Friday, January 20, 2012

What's a Lyceum?

Massanutten Regional Library Presents:
Lunchtime Lyceum Begins Jan. 23rd
—but what’s a lyceum?

ly·ce·um (lahy-see-uh m) n.
1. A hall in which public lectures, concerts, and similar programs are presented.
2. An organization sponsoring public programs and entertainment.

chautauqua (SHəˈtôkwə) n.
(Social Science / Education) (in the US, formerly) a summer school or educational meeting held in the summer named after Chautauqua, the Iroquois name of a lake in New York near which such a school was first held.[i]

Throughout history, from Plato to our modern Think Tanks, people have shared their love of learning. Aristotle is attributed with the first “lyceum” --the gymnasium where he held his lectures.

In America, the lyceum venue began with the Transcendentalists in New England. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau endorsed the movement and often gave speeches in Massachusetts. As the Civil War dawned, the movement faded, but the name has remained synonymous with intellectual exchanges.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Glimpse into the Life of the Slave and Indentured Servant

As we approach the annual observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday and Black History month, we might not recognize these events are rooted in American societal practices begun four centuries ago. The Virginia Center for the Digital History’s project on the Geography of Slavery in Virginia has assembled a rich resource of documents, mostly from contemporary newspaper advertisements, about runaways and indentured servants.

Using this resource, eleven advertisements describe slaves and indentured servants who ran away from their owners in Rockingham County between June 1778 and August 1795.[i] As the advertisements were submitted by the owners, they represented perhaps a one-sided view of the runaways.

Friday, January 6, 2012

You Think It's Cold Now?

Headline in the Harrisonburg Daily News January 15, 1912
The predicted cold weather from the upper mid-west arrived on winds of 45-50 miles per hour. The cold spread southward and eastward and sent temperatures to the zero mark. Lewis J. Heatwole, the weather observer at the Dale Enterprise station, reported that on Thursday evening, January 4, temperatures dropped from 32º F to - 2ºF. Temperatures may have been a little warmer in Harrisonburg, but were cold enough to frost plate-glass windows nearly an inch and to require merchants on Court Square to keep their electric lights burning during the day. Plumbers experienced increasing demand for their services.