Archive for the ‘Newton Free Library Programs’ Category

In September 1774 the farmers of Middlesex County rose up and ended royal government in most of Massachusetts. For the next seven months, Patriot activists and the British governor raced to seize artillery. Cannon disappeared from ships, shore batteries and even armories under redcoat guard. In Newton, citizens voted to form their own artillery company. Join John Bell, author of The Road to Concord, as he uncovers the hidden history that led to the Revolutionary War. The program is cosponsored by Historic Newton. A book signing will follow. [From the Newton Free Library’s online Calendar of Events.]

From the publisher of The Road to Concord:

“Here is the suspenseful story of how a handful of mechanics in 1774 smuggled Boston’s brass cannon out of town from under the noses of the British troops. J. L. Bell is a historical detective par excellence who has recovered an important, little-known episode of the onset of the American Revolution.” —Alfred F. Young, author The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution

“In this well-researched narrative, Mr. Bell provides an interesting twist on the usual account of the British march to Concord on April 18-19, 1775. Mr. Bell’s retelling of the story from the point of view of missing cannon demonstrates in a compelling and convincing manner why General Gage was especially anxious that his troops reach Concord.”—Patrick M. Leehey, Research Director, Paul Revere House, Boston

In the early spring of 1775, on a farm in Concord, Massachusetts, British army spies located four brass cannon belonging to Boston’s colonial militia that had gone missing months before. British general Thomas Gage had been searching for them, both to stymie New England’s growing rebellion and to erase the embarrassment of having let cannon disappear from armories under redcoat guard. Anxious to regain those weapons, he drew up plans for his troops to march nineteen miles into unfriendly territory. The Massachusetts Patriots, meanwhile, prepared to thwart the general’s mission. There was one goal Gage and his enemies shared: for different reasons, they all wanted to keep the stolen cannon as secret as possible. Both sides succeeded well enough that the full story has never appeared until now.

The Road to Concord: How Four Stolen Cannon Ignited the Revolutionary War by historian J. L. Bell reveals a new dimension to the start of America’s War for Independence by tracing the spark of its first battle back to little-known events beginning in September 1774. The author relates how radical Patriots secured those four cannon and smuggled them out of Boston, and how Gage sent out spies and search parties to track them down. Drawing on archives in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, the book creates a lively, original, and deeply documented picture of a society perched on the brink of war.

J. L. BELL is the proprietor of Boston1775.net, a popular website dedicated to the history of the American Revolution in New England. A Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and American Antiquarian Society, he is author of the National Park Service’s study of George Washington’s work in Cambridge, and has delivered papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Organization of American Historians, and historic sites around greater Boston.

From The Curious Genealogist: Take a minute to click on the link to Bell’s blog Boston 1775 in green directly above.  If you have any interest in history or Boston, you’ll probably be staying far longer than a minute. It will be time well spent.

vea/6 July 2017
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  

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Tailors of TomaszowOn Wednesday, November 18th at 7:00 pm, there will be a program on The Lost Society of Polish Jewry. The program centers on The Tailors of Tomaszow: A Memoir of Polish Jews. The book was researched and written by Allan Chernoff and his mother, Rena Margulies Chernoff.  Mr. Chernoff will be the presenter. His mother, Rena Chernoff, is among the youngest survivors of the holocaust. The work is a communal memoir and history that begins by describing the prewar life of Tomaszow and its vibrant Jewish community. It then goes on to describe the mounting terror that was part of the systematic destruction of this same community during World War II. How did a small remnant of Tomaszow Jews survive first the Nazi occupation and then the concentration camps?  In the lecture, Mr. Chernoff will examine myths of the Holocaust and explore difficult questions such as: Why were most Jews poorly prepared to resist the Nazis? How did some survive? Heidi Urich, president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston, will speak about the programs and resources available at the JGSGB. Reference librarian Ginny Audet, will briefly discuss Holocaust-related books owned by the Newton Free Library. A book signing will follow with books provided by New England Mobile Book Fair.

If you come into the library during the month of November, be sure to check the display that was put together about the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston in conjunction with the Chernoff lecture .  It will be in the display windows as you walk into the Reference area of the Atrium just off the front lobby of the library.  The JGSGB has put together an impressive display.


12 November  2015/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy




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This Tuesday, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m., Professor Antony Polonsky will be speaking at the Newton Free Library about the Jews of Eastern Europe on the Eve of World War II.  Whether you had family who lived in Eastern Europe before the war or want to know more about the topic, this talk should be well worth your time.  Professor Polonsky recreates a rich and vibrant world that is often lost in the shadows of myths,  stereotypes, and what we know now was to come.

Professor Polonsky is currently the Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust studies at Brandeis.  Several of the books he has authored or edited are listed below. Besides Professor Polonsky’s books, I have also listed other selected books on the topic for those who would like to do further reading.  For additional information on the talk, click this link.

Books by Antony Polonsky at the Newton Free Library

The Jews in Poland and Russia. (3 vols.) Oxford; Portland, OR: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010-2012.   947.004 P76J

The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland. Edited by Antony Polonsky and Joanna B. Michlic.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.   940.531 NEIGHBORS

From Shtetl to Socialism: Studies from Polin. Edited by Antony Polonsky.  London; Washington: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1993.  943.8 FROM

A Selection of Related Books

Cohen, Chester G. Shtetl Finder: Jewish Communities in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries in the Pale of Settlement of Russia and Poland, and in Lithuania, Latvia, Galicia, and Bukovina, with Names of Residents. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1989.  929.1 COHEN

Dawidowicz, Lucy S. The Golden Tradition: Jewish Life and Thought in Eastern Europe. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 947.004 D32G

Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust.  Edited by Shmuel Spector.  3 vols. Jerusalem: Vad Vashem/New York: New York University Press, 2001.  R 940.531 ENCYCLOPEDIA
—–This work provides the history of the shtetls and cities of nearly every country in continental Europe.  (Exceptions are Bulgaria, Finland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.)

Gitelman, Zvi Y.  A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union.  New York: Schocken Books: 1988. 947.004 G44C

Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Upon the Doorposts of Thy House: Jewish Life in East-Central Europe, Yesterday and Today.  New York: J. Wiley, 1994.  943 G92U

Haumann, Heiko.  A History of Eastern European Jews. Budapest; New York: Central European University Press: 2002.  947.004 HAUMANN

Mokotoff, Gary, Sallyann Amdur Sack, and Alexander Sharon.  Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust.  Revised ed. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2002. R 940.531 M72W
—–This work is key to finding the location of Jewish communities in Europe.  It not only gives you town names, but alternative names, nearby towns, and town names using the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex System.  This system groups town names phonetically, by how the names sound.  This may be the only way you can find a town whose name has been misspelled. Read the explanatory text (pp. xi-xxvi) before using this book.

Reiss, Lionel S. (Lionel Samson) A World in Twilight: A Portrait of the Jewish Communities of Eastern Europe before the Holocaust.  New York, Macmillan, 1971. 914.7 R27W

Shternshis, Anna.  Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.  947.004 S56S

Vishniac, Roman. To Give Them Light: The Legacy of Roman Vishniac. Edited by Marion Wiesel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. 305.892 V82T
—–Vishniac was a photographer who traveled throughout Eastern Europe in the years before World War II.

Roth, Joseph.  Translated by Michael Hofmann. The Wandering Jew. New York : Norton, 2001.  305.892 R74W
—–This is the first English translation of the journalist Joseph Roth who died in 1939. These  writings are about Jews in pre-World War II Europe.

The Yivo Encyclopedia of  Jews in Eastern Europe.  Gershon David Hundert, editor in chief. (2 vols.) New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008  R 305.892 Y65H

Zborowski, Mark and Elizabeth Herzog.  Life is with People: The Jewish Little-Town of Eastern Europe.  New York: International Universities Press, 1962. 296 Z19L


YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
15 W. Sixteenth St.
New York, NY 10011- 6301
Telephone: (212) 246-6080

vea/28 September 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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Tracking ancestors is only the beginning of  researching family history.  As in any research based on genuine interest and curiosity, answered questions create more questions. What was it like in that town or that city at that particular time? What were their lives like?  What did they care about?  How did local, state, and national events effect them? One source of information that people often overlook is local club records — both for locating people and also for learning about life at the time the records were kept.

The Newton History Series presents a series of lectures on Newton history that should be of interest to people with families who lived in this area during the periods covered in the lectures. On Thursday, March 10th at 7:00 pm at the Newton Free Library  Kate Stout and Virginia Leavy will give a program titled The Social Science Club of Newton in the Progressive Era. The series, Women Breaking Boundaries, focuses on the dynamic history of women’s activism in Newton, spanning a full century from the 1880s to the 1980s and is sponsored by Historic Newton.

Are you curious about what smart, motivated women of Newton did with their free time a century ago? Kate Stout will present a brief history of the women’s club movement as gleaned from the record books and papers given by members of the Social Science Club of Newton. Virginia Leavy will then speak about the club’s early educational and social initiatives, and some of the members involved in them. This program is concurrent with two exhibits of historic items from the Social Science Club which will be on view in the display cases in the Main Hall (throughout March) and outside the Special Collections Room (throughout March and April) at the library.

Virginia (Vivi) Leavy has been a member of the Social Science Club of Newton since 2004. From 2008- 2010 she served as its president.

Kate Stout is a writer, journalist and editor. She has been an avid member of the Social Science Club since 2003.

Program writeup taken from the Newton Free Library Newsletter, March 2011, pp. 1,7.

vea/1 March 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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Newton Free Library 1992

An invitation is extended to you for  Tuesday, January 11th, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Druker Auditorium (first doors on your left as you come into the library  from the parking lot.) . Cary Aufseeser, a member of the Board of the Jewish Genealogical Society, will  present an Introduction to Jewish Genealogy. Mr. Aufseeser began his own genealogical research in 2002 and has been able to trace some of his family lines back to the Middle Ages.

Points to be covered include:

* What’s Jewish about Jewish Genealogy
* How do you get started researching your roots
* Where do you find the records that give you information about your ancestors
* What are the most important online sites
* Where can you find resources to help you with your research in metro Boston

Everyone is  welcome.  No reservations are needed. No movie will be shown. There will be handouts. If you are (or want to become) involved in your own family search, you should take advantage of the opportunity offered by this program. Even if, like me, you have found no Jewish ancestors, I would still encourage you to come. I believe you will find much information here that will be extremely relevant to your own journey of discovery. 

The following evening, on Wednesday, January 12th, there will be a meeting of the Newton Genealogy Club from 7:00 to 9:00. It will be held in Meeting Room  A, which is in the group of rooms directly across from Druker Auditorium. The purpose of the club is to share information on records and approaches for starting or extending participants’ genealogical research. Novices and experienced researchers are both welcome. Participants are encouraged to bring questions from their own research for discussion. Come on in and get acquainted.

vea/5 January 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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Newton Free Library November 2010

On Tuesday, December 14, from 7:00 t0 9:00 p.m.,  the Newton Free Library is hosting a viewing of the program “Who Do You Think You Are” featuring Zoe Wanamaker. It will be presented in the Druker Auditorium (first doors on your left as you come into the library  from the parking lot.) Following the showing, there will be  a  question and answer session on researching family history led by Carol Clingan,  Vice President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston.

This episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” is from the original British  version, not the recently aired American series. The program shows how Zoe Wanamaker,  a British-American actress, researches her father’s past in America and his reasons for emigrating to Great Britain.  She then tracks her grandfather, Maurice,  a Russian Jew who settled in Chicago.  Ultimately she is able to follow her family name back to the Ukraine.   Whether you are already well into your family history research or just starting to trace  your family tree, you should find both the film and the question and answer session that follows informative and useful. 

On Tuesday, January 11th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Druker Auditorium, there will be an additional program, an Introduction to Jewish Genealogy.  Cary Aufseeser, a member of the Board of the Jewish Genealogical Society, will be the presenter. He  began his own genealogical research in 2002 and has been able to trace some of his family lines back to the Middle Ages. 

All are welcome.  No reservations are needed. If you are (or want to become) involved in your own family search, you should take advantage of the opportunity offered by these two programs. You do not have to have Jewish ancestors to find the information given here extremely relevant to your own journey of discovery.

vea/9 December 2010
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

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