Tag Archives: history

The Rise & Fall of Prohibition @ Mohai, Check Out a FREE Museum Pass @ SPL

AS teal text only logo with dates horizontal Step back in time to the era of flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and real-life legends like Al Capone and Carry Nation!  Created by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and making its West Coast premiere at MOHAI, American Spirits brings the whole story of Prohibition vividly to life through a re-created speakeasy, films, photos, multimedia, and more that 100 rare artifacts. -MOHAI


PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, MOHAI

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Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

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Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

In Washington State, Prohibition lasted from 1916 until 1933. Local police and federal agents made regular raids and arrests. Circa 1921. 






At the new MOHAI show, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,” Maria Lunder, 10, of Seattle, tries to do the “Charleston” dance, using the foot prints on the dance floor.




At the new MOHAI show, “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition”, a wall displays vintage police photos of bootleggers. 





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The Museum Pass allows you to use your Seattle Public Library card to reserve and print out an admission pass to participating Seattle museums at no charge.

All about St. Patrick’s Day


Got your green ready? St. Patrick’s Day is nigh!

Famous for being the day you could get pinched if you’re not wearing green, St. Patrick’s Day takes place each year on March 17. But exactly is it all about?

What it is: The feast day of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland.

St. Patrick? Who? Patrick was born in the late 300s CE in–surprise!–Britain, which was at that time part of the Holy Roman Empire. As a teen he was kidnapped from his family and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his captivity he embraced Christianity and eventually escaped and undertook a perilous journey back to Britain. Later, he had a dream or vision that he should return to Ireland to spread his faith. Patrick died in Ireland sometime in the 5th Century. (Many biographical details of St. Patrick’s life are unclear. In fact, the story of St. Patrick may have been taken from two separate individuals and merged together. For more information, check out some of the Library’s books or online encyclopedias.)

Wait. I’m recalling something about snakes. Several legends about St. Patrick sprung up after his death. One says that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland to their watery deaths in the sea. According to modern day science that’s just not true. In fact, there were apparently no snakes even in Ireland!  Legend also has it that he picked the shamrock (not to be confused with the elusive four leaf clover) as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.

Great. Let’s celebrate! Today, St. Patrick’s Day is observed around the world with parades, feasts, and other festivities. Perhaps you’ve seen the Chicago River being dyed green? For something closer to home, check out some of these Seattle events. Luck o’ the Irish to ya!

And the Oscar goes to…

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

The glitz! The glam! The tears!

It is time once again for the annual extravaganza that is the Academy Awards.  This year marks the 87th edition of the venerable awards show that honors excellence in film. Oscars will be handed out in 24 categories beginning at 5:30pm PST on Sunday, February 22, with the red carpet starting earlier in the day.  Got your ballot all filled out?

Did you know that the show was not always the spectacle that is is today?  The first ceremony was held in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles and was attended by just 270 guests.  The winners were no surprise–they had been announced three months earlier!  Although the Academy soon kept more control over the results, it was not until the 1940s those fancy sealed envelopes came into play.

And what about the award itself?  We know it as the Oscar, though its official name is the Academy Award of Merit.  How the Oscar got its name is not totally clear, but the most well-known story has a local connection.  A woman named Margaret Herrick, born in Spokane and a graduate of the University of Washington, was the Academy’s first librarian.  She is said to have remarked that the statuette looked like her uncle Oscar and the name stuck.  And speaking of the statuette, ever notice that many winners seem to have trouble handling their Oscar? Well, that’s because each statuette weighs 8.5 pounds!

Want to know more? Take a look at some memorable moments throughout the years, read up on the history or check out a past winner from the library, and then test your knowledge with the LA Times’ Oscar quiz.

NBA Legend KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR READS @ Central Library; FEB. 19th!

Stealing the GameAuthor and former basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will read from his second book in the Streetball Crew series, Stealing the Game, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at The Seattle Public Library, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium.

Library events and programs are free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required. Parking is available in the Central Library garage for $6 after 5 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Stealing the Game is a fast-paced story for tweens (ages 8-12) about teamwork, friendship and dark secrets.  The book tackles issues like building self-esteem, celebrating one’s individuality and what it means to feel special.  “Stealing the Game” also features teenagers who act like teenagers by debating zombies and falling in love while watching classic French movies.

Abdul-Jabbar is a retired basketball player named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.  After his retirement, he wrote nine New York Times bestsellers on topics as varied as World War II, the Harlem Renaissance, and the impact of African-American inventors.  The first book in his Streetball Crew series is Sasquatch in the Paint.

Supporting this event:  The Seattle Public Library Foundation, media sponsor Seattle Times and presented in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Co.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Valentine’s Day Scottish Shenanigans

Valentine’s Day is February 14th every year, everyone knows that!  But hardly anyone knows that St. Valentine still rests in a church in Scotland (more about that below!).  In Scotland now, Valentine’s Day is an important holiday, full of traditions and unique celebrations.

Vintage Scottish Valentine, circa 1907.

Valentine’s Day celebrations are not a grand affair in Scotland.  People prefer small get-togethers or a romantic candlelight dinner.  They exchange gifts and cards with their loved ones to make them feel special.

The history of St Valentine’s Day dates back to Roman times when St. Valentine was martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith.

It is believed that the remains of St Valentine’s remains are in the church of Blessed St. John Duns Scotus in Glasgow, a little-known fact that has led to Glasgow styling itself as the ‘City of Love’ in recent years.  It is believed that on the night before he died, he left a wee note to the jailer’s daughter signed ‘Your Valentine’.

He died on 14th February which some see as the onset of spring, with new buds and spring flowers shooting through the winter ground; and this is a time traditionally associated with finding new love.  But February 14th has become a time when couples demonstrate their love by exchanging cards and gifts.  Some will become engaged to be married, while others will choose that day to marry.

Scotland’s reputation for romantic venues is already well known throughout the world.  Indeed the small village of Gretna Green is famous around the world as THE place for romantic weddings.  It is the first village over the Scottish border on the road from England to Glasgow.  It is renowned for being the place where young English couples in particular eloped; as English Law said they could not marry until they were 18 years old, whereas in Scotland marriage is allowed at 16.


The lass is playing coy, but who could resist that wee lad’s offer of his heart?

Various games are played in Scottish Valentine parties.  In a most popular game, an equal number of men and women are made to write their names on a piece of paper which is then folded and placed into a hat.  One hat is for ladies and the other one is for men.  The female then draws one name from the men’s hat and the chosen man has to stick with his Valentine throughout the party.  Later on, gifts are exchanged and Valentine’s Day is greeted with hugs and kisses.  Such “wonderful” Valentine games often result in unusual marriages.

Click here to find more fun things all about Valentine’s Day.

Hugs & Kisses from your friends at the library!  ❤

10th Anniversary Of Greenwood Library: Feb 8th!

Greenwood Library is celebrating a very special birthday this year.  It’s turning a decade old!  To celebrate this fantastic achievement, the library is throwing a special celebration.

gwd proofOn the 8th of February, many fun activities will be held; all are totally free and open to the public.  The celebration will be held from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm and will be tons of fun.  Drop in and check it out.  Have some refreshments and share your great memories of this amazing library with your community (and the City Librarian, MT!).  We will also be sealing a time capsule.  We will stuff the capsule with whatever special memories you choose.  There is free parking in the lower garage and refreshments, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t come down to the Greenwood library and have some fun while commemorating a huge milestone for the library and community of Seattle.

A little bit of history of the library’s presence in Greenwood:

In 1928 Greenwood-Phinney Branch Library opened, thanks to Greenwood-Phinney Commercial Club and parent-teacher groups.  A campaign that raised $340.80 and the generous offer from the library board to operate a branch, allowed the hugely popular library to open its doors.  After an expansion in 1932, a remodel in 1939 and because of bond issues in 1950 and 1952, the city council expanded the budget and bought a new book-mobile and 3 new branches. One of those lucky branches was the Greenwood library.

In 1998 money raised by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and a huge bond measure, made it possible for the library to have a giant 15,000 square foot expansion. In 2003 the library was demolished, along with an old house next to it, and construction began to make room for a larger branch.  On January 29th 2005, the new branch, that we now call the Greenwood Library opened.  This library is now a decade old and has been continuously used and loved by the community.

Come join the festivities, and commemorate the journey and community love of this great library.

–Emma, Greenwood, Teen Adviser


Joss Whedon is a Modern-Day Shakespeare

shakespeare shadesMany people are familiar with the writer and director Joss Whedon.  And most of you have (hopefully) heard of poet and playwright William Shakespeare.  He is widely considered the greatest writer in history.  He is certainly widely studied in schools, and generally held as the paragon of not just theatre, but all written language.  However, during his time, his work was for the masses.  Poor and uneducated people paid one penny to come stand next to the stage and see his works performed.  Although now, because of the differences in dialect between the English of our time and that of his writings, his works are associated with a highly educated class, and are certainly not considered mainstream entertainment, this was clearly not always the case.

As I was reading King Lear, a tragedy of misplaced faith and dramatic irony, I thought about how if this was considered essentially “pop culture” then and is now studied in Universities, then surely there’s a modern counterpart.  It seems weird to think like this, but imagine high schoolers in 400 years dutifully opening a copy of a work from our century.  It would likely seem as strange to them as Shakespeare does to us, yet they would continue to study it because of its value which transcends time period.  Based on this, it is fun to think today about what works from today might fit that category.  It is tempting to consider more “literary” works of today, but remember that Shakespeare was not considered “high-class” or “inaccessible” in his time.

Based on this, I have thought about Joss Whedon as a modern-day Shakespeare.


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