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Jersey Week: “I too many and many a time cross’d the river of old …” on the Walt Whitman Bridge

JERSEYPLANE

This week the Library News blog will be highlighting everyone’s second favorite mid-Atlantic state, New Jersey! So grab your flip flops and head east with us each day this week.

 

Walt_Whitman_Bridgetr

There are many river crossings to New Jersey, but if you’re at all of a literary bent, your favorite is probably the Walt Whitman Bridge. If you’re old enough, you may remember the construction and controversy surrounding its naming in the late 1950s. Known as the Packer Ave-Gloucester City bridge during its planning, officials sought to find a New Jersey resident equivalent in stature to Philadelphia’s choice of founding father Ben Franklin, for a second river crossing planned four miles south. The choice of Whitman, who lived the last 19 years of his life on Mickle Street in Camden, raised the hackles of several religious and community groups who disapproved of his bohemian and homosexual lifestyle.

While his poetry was beautiful and iconic—in fact, Leaves of Grass was hailed as the “Declaration of Independence of American Letters”—protests against Whitman were played out in the press via op-eds and editorials and in letter writing campaigns addressed to the Delaware River Port Authority. The name stayed, however, and scholars have since speculated that Whitman would have appreciated the democratic ‘airing of the grievances’ that accompanied his honor.

The kerfuffle inspired a poem by a member of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association on Long Island:

Well, Camerado, I guess you heard,
There was quite a tussle recently
In the Quaker City of Brotherly Love
About you and a bridge
Joining said city with the other city
Where you lived, talked, peddled your books, and died;
And where your memory is already somewhat perpetuated
By Walt Whitman Canned Tomatoes (a grade A line) and other choice groceries.
Your opposers were the usual public inflicters of private morality
That you were long in life familiar with;
And you were accused of the usual perversions:
Bestiality, immorality, verselessness, and the corruption of the kiddies.
Even another bard was puffed in your place –
Joyce Kilmer, for God’s sake.
Whose leaves are less tall that your leaves, to all
But the shielded eye.
An old story, no doubt.
But the funny thing about this case, Camerado, was
That they lost.
And that sparkling, soaring, two mile span of steel
Is all yours:
The Walt Whitman Bridge.
What do you dream of that, Walt?
Is it for real?

On summer weekends the suspension bridge carries as many as 150,000 vehicles across its seven lanes and full length of almost 12,000 feet, including approaches. The original structure cost $90 million dollars. Its two towers rise to almost 400 feet in the air and are suspended by two 24-inches-in-diameter cables, which support its weight of 36,500 tons. A one-way toll of $5.00 is charged for travellers going westbound from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. The fare from Philly to Jersey is free … as long as you don’t come back.

Dig Deeper:

For more information on the fascinating life of Walt Whitman, visit these links curated by Sarah Wingo, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.

Biography:
https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/535582

Whitman’s life during the civil war:
https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/1230039

Cambridge Companion to Walt Whitman (book and e-book):
https://library.villanova.edu/Find/Record/419405

The Walt Whitman Archive (great free to use resource):
http://www.whitmanarchive.org/


SarahDig Deeper links selected by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre. Article by Joanne Quinn, Team Leader for Communication & Service Promotion

Evening view of Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Photo taken by Jdnrite01 {{PD-author|Jdnrite01]] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walt_Whitman_Bridge.jpg;

Sources:
 http://www.phillyroads.com/crossings/walt-whitman/ and

Krieg, Joann P. “Democracy in Action: Naming the Bridge for Walt Whitman.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 12 (Fall 1994), 108-114.

 

 

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Jersey Week: How many “greatest hits” of these Jersey Boys have you read?

JERSEYPLANE

This week the Library News blog will be highlighting everyone’s second favorite mid-Atlantic state, New Jersey! So grab your flip flops and head east with us each day this week.

 

jersy boys poster.eps

Do you know the Greatest Hits of these Jersey Boys?

Everyone’s talking about “Jersey Boys,” despite the somewhat universal panning reviewers are giving to the theatrical adaptation of the Broadway musical of the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Even at an academic library, we’ve got Jersey Boys of our own. From north to south and past to present, the Garden State has provided fodder for some of America’s most treasured male authors. We’ve assembled about a dozen for you to choose from below. Click on the author’s name to be led directly to their works in VUFind, our catalog. You will find many works on our shelves. Those that are not on site are easily located within a day or two by using our E-ZBorrow system, which gives you access to over 35 million volumes from academic and public libraries in the mid-Atlantic region. Like the tasty treats behind the counter at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken, you’re sure to find something you like!

Stephen Crane
Born in 1871 in Newark, Crane was sickly most of his life and as a writer was drawn to capturing the trials of those living in impoverished conditions. His disappointment in sterile accounts of the Civil War led him to wonder how soldiers felt in the trenches, imaginings which led to his most prominent work, The Red Badge of Courage.

Harlan Coben
Also born in Newark, Coben is a darling with the crime novel set, with over 60 million books in print. His last seven novels debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. He is the first author to win an Edgar, a Shamus and an Anthony award. His popular series novels, based on fictional sports agent Myron Bolitar, have recently been expanded to a young adult series about Myron’s nephew, Mickey.

Allen Ginsburg
Another Newark resident, Ginsberg is a leading figure in the 1950s counterculture “Beat” movement. Best known for his poem “Howl” which denounces capitalism and conformity in the United States, Ginsberg drew inspiration from the free verse style of another New Jersey resident, Walt Whitman. Outrageous and controversial, he developed his own style that can only be called “Ginsbergian.”

James Fenimore Cooper
Cooper was born in Burlington in 1789. He served in the Navy as a midshipman which greatly influenced his sea-faring stories and the Leatherstocking Tales, a series of five novels featuring Natty Bumppo, a white child raised by Native Americans. The Last of the Mohicans is considered his masterpiece, and is the second title in the Leatherstocking series.

Norman Mailer
Mailer, born in Long Branch, N.J. in 1923, is considered an innovator of creative non-fiction, who, along with contemporaries such as Hunter S. Thompson, Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe, developed “New Journalism.” Novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, actor and political candidate, Mailer won two Pulitzer Prizes and the National Book Award. He wrote over 40 books, including 11 novels, and founded The Village Voice. He is most acclaimed for The Executioner’s Song and The Naked and the Dead, which is hailed as one of America’s best war novels.

Junot Diaz
Diaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Parlin, New Jersey. He is the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize, and This Is How You Lose Her, a finalist for the National Book Award. Diaz is a graduate of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and appeared at the Villanova Literary Festival in April 2013.

Philip Roth
Must be something in the water in Newark! Also born there in 1933, Roth is known for his irreverent, semi-autobiographical portrayals of Jewish life. Best known for Portnoy’s Complaint and  Goodbye, Columbus, Roth wrote approximately 40 books, and is one of the most award winning writers of his generation.

Joyce Kilmer
Anyone who’s traveled north on the New Jersey Turnpike towards New Brunswick may be familiar with the Joyce Kilmer rest stop – but may not realize that Joyce is actually a “Jersey Boy.” And, of course, anyone familiar with classic American poetry knows the iconic – and often parodied Kilmer line, “I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree …”

Theophilus Gould Steward
This author, educator, clergyman and son of free blacks was born in 1843 and received his formal education in Gouldstown, N.J. Steward joined the 25th U.S. Colored Infantry and served as its chaplain. He was a professor at Wilberforce University and wrote eight books.

George R. R. Martin
Martin, best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, the international bestselling series of novel on which the HBO series “Game of Thrones” was based, was born in Bayonne in 1948. He’s a novelist, screenwriter, short story writer and co-executive producer of the popular television series. A Song of Ice and Fire which is intended to be a series of seven novels, with two still in planning stage. Martin said that the series was inspired by Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe.

Peter Benchley
Benchley, who lived in Princeton, N.J., wrote Jaws in 1974, still considered by many (and by “many,” I include myself) the best beach read ever. “Jaws” the movie (Benchley was its screenwriter) was the first film to gross over $100 million dollars, creating the summer blockbuster phenomenon. Benchley went on to write several more nautical thrillers, but mostly devoted himself in later years to (re)educating a post-Jaws audience about the beauty and mystery of the sea, including a new understanding of sharks as the oppressed, not the oppressor. With great white shark sightings already in the news this summer (or is it great white hype?)

With this myriad of choices, we know you’ll soon be – as Frankie says – Beggin’ to get your hands on some of these great reads.


Joanne Quinn is team leader of the Communication & Service Promotion team.

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Jersey Week: Summer Reading: Books Set at the Jersey Shore

JERSEYPLANE

This week the Library News blog will be highlighting everyone’s second favorite mid-Atlantic state, New Jersey! So grab your flip flops and head east with us each day this week. 

 

 

Summer Reading: Books Set at the Jersey Shore?

Straw hat , book and seashells in the sand

“Where in your library can I find books set at the Jersey shore?” the woman asked. Working at Falvey’s Learning Commons service desk, I searched the library’s catalog for “New Jersey” (as Subject) and “shore” (as All Fields):

Saving New Jersey’s Vanishing Shores

A Naturalist along the Jersey Shore

A Pictorial History of Selected Structures along the New Jersey Coast

Against the Deluge: Storm Surge Barriers to Protect New York City

Chance of a Lifetime: Nucky Johnson, Skinny D’Amato, and How Atlantic City Became the Naughty Queen of Resorts

“No,” she sighed, “I’m interested in summer reading: you know, fiction.”

I thought I’d find ideas for titles on Amazon.com, so I searched it for New Jersey shore fiction. I received 486 hits, including—

Summer’s Point by Margaret Palmer

Shore Stories: an Anthology of the Jersey Shore by Kay Boyle, Robert Pinsky, Stephen Dunn and Christopher Cook Gilmore

Missing by the Midway: An Ocean Grove Mystery (Volume 1) by Heath P. Boice

Murder Down the Shore: A Jersey Shore Mystery by Beth Sherman

Avalon by Gina Miani

Pop’s Place by Ed Buhrer

Shoretown by Dan Milczarski

High Tide by Tom Bruno

Dead and Breakfast (Asbury Dark) by Lori Bonfitto

Moondreams by Dean P. Johnson

The Methuselah Gene: A Science Fiction Adventure Thriller (New Millenium Writers Series) by Sal DeStefano

Wrong Beach Island (a Meg Daniels Mystery) by Jane Kelly

The results also included juvenile books (Nicky Fifth at the Jersey Shore, etc.) and several items related to the “Jersey Shore” television series. I tried avoiding the name of that TV show by changing my Amazon.com search to New Jersey beach fiction. The 479 results included many duplicates from my previous search. It also showed such titles as

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1) by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPré

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E L James

What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel

none of which, I suspected, were set at the Jersey shore (or beach).

I also searched flashlightworthybooks.com, which offered Creepers by David Morrell and Dunk by David Lubar. And goodreads.com recommended Chili Pimping in Atlantic City: The Memoir of a Small-Time Pimp by Michael “Mick-man” Gourdine.

“But I was hoping to find a library book,” she clarified. “I’m trying to save some money.”

Remembering that the Delaware County Library System has a branch right down the street, in Wayne, I searched DCLS’s catalog: The Boardwalk Mystery and Black Jack Jetty: a Boy’s Journey Through Grief are both in the children’s section. And Jersey Angel and Touched are listed as “young adult fiction.”

Down The Shore by Stan Parish looks good. I’ll get that.”

I wrote down the book’s call number and handed her the slip of paper: “Let me know whether you recommend it.”
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Got summer reading? Falvey Memorial Library has Popular Reading and fiction to satisfy your need to read something fun.

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True colors

Flag

Our U.S. flag has an interesting history. Read about the evolution of the flag here.

This beauty flies at the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge.

Happy Independence Day!

Photo by Alice Bampton, visual specialist and senior writer, Communication and Service Promotion team

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General Sherman Goes To Philadelphia (Actually Only His Coat Makes the Trip)

SHERMAN-COAT

Walking by Special Collections recently, I noticed that something was missing – General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Civil War frock coat, which had been on exhibit, highly visible from outside Special Collections since 2009. I have a special interest in this garment since it once spent a night in Falvey’s art-history slide collection room, where I worked at the time; it had been returned one evening from the Civil War Museum in Philadelphia and needed to be housed in a secure, temperature-controlled location until Special Collections and Digital Library Coordinator Michael Foight could retrieve it the next morning.

James G. Mundy, Jr., Director of Library & Historical Collections, The Union League, and Sherman's frock coat

James G. Mundy, Jr., Director of Library & Historical Collections, The Union League, and Sherman’s frock coat

The coat is now on exhibit at The Union League in Philadelphia as part of its exhibit, “Philadelphia 1864: The Year of Decision.” The coat will return to Special Collections after the exhibit closes.

expert-judith-giesberg

Judith Giesberg, PhD

How did this coat, worn by General Sherman (1820-91) on his “March to the Sea,” make its way to the Union League’s Heritage Center exhibit, one might wonder? Judith Giesberg, PhD, professor and graduate program director, Department of History, was instrumental in reminding The Union League of Philadelphia’s Director of Library and Historical Collections, James G. Mundy, Jr., of the coat’s existence although he had known about it previously. Dr. Giesberg had been a member of a Civil War roundtable and also had spoken at The Union League several times, which is how she met Mundy. When she learned about the planned exhibit, she told Mundy about the coat.

“Philadelphia 1864…” is the fourth is a series of such Civil War exhibits: “Philadelphia 1861: A Coming Storm,” “Philadelphia 1862: A City at War,” and “Philadelphia 1863: Turning the Tide” preceded the current exhibit. “Philadelphia 1864: The Year of Decision” focuses on major events, such as – the appointment of Ulysses S. Grant as Lieutenant General of the Union Army, – Grant’s Overland Campaign, – General William Tecumseh Sherman’s march through Georgia, – the election of Abraham Lincoln, – the U.S. Sanitary Commission’s Great Central Fair in Philadelphia, and it “will also draw attention to the growing activities of The Union League.” The exhibit includes over fifty artifacts from The Union League’s collections, the Philadelphia History Museum and other institutions. The exhibit will remain open until February 2015. It is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays from three until six p.m. and on the second Saturday of each month from one to four p.m.

 

The Union League of Philadelphia was founded as a men’s club in 1862, the first of several Union Leagues created to support the Union and President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War (1861-65). RS7820_Union League sign(1)The Union League building, listed on the National Historic Register since 1979, was erected in 1865. John Fraser (1825-1906) was the architect of the original building. In 1909 Horace Trumbauer (1868-1938) designed an annex for the Union League at 15th and Samson Streets.


Article and Union League photos by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.

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Foto Friday: Don’t leave home without one (or two)

 

Books-03

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Publications Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management

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Home Before the Leaves Fall: World War I Online Exhibit Launch

WIONLINE COUNTDOWN

Home Before the Leaves Fall: A Great War Centennial Exposition,” an online exhibit, will be launched Thursday evening, June 26, at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Peter John Williams—an attorney, an amateur historian with a special interest in World War I, and a life-long Philadelphia resident—will speak on life in Philadelphia during World War I (1914-1919). Williams is the author of Philadelphia: The World War I Years. Both digital and physical materials will be on display at the launch and reception.

keep-him-freeVillanova University, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, American Philosophical Society, Chemical Heritage Foundation, College of Physicians, Library Company of Philadelphia and Swarthmore College are current participants in the exhibit, which commemorates the centennial of World War I. The exhibit highlights little-known primary and secondary sources held by various institutions in the Delaware Valley region.

 

Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator, says “[T]his sprang out of an initial collaboration with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, with Villanova’s Special Collections and Digital Library team as the coordinators and hosts of this project. A large and growing number of institutions in the Mid-Atlantic currently contribute content as well as a number of academically affiliated and independent scholars and researchers, including several Villanova University faculty and graduate students.”

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Foight explains, “The goals over the next four years include to prioritize digitization of little-known primary and secondary sources on the Great War held by institutions in the mid-Atlantic and to share descriptions of held content for both the public and the scholarly community. The website itself will host a set of curated shorter articles authored with illustrations drawn largely from this newly available content. A number of Digital Humanities projects, including an independent crowd-sourced genealogical data collection and mapping of the Great War dead of Philadelphia, will be worked on with the scholars involved in the exhibition.”

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania explains that the website will contain images, memoirs, diaries, periodicals, “contextual essays, news of commemorative events, interactive data, and geographical information system (GIS) mapping. The project aims to promote the use of these materials to students, scholars and the public, and to commemorate the services and sacrifices of soldiers and civilians a hundred years ago.”


Article by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team. Poster image from National Archives. Photo Kaiser William II. Digital Library@Villanova University

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Frances (Mimi) DiLenge Retires

MIMI

Mimi DiLenge

Frances (Mimi) DiLenge, Academic Integration technical specialist, retires at the end of June after working for more than twenty years in Falvey Memorial Library. She was hired by Susan Markley in the Periodicals Department.

After the Library was reorganized by former Library Director Joe Lucia, DiLenge began working for Jutta Seibert, Academic Integration team leader. As part of her duties with Academic Integration, DiLenge works with the reference librarians. She is also among a group who trained to work at the Information Desk, working first for Theresa Bowden, then with Jackie Mirabile (both now retired). When the Information Desk was discontinued, DiLenge became a supervisor in Access Services as her secondary assignment. She also transcribes handwritten documents for the Digital Library, reporting to Michael Foight, Special Collections and Digital Library coordinator.

Interim Library Director Darren Poley says, “Her work with Academic Integration and at the desk is appreciated. … [Her] smiles and good cheer have been a great encouragement to staff and patrons/guests alike.”

“Mimi,” says Jutta Seibert, “has been an Academic Integration team member since the very beginning in 2006. Her positive outlook and approachable nature will be much missed. Mimi never got tired of tracking down missing books and clearing up local holdings information so that catalog records could be updated. This is important behind-the-scenes work that is often neglected because it takes so much time and dedication and yet it is such critical information for librarians and patrons alike. Mimi made sure that documentaries and feature films which are actively used in the classroom were converted from VHS to DVD. She managed the annual review of lost and long overdue books and recently assisted librarians with a long overdue inventory of the print collection. Most patrons will know Mimi from her work at the information and circulation desk where she assisted patrons for many years,” Seibert adds.

DiLenge lived in Broomall as a child. She graduated from Immaculata College (now Immaculata University) with a bachelor’s degree in French. She received her master’s degree in Library Science from Villanova University and worked as an elementary school librarian before starting her family. DiLenge worked as a travel agent for a number of years before coming to Falvey and says “I continue to keep my hand in the travel business.”

“My retirement will allow me to spend more time with grandchildren, travel, garden, sew and do some volunteer work,” she says.


Article and photo by Alice Bampton, digital image specialist and senior writer on the Communication and Service Promotion team.

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Let the light shine

Light

Happy Summer!

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Publications Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management

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Hats off!

Hats

Happy Father’s Day!

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Publications Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management

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Last Modified: June 13, 2014