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Blog Posts by Subject: Biography

Celebrating the Life of Janet Collins, an African-American Pioneer in Dance

Night's Dancer: The Life of Janet Collins, by Yaël Tamar Lewin

The headlines about her death called her the first African American ballerina of the Metropolitan Opera, but Janet Collins was much more than that. A new biography, Night’s Dancer: The Life 

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Business Books from "The Economist," January 14, 2012

The January 14 issue of The Economist has reviewed (and maybe recommended...) five new books on a few different business topics. I'm using this as an opportunity to post a list of these titles with links to the Library's collections.

For those interested in the articles, you can find them through some of our electronic resources (I recommend EBSCO's Business Source Premier,

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The Times We Had: Old Hollywood Memoirs

Hollywood, 1923, Library of Congress PAN US GEOG - California no. 272

In the late 1800s Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida purchased 160 acres in the rolling California hills for a housing subdivision. They called it Hollywood. In 1911 the first filmmakers arrived from New Jersey; in Hollywood they could shoot outdoors without electrical lighting for over 100 days each year. Others from the east coast soon followed, coming not only for the sunny climate but to escape the clutches of the Motion Pictures Patents 

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When They Trod the Boards: John Lithgow

We hereby announce the new blog series When They Trod the Boards, designed to highlight notable film or television actors who have a substantial background in stage work as documented in the collections of the Library's Billy Rose Theatre Division. We launch the series with John Lithgow and his new memoir, 

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Interesting Lives: The Latest Biographies and Memoirs at Andrew Heiskell Library

a sampling of digital booksA good biography is like a good novel. It can transport you to a different place and a different time, and inspire the imagination. But what has always appealed to me about biographies is that they could put me into someone else's head, letting me vicariously live a life more interesting than my own. Growing up, I read mostly fiction, especially science fiction and mysteries, which took me to exotic places both real and imaginary. But when teachers insisted we students be well-rounded readers, the non-fiction books I turned to were on the biography shelves in my 

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Get Ready for a Royal Wedding

I can't be the only person excited for the wedding of William Windsor to Catherine Middleton. In fact, I know I'm not. Out there, in that big, bad world of cynics, there are plenty of people just as psyched as me about the upcoming royal nuptials—they are just too cool to show it. This wedding brings me full circle. I remember being 9 years old and staying up all night with my Mom to watch Princess Diana marry Prince Charles, I had a slumber party to watch Sarah Ferguson marry Prince Andrew (where an adorable 3 year old Prince William 

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Charles Kuralt and Walt Whitman on the Road

Walt Whitman filled the pages of Leaves of Grass with poetry exalting the lives of Americans. While out in the streets, he observed and recorded the beauty of daily life. Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" is a delightful example how common activities make up the fabric of America.  Within its lines, a boatman owns a part of America, and a mother's daily activities are considered 

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Come See the Mystery of Picasso

Black ink soaks through a transparent canvas to form an image drawn by the master, Pablo Ruiz Picasso

In Le Mystere de Picasso (1956), director Henri-Georges Clouzot creates a new type of art documentary: one which manages to capture art at the very moment of conception. The transparent canvas allows the camera to capture each stroke of the artist's brush in real-time, beginning in 

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How to Research a Report for Women's History Month

Okay, so it's March 2nd and you need to do a report on a famous woman for Woman's History month.  Who do you pick and where do you start? 

The best way to pick a famous woman is to think about your interests.  When you write about a subject that you are interested in, it just comes out sounding more convincing, and instead of being just another assignment, you might really enjoy doing your homework!

Let's get started.  Do you especially love sports?  If you do, you might think about the sport you like best.  For argument's sake, let's say that 

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Hubert Harrison: Harlem Radical

Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry will discuss his book, Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918, Saturday March 5th 2pm @ Hamilton Fish Park Library.

"Hubert Harrison is the most significant Black democratic socialist of early-twentieth century America." —Cornel West 

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Researching Patents of African American Inventors

In recognition of Black History Month, I thought I would take this opportunity to suggest U.S. Patents as an available primary resource that can be used to do historical and biographical research on African American Inventors.

NYPL has a strong collection of resources on African American inventors, both in our research collections (Schomburg and

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President's Day Biography Reading List

Presidents' lives have always been favorite subjects for biographers. Here is a list of the some of the latest examples at the NYPL branches.

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Spencer Collection Book of the Month: A Wotton Binding

Volume bound for Thomas Wotton (Detail)After I'd spent four Sunday evenings in January engrossed in the doings of the Earl of Grantham and his household on the PBS "Masterpiece Classic" series Downton Abbey, this month's choice for Spencer Collection Book of the Month was obvious: a book that lingered for more than three centuries in the company of barons and earls, before being exiled from their presence in exchange for cold, hard cash.

Like

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WOW @ The Library in Celebration of African-American Heritage

Wonders Of Women (WOW) features a mosaic of selected titles including recent resources on self-help, as well as powerful narratives by and about extraordinary African-American women, will submerge the reader into a journey of discovery from the past to the present.

At the Dark End of the Street: Black women, Rape, and Resistance—A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

By 

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American Rags-to-Riches Mythos: The Madam C. J. Walker Saga, Part 1

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of Manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground. Madam Walker National Negro Business League Convention, July 1912." Bundles, A'Lelia. Madam C.J. Walker, 2009.

Almost every school child has heard of

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WOW @ The Library: Women of the Month

Wonders Of Women (WOW) presents the notable life and amazing accomplishments of three courageous women.

Amelia Earhart: the turbulent life of an American icon

by Kathleen C. Winters

Amelia Earhart Day is commemorated on January 11th. This book offers a fascinating look at the life of the courageous aviatrix, Amelia Mary Earhart—the first person to fly solo across the Pacific and first woman to perform a nonstop solo ... Read More ›

Reel Books: For Colored Girls

For Colored Girls, Tyler Perry's latest film, was released in early November and has since received some mixed reviews. Tyler Perry as a director is known for addressing what can be very sensitive topics: for example, drug abuse in Daddy's Little Girls and unhappy marriages in

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Reel Books: The Social Network

The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland), arrived in theaters on October 1st. You knew it was based on the true story of the Facebook founders, but did you know that it was based on a book? The book is called The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal written by Ben Mezrich (the author of another "Reel Book,"

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Fact Checking a Novel: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Did that really happen?!? 

Historical fiction is a genre that encompasses both fact and fiction, but where the line is drawn between the two can be anyone's guess sometimes.  Some authors do tremendous research for their novels to be historically accurate, while others take liberty with history to fit their plot line.

One such novel that rides that line between fact and fiction is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz.  It follows the story of Oscar Wao and 

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