Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy birthday, Rudyard Kipling

It is the birthday of English writer Rudyard Kipling (1865), who was the first English-language writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is remembered for his exceptional narrative style in poems, short stories and novels. His most enduring work is set in India during the British occupation, and includes The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and Just So Stories (1902). Best remembered poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If– (1910). What's your favorite Rudyard Kipling work?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy birthday, philosopher Mortimer Adler

It is the birthday of writer and philosopher Mortimer Adler (1902), whose bestselling guide How to Read a Book (1940) gave advice to average readers on understanding great literature and books of any genre. Adler said the the best way to understand the Great Ideas in civilization was to read the Great Books. Adler served on the Board of Editors at Encyclopaedia Britannica, and through Britannica, published a 54-volume Great Books of the Western World series, including the works of Homer, Plato and other ancient writers; also Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Swift, right on down to Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Darwin, Marx, Tolstoy, and Freud.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy birthday, chemist Louis Pasteur

It is the birthday of French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822), who is considered the father of microbiology for his research into the causes and prevention of diseases. His method of heating milk to kill the bacteria in it became known as pasteurization. He developed innoculations for anthrax and rabies. Three of his five children died of typhoid, leading him to seek cures for infectious diseases.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy birthday, Arnold Mendelssohn

It is the birthday of German composer Arnold Ludwig Mendelssohn (1855), whose Uncle Felix was much more well known and revered as a musician but who was, nevertheless, no slouch as a composer himself. Here is the first movement of a piece for two violins and piano. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy birthday, Thomas Becket

It is the birthday of English clergyman Thomas Becket (1118), who became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, fought with King Henry II over the government's intrusion into the church, and was ultimately murdered in 1170 by four knights as he prayed at Canterbury Cathedral. Pope Alexander III canonized Becket in 1173. The assassins were excommunicated, hid out for a time, then went to Rome to seek forgiveness. Pope Alexander sent them to fight in the Crusades for 14 years. A pilgrimage on the way to Becket's shrine at Canterbury is the backdrop for Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a play about Becket and Henry II, Becket (1884). T.S. Eliot wrote a verse drama, Murder in the Cathedral (1935).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy birthday, Harvey Firestone

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone.
It is the birthday of businessman Harvey Firestone (1868), who transformed himself from youthful farm boy to a wealthy industrialist. While working as a sales manager for a rubber-tired buggy company he realized the potential for rubber tires. He founded Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and the business grew rapidly with the expansion of the automobile industry. Firestone became great friends with automaker Henry Ford and inventor Thomas Edison. They loved nature, and for nine years they took summer camping trips together, by automobile, of course. Firestone produced with Samuel Crowther a book about his business, Men and Rubber: The Story of Business (1926).  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy birthday, children's writer Eve Bunting

It is the birthday of prolific children's writer Eve Bunting (1928), whose 250 titles offer such diverse subjects as Irish tales, homelessness and race riots. Her first book, Two Giants (1971), tells the story of an Irish giant, Finn McCool, who outsmarts an evil Scottish giant, Culcullan. Another popular title, Fly Away Home (1991), deals with a man and his son who live in an airport. In Smoky Night (1994), set against the backdrop of a Los Angeles race riot, two people who dislike each other work together to find their missing cats.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Happy birthday, Archduke Franz Ferdinand

It is the birthday of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863), whose assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 started World War I. Gavrilo Princip, 19, a Bosnian Serb, was convicted as the assassin. He was a Yugoslav nationalist associated with the Young Bosnia revolutionary movement bent on the unification of all Yugoslavs and freedom from Austria. Though his compatriots had been trying to kill the archduke, Princip's act was spur-of-the-moment, an opportunity presented by a sudden change in the archduke's itinerary and a momentary traffic jam across from a cafe where Princip was sitting.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy birthday, conductor Arthur Fiedler

It is the birthday of legendary orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler (1894), who led the Boston Pops Orchestra for 50 years and made it one of the best known in the nation, with a repertoire of light classical pieces, Broadway show tunes, movie soundtracks, and even some rock 'n roll and disco. Under Fiedler, the Boston Pops recorded more than any other orchestra in the world. In honor of the season, we share with you today A Christmas Festival by the Boston Pops, conducted by Arthur Fiedler.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy birthday, Jane Austen

It is the birthday of English writer Jane Austen (1775), who is remembered for Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1816), novels set among the landed gentry in late 18th- and early 19th-century England. She is among the most widely read authors in English literature, though during her lifetime she achieved only modest success. Publication of A Memoir of Jane Austen (1869) by her nephew James Edward Austen brought her wider recognition.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy birthday, Frank Sinatra

It is the birthday of Frank Sinatra (1915), one of the most notable entertainers of the 20th century. From humble beginnings as the child of Sicilian immigrants in Hoboken, New Jersey, he built a singing and film acting career that spanned more than 50 years. He was the first modern pop superstar, with recordings, film and television appearances as well as performances in nightclubs, concert halls and sports arenas. At 23, he made his first record, From the Bottom of My Heart, with the Harry James Orchestra. It was released in July 1939.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy birthday, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It is the birthday of Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918), who won the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature for his body of work, including One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1963) and The Gulag Archipelago (1972). Both books, and much of his other work, take to task the repressive Soviet regime of the Cold War era and its forced labor camps. Solzhenitsyn's work was banned in the Soviet Union and he was expelled in 1974. He went to Germany, then Switzerland, before settling in the United States, where he became a harsh critic of western culture as well. After the USSR was dissolved, Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia. He died at age 89 in Moscow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Melvil Dewey invented library system

New York State Library about 1900. Inset: Melvil Dewey, who served as its director.
It is the birthday of librarian Melvil Dewey (1851), who invented the Dewey Decimal system that libraries use to make their non-fiction books easy to find. He copyrighted it in 1876. Dewey also created vertical files, standardized size and shape of card catalogs and greatly improved the quality of the index cards used in them. He founded The Library Journal and served as chief librarian at Columbia University and as director of the New York State Library.

He was also a founder of the social and recreational Lake Placid Club in New York and was instrumental in bringing the Winter Olympics of 1932 to the region. In 1926, Dewey went to Lake Stearns, Florida, to establish a southern branch of the club, resulting in the renaming of the town to Lake Placid.

As a young man, Dewey advocated spelling reform. To that end he simplified his spelling of his own name, dropping the redundant letters from the common spelling. Briefly, he even changed his surname to Dui.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy birthday, storyteller Herbert Huncke

It is the birthday of Beat storyteller Herbert Huncke (1915), who was a denizen of New York's 42nd Street in the 1940s and was immortalized in William S. Burroughs' Junkie (1953), Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) and Desolation Angels (1965). His books include Huncke's Journal (1965), The Evening Sun Turned Crimson (1980), and Guilty of Everything (1990). Here are outtakes from a documentary by Italian filmmaker Francois Bernadi and a link to the completed documentary.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy birthday, Willa Cather

It is the birthday of writer Willa Cather (1873), who may be best known for her Prairie Trilogy — O Pioneers (1912), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Antonia (1918), her stories of ordinary people of the Midwestern plains. Critics such as H.L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis praised them, and readers loved them. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1923 for One of Ours (1922), the tale of a young man from a Midwestern farm who seeks purpose on the battlefield in France during World War I. Ernest Hemingway wasn't impressed with One of Ours. He snipped that the battle scenes clearly came from D.W. Griffith's 1915 silent epic Birth of a Nation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy birthday, Col. John Mosby

It is the birthday of colorful Civil War figure John Singleton Mosby (1833), who commanded a Confederate unit in Virginia known as Mosby's Rangers, which gained a reputation for its lightning-fast raids and its ability to elude Union troops and disappear into the countryside among farmers and ranchers. Mosby became known as The Gray Ghost. After the war, Mosby worked in the presidential campaign of Ulysses S. Grant and served as U.S. consul to Hong Kong. In For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway called Mosby the best cavalry officer of the Civil War. Does anybody remember the TV show based on Mosby's exploits?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy birthday, Gen. George Custer

It is the birthday of General George A. Custer (1839), whose reputation as an aggressive and fearless military leader during the Civil War was overshadowed by his defeat and death at the hands of Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876. Custer was a brash and colorful figure who cultivated publicity and dressed in flamboyant uniforms. Historians still debate the causes of Custer's Last Stand, but by all accounts Custer's troops were vastly outnumbered. Custer wrote about the Indian wars in My Life on the Plains (1874). After his death, Custer's  wife published several books about her husband, including Boots and Saddles, Life with General Custer in Dakota (1885), Tenting on the Plains (1887), and Following the Guidon (1891).

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy birthday, Thomas Carlyle

It is the birthday of Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle (1795), who is best known for his three-volume work, The French Revolution: A History (1837), a sweeping history of the revolution from 1789 to 1795. It is considered to be one of the most authoritative accounts of the earliest part of the revolution. Carlyle wrote it because his friend, British philosopher John Stuart Mill, was too busy. Mill had a contract to produce the book but was immersed in other projects so he suggested that Carlyle write it. Carlyle actually wrote the first volume of the book twice. He had sent his only manuscript to Mill but Mill's maid mistakenly burned it. So, Carlyle rewrote it, producing a book that he said came "direct and flamingly from the heart."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy birthday, artist Gilbert Stuart

It is the birthday of portrait artist Gilbert Stuart (1755), who is remembered for his remarkable portraits of George Washington and scores of other prominent people in early America. He was prolific, painting more than 1,100 portraits but was inflicted with depression and often bedridden for weeks. He was known for refusing to finish works with which he had become bored. Although well paid for his services, apparently he didn't manage his money well and often was close to bankruptcy. Along with John Singleton Copley, and Benjamin West, with whom he studied, Stuart is considered among the best early American portraitists.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy birthday, Georges-Pierre Seurat

It is the birthday of French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859), whose development of the technique of pointillism (in which dots of pure color are presented in patterns to form an image) led to Neo-impressionism and modern art. His most famous painting was a two-year project that was titled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1886). The work inspired the 1984 Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Sunday in the Park with George, which won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Seurat died at the age of 31.

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Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

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