and items of interest than are possible to put in a short blog posting – so check out two online biographies of President Washington by clicking on the following links to find out more about the extraordinary man George Washington:

Here’s a link to the official White House biography of George Washington which offers a short overview of his life and career:

And a link to a Bio biography of George Washington which offers more information on his life:

And if you’d like to know more about George Washington’s life the library owns a number of excellent books on the subject including His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation also by Joseph Ellis, the complimentary DVD set to the Founding Brothers book – also called Founding Brothers, the American Experience (PBS) DVD George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn’t Be King and the book George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.

February 23:

W. E. B. Du Bois was born on February 23, 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  Du Bois became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895 and he went on to become a well-known author and one of the most famous advocates for African American civil rights during the first half of the twentieth century. Du Bois co-founded the African American civil rights organization the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or N.A.A.C.P., in 1909. Du Bois was a colossal and controversial figure on the intellectual and civil rights front in the U.S. in the early twentieth century. Notably, he clashed with another African American civil rights activist and co-N.A.A.C.P. founder Booker T. Washington over the issue of how African Americans might best gain civil rights. Washington believed education was the key to gaining civil rights and he promoted the ideal that all African Americans should gain as much education as possible. In contrast, Du Bois believed that a small group of Africa Americans should be extremely well educated so they could work toward civil rights for all African Americans. Du Bois eventually broke with the N.A.A.C.P., left the United States moved to Ghana, Africa and become a citizen of that nation and even joined the Communist Party. Du Bois died in Ghana in 1963 at the age of 95.

Here’s a link to a Bio biography of W. E. B. Du Bois:

Have a great week!

Linda R


1. George Washington 1789-1797. White House. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

The Ansel Adams Gallery. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

Chase’s Calendar of Events 2014. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2014.

Garrison Keillor. Biography. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

George Washington. Biography. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

Louis Comfort Tiffany. Biography. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

On This Day: August 28, 1963: Obituary W.E.B. DuBois Dies in Ghana; Negro Leader and Author, 95. New York Times. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

A Prairie Home Companion With Garrison Keillor. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

W.E.B. DuBois. Biography. Online. Accessed February 17, 2014,

Links To Six Interesting Personal Technology Articles — For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure!

Here are links to six interesting tech stories you might have missed over the last week – just in time for your weekend reading pleasure!

The first article is titled AS TECHNOLOGY GETS BETTER, WILL SOCIETY GET WORSE? And it is from the New Yorker and ponders just what the title says – how will our society change as technology becomes ever more integrated into our lives – will it change for the better or not?

The second article is from Slate, it is titled Will Technology Make Work Better for Everyone? The Second Machine Age and the future of enjoying your job, and like the first article this one focuses on pondering the question of whether or not the advancing technology will make our lives better; and this case the author, Miles Brundage, thinks that the advancing technology will change and improve our working lives – here’s the link:

The third article is a tech review from the Mashable website and has a somewhat goofy, or whimsical if you prefer that description title! The title is WowWee MiP Robot Delivers Segway-Style Tech in an Adorable Package and it offers a review of the WowWee’s company’s new MiP Robot which is sort of a cute little robot that you might use at home!

I actually think the Jetson’s Rosie the Robot is a cousin of the MiP Robot…

And here’s the link to the article:

The fourth article is a review of a new smart home device that links your smarthome devices together – the article is by the exceptionally knowledgeable tech reviewer Walt Mossberg. The SmartThings hardware Mossberg reviews actually consist of a white box like device and stick on sensors which you can use in conjunction with a smartphone. And one could talk all day about the subject of making your home smarter but I’ll just say that the SmartThings kits require Wi-Fi and come in three sets that start at $99 and go up to $299 and offer more bells and whistles options as the price goes up. You can check out the different SmartThings models on the Amazon site.

And here’s the link to the Walt Mossberg review of SmartThings:

And speaking of making your home smarter – CNET offers a review of the new Staples Connect hardware that like the previously mentioned SmartThings device will allow you to keep track of what is going on in your home when you’re not there – via an Wi-Fi connecting device working in conjunction with an app—Staples Connect costs $99 and is for sale now through Staples.

Here’s the link to the CNET review of the Staples Connect:

And finally here’s a link to a USA Today article, titled Photo printer is built for pros, priced for the home, which reviews the excellent Canon Pixma iP8720  photo printer which produces really great prints and is priced low enough to use at home or at work – list price for the printer is $299.

And here’s the review link:

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.


Brundage, Miles. Will Technology Make Work Better for Everyone? The Second Machine Age and the future of enjoying your job. Accessed January 30, 2014,

Mossberg, Walt. (2014, January 28). SmartThings Automates Your House Via Sensors, App. Accessed, January 29, 2014,

Staples Connect: One small step toward the smart-home singularity. CNET Review. Online. Accessed January 31, 2014,

Thomas, Christ. (2014, January 26). Photo printer is built for pros, priced for the home. USA Today. Online. Accessed January 30, 2014,

Ulanoff, Lance. (2014, January 29). WowWee MiP Robot Delivers Segway-Style Tech in an Adorable Package. Accessed January 30, 2014,


Events in American & English Language History & Popular Culture February 6, 2014 – February 10, 2014

February 6:

Tom Brokaw was born February 6, 1940 in Webster, South Dakota. Brokaw began his journalistic career working as a radio reporter during his college days. He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in political science in 1962. After college he became the editor of a daily news program in Omaha, Nebraska before moving on to become a late-night news presenter for the station KNBC in Los Angeles a position he held from 1965 to 1973.

In 1973 Brokaw began working as a TV reporter for the National Broadcasting Company, better known simply by its initials of NBC. He was promoted to host of the NBC morning news and talk show Today in 1976 and offered the coveted position of co-anchor of the NBC Nightly News, with the news veteran newsman Roger Mudd who has succeeded the trusted and very influential news anchor Walter Cronkite the year before. In 1983 Brokaw was appointed sole anchor of the NBC Nightly News and during his tenure as NBC Nightly News anchor he reported on a great many notable events domestic and international events including the opening of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001.

Brokaw retired as anchor of the NBC Nightly News in 2004 and has since created a number of news specials for NBC and authored several books including the exceptionally popular books The Greatest Generation and The Greatest Generation Speaks which chronicle the experiences of men and women who came of age during the World War II era and who experienced life during that time as soldiers or as workers on the home front.

Tom Brokaw continues to create news specials and celebrates his 74th birthday this year.

And if you’re wondering why a news anchor is important in recent American history I have an answer!

The answer is that prior to the Internet age most Americans watched the evening news each night on one of the three main U.S. television networks NBC, ABC or CBS and that was the #1 way people caught up on the daily news. And news events were brought into the homes of American families by the news anchors of each network. So for example, if an anchor like the quintessential American news anchor Walter Cronkite, reported on a major event like the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 or the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969 (which he did!) – Americans gathered together around TVs to watch those news shows and the regularly scheduled daily news shows hosted by the network anchors; and millions of Americans had a shared experience of witnessing events shown on TV news programs at the same time; and that gave Americans a sense of community – a sense that they were sharing the news because they saw the same news anchors report on events at the same time.

Here’s a link to a Biography bio of Tom Brokaw:

And a link to an Oprah Master Class clip featuring an interview piece with Tom Brokaw, titled

Tom Brokaw’s Road to NBC Nightly News, which offers a look at how Tom Brokaw went from a Midwestern newsman to the anchor of the NBC Nightly News:

Here’s a second Oprah Master Class interview clip titled Tom Brokaw on Life as One of the “Big Three” which features Tom Brokaw talking about how he wound up one of the Big Three TV anchors in the early 1980s – along with Peter Jennings at ABC and Dan Rather at CBS:

And this third Oprah Mater Class link features an interview clip titled The Fall of the Berlin Wall: How Tom Brokaw Broke the Story and it features Tom Brokaw talking about what it was like to break the story of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as he reported the news directly from Berlin:

February 7:

Writer Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England. Dickens was the second of eight children born to naval clerk John Dickens and his wife Elizabeth. In 1824 John Dickens was sent to prison because he couldn’t pay his bills and young Charles was forced to leave school to work in a boot blacking (shoe polish) factory to make money to help support his family. Life was hard for factory workers at that time as the hours were long and the working conditions grim; and Dickens felt betrayed by his parents whom he believed were responsible for looking after him and ensuring his well-being. Dickens’s experience working in that boot black factory stayed with him for the rest of his life and the theme of children and young adults being ill-treated by their families and left to fend for themselves without benefit of the assistance of a caring adult and with the backdrop of a society that was collectively indifferent to their suffering, became a recurring theme in his books including the popular titles David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Domby And Son.

In 1858, under the pseudonym Boz, Dickens published his first series of short news stories titled Sketches With Boz and from then on there was no looking back – Charles Dickens published a number of books in the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s all of which are considered English language classics, and he became an internationally famous author and is now considered one of the greatest English language writers.

According to the library related publication Publishers Weekly the ten most prominent Charles Dickens novels are:

  1. Great Expectations
  2. Our Mutual Friend
  3. David Copperfield
  4. Bleak House
  5. Little Dorrit
  6. Oliver Twist
  7. Nicholas Nickleby
  8. Dombey and Son
  9. The Pickwick Papers
  10. The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens

To see a plot summary for each of these titles simply click on the following link which will take you directly to the Publishers Weekly article:

And here’s a link to a Bio biography of Charles Dickens:

Februrary 8:

Iconic actor James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana on February 8, 1931. When Dean was five his parents, Winton and Mildred, moved the family to Los Angles. While still a boy his mother died and Winton sent young James to an aunt and uncle in Indiana who raise him. After he graduated from high school Dean moved back to California and attended the Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA. During his college years Dean began to act and landed a place at the critically acclaimed James Whitmore’ acting workshop. Dean then went on to appeared in TV commercials and a few TV shows and in 1951 moved to New York City to pursue his acting career. Dean became a star and, through his roles in East of Eden and Rebel Without A Cause became a quintessential symbol of what it was like to be a youth in American in the 1950s. Dean achieved critical acclaim and lasting fame for his acting all this despite the fact he only appeared in three films: East Of Eden from 1955, Rebel Without A Cause also from 1955 and Giant which was released in 1956.

Tragically James Dean was killed in an automobile accident in September of 1955 he was 24 years old.

Here’s a link to a Bio biography of James Dean:

A link to the Official James Dean website:

And a link to a YouTube clip of a scene from East of Eden which features a dramatic conversation between son Cal (James Dean) and his father Adam (Raymond Massey):

February 10:

On February 10, 1949 the classic Broadway play “Death of Salesman” made its stage debut at the Morosco Theater on Broadway. The dramatic play was written by one of 20th century America’s best playwrights Arthur Miller and told the story of Willy Loman a door to door salesman in post-World War II America who has always believed he and his family were destined for great things on the world stage and is shattered by the realization that that belief is a false one. The original play won six Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

You can request the 1985 film version of the play, which stars Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich, on DVD and the 1966 television version in which Lee J. Cobb and Mildred Dunnock reprise their roles, as Willy Loman and his wife Linda, from the original and critically acclaimed Broadway play will be available to circulate at our library shortly.

Here’s a link to a short YouTube accessed clip from the 1966 version of Death Of A Salesman that features an intense exchange between Lee J. Cobb’s Willy Loman and one of his sons:

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.


American Masters: About Cronkite: About Walter Cronkite. (2006, July 26). PBS. Online. Accessed February 6, 2014,

Biography. James Dean Official Website. Online. Accessed February 6, 2014,

Charles Dickens. Biography. Online. Accessed February 6, 2014,

Chase’s Calendar of Events 2014. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2014.

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