Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
The famous poet and philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” One way we learn about the past is to celebrate specific people and events. On January 17, 2006 America’s oldest Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, would be 300 years old if he were still alive, and we will http://www.benfranklin300.org/upcoming.php?id=240) celebrate this milestone at Shaker Library.
Franklin had an extremely interesting life that encompassed nearly the entire eighteenth century. He was a printer, an inventor, a scientist, a diplomat, and a founder of various services, including the http://www.usps.com/history/history/his1_5.htm#CONGRESS, postal system http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/l3_citizen_firefighter.html, fire companies and http://www.librarycompany.org/instance.htm lending libraries. Is it any wonder that he was praised in the title of H. W. Brands’ recent bestseller as http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0385493282 The First American? With this in mind, Shaker Heights Public Library will sponsor a year’s worth of “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise” themed programs based upon one of Ben’s most famous maxims: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!”
Franklin was a self-educated man with great curiosity tempered by common sense. Old Ben would have been eager to learn about all the things that happened during the more than two centuries that followed his lifetime, and he would have been amazed by the variety of resources in the library that fill that gap and help to make history come alive. As a pioneer in electricity, http://dlc.clevnet.org eBooks and Downloadable Audiobooks would most likely have fascinated Franklin!
Let’s take a look back – in small increments, 300 years isn’t really so long ago.
2006 – For a retrospective of Ben’s years and some interesting reading, let’s begin with a visit to http://www.ushistory.org/franklinThe Electric Ben Franklin.
1976 – 200th Anniversary of the http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=140160210X Declaration of Independence, signed by Ben.
1946 – Baby Boom follows http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0375405666 The Greatest Generation even Ben would admire
1916 – U. S. National Parks were established, such as in Ben’s http://dlc.clevnet.org/contentdetails.htm?id=D837906B-1490-4995-AA80-51FE9CCF95C1 New England
1886 – <a href=http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=1590840224> The Stature of Liberty unveiled in New York and Ben would have been proud.
1856 – Republicans lose in ’56, but win http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=159084355X The Election of 1860; Ben meet Abe.
1826 –http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0767030931 Founding Fathers Jefferson and Adams, Ben’s friends both died on July 4.
1796 – Farwell Address of http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=1402544766His Excellency: George Washington; Ben dies.
1766 – Ben got the Brits to repeal the Stamp Act and forestalled the
http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0679640576 American Revolution.
1736 – Franklin was appointed Clerk of the http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0756503205 Pennsylvania Assembly
1706 – Ben was born. Read what happens in http://www.cpl.org/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?isbn=0385493282 The Autobiography of Ben Franklin.
Perhaps the best way to make events in history seem more real is to learn how your ancestors might have interacted with events in the past. With the advent of the Internet, it has become a bit easier to track down clues about your family. Shaker Heights Public Library offers free access to http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com Ancestry Library Edition at both the Main Library and the Bertram Woods Branch. This database allows users to easily search U.S. census records as recent as 1930 and as early as 1790, as well as thousands of other genealogical sources.
Other databases can be accessed in the Library or from your own home via the Internet, such as http://ezp.cpl.org/login?url=http://infoweb.newsbank.com/?db=NEWSBANK America’s Newspapers;
http://ezp.cpl.org/login?url=http://infoweb.newsbank.com/?db=obits America’s Obituaries and Death Notices;
http://ezp.cpl.org/login?url=http://america.eb.com/ Annals of American History Online, which has sound and video clips;
http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC;jsessionid=6AA689C474C5EBB5A17D4AD0CCAA58CA?locID=clevnet_sh); http://www.galegroup.com/free_resources/bhm/index.htm Black History Month Resource Center;
http://ezp.cpl.org/login?url=http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb?db=BioRC Biography Resource Center, and the http://dxsrv4.cpl.org/WebZ/Authorize?sessionid=0&next=/html/obit_start.html&dbchoice=1:dbname=necr&bad=html/authofail.html&style=noframe Cleveland Necrology File, which has death notices dating back as early as 1833, just to name a few. If you are lucky, you might find some connections that go all the way back to Ben Franklin.
Imagine my surprise in researching my own ancestry to discover one of my distant relatives was mentioned by name in http://dlc.clevnet.org/ContentDetails.htm?id=1595470344 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. In describing the brief time he spent in Burlington, New Jersey, Franklin wrote that “we continued there near three months; and by that time I could reckon among my acquired friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the secretary of the Province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, and several of the Smiths, members of Assembly, and Isaac Decow, the surveyor-general. The latter was a shrewd, sagacious old man.” It turns out that the wise old man, who also predicted that Ben Franklin would become a great success, was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great uncle!
Take a little time to do some historical searching in 2006, learn more about your ancestors, or attend one of our special programs at the Shaker Library as we commemorate Benjamin Franklin on the 300th anniversary of his birth. It just might make you “healthy, wealthy, and wise!”
Luren E. Dickinson, Director