Literary Landmark

Literary Landmark: Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum

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The Literary Landmark dedication of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum featured a performance by Dr. George Frein, distinguished scholar and living presenter who, as Mark Twain, talked about his life as a Mississippi River pilot. Dr. Frein also fielded questions from the audience afterwards, again as Twain.

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum includes six properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places (including his boyhood home, which was built in the 1840s and opened to the public in 1912), and two interactive museums. Twain lived in Hannibal from age 4 to 17. The experiences that Samuel Clemens took from Hannibal became part of American culture through his writings as Mark Twain.

Literary Landmark: Marguerite deAngeli Branch Library

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Marguerite deAngeli, a native of Lapeer, Mich., was an author and illustrator of 20th century children's literature. In 1950, she was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Door in the Wall. She was one of the first inductees into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. The main branch of the Lapeer City Library was renamed in her honor on Aug. 22, 1981. The library has an extensive collection of her materials, including original drawings.

Literary Landmark: Wethersfield, Conn.

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The town of Wethersfield, Conn., was the setting for Elizabeth George Speare’s novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which won the 1959 Newbery Medal. Speare lived in Wethersfield when she wrote the book, which tells the story of how young Kit Tyler, after leaving her privileged life in Barbados, struggles to adjust to the strict culture of 1687 Puritan Wethersfield and faces accusations of witchcraft from the community.

Literary Landmark: Osage Tribal Museum

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The Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO) honored John Joseph Mathews and the Osage Tribal Museum with an United for Libraries Literary Landmark dedication on Nov. 17, 2009.
Mathews authored four nonfiction books and one fiction book in his lifetime. Wah’Kon-Tah: The Osage and the White Man’s Road (1932) was the first university press book selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club and sold 50,000 copies. His second book, Sundown (1934), while categorized as fiction, is semi-autobiographical and noted for its depiction of the struggles experienced by a young Indian as he leaves the reservation during the early 1900s. In Talking to the Moon: Wildlife Adventures on the Plains and Prairies of Osage County (1945), Mathews describes his own experience of living 10 years on the plains in a small rock cabin.

With Association Help, First President Finally Gets His Own Library

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George Washington is finally getting a presidential library, thanks in part to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the country’s oldest national historic preservation organization.

The association announced last week that it had exceeded its $100 million goal for its capital campaign for the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, making it the only presidential library funded by private contributions.

Literary Landmark: Diocesan House, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

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Partners: Empire State Center for the Book, The Children's Book Council, Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine  was dedicated a Literary Landmark in honor of Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007). The author of the children’s literary classic A Wrinkle in Time served as the church’s librarian for more than 40 years.

Literary Landmark: Stroud Public Library

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Stroud Public Library was designated Literary Landmark in honor of poet Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel (1918-2007). The dedication took place at Stroud Public Schools and featured award-winning author and Route 66 expert Michael Wallis as master of ceremonies; author and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; a screening of Down an Old Road: The Poetic Life of Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel by Chris Simon, Sageland Media; music by the Stroud High School Show Choir; remarks by family member Pattee Russell-Curry; and a reception by the Stroud Library Society. Awards were presented to 23 winning entries for the Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel Poetry Contest for rural high school students in Lincoln and Creek counties.

Literary Landmark: Emily J. Pointer Public Library

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During the Literary Landmark dedication in honor of the author Stark Young, a plaque was placed on the south lawn of the library. The dedication included a performance of “A Visit from Stark Young” by the North Mississippi Storytellers Guild. Karen Wilson, executive director of the Son Edna Foundation in Charleston, gave the keynote about literacy in small-town rural Mississippi. Igor Bosin read selections from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard in Russian, with Stark Young’s English translations following. A book signing by Lauren Lavergne’s Como Elementary School first grade class rounded out the tribute’s events immediately prior to the reveal of the Literary Landmark plaque.

Literary Landmark: Syd Hoff home

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The Miami Beach, Fla., home of children’s book author and cartoonist Syd Hoff was designated a Literary Landmark. Hoff (1912-2004) created “Danny and the Dinosaur,” “Sammy the Seal” and more than 60 HarperCollins I CAN READ books for children. More than a dozen are still in print. The Bronx-born Hoff also published more than 500 cartoons in The New Yorker, as well as for King Features Syndicate, The Saturday Evening Post and more. Hoff’s publishers also include Scholastic and Dial Press. He lived at his home in Miami Beach from 1957 to 2001.