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Friday, August 22, 2014

Ms. Rosa Lee

We are constantly analyzing our collection, getting new things, getting rid of obsolete things, and repairing titles that are an important part of our state history. A staff member recently made an interesting and (we think) humorous find while they were working to preserve our 1893 edition of the State Agencies Biennial Reports.

In the report submitted by State Librarian Rosa Lee Tucker, we get a peek into what budgeting looked like for the 1892-1893 fiscal year. This is our favorite excerpt:
"The appropriation of one hundred dollars per year for reference books, given by the last Legislature, has been judiciously expended. Encyclopedia Britannica, twenty-five volumes; Century Dictionary, six volumes, and Webster's International, all expensive books, were purchased. Double the amount could have been spent with advantage. It is to be hoped the Legislature of 1894 will give a generous appropriation for this department to the Library."

$100! Can you imagine? Well, according to the inflation calculator found here, $100 in 1892 would be worth about $2631.58 today.

We did a little digging to see how much her reference items would cost today. While the Encyclopedia Britannica is no longer being updated in the print format, you can get a year-long membership to their online edition for $69.35 a year. The Century Dictionary is no longer in print, but you can view older editions online at the California Digital Library through the University of California. Finally, The Webster's International Dictionary can be purchased for $129. That totals $198.35 today, or approximately $7.54 in 1892. Sorry, Ms. Lee!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Long-Ago Literature Games

We came across a delightful book called The Wonderful World of Toys, Games & Dolls, 1860-1930 and found a few old literary games that we thought we'd share with you!

From the Butler Brothers, or City Products Corp., catalog from 1914. "F2423--12 styles. Authors, Old Maid, Little Red Men, Mother Goose, Lotto, etc. box 4 x 5, gold and colored labels. Asstd. 1 doz. in pkg.....Doz. 32c" (Schroeder 189).

From the Butler Brothers, or City Products Corp., catalog from 1914. "F2421--56 finely enameled flexible cards, modern authors -- Jack London, Booth Tarkington, Winston Churchill, James Barrie, etc., litho box 7 x 5 1/2. 1/2 doz. in pkg. Doz. $1.80" (189).

From the Butler Brothers, or City Products Corp., catalog from 1914. "F2420--32 high grade cards, tinted backs, fine photo fronts, litho box, 4 1/4 x 5 3/4. 1 doz. in pkg.....Doz. 68c" (189).

 From the Marshall Field & Co. catalog from 1892. "No. 518. The Literary Game of Quotations. This is a splendid high-class game, abounding in the celebrated quotations which have made authors famous. Consists of sixty finely finished round-cornered cards with fancy assorted backs, each devoted to a certain author or on of his works. A most enjoyable entertainment.....per doz., $4.00" (76).

We have plenty of other neat collectible toys, dolls, and games books in our collection. Let us know if you have a unique collectible item that you'd like for us to research for you!

Schroeder, Joseph, ed. The Wonderful World of Toys, Games & Dolls, 1860-1930. Follett Publishing Company, 1971. Print

Friday, August 1, 2014

Cures and Cooper

Many of the questions we receive at the Mississippi Library Commission involve local history and happenings. Luckily, we have a Mississippi collection devoted to just this type of thing. When it happens that I have to hit the stacks for a little research, it's always a bit of a thrill. I'm never sure what I'll find! Recently, I had a question about Meridian, and turned to Paths to the Past: An Overview History of Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  It's been a while since we've tickled your superstitious bone (That's a real thing, directly beside the funny bone, right?) and I found a few doozies.

  • "To cure an earache, take a beetle, remove its head, split it in two, squeeze the fluid in the ear and put cotton in the ear to keep the fluid from running out." I have one comment, and one comment only: Beetlejuice.
  • "To prevent a baby's having colic, roll the baby over on the floor several times, then sweep some dust over it." It seems to me that rolling your baby over your dirty floor would startle him so much that he would stop crying, at least for a little while, cured of colic or no.
  • "To prevent headaches, wear a match in your hair." This is something I could get behind. I would think everyone back in the day would've walked around with a match in his or her hair. They're small and inconspicuous and rid you of all headaches.
From folklore to folks, this book skipped directly to famous Mississippians from Lauderdale County. I couldn't resist sharing one last item:
It's writer Wyatt Cooper, his wife Gloria Vanderbilt, and their sons Carter and Anderson Cooper. Yes, THAT Anderson Cooper. Didn't you know he has Mississippi ties?!

Do you have a question about your Mississippi town or county? Give us a call and we'll start digging. I can't wait to see what we'll find next!

Dawson, James T. and Laura Nan Fairley. Paths to the Past: An Overview History of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Meridian, Mississippi: Lauderdale County Department of Archives and History, 1988. Print.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Walter Payton

“I don’t perceive myself as being better than anyone.  I shovel my driveway.  I go to the grocery store.  I pump my own gas.  Some athletes don’t do that.”
                                              -During a 1993 interview

Walter Jerry Payton, former running back for the Chicago Bears, was born on July 25, 1954 in Columbia, Mississippi.  Walter was the youngest of Peter and Alyne Payton’s three children.  Walter followed in his brother, Eddie’s, footsteps playing football in high school, but he continued to participate in the marching band as well.  Walter would then attend Jackson State, graduating in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in special education.  On January 28, 1975 Payton was drafted by the Chicago Bears as 4th overall pick in the 1st round draft.  

Walter, better known as “Sweetness” during his football years, had a career total of 16,728 yards, 110 TDs rushing, and 3,838 carries.  He was an All-Pro seven times, played in nine Pro Bowls, and had 77 games over 100 yards. 

Walter was as great on the field as he was off. Walter enjoyed interacting with the fans, and made everyone he met feel special.  He would take the time to not only sign an autograph but get to know them as well.

 Walter also participated in fund-raising and charity work to better the community, specifically children in need.  Walter created what is now known as the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation with the mission to provide for the youth of Illinois.  Today the foundation hosts programs such as school supply drives, holiday giving, and veteran projects.  The foundation also honors other pro football players that have contributed their time and efforts to charity work; this is known as the Walter Payton’s Man of the Year Award. 

On November, 1, 1999, at the age of 45, Walter passed away from complications due to a rare liver disease.  In his final months Walter become an advocate for organ transplants, which raised awareness on the shortage and long wait for transplants.  Walter Payton will always be remembered for his sweetness both on and off the field.  He created a legacy that will always be admired by all that he touched.   

Johnson, Tom, and David Fantle. Sweetness: the courage and heart of Walter Payton. Chicago, IL: Triumph Books, 1999. Print.
Payton, Walter, and Don Yaeger. Never die easy: the autobiography of Walter Payton. New York: Villard, 2000. Print.
Payton, Walter, and Jerry B. Jenkins. Sweetness. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1978. Print.
Towle, Mike. I remember Walter Payton: personal memories of football's "sweetest" superstar by the people who knew him best. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland House, 2000. Print.

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Book Club in a Box Title!

We are constantly getting new additions to our Book Club in a Box program that we want you to know about! Our ever-expanding Mississippi collection now contains Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.

Here's the summary from the book's Goodreads page: "A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesnt show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.
As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family—motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce—pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real."
Feel free to contact me if you'd like more information about this Book Club kit or any others that we have. I can be reached at or 601-432-4117. !

Friday, July 11, 2014

Library Science Collection

Are you a current MLIS (Master's of Library and Information Science/Studies) student, or a library worker that would like to brush up on your skills? The Mississippi Library Commission's Primary Resource Center houses several library and information science related books and we'd like to highlight some of our newer titles for you:
  • School Library Makerspaces: Grades 6-12 by Leslie B. Preddy, c.2013
  • Collection Development and Management, 3rd ed. by Peggy Johnson, c.2014
  • The School Library Manager, 5th ed. by Blanche Woolls, Ann C. Weeks, and Sharon Coatney, c.2014
  • Web Analytics Strategies for Information Professionals: A LITA Guide by Tabatha Farney and Nina McHale, c.2013
  • Library and Information Center Management, 8th ed. by Barbara B. Moran, Robert D. Stueart, and Claudia J. Morner, c.2013
  • Management Basics for Information Professionals, 3rd ed. by G. Edward Evans and Camila A. Alire, c.2013
  • Teen Craft Projects 2 by Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes, c.2013
  • What You Need to Know About Privacy Law: A Guide for Librarians and Educators by Gretchen McCord, c.2013

Are you looking for a specific library science book and want to see if we have it? Feel free to text us using the above chat box!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Birthday Helen Keller

Happy Birthday Helen Keller!

Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, on June 27, 1880, Helen Keller was the first born child of Kate Adams Keller, and Captain Arthur Henley Keller.  It wasn’t until Helen was 19 months old that she came down with an illness, which the doctors at the time called acute congestion of the stomach and the brain. This illness left Helen blind and deaf.  In Helen Keller’s biography, The Story of My life, she mentions that one of her ancestors on her father’s side was a teacher for the deaf in Zurich, Switzerland. Keller states that this is no coincidence for “there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who had not king among his.” (1)

                When Helen was 6 years old her mother became inspired by Dickens’s “American Notes,” where she read an account of Laura Bridgman, an educated woman who was also deaf and blind. This knowledge influenced Helen’s parents to contact Dr. Alexander Graham Bell who advised them to contact Mr. Anagnos, of the Perkins Institution in Boston.  This is how Annie Sullivan became Helen’s lifetime teacher and friend.

On March 3, 1887 Annie Sullivan arrived at the Keller household and met Helen sitting on the porch steps.  Annie began Helen’s education immediately by giving her a doll and spelling “d-o-l-l” into Helen’s hand.  However, Helen did not understand and became frustrated, which often resulted in violent tantrums.  About a month after Annie’s arrival, during a lesson in differentiating “water” and “mug” Annie spelled “w-a-t-e-r” into Helen’s palm while running water over her hands.  Here, Helen recalls this experience: suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. (Keller, 16)  Annie continued to teach Helen new words and eventually Helen was learning to read, write, and speak.