Redwood Journal

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From the Collection: Don Quixote

This Collections Blog is the second in a series of blogs from our Salve Regina volunteer, Clare Daly.

 

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 Thanksgiving is upon us with all the trappings of the modern holiday that we know and love (parades, football, and a ridiculous amount of food), but how much do we know about the historical event from almost four centuries ago that inspired our modern celebration?

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In 1780 Newport Rhode Island was in ruins. The garrison of British and Hessian troops had finally evacuated Aquidneck Island the previous October, after three years of occupation. The occupation cost the island somewhere between 300-500 buildings, its wharves, warehouses and many small boats were broken and destroyed, and the economy was devastated. The Redwood Library was to not be exempt from these depridations.

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November 11th, a date memorialized today as Veterans Day, was once known as Armistice Day, the date in 1918 that brought the Great War to a halt. While the fighting stopped on that fateful day, it took almost another 8 months to offically bring the war to an end, and with it the hope of a world without war cautiously began. How did the war end, and who did it affect? What was the outcome for the allies after the war, and what was the outcome for the central powers.

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As the temperature drops and the leaves change color, there's something spooky in the New England air, reminding us that Halloween is nearly here. As we prepare our costumes and stock up on candy, we may catch a showing of Hocus Pocus on TV, or reread one of our favorite Harry Potter books. But while witches take on a more benign persona in today's pop culture, being accused of witchcraft was once a death sentence in New England. That's why we've chosen books that explore the history of witchcraft in New England and the Salem Witch Trials for our Halloween reading list. While we get in a spooky mood, they are an interesting but harrowing reminder of the New England's Puritan past and the effects of a real witch hunt on a society.

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In honor of Indigenous People's Day, which occurred this week, this Reading List will focus on the individuals, tribes, and populations that were native to North America before western cultures arrived. These texts will offer a look into the history and diversity of indigenous tribes in America, and how their cultures and lifestyles affected the world that they lived in.

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Between September 24th and September 29th, reading establishments across the United States will celebrate Banned Books Week, a period discovering titles that have been banned or challenged throughout their history. As in the past, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum will join in on that celebration as well. For this year however, we turn to our staff, to recognize some of their favorite banned books. We hope you enjoy them as much as they do!

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Here at the Redwood Library, we are celebrating the 128th Birthday of Agatha Christie, who was born September 15th 1890.  The titles chosen for this reading list will reflect the life of Agatha Christie, whether through biography, or through her own works, which are renowned worldwide. Agatha Christie's mysteries have spearheaded the genre into a world unto itself, and will continue to do so for generations to come!

 

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