For over a century, the modern Olympic Games has brought the world together through sport. In July 2028, Los Angeles will make history by hosting the Summer Olympics for a third time. Previously hosting the games in 1932 and 1984, 2028 will see the games in the City of Angels for the third time. It is the first North American city to host the games three times, and it is only the third city in the world to host the games three times, following in the footsteps of London and Paris (International Olympic Committee 2021).
Mary Elizabeth Banning was born on April 6, 1822, on Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore. In her lifetime, she would discover and illustrate twenty-one new species of fungi. However, due to sexist gatekeepers in the sciences, she would die virtually unknown, unrespected, and in poverty. Elevating her story and accomplishments is an act of social justice, one in keeping with St. John’s Vincentian lens of transparency when one asks, “who determined what objects should be preserved for the purpose of communicating human knowledge as it exists within our cultural heritage institutions and whose perspective am I representing?” (Angel n.d., 5).
Jervis McEntee, born 1828, was a Hudson River School artist and poet (Vedder 2015). The Hudson River School was America’s “first and true artistic fraternity” (Avery 2004) and focused on the natural beauty of America’s landscapes, particularly the Hudson River. McEntee was one of the esteemed artists who painted in this style, which draws on the British aesthetic of the mysterious and fearsome power of nature (Avery 2004). The landscapes depicted in this style became popular tourist attractions and some are now historic sites (Hudson River School 2023). The founder of the movement wrote to American Monthly Magazine arguing for the psychological benefits of experiencing nature (Kiely 2022). Their paintings helped stir an Environmentalist Conservation Movement within the United States that remains in place today (Kiely 2022). Although he was not the most famous painter of the movement, McEntee’s unique take on the style made him remembered throughout history.
McEntee “followed his own artistic compass” (Vedder 2015), painting the rich and solemn autumn tones of the Hudson River and its surrounding area. While the most renowned Hudson River School paintings featured vibrant, green landscapes, McEntee was enthralled by the quiet beauty of New York’s snowy and barren cold seasons (Beckenstein 2015). McEntee kept a detailed diary recounting his life’s work and routines from 1848 until his death in 1901 (Smithsonian 2023). McEntee and his wife, Gertrude, were beloved amongst the artistic community of the time for hosting social events with some of the most famous artists, writers, and actors of the age (Smithsonian 2023). Unfortunately, Gertrude passed away in 1878, leaving McEntee to paint and write alone for another 13 years (Smithsonian 2023). McEntee motivates himself through his artwork and stays connected with friends to recount Gertrude’s memory (McEntee 1874-1878, 3). His diary entries from 1874 describe his struggles with depression while he carries on with his artistic career for his remaining years. McEntee’s love for the colder seasons motivates his artwork, staving off the sorrow he feels:
With such a beautiful landscape around him to draw inspiration from, McEntee can hardly find a reason to stay depressed; yet he still embraces his grief often and unabashedly (McEntee 1874-1878, 3). Artwork in museums hangs freely and without much context, save for some nameplates that offer a date and author. Seldom does the lived experience of the artist translate through displays. The grandeur of the museum sometimes leaves behind the hardships artists face in making a living off their commissions. McEntee’s diary entries shine a light on his dealings with grief as he carries on with his lifelong artistic journey, seeing beauty in even the most muted wintery landscapes (Beckenstein 2015).
World War II was the most destructive conflict in human history. Millions of people lost their lives fighting for or defending against tyranny, some for the right reasons, and others for the wrong ones (Hastings 2012). The bandages in the above photo were made by a German company called Hartmann Group. They were just one of the many companies from all around the world that were required by their government to begin producing materials for war in both the 1910s and the 1930-40s. In short, there were no facets of ordinary life, nor anyone in the world who was not affected in some way by the greatest military conflict of all-time.
The school library acts as a central hub for a number of things. Classes, club meetings, budget forums, holiday parties, leisure space, and an important setting for forming social capital (Larsen 2019). What is the one constant that makes Cosby High School library different from other school libraries across the country? Page Turner. Page is the name of the library mascot, a life sized mannequin rescued from the dumpster and installed in the library in 2010. Page, pictured above in her Valentines regalia, is lovingly dressed for each season by a team of dedicated student library aides. Manufactured by Tero Inc. at a date that has been lost to time and wear and tear, she is a library staple. When graduation comes around, students line up to have their picture taken with her, a happy memento of their school years. Page represents community engagement in school libraries and exists to bridge the generational gap between librarians and students.
In school libraries, where reading is chronically uncool and shunned, there must be alternative ways to build social capital outside of the pages of a book. Meeting students where they are and experimenting with new ways to make the library fun is far more effective than sticking to traditional library engagement strategies (Jensen 2019). With her seasonal outfit changes, Page acts as a visual advertisement for the library that has the ability to bring people in without relying on literature. Having a draw that meets students on their level is important for school libraries in particular, but Page has lessons to teach libraries across the country.
When it comes to viewing libraries as a space, we may think of the library as exclusively a learning space. Page emphasizes that the library is for fun and community by being an interactive component of the setting. In designing the library, the focus is always on the patron (Mei 2014). School libraries cater to a very specific kind of patron, but too often try to function like a public or academic library. It is important that students see the space as welcoming and comfortable in order to reduce library anxiety (Mellon 1986).
Page Turner represents a unique way to create social capital within libraries, which is becoming more and more important in an increasingly polarized culture (KNC 2019). As it gets harder to achieve social capital, we must work on new and interesting ways to make the library a welcoming space. Page bridges the gap between librarians and students, an element that is direly important for community engagement in school libraries. All libraries should aspire to have a Page, an interactive space that welcomes and draws in patrons from all backgrounds.
Jervis McEntee was born July 14, 1828. Very little is known about McEntee’s early life. McEntee comes from the Hudson River School, which was an art movement that reflected romanticism through American landscape paintings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art described the Hudson River School as “America’s first true artistic fraternity” (Avery 2004, par. 1). Of this popular art movement, McEntee is regarded as a lesser-known figure within the Hudson River School, and the art world as a whole (Levine 2015).
In the northwest corner of Maple Grove Cemetery, there is a family plot with a gravestone bearing the name Portong. Last among the names inscribed on its front facing side is Ludolf F. Portong, a bank teller from Jamaica, New York who died at age 28 on September 16, 1920 (Bellows 2018, 42:14; Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery, 2020). This date likely bears little significance in the minds of most people today. However, the date corresponds with what was, at the time, the single deadliest terrorist attack in American history, and Ludolf F. Portong was among the many now mostly forgotten victims (Gage 2009, 1).
In 1862, eighteen-year-old Silas S. Auchmoedy was mustered into the 120th New York Volunteers as a private (Lyon 1904). In October of 1862, just three months later, he was promoted as corporal officer (Lyon 1904). During Auchmoedy’s deployment, he wrote a series of letters home depicting the time he spent in battle. On July 20th, 1863, he wrote a letter describing the events he saw at the Battle of Gettysburg (Auchmoedy 1863), also known as the bloodiest single battle of conflict (American Battlefield Trust, n.d.). Within this letter are horrific descriptions of his experience on the battlefield. He writes about his experience running through a field as he underwent heavy fire, his gun so packed with filth that he had to bang it on a stone to get the bullet in. Most tragically, he depicts the screams from A.D. Stokes, “a first-rate fellow,” as a bullet ripped through his thigh. He had screamed to Auchmoedy, “O God, don’t leave me!” (Auchmoedy 1863, para. 1.20). Auchmoedy had not left him and carried Stokes to safety before rejoining his regiment (Auchmoedy 1863). War was not a time of peace, and though these men were regarded as heroes, they were also boys covered in the blood of their friends.
Artist Peggy Wroten, born in the year 1944, spent a majority of her life in the Neck District of Cambridge, Maryland. (Wroten 2022). Peggy enjoyed drawing for fun in primary school, and knew she had something special when children in school would ask her to draw pictures for them (Wroten 2022). Wroten credits God for her artistic abilities, stating that her “talent is a God given gift” (Wroten 2022). Peggy Wroten would go on to create many works of art including award winning duck carvings, and paintings of waterfowl and other historical landmarks such as Old Trinity Church and Blackwater Refuge, both located near Church Creek, Maryland. Mrs. Wroten also illustrated two children’s books titled The Parable of the Birds, written by Peggy Mayers Litschert and published in 2004, and We’re All Special, written by Joyce Taylor Dennis and published in 2009.
In the Year 1865, the amorphousness of America following the emancipation of enslaved people left those in power to determine what to do with the individuals whom it was no longer legal to exploit for free labor. Within this decision, the freedmen’s bureau was formed, which entailed providing necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing, for the Southerns displaced ensuing the new law of prohibiting the ownership of African people (United States Senate, n.d.).