Thursday, December 30, 2010

Auld Lang Syne: a New Year's Tradition

"Auld Lang Syne" is a popular song sung on New Year's Eve by many Americans; however, the song is Scottish in origin. The poet Robert Burns first published the old Scottish song in the 1796 edition of Scots Musical Museum. He transcribed and made some refinements to the song after he had heard it sung in his native Scotland.

Many people sing the song and really don't know what the lyrics mean. "Auld Lang Syne" means "times gone by" but the literal translation is "old long since." The song poses the question of whether old times and friends will be forgotten, yet it promises to remember those from the past with kind thoughts.

However, the song owes its popularity to the bandleader Guy Lombardo. Lombardo, a Canadian by birth, heard the song in London, Ontario. When he and his brothers formed a dance band, the Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. It was played at midnight at the New Year's Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and that marked the beginning of a tradition.

From the 1930s until 1976 the song was played at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel marking the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Since the band was on the radio and later on television that song played in many peoples' homes. Life magazine wrote, "If Lombardo failed to play 'Auld Lang Syne,' the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived."

CDPL has several CDs that include "Auld Lang Syne" on their playlist. Check one out so that you may continue the New Year's tradition.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Susan Elston Wallace!

Susan Elston Wallace was born into the prominent Compton family of Crawfordsville on Christmas Day in 1830. In 1852, Susan married future Ben Hur author Lew Wallace. Mrs. Wallace demonstrated her own literary talent in many poems, articles, and books published throughout the years. 

CDPL recently discovered an original 1890 letter written by Wallace.

For more information on Susan Elston Wallace, read this profile or visit the Lane Place.

Interested in reading her works? CDPL has these titles.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Deweys Do -- CDPL's Book Club

Need Something to Do this Winter?

Try Deweys Do!

CDPL's Book Club will meet January 10, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
We are reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen in preparation for the discussion.

Come and join the fun. You can borrow a book from us! Just ask at the circulation desk.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Born December 16, 1877, Jane Austen is one of the most popularly known and well-received English novelists of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.  Her novels include Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma.

CDPL has a large collection of Jane Austen items, including her works, non-fiction about the novelist, fiction based on Austen's life, and film adaptations on DVD.

Are you an Austen enthusiast?  View biographical information, a timeline, quotations, and read-alike authors at

Take a look at what the Jane Austen Society of North America has to offer at

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Gustave Flaubert!

Gustave Flaubert  (December 12, 1821 -- May 8, 1880) was a French novelist whose works include Madame Bovary (1857), Sentimental Education (1869), and Bouvard et P├ęcuchet (1881). His output was not large because he agonized over each word he would commit to paper, searching for the right word ("le mot juste") for days or weeks at a time. Flaubert combined the traits of a romantic, a realist, and a stylist -- which may explain the wide influence he had on writers who followed him. Many critics consider Flaubert the first modern novelist, however, because of his ability to make the style of his novel often more important than any action he described.

Why not try some Flaubert from CDPL?

"One never tires of what is well written, style is life! It is the very blood of thought!" -- Flaubert

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!

WILD nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, --
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

It seems a contradiction that the author of this adventuresome poem should be Emily Dickinson, a woman who spent most of her adult life scarcely leaving her home. She was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, a tiny farming village at the time. Her father was a successful lawyer, treasurer of Amherst College, and politician. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, but returned home after one year. Some writers speculate that she was homesick.

She remained in her family home until her death at 1886. She once was a bright and social being who started to withdraw from society in the 1850s. This was the beginning of her trend toward solitude. It was during this time that Emily found her poet's voice.

"Dickinson's poetry reflects her loneliness and the speakers of her poems generally live in a state of want." While she was an extremely prolific poet, and often enclosed poems in her letters to friends, it wasn't until after her death that she received recognition.

CDPL has several books of poems and biographies of this significant American poet.


Benet, Laura. The mystery of Emily Dickinson, NY: Dodd, 1974

Emily Dickinson,,, 11/17/2010.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Happy Birthday, Larry Bird!

Larry Bird (December 7, 1956) is a former American NBA basketball player and coach. Bird was born in West Baden, Indiana, and grew up in nearby French Lick. He played three years for Indiana State University, leading the Sycamores to their first NCAA tournament, and in 1979 they played in the championship game -- losing to the Michigan State University Spartans, who were also led by a future NBA star: Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Bird was drafted into by the Boston Celtics and played forward for 13 seasons. He retired as a player in 1992 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. Bird was coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000; in 2003, he became president of basketball operations for the Pacers.
Some quick stats on Larry Bird:
  • 6'9", 220-pounds
  • scored over 20,000 points in the NBA
  • 88.6% from the free throw line (9th best all-time)
Check out Larry Bird @ CDPL!

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Christmas Story

Released in 1983, A Christmas Story is set in Hammond, Indiana, in the 1940s. The plot revolves around 9 year old Ralphie's dream of receiving a Red Ryder air rifle from Santa Claus for Christmas. The film was based on co-writer Jean Shepherd's loosely autobiographical stories. In addition to short stories, Shepherd, who was raised in Hammond, Indiana, worked in radio and television.

If you like A Christmas Story, browse these other titles by or about Jean Shepherd.

Get in the holiday spirit by checking out CDPL's Christmas-themed movies!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas customs: the sending of Christmas cards

Christmas cards were popular in Europe before Louis Prang, a Boston lithographer, brought the custom to the United States in 1875. He offered a selection of cards with art reproductions from original works by contemporary painters. He was soon forced out of business by the German card-makers who priced their post cards at just 1 penny. These penny post cards were in favor until World War I arrived and all shipping from Germany was blocked.

At the same time an enterprising young Joyce Hall was abandoning the sales of penny post cards and replacing them with greeting cards. Hall's business became Hallmark Cards. Hallmark has had a special focus on Christmas cards even since its earliest days.

Modern technology has diminished some of the number of Christmas Cards sent through the mail, although an estimated 2 billion card were exchanged. In 2005, President Bush and his wife sent over 1.4 million cards wishing Happy Holidays to lucky recipients.

CDPL has a large collection of Christmas books located on the 2nd floor.  Browse titles here.

Chalmers, Irena. The Great American Christmas Almanac, NY: Viking, 1988

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

In the Gallery -- December

by Tony Jeurissen

Tony Jeurissen was born in German occupied Holland (Netherlands) in 1943. His father was a civilian casualty of the pre D-Day bombings of Europe by the Allies. His Dad survived, but was an invalid the rest of his life.

During the Market Garden operation, the house Tony was born in was shelled and gutted and his parents lost everything. They lived only a few blocks from the bridge too far in Arnheim. After World War II most European people survived with help from the Government, Churches and Family. Tony's Dad also received $2.00 per week restitution from the Marshall Plan.

In 1956 Tony's parents immigrated to the United States to provide a better future for their family as Europe's future was bleak in those days. After a short stay in New York City, the family moved to Urbana, Illinois where Tony received his education. His first job was as a commercial artist for a sporting goods company. At that job he found he wasn't meant to be chained to a drawing table eight hours a day. He enjoyed and much preferred freelance designing. In 1967, Tony and his family moved to Crawfordsville where he got a job at Donnelly's in the pressroom. He retired from that position in 2005. He considers his artwork his retirement hobby. It challenges him to enjoy both the labor and the results of that labor.

When Tony was eight, he found he was good at both art and soccer. He played competitive soccer until he was 58 years old and is still drawing! His advice to people, including retirees, is to stay active at whatever you are good at. Tony's artwork is reflective of his character: he is a realist, a preservationist, a traditionalist, innovator and adventurer. His medium is colored pencil. His technique involves layering, straight line drawing, rubbing, smudging, erasing, soaping and taping. His tools include: soap, tape, paper towels, Kleenex and a T-square. His studio is his kitchen table. His subject matter is mostly local scenes, things he sees every day. His titles are dedications to meaningful people in his life plus a short description of his subject.

by Belinda Kiger

Belinda Kiger was first introduced to pottery through classes taught by Audrey Rossmann at the Morton Community Center in West Lafayette, Indiana. She has taken classes at the center for about fifteen years. She considers her pottery a professional hobby and good therapy. Belinda and several of her pottery friends have come together and formed the Wabash Valley Potters. They have participated in pottery art shows together at the Tippecanoe Art Federation for the past five years. Several years ago she built her own raku kiln and has developed a love for this technique of firing. She works with raku, stoneware and terra cotta clay most of the time. She does raku, horsehair, smoked and functional style pottery. Many times she incorporates the landscape, nature and the environment into her pottery. To take raw clay from the earth and turn it into a beautiful and interesting piece of art is inspirational for her. Belinda graduated from Crawfordsville High School and has a BS degree in landscape architecture from Purdue University. Professionally, she works as a park planner, city urban forester, naturalist and environmentalist and is the Community Parks & Urban Forestry Manager for Lafayette's Parks & Recreation Department in the City of Lafayette. She has a married daughter and a three year old grandson who live in Chicago.