The First Jubilee and the Immortalization of William Shakespeare

“It would be as if the greatest works of English literature had never happened.” – Paul Collins[1] Stratford-Upon-Avon: The Home of William Shakespeare, pictorially illustrated. Walbrook:Rock Brothers, &Payne: 1864. Last month William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616), the great and immortal bard, would have turned 458 years old.  His enduring legacy was…

E.M North-Whitcomb’s Scrap Books

Around 1921, Elizabeth “Bessie” McDonald1 gifted to Sutro Library—which opened to the public only four years earlier—several books and papers that had been in the possession of her late mother, E.M. North-Whitcomb (ca. 1843-1920). News notes of California libraries, the California State Library’s official journal, reported in October of the same year that “the late Mrs.…

The Lincoln Assassination & Its Aftermath

In many parts of the United States, the public’s reaction to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 by stage actor John Wilkes Booth, was a mixture of grief, vengefulness, fear, and horror. Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. He died the following day, making him the…

Critical Family History at Sutro Library

As 2021 comes to a close so too does our fifth year of family and local history talks. Over the course of six talks, we explored how power relationships—be they social, cultural and/or political—can shape one’s family’s success and destinies. This way of looking at genealogy is called critical family history, a term coined by…

Esperantujo

In 1887, Polish ophthalmologist L.L. Zamenhof published Dr. Esperanto’s International Language.1 The book described a language that the author claimed could be quickly learned and used by anyone,2 no matter their homeland or mother tongue, as a shared second (or third, fourth, or n-th) language; this, in turn, would encourage communication around the world and foster a more harmonious, peaceful human existence. Dr. Esperanto’s “international language” soon became known as Esperanto, which is how you say “one who hopes”…

Gardens: A history.

WARNING: This blog post has a lot of cool images! Rösel von Rosenhof, August Johann et al. Historia naturalis ranarum nostratium: in qua omnes earum proprietates, praesertim quae ad generationem ipsarum pertinent, fusius ennarrantur. Nürnberg: gedrucht bey Johann Joseph Fleischmann, 1758. Print. – Frontispiece.  “Humans have long turned to gardens—both real and imaginary—for sanctuary from…

A Tale of Two Readers

The philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus was a great influence on the Franciscan intellectual tradition, and it shows in the copies of his works that were once property of the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco. The school was founded in 1533 by Franciscans to prepare the children of indigenous elites for priesthood. Though…