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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A First Time for Everything

We get so many new books here that I often have a hard time deciding which ones I want to dive into first! This week I chose Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the FIRST TIME by Patrick Robertson and I'd thought I'd share some of the interesting things I learned!

  • Remember those chain letters we used to pass to each other under desks in middle school (my mom still sends me these via email...)? Well the first known chain letter began circulating in September of 1888. It was sent from Ella A. Keagen in Hartford, VT to Helen E. Wood of Lebanon, N.H. The letter asked that the receiver send a dime to a Mrs. Geo. O. Haman in Sherwood, TN for the "education of poor whites" and then forward the letter to four friends.  While this chain letter was for charity, there were others later that asked for a pint of bourbon or $100. There was even a "panty chain" (how scandalous!) and "dating chain" at the University of California! (p. 103)
  • The first children's fiction was a set of fairy tales published in Paris in 1697 by Charles Perrault. The collection contained Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Tom Thumb, Bluebeard, and The Fairies. Isn't it amazing how long these stories have been around? (p. 111)
  • I'm a huge fan of mysteries, so this final tidbit of information was right up my alley. The first Identikit was used in Los Angeles County in February of 1959.  The Los Angeles county police were able to succesfully identify the man responsible for the armed robbery of a liquor store! The kit consisted of master foils of 37 noses, 52 chins, 102 pairs of eyes, 40 lips, 130 hairlines, and and variety of mustaches, eyebrows, beards, glasses, wrinkles, and headgear. Witnesses would then select the items that matched the suspect and a drawing of the suspect could be made. (p. 245)
This book is full of tons of other interesting firsts! Want to know when the first double-dip ice cream cone was served? Curious who the first magician was? Dying to know just where pantyhose got their start? You'll have to come by and check the book out for yourself! Stay tuned for more interesting trivia we learn from books in our collection! 

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