News & Views: SHS '58
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  Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Lincoln Museum in Springfield

The presidential museum has drawn lots of national attention, and one of the better articles appeared early in July in the Washington Post. The exhibits try to bring antebellum days to life, mostly with special-effects.

Still to come is a presidential library, which will be one of the nation's great centers for research on the nineteenth-century Midwest. The areas around the Old State Capitol and the Lincoln Home recreate that era, as does the Elijah Iles house, at Seventh and Cook, which will open in late September, 2005.

10:05:55 AM    comment []

The American Fifties

If you'd like to understand better the era in which we grew up, I have two recommendations: a fabulous book by David Halberstam, The Fifties (1994), also available on tape, and a course at Penn called "The Literature & Culture of the American 1950s." There's a more commercial site of nostalgia and trivia, Fifties Web, which is fun to surf as well.

9:58:06 AM    comment []

The Wages of Entitlement

Donald Murray, a columnist for The Boston Globe, recently wrote some sentiments that many of us may feel as we approach the age of retirement and Social Security:

"As children of the Great Depression, we didn't feel entitled to a home, an auto, icebox, wringer, radio, four-party phone, electric fan. I can't remember any sense of entitlement. If you wanted a bike or a hot-water heater for the bathtub, you could have it -- if you worked for it.

"My grandchildren can't imagine an age without laptops and cellphones. I remember shoes that were resoled with metal, frozen long johns stiffly dancing on the clothes line.

"Pencils were worn down to the nub, brown grocery bags flattened out and used for homework, collars and cuffs turned inside-out so the wear wouldn't show. Children were not asked what they wanted for supper, they were served and the plate cleaned or . . ..

"The irony is that we were able to give our children and grandchildren the benefits of our wealth, but in doing so, we were not able to pass on the energy and drive that came with economic and social hunger."

Text of the full column is here.

9:43:26 AM    comment []

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