Posts tagged: Amy

Cracking Codes: DIY Morse Code Jewelry

By , March 21, 2015

Spy Hunters Find Clews in Secret CodesImages, symbols, codes, and ciphers have been used to communicate information secretly for thousands of years.  The June 1938 issue of Popular Science includes several examples in the article, “Spy Hunters Find Clews in Secret Codes.”  There’s a transposition wheel in which music notes replace letters and even a stitched version of Morse code, for instance.

In our Nashville Reads story, Between Shades of Gray, the main character, Lina, includes information about her location in artwork that she passes along in hopes of reaching her father, as she and her family are being deported to work camps in Siberia. Our Nashville Reads program, Codes, Ciphers, & Secret Messages, will explore how codes, hidden messages, and ciphers have been used in history while kids crack codes and create their own secret messages.

Make Morse code jewelry with the Special Collections Division at Bordeaux on March 26 from 2:00-3:00pm or at Bellevue on April 15 from 4:00-5:00pm. Can’t make it out to a branch? Participate in the city-wide read from the comfort of your own home with this simple tutorial on making a Morse code necklace or bracelet.



  1. Choose 3 different colors of beads.
  2. Use the Morse Code Translator to create the letters in your name using 2 of the colors. Color #1 will represent the dots and Color #2 will represent the dashes.
  3. Insert a bead of Color #3 in between each letter. This color will serve as a space.
  4. String the beads to create a necklace or bracelet and VOILA!

Morse Code Picture Tutorial


There’s No Time Like Snow Time

By , February 27, 2015
Capitol Feb 6 1979

February 6, 1979

As we experienced the icy weather of the last week, Megan (guest blogger) and I decided to dig up some memories of Nashville snowstorms of the past.  The following images and captions come from the Nashville Banner Archives in the Special Collections Division at the Main Library.





Horse Feb 21 1929

The heaviest fall of snow in more than ten years transformed Nashville overnight into a city of white. This attractive picture was taken in Centennial park early Thursday morning, Feb. 21, and with old Dobbin and the sleigh, it brings back memories of long ago.





Girls Snowball Jan 16 1948Choice target of students’ snowballs yesterday was Dr. Robert C. Provine, president of Ward-Belmont School.
(January 17, 1948)







Skiiers Jan 27 1963
Skiers enjoy the snow.
(January 27, 1963)








Snow Dino Jan 20 1978
Becky and John Mills (from left), Benny Pully and Rob Hatchett construct a prehistoric-type snow creature at 154 Brenda Lane – a lifesize dinosaur.
(January 20, 1978)






Silhouette Jan 24 1979

Solitary Sledding:
Holding his inner tube, William Hall prepares for another run down a snowy slope in Shelby Park.
(January 24, 1979)










Sledding Ashwood Ave Jan 19 1984Slick Snickers:
Kids have fun sledding down Ashwood Avenue.
(January 20, 1984)










Did you take any great shots of this year’s winter weather? Share your pictures with us on social media!

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And if you want to know more about Nashville’s past, make a visit to our Special Collections Division and explore the Nashville Banner on microfilm.

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Page

By , October 24, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt steps off an airplane at Berry Field for a brief stop in Nashville.  Photo from the NPL Special Collections Division digital collection.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a prolific writer and published many newspaper and magazine articles throughout her life – before, during, and after her time as first lady.  Starting in August of 1933 – having been the first lady of the state of New York, and just after entering the White House as first lady of the United States – Eleanor Roosevelt began writing her first regular column for a popular magazine, Woman’s Home Companion. 

According to a statement by the editors in the August 1933 issue, the objective of the column, which ran for two years, through July of 1935, was “strengthening further the bond between the White House and women citizens everywhere.”  All these columns can be read in the Woman’s Home Companion, located in the Periodicals area on the 3rd floor at the Main library.


Eleanor began this series with an invitation to readers – the title of her August 1933 entry was “I Want You to Write to Me.”  Sometimes the column addressed personal issues that she received in letters, but more often, Eleanor addressed social issues, usually explaining why they would be of interest to women or what women could do about them.

Some examples with quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt:

photoFrom October 1933, “Setting Our House in Order” – Discusses how women can use their power as consumers to influence manufacturers to offer fair wages and adequate working conditions to their employees.  “Therefore, if groups of women will get together and agree that in shopping they will go to their local stores and ask under what conditions the things they are buying are produced, telling their shopkeepers that they would far prefer to buy goods that carried a label assuring them that these goods were made under conditions which precluded any sweat-shop work, that will help the manufacturers.  If this happens frequently enough in all communities, the storekeepers and manufacturers will listen to public opinion . . . We may sit at home and pathetically ask what we can do, but if we do nothing about the present conditions we shall be to blame.  Only as we take up our responsibilities can conditions improve.”

too oldFrom February 1934, “Too Old for the Job” – Addresses the difficulties of older people in the work force, women in particular.  “It is not because we are sorry for the people who are thrown out of a job at forty or forty-five that we are writing this article.  It is because we feel that industry, business and the professions are going to suffer a serious loss when they begin to deny themselves the valuable work which people can and should do at least up to the age of sixty, if their health is good.”


photo 1From November 1934, “Let Us Be Thankful” – “I often wonder if some of the things which we ought to be thankful for at Thanksgiving time are the possibilities which open up before us to help our fellow human beings.   We may feel that we ourselves are badly off, but when we discover that someone is in need of something that we have taken for granted, then our eyes are opened.  We realize that we have a new thing to be thankful for, that we can be of help in our community . . . Let each of us this Thanksgiving Day count over our unusual blessings wherever we may be living.”


photo 4From April 1935, “Woman’s Work is Never Done” – Offers some solutions for the problems encountered in domestic service, for employers and employees.  “I hope increased leisure and constantly new inventions are going to make housework for women as easy and as rapidly done as possible, but we shall still have to face the fact that a great many women do run establishments in which they employ a number of domestic servants and that many more are going to employ one maid or a part-time maid. the more we can educate ourselves to the point where we shall recognize the dignity of this labor and go into it from choice rather than from necessity, the easier it will be to raise it from the type of unsatisfactory work which it is now, where nobody knows exactly what her job is, either as employer or employee.”


treeFrom July 1935, “Tree Worship” - “Tree worship is as old as civilization itself and perhaps there was a good reason for this, for it you worship a thing you preserve it and the ancients knew well that trees were necessary to the lives of human beings . . . If we want to keep our water supply, prevent soil erosion and still have fertile land to cultivate, we shall have to reforest much of the land which we have denuded.  Every village will have to inculcate into its children a lot of the ancient tree worship in order that we may be wise husbandmen of one of the greatest assets of the future prosperity of our nation.”




Eleanor Roosevelt named honorary citizen of Nashville by Mayor Ben West. Photo belongs to the NPL Metro Archives digital collection.

Eleanor Roosevelt later went on to write a daily newspaper column called, “My Day,” that ran in papers across the country for many years.  She also contributed another monthly magazine column to Ladies’ Home Journal called “If You Ask Me.” To read more of Eleanor Roosevelt’s writing or learn more about her, check out these titles:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt (a collection of her newspaper columns)

You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

Tomorrow is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt

Ladies’ Home Journal Comes to an End

By , April 26, 2014

You may have heard this week that the Ladies’ Home Journal will no longer be published as a monthly publication (it will be quarterly) as of July 2014, after over 130 years in existence.  This news sent me straight to the stacks of bound periodicals to indulge in a little nostalgia while looking at Nashville Public Library’s collection of Ladies’ Home Journal magazines.  In the 3rd floor Reference department at the Main library, we currently have Ladies’ Home Journal going back to December 1892, just 9 years after it started in 1883.

Volume 10 in our collection, with the December 1892-November 1893 issues, is chock full of stories (a serial by author William Dean Howells), poems, articles on topics like fashion, beauty, etiquette and entertaining, home-making, marriage and parenting.  Some interesting features in these issues include:


“A Christmas With Dickens” – December 1892.
Part of a series called “My Father as I Recall Him” by Mamie Dickens.


A series called “Clever Daughters of Clever Men.”
The January 1893 edition featured “Hawthorne’s Daughter.”


A fashion article titled “Dressing Without the Corset” from July 1893 - the magazine gives some attention to the dress reform movement and offers attractive and “decent” ways of dressing without the use of the corset.



Finally, in addition to the great articles and stories, the magazine is full of ads that give a great idea of what the lives and interests of the readers must have been at the time. In these issues,  there are ads for beauty and health aids, clothing,corsets (of course), housekeeping conveniences, gardening supplies, and more.

One thing not to be found advertised – patent medicinces.  In 1892, the Ladies’ Home Journal began refusing to print ads for patent medicines, a very popular source of advertising revenue at the time.



It would take many more posts to describe how integral the Ladies’ Home Journal was to women’s interests and lifestyles over the years.  Just to leave you with a taste, I’ve included some of the more iconic covers from its 130 years in publication:

  • October 1895, the first color cover.
  • February 1903, one of many by Charles Dana Gibson featuring the Gibson Girl.
  • February 1904, the first celebrity cover, featuring a sketch of Ethel Barrymore.
  • April 1932, one of many Norman Rockwell covers.
  • October 1946, the debut of the slogan that became synonymous with Ladies’ Home Journal.

To learn more about the history of women’s magazines, check out one of these books from the library:



New Year’s Images of Old

By , December 27, 2013

While digging for some articles about New Year’s Day in the Main library’s periodicals collection, I came across some wonderful New Year’s Saturday Evening Post covers by American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.

Baby New Year and Crystal Ball
January 4, 1936

Baby New Year Celebrates
January 2, 1937













Leyendecker’s work pre-dated and was a major influence on the art of Norman Rockwell; he actually created over 300 covers for the Saturday Evening Post in addition to covers for other popular magazines, advertisements for well-known products (like Arrow shirts, Ivory soap, and Kellogg’s), and military recruitment posters supporting our country’s war efforts.

Baby New Year at Forge
January 1, 1938

New Year and Warring Fist
January 4, 1941













Leyendecker has been credited with creating the iconic images we now associate with many of our holidays including the New Year’s baby, designed for a series of Saturday Evening Post covers beginning in the 1920s.  His final New Year’s baby cover (pictured below) – from the January 2, 1943 issue –  was also his last cover for the Saturday Evening Post, ending many years of association with the magazine.  You can learn more about J.C. Leyendecker and see a gallery of his Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations here.

No Trespassing
January 3, 1942

Baby New Year at War
January 2, 1943













Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this look back at some images from New Years of old.  Check out these books for more information on The Saturday Evening Post and its illustrators, like J.C. Leyendecker:

When you’re finished with the old New Year, check out this list of Non-Fiction titles that may interest you in the coming New Year of 2014:

Puppet Parade

By , June 14, 2013

This month the Main library will host the International Puppet Festival, June 21-23rd.  As most library patrons know, the Nashville Public Library has a rich history in puppetry and continues to be recognized for it’s innovative puppet performances.  In this post, I thought I’d highlight a few interesting articles I unearthed from our Periodicals collection about puppets in American popular culture:

“Behind the Scenes in a Puppet Show” from Popular Mechanics (June 1925 p. 899)

Describes the marionettes of Tony Sarg, who was credited with the revival of puppetry in America.  Sarg designed a “controller” to manipulate his complicated 22-string or 26-string marionettes.  The focus of the article is on how the sets are built and proportioned and how the puppets are operated (including a puppet enjoying a pipe that puffs real smoke) – amazing technical feats for the time period.  The article includes advice from Sarg on how to create marionette plays at home.



“Puppets in Politics”  from Colliers
(July 1, 1944 p. 14-15)

Features the groundbreaking work of Bil Baird and his wife Cora as they use puppets to make a movie – not just any movie, but a short film called Snarky’s Cow, to be distributed by the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in 3 languages to persuade South Americans to drink more milk with the aim of making “South Americans healthier and happier, better customers and better friends.”



“Witches and Wonders: The Salzburg Marionettes Act Out Classic Fairy Tales”  from Life (December 29, 1952 p. 68-73)

Photos of the Salzburg Marionettes, on their second tour of America at the time, with summaries of the classic fairy tales they re-enacted:

      • Rumpelstiltskin,
      • Hansel and Gretel,
      • Rapunzel,
      • Snow White and Rose Red, and more.



“Puppets Parody Flyweight Feud, Paar vs. Sullivan” from Life
March 24, 1961 p. 33-36)

Puppets created by Bil and Cora Baird illustrate what might have happened if the planned debate between Jack Paar and Ed Sullivan, spawned by a highly publicized feud between the talk show hosts, hadn’t been cancelled.





For more on puppet history, how to make puppets, and even the Nashville Public Library’s puppet heritage, check out these items from our Non-Fiction collection:

American Puppetry: Collections, History, and Performance by Phyllis T. Dircks
Puppet Mania
by John E. Kennedy
Puppetry: A World History by Eileen Blumenthal
The World on a String: The Puppet History of the Nashville Public Library by F. Lynne Bachleda



For Fans of Masterpiece Classic: Mr. Selfridge

By , April 19, 2013

After watching the first few episodes of Mr. Selfridge, the new series on Masterpiece Classic, I ran to the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature to see what I could find in our Periodicals collection about Harry Gordon Selfridge and his department store.

I was delighted to discover a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post from 1935, written by Selfridge himself, describing his amazing career.  In this series, Selfridge describes his start in the retail trade with Marshall Fields and his reasons for leaving Marshall Fields, saying:

“I had no quarrel with Mr. Field.  He was a great man and a great American . . . He was straight as a plummet line.  He had confidence in me and I respected him.  But while he displayed many evidences of his affection for me, he was austere in manner and very conservative.  He had little finesse in the handling of men, brilliant as he was in running his business . . . It was ambition that brought about my rupture with Mr. Field.”

Selfridge goes on to describe the path that eventually led him to bring an American department store to London – Selfridge claims that he had once tried to persuade Mr. Field to establish Marshall Fields stores in London and other European cities, but Mr. Field “peremptorily ordered me never to waste his time in discussing such a crack-brained notion.”

Throughout these articles, Selfridge offers a fascinating look at his analysis of the existing stores and shopping environment in London, the obstacles he overcame in building his store, his theories of publicity and advertising, and his revolutionary practices in merchandising and sales that made his department store so successful.  You can read this series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post in the Periodicals section of the Main library (3rd floor) to find out more about:

  • The idea for the Selfridge’s Lift Girls
  • The introduction of the Bargain Basement
  • Selfridge’s unique publicity “stunts” – the 25 shilling fur coat, the display of the Bleriot airplane
  • Sefridge’s personal and business philosophies

Selfridge’s store opened on March 15, 1909 at 9 a.m. to the notes of a bugler and made about 3,000 pounds on opening day – Selfridge remarks that sales were slow because of how crowded the store was, with about 150,000 visitors on a cold and blustery day.

To read about Mr. Selfridge or to learn more about the history of shopping or the department store, check out these books from our collection:


In Your Easter Bonnet . . . Spring Fashions and The Delineator

By , March 17, 2013

The Delineator is a women’s magazine that was created in 1873 by Ebenezer Butterick, a tailor who invented the tissue-paper pattern for sewing garments.  Nashville Public Library owns the volumes from 1906 through the magazine’s end in 1937.  

Features in The Delineator covered many areas of interest to women at the time: family and parenting, housekeeping, and social issues like women’s rights, divorce, homelessness, child labor, and even careers for women.  There were articles by presidents and first ladies discussing political issues and short fiction written by prominent authors.  For a time, the magazine was even edited by Theodore Dreiser.

After discovering this title in our Periodicals collection, I become fascinated with the health and beauty advice offered in each issue and the ads for common products of the day are entertaining as well.

But the real stars of every issue are the lovely illustrations (some in black and white, some in color) of women’s fashions and accessories, including intricately embellished hats for society ladies.

I’m a sucker for these sweet pictures of genteel ladies and their beautiful clothing, even if I can’t imagine having to wear the dresses myself.  But what better time to indulge in a little nostalgia over frilly pastel gowns and feathered hats than Spring?

If you’re interested in seeing The Delineator in person (be forwarned, they are very fragile), check at the Periodicals desk on the 3rd floor at the Main Library.

For more reading on the genteel fashions and customs of yesteryear, check out these titles in the library’s collection:

Let's Bring Back by M.M. BlumeLet’s Bring Back: An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By by Lesley M.M. Blume


Encyclopedia of the Exquisite by Jessica Kerwin JenkinsEncyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins

Survey Graphic Magazine and the Harlem Renaissance

By , February 10, 2013


While helping some high school students research the Harlem Renaissance, I discovered that Nashville Public
Library owns the March 1925 “Graphic Number” of
The Survey magazine.  This volume was a showcase that quickly made the rest of the country aware of the burgeoning cultural movement happening in Harlem, especially the literary achievements.

 The “Graphic Number” was a special issue printed yearly of The Survey, a magazine about social issues in America.  The 1925 Survey Graphic issue was devoted entirely to Harlem and to the “New Negro Movement” that later became known as the Harlem Renaissance. 

African American scholars Charles S. Johnson (who eventually became the first black president of Fisk University) and Alain Locke were the guest editors for this special issue.  Locke later turned the magazine into a book anthology titled The New Negro: An Interpretation.

The magazine includes articles by Locke, Johnson, and other scholars as well as stories by W.E.B. Dubois and Rudolph Fisher.  Most of the art pieces are black and white drawings by Winold Reiss, a German immigrant. They include portraits of Harlem residents and other notable figures of the Harlem Renaissance movement. The significant poets of the Harlem Renaissance are also represented in this issue:
              • Claude McKay
              • Anne Spencer
              • Jean Toomer
              • Countee Cullen
              • Langston Hughes

You can see this influential magazine by visiting the Periodicals desk on the 3rd floor at the Main library.  To learn more about the Harlem Renaissance and some of the figures showcased in the March, 1925 Survey Graphic, check out these materials from Nashville Public Library:

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest

By , January 20, 2013

Philistine Cover

The Philistine explodes bomb-bombs to fire the bum-bums and the should-be dumb-dumbs . . . The good stuph is gathered every month by Elbert Hubbard, plucked sizzling from the fiery furnace, and put in palatable, picturesque, and piquant form for the delectation of the faithful . . . The Philistine is never dull.  It makes many glad, some sad, and a few mad.  It says things that make you think.  Thus it does more than merely entertain.

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest is one of the little-known gems of the Periodicals collection, held at the Main library (ask for it at Periodicals desk – 3rd floor).  Elbert Hubbard, a famous and somewhat controversial figure of the time, wrote and published this title from 1895-1915.  Main Library holds the issues from 1901-1915.

The volumes are very small – about 6” tall and 4” wide. They include essays and epigrams penned by Hubbard as well as ads for the Essay by Elbert Hubbardproducts made by the Roycroft community.  Roycroft was a community of artisans that Hubbard founded – they spearheaded the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

Hubbard printed the magazine himself with a press he installed at Roycroft.  The Roycrofters also produced special editions of Hubbard’s books, other popular titles, and handmade furniture, leather and metal goods.

Hubbard was a larger than life character full of contradictions, espousing ideas like socialism and the free market at the same time. He wrote about philosophy, religion, politics, literature, business, self-improvement and more.  His style was humorous, irreverent, often arrogant and (in my opinion) a little bit kooky.  Hubbard toured America giving lectures in addition to publishing pamphlets, magazines and books.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife died aboard the Lusitania.  This ended The Philistine’s run, but his son continued to run the Roycroft community for about 20 more years.

What’s Special About The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest?

W.W. Denslow, an artist at the Roycroft Community who went on to illustrate the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books, designed the “Seahorse” logo used in the magazine.

Epigram by Elbert Hubbard in The PhilistineEvery issue included epigrams written by Hubbard and printed in a decorative font with intricate borders.

Hubbard’s essays often skewered the leading literary figures of the day, attacking George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, William Dean Howells, and others with somewhat exaggerated criticism.

In March 1899, Hubbard published in The Philistine an inspirational 1500-word essay called “A Message to Garcia” that became extremely popular, eventually being reprinted over 9 million times.

Philistine War NumberThe January 1915 issue of The Philistine was about World War I (called “The War Number”), in which Hubbard strongly     opposed American involvement.

Tribute to Elbert HubbardThe final issue is a tribute to Elbert Hubbard and his wife, who died aboard the Lusitania.

To learn more about Elbert Hubbard, you can check out these items from Nashville Public Library:

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