The Keene Public Library announces its programs for #MAYker Mondays, a month long Maker event occuring at libraries across the country. Soldering 101 is offered on Monday May 6 at 3:30 p.m. Brush Bot Robots takes place on Monday May 13 at 3:30 p.m. and Bookmaking will be offered Monday, May 20 at 3:30 p.m. These free #MAYker Monday workshops are for teens twelve years-of-age and older. Supplies are limited and registration is required. To register, please call the library at 603-352-0157.
On May 6, participants will learn to solder and make a robot blinky. On May 13, teens will cut toothbrushes and attach motors and batteries, to make robots. On May 20, teens 12-18 years old are invited to join book artist Sheila Williams to create a custom blank book. Young people can sign up for one or all of the programs.
The Maker movement is a reaction to a long historic period in which innovation and invention were reserved for specialists. As more individuals become inventors, Maker Faires and Spaces are popping up everywhere and libraries across the country have been developing ideas and spaces around the maker movement and the maker culture. #MAYkerMonday will be held nationwide in libraries throughout May on every Monday.
The first public library to create a maker space as a free and open service to their community was Fayetteville Free Library in New York State, located east of Syracuse. Since then a lot of libraries have been developing ideas and spaces around the maker movement and the maker culture. We have seen a giant leap in libraries as spaces for makers to make and for the Do It Yourself (DIY) community to come together and learn. Of course, librarians have always provided the knowledge for these kinds of things through traditional collections, but there is an emergence of libraries giving dedicated space, programming, and occasionally the tools to help communities make it happen.
The Keene Public Library offers a full calendar of free public events throughout the year for people of all ages. For more information about these programs, please contact Gail Zachariah at the library at 603-352-0157.
Argentine Tango for Seniors is aimed specifically at the active population of retired older adults, looking for a group social activity that combines moderate physical exercise with a wide range of enjoyable and healthful benefits -- but any adult with a flexible daytime schedule is welcome to attend. The six-week series will run each Tuesday from May 7 through June 11 at 1:00 p.m. in Heberton Hall, next to the Keene Public Library on Winter Street. Registration is free, thanks to support from the Friends of the Keene Public Library.
Judith Schwartz, long-time local Argentine Tango dancer, organizer, and teacher, will guide participants through exercises developed to build simple and elegant movement, as well as a diverse dance vocabulary. “Through Argentine Tango, we can learn how to take that old high school slow-dance hug for a walk – how to move together by connecting to and communicating with the person in our arms,” explains Schwartz. “And, along with the fun of dancing to the rhythms of classic and romantic tango music from the 1930s and 1940s, participants may also reap additional benefits of improved posture, balance, and self-confidence, as they learn how to have “tango conversations” with a variety of partners.”
Registration with the library is requested, but not required. To register, call 603-352-0157 or visit the library’s website at www.keeenpubliclibrary.org. No partner is necessary. Seniors can come alone, or bring some friends!! Please wear comfortable clothing, and heavy socks or secure shoes, but no rubber soles.
The Keene Public Library offers a full calendar of free public events throughout the year for people of all ages. For more information about these programs, please contact Gail Zachariah at the library at 603-352-0157.
The Keene Public Library is looking for volunteers to help us offer more programs for our summer program. “Dig Into Reading” is designed to encourage children to continue reading during vacation so that valuable reading skills won’t be lost. We hope to offer a variety of activities for children. If you are interested in helping us, please let us know by calling Gail Zachariah at 603-352-0157 or submitting a Contact Us form.
Some of the things volunteers or interns may do this summer include:
Volunteers will be required to provide references and undergo a background check. Volunteers under the age of 16 will need parental permission and a work permit. More information about volunteer requirements can be found on our Volunteer Page.
Each year during National Library Week (April 14-20, 2013), the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.
A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported.
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey; Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher; Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James; Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini; Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
Looking for Alaska, by John Green; Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz; Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls; Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
Beloved, by Toni Morrison; Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
Dan Belshaw from Oyster River High School in Durham is the winner of New Hampshire's eighth Poetry Out Loud championship. Stephanie Bilodeau from Keene Public Library’s program was selected as alternate champion. Stephanie Bilodeau attends Keene High School. During the competition, she recited three poems: "More Lies" by Karin Gottshall, "To a Mouse" by Robert Burns, and "Poem with One Fact" by Donald Hall.
As state champion, Belshaw receives $200 from the national Poetry Out Loud program and travel expenses from the Poetry Foundation for himself and an adult chaperone to compete for the national championship. His high school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As alternate champion, Stephanie Bilodeau receives $100 and the Keene Public Library receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.
The national Poetry Out Loud competition takes place in Washington, D.C., on April 28 – 30, 2013; high schools students from 50 states will gather to recite their selected poems. A total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends are awarded to participants placing a various levels of the national competition. Should Belshaw be unable to attend, Bilodeau will represent New Hampshire at the event.
The N.H. State Council on the Arts sponsors the Poetry Out Loud national recitation competition for high school students in New Hampshire. The program is initiated and funded through a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Funds are provided to state arts agencies to implement Poetry Out Loud in high schools around the country.
Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Participation in the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary and cultural heritage. All New Hampshire high schools – public, private and parochial – are welcome to participate, as are home-schooled high school-aged students.
The 2013 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program started in the fall with more than 9,000 high school students from 36 high schools participating. The Keene Public Library has participated in the program since 2009. Dan Petit is the library's Poetry Out Loud Coordinator.
Participating students selected poems from a list compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts and the national Poetry Foundation; criteria for judging includes physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.
Finalists from each high school advanced to four regional semi-finals, and the top participants from the regional competitions advanced to the state championship.
“It is both inspiring and humbling to see the poise these future leaders display throughout New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program,” said Lynn Martin Graton, acting director of the N.H. State Council on the Arts. “They are a credit to their families, their teachers and to the state.”
Virginia Prescott, host of New Hampshire Public Radio-produced “Word of Mouth” was the master of ceremonies at the championship.
Performance judges for the 2013 N.H. Poetry Out Loud finals included Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine; poet Martha Carlson-Bradley; Byron Champlin, assistant vice president and program officer for the Lincoln Financial Foundation; poet Jennifer Militello; Michele Perkins, president of New England College; author Mike Pride; and Sheila Whitney Mable, adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. Poet Sara Willingham served as accuracy judge. Frumie Selchen, executive director of the Arts Alliance of Northern N.H., supervised the scoring team.
New Hampshire is fortunate to have many local partners for the 2013 New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud program, including the Putnam Foundation, the Daniel Thomas and Karen K. Moran Charitable Funds of the N.H. Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Writers Project, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, CavanKerry Press, the Frost Place, the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, Toadstool Bookstores, and Hannaford Supermarkets, as well as New England College, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State University and Plymouth State University’s School of Graduate Studies. Additional support comes from Gibson’s Bookstore and Water Street Books.
More information about New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program, including a list of high school champions, state semi-final participants and state championship participants, is available by clicking on the “Poetry Out Loud” link at www.nh.gov/nharts. More information about the national program is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.
To learn how your high school or high school student can participate in New Hampshire’s Poetry Out Loud program, visit the N.H. State Council on the Arts website: www.nh.gov/nharts, or contact Catherine O'Brian Arts Education Grants and Programs coordinator, N.H. State Council on the Arts (603) 271-0795, Catherine.R.O'Brian@dcr.nh.gov.
The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is a publicly funded agency within the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources. It began in 1965 with legislation designed “to insure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and play an ever more significant part in the education and welfare of our citizens.” Funding comes from state appropriations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Conservation License Plate fund. Learn more about the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at www.nh.gov/nharts.
The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce the next meeting of their LEGO® Club is Monday, May 20 from 4:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Interested parties should register by calling 603-352-0157.
"We encourage kids and families of all ages who love to build to come to the library and play together," says Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services. According to Zachariah, “Although everyone is welcome, this monthly LEGO Club focuses most on school age builders." The library offers a semi-regular LEGO storytime called “Read! Build! Play!., a product of a partnership between the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and LEGO® DUPLO®. The LEGO storytime is for children five and under. It is chock full of cutting edge ideas related to early literacy programming that combine preschool books with creative play in the form of a versatile collection of LEGO DUPLO bricks.
LEGO clubs have proliferated at libraries across the nation as studies reveal the benefits of creative play. In the 2009 book "Play = Learning," Yale researcher Dorothy Singer argues that games which make use of logical thinking increase scientific reasoning, problem solving skills and mathematical abilities. Cooperative LEGO clubs like the one at the Keene Public Library also encourage the development of social skills.
The Keene Public Library offers a full calendar of free public programs throughout the year for people of all ages. For more information about these programs, please contact Gail Zachariah at the library at 603-352-0157 or email@example.com.
Citizen Science is a fun way for kids and adults to learn the scientific method, explore the outdoors and help scientists make discoveries. Families and educators are invited to find out about Picture Post, a citizen science project at the Keene Public Library. On Tuesday March 26 at 4:0o p.m., Annette Schloss of the Earth Systems Research Center (ESRC) will visit the library to introduce the project, which allows anyone to use a cell phone or digital camera to carefully monitor a particular environment over time.
Picture Posts can be invaluable in monitoring plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and other variations in climate. Gail Zachariah, Head of Youth and Community Services at the Keene Public Library, is very excited about bringing Picture Post to Keene. "Both natural changes, like those that follow the seasons, and those caused by humans can be observed. Students can compare and help monitor haze; clouds; precipitation, including snow and ice; and vegetation. Plus, students can learn about photography and technology. What more could you want?"
Picture Post, part of the Digital Earth Watch network, is funded by NASA and is hosted by the University of New Hampshire.
For more information, please contact Gail Zachariah at the Keene Public Library at 603-352-0157.
New and Experienced Knitters of All Ages Invited to Join Knitting Circle
The Keene Public Library announces the reformation of an informal knitting circle for young knitters of all skill levels and all ages. The group will most likely be made up mostly of young knitters, but interested adults are welcome to attend as well. Come and learn to knit or bring a project you are working on. If you are interested in learning to knit, and you don't have the supplies, don't worry, the library can supply you with the basics. If you want to bring your own supplies, the library recommends that you bring a skein of bulky wool yarn and wooden U.S. size 8 (5 mm) needles. This group will start Tuesday, March 19 and continue through Tuesday, April 23 and will meet in the library’s Youth Department. The Keene Public Library is located at 60 Winter Street. Call the library at 603-352-0157 to register or for more information about youth and family programs.
Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their caregivers are invited to enter a wonderful world filled with songs and rhymes, clapping hands and smiling faces, wide eyes and comfortable laps at the Keene Public Library. Registration for the next session of Preschool Storytime, Toddler Two-Times, and Lapsit Time at the Keene Public Library has begun. The eight-week session of programs starts the week of March 18 and concludes the week of May 10. Registration will continue throughout the series as space is available.
The Keene Public Library is pleased to announce new take-and-go storytime packs of two or three librarian-tested best bests for sharing. During those weeks when there is no storytime offered, special packs will be available for checkout. While librarians are planning the next storytime series, the Library invites parents and caregivers to stop by the Youth Department to select and take home a storytime pack to share with loved ones.
The new storytime series starts the week of March 18, 2013, During Preschool Storytime, children will enjoy age appropriate stories, songs, poetry, and activities. Preschool Storytime is designed for children aged three to six and is held on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. Lapsit Time is designed for pre-talking babies and their caregivers and is held Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. Each lapsit program includes simple age appropriate stories, songs, fingerplays, and handouts. Toddler and Two-Times is an introduction to books and the library for toddlers and their caregivers. Toddler and Two-Times is held Fridays at 10:00 a.m.
The Keene Public Library offers a drop-in story Saturday story program each week of the year on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. This program will include stories, fingerplays, and a simple craft or take-home project. The drop-in programs are perfect for busy families who cannot commit to a regular storytime or for visiting friends and relatives.
Story programs at the Keene Public Library were created in response to continuing research that shows the importance of sharing language with very young children. Sharing books helps to create a deep and lasting bond between child and caregiver. The early introduction of language play, books, rhymes, and songs into a child’s life offers him or her a variety of experiences. Finally, sharing books with very young children can help to prepare children to learn to read and love books. “Reading is the basis for all learning,” Youth Services Librarian Gail Zachariah explained. “Encouraging your kids to read and use the library is the best thing you can do to help them do better in school and keep learning throughout their lives.”
Although all Keene Public Library programs are free and open to the public, space is limited and registration is required for Preschool Storytime, Toddler Two-Times, and Lapsit Time. To register for Preschool Storytime, Two-Times, or Lapsit Time or for further information about family and youth programs at the Keene Public Library, call 603-352-0157.
Few Civil War heroes have garnered as much attention in the 20th Century as Ulysses S. Grant. He has been portrayed in more than 35 films, including the hit, “Lincoln” directed by Stephen Speilberg, plus dozens of TV shows.
From the 1920s through the 1980s Grant was viewed as a brutal warrior general, an inept President and a drunk. However, though Grant's legacy as a military leader and President will always be entwined with the American Civil War and Reconstruction, revisionist historians have since begun to look at Grant from a new approach having appreciated his genius as general, his protection of African Americans during Reconstruction as commanding general and President, and his peace policy towards American Indians.
Historian H. W. Brands has said Grant's reputation suffered in the years after his presidency as "Southern Democrats forgot that secession was about slavery" and embraced the Lost Cause view of the war, while northern Republicans likewise "lost touch with the anti-slavery roots of their party" and embraced a more capitalistic view of politics. Brands states that since Grant's presidency stood against both party's revisions of history, he was attacked for scandals and failed actions while the positive aspects of his presidency were overlooked.
In terms of assessing President Grant from an "emancipationist" historical view, Grant's policies look "surprisingly good." Grant secured the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and enforced the rights of African Americans to vote. Grant's reputation has improved due to his use of federal troops and the Justice Department under his Enforcement Acts to prosecute and shut down the Ku Klux Klan from 1871 to 1873; the result, according to historian James McPherson, was that Grant's victory in 1872 was one of the fairest Presidential elections in the United States.
Grant is the third most popular American president to be portrayed in movies and TV. Portrayals include:
Joan Waugh, author of U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth, explores the memory of the heroic Civil War general and 18th President of the United States.
Q: Why is reviving the image of Ulysses S. Grant as a great American hero so important?
A: I see my book as not "reviving" but "recovering" or even "rediscovering" his image and reputation. I think it's important because people cannot really appreciate the enormous impact of the Civil War if they forget about or dismiss the meaning behind its symbols and heroes, such as U. S. Grant. He embodied the Union cause for Americans of his day -- why the United States fought to preserve the country -- more than any living person of the time.
Q: Tell us about why you divide the book into two parts, first considering Grant's life and his status as an "American Hero" and then examining him as an "American Myth."
A: That's such a good question, and to tell you the truth, I struggled with the organization of the book in terms of how much to write about his life. In the beginning of my project, I assumed that everyone knew about Grant's role in the Civil War and as president (whether they liked him or not), but after researching the topic for a few years, I realized that many of my potential readers might need to be educated about the scale of his accomplishments and achievements. That is why the first chapters of the book highlight his ascent into heroic status while the remaining chapters chronicle the mythic general.
Grant's portrait is in the middle of a picture surrounded by his chronological military history starting with graduating from West Point, next the Mexican-American War, and finally Civil War events and battle scenes.
Grant from West Point to Appomattox, an 1885 engraving by Thure de Thulstrup. Clockwise from lower left: Graduation from West Point (1843); In the tower at Chapultepec (1847); Drilling his Volunteers (1861); The Battle of Fort Donelson (1862); The Battle of Shiloh (1862); The Siege of Vicksburg (1863); The Battle of Chattanooga (1863); Appointment as Lieutenant General by Abraham Lincoln (1864); The Surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House (1865)
Q: In his day, Grant was considered a hero comparable to the likes of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Why was Grant so popular in the nineteenth century? What did he represent to the American people?
A: Most Americans held a high regard for the man who, with Lincoln, preserved and sustained the United States. In my book I make clear that white southerners did not esteem Grant and his memory like so many in the northern states. (The overwhelming majority of Americans lived in the northeast during the nineteenth century.) Yet in 1885, the year of Grant's death, I found a number of published southern eulogies linking Washington, the Father, with Grant, the Savior, emphasizing Grant's magnanimity at Appomattox. In the north, Lincoln, the Martyr, was added in countless representations of the "great triumvirate."
Q: Why have his status as an American hero and his importance as a historical figure diminished since the mid-twentieth century?
A: Undoubtedly the fallout from the Vietnam War turned Americans, and certainly many historians, away from a favorable portrayal of military heroes in war and peace, and General Grant's historical status suffered and declined. The perception persists in the popular mind that Grant's generalship was brutal and presaged "modern" war while his Confederate counterpart, General Robert E. Lee, waged a "gentlemanly" type of old-fashioned warfare. The fact that soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia suffered many more deaths and casualties (proportionately) in comparison with soldiers under Grant has not really changed the perception of Grant the "butcher."
Q: Today, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's memory often overshadows Grant's image as a Civil War general. Why?
A: As the memory and meaning of the Union cause faded somewhat in the twentieth century, the pro-Confederate depiction of the war called the "Lost Cause" seemed to gather strength, and Lee was the patron saint of that effort. In addition, Lee was also genuinely admired by northerners for his faultless public acceptance of the results of the war. Indeed, Lee's high born status, his link with George Washington, his striking good looks, and his remarkable talent as a military leader made him the perfect choice for the reconciliationist icon along with President Abraham Lincoln. Those two -- Lincoln and Lee -- emerged as the symbols of the war, not Lincoln and Grant. Recently, Lee's image has suffered as academic scholars have dismantled the myths of the Lost Cause, including the idea that Lee hated slavery. Recent scholarship on Grant has been trending more favorably both for his reputation as general and as president.
Q: Why did Grant become so revered by the American people as a general in the war?
A: In both the western and eastern theaters, Grant fought aggressively, secured a vast amount of Confederate territory, and received the surrender of three rebel armies at Fort Donelson in 1862; at Vicksburg in 1863; at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865. He was, by far, the most successful Union general of the Civil War and by November 1863 (after his victory at Chattanooga) emerged as the military symbol of Union victory and a reunited country, offering hope for an end to the terrible bloodshed.
It may seem odd to us that military heroes were so revered, but in many ways, Civil War generals were treated like today's celebrities. (This was already an established American tradition -- think of general-presidents George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor.) After 1863 until the end of his life, Grant attracted huge crowds wherever he went, and the extent and depth of his fame rivals the movie stars or sports celebrities of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Q: How did he use his popularity to secure his two terms as president?
A: Grant's immense prestige, lending stability to a war-weary country was enough to make both his elections a certain thing. He did not seek the presidency and was a reluctant politician. He stated his reasons for accepting the 1868 Republican nomination very clearly when he wrote that the fate of the United States could not be trusted to "mere trading politicians," expressing the fear that the war's gains would be lost if left to them.
Q: What did nineteenth-century Americans think of Grant's presidency? How is Grant's presidency remembered today?Â
A: We do not have the benefit of extensive opinion polls to help interpret nineteenth-century voters' mood swings toward their politicians and political parties. Besides newspapers, orations, letters, and other material, we must rely on election results. Despite huge challenges and controversies, we know that Grant won two commanding victories in 1868 and 1872. During his administrations, a majority approved his actions toward western development, Indian policy, reconstruction, and diplomacy, particularly the resolution of the so-called Alabama claims with Great Britain.
His second term brought disappointment and disaster in the form of scandals and a severe economic depression (1873). His dream of a peaceful reconstruction was dashed by the harsh realities of white resistance, the failure of Republican state governments, and a growing impatience with military intervention in the south. In 1876, I think that even Grant's most stalwart supporters were happy to see him leave office, which, by the way, makes him little different than most of our second term presidents!
Q: After leaving office, Grant commenced on a world tour that lasted from 1877-1879. How did it contribute to his public image?
A: Grant, who never lost his iconic military status even in the worst days of his presidency, saw his popularity rise once again when he left the White House. He became a global celebrity and international statesman, traveling to England, France, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia, Holland, Spain, and Portugal (among many other countries), and ending in China and Japan. The first time any ex-president traveled so widely, Grant was greeted everywhere by huge crowds and treated with great respect by kings and queens, generals and prime ministers. To his hosts, General Grant symbolized a new American identity born of war, freedom, economic prosperity, and a nationalism and internationalism leavened with democratic ideals.
In short, U. S. Grant embodied the wave of the future to admiring nations, and the extraordinary press coverage abroad and in the American press made him a formidable figure upon his return to his country in 1879.
Q: How much of what we know about Grant's life and how we remember the Civil War is influenced by Grant's own writing in his memoir, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant?
A: Grant's two-volume autobiography is largely the history of his generalship in the Civil War, and, as such, it is a riveting narrative of the entire war from one of its leading participants. From its publication in 1885, the Memoirs have been considered an indispensable source for historians as well as a large reading public audience. Frankly, I approached my first experience reading the volumes with the expectation that I would find them hard going, but I was pleasantly surprised. There is a good reason why the Memoirs are considered by many to be both a literary and historical masterpiece. For the purposes of my book, they represent the best explication of what the Union cause was all about. Modern readers expecting a "tell-all" memoir will be sorely disappointed. In the nineteenth century, both autobiographies and biographies were intended to deliberately inspire, not to cater to the desire for scandal and gossip. Grant penned a short (but nonetheless illuminating) section on his family and youthful experiences, but neither addressed his personal failings (for example, alcoholism) nor revealed details of his private life.
Q: The publicity surrounding Grant's death and his funeral, which was attended by a million and a half people, was unheard of in the late nineteenth century and represent his overwhelming status as a great American hero at the time of his death. How is his funeral representative of the memory he left behind and his status as a symbol of the Civil War?
A: While over a million and a half people gathered in New York City to view Grant's funeral procession and burial ceremonies, it was but the biggest of the thousands of memorial ceremonies (in the south too) held on August 8, 1885. Grant's funeral was by far the largest ever held and suggests that his passing sparked a national conversation about the meaning and memory of the war which had ended twenty years earlier.
What was especially notable about this event -- which was at once patriotic, religious, and emotional -- is how Grant's death marked an important milestone on the road to sectional reconciliation. Indeed his death and funeral became a vehicle for exploring and celebrating how his generous surrender terms at Appomattox began the hard but successful work in bringing the nation back together.
Even as serious divisions persisted and large groups of veterans and others cherished and honored their memories of the war (Union cause, Lost Cause, emancipationist), a version of the war emphasizing "sectional harmony" emerged (both sides fought for honorable causes; both Confederate and Union soldiers were brave and honorable; the best outcome was that of a strong and united America). This version of the war allowed both northerners and southerners to agree on a non-controversial memory of the war and to commemorate it together at certain times. Thus, commemorating Grant at his death and during the national funeral became a way of acknowledging the fact that "The north and south are reunited forever."
Q: How do Grant's Tomb, The General Grant National Memorial in New York City, and its construction represent his legacy?
A: The most important and surprising aspect of Grant's Tomb that came out of my research was how the sheer scale of tragic death and heroic sacrifice endured by the Civil War generation resulted in the building of statues and other structures in so many places north and south. Grant's Manhattan monument was the largest and most expensive memorial of all, but its essence was to immortalize in granite, marble, and bronze both Grant's legacy of preserving the Union and bringing freedom to enslaved people, and the entire generations' role in the conflict.
The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands,(2012).
With the Grant-biography market full of scholarly works by William McFeely, Brooks Simpson, and Jean Edward Smith, Brands’ entry, like Geoffrey Perret’s Ulysses S. Grant (1997), is designed for a wide readership. Synthesized from basic sources, such as Grant’s memoirs, and informed by Brands’ knowledge of nineteenth-century American history, about which he’s written numerous popular titles, the narrative straightforwardly presents Grant’s life, from his boyhood love of horses to his stoical perseverance in finishing his memoirs during his terminal illness in 1885.
— Excerpt of review by Gilbert Taylor first published June 1, 2012 (Booklist).
Grant’s Final Victory: Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year by Charles Bracelen Flood, (2011).
Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, commonly extolled as the best memoir by a Civil War general, had a precarious genesis. “I had determined never to . . . write anything for publication,” Grant explains in the preface, but “the rascality of a business partner” ruined him. Forced to make money fast, he consented to a magazine’s importuning for an article about the Battle of Shiloh. The result dismayed the editor, who thought it as lifeless as an official report. His fix—the key to the memoirs’ readability—was to have Grant, a good conversationalist, compose it as if he were talking to friends. Grant saw the point, scaled up to a book, and contracted with Mark Twain to publish it. Civil War historian Flood recounts the ensuing circumstances of Grant’s completion of the book, which became a race against time after Grant’s late 1884 diagnosis of terminal throat cancer. In day-to-day detail about editorial advances and retreating health, Flood captures Grant’s stoic determination to finish, delivering the poignant backstory to his famous, ever-popular recollections. — Excerpt of review by Gilbert Taylor first published August, 2011 (Booklist).
Ulysses S. Grant by Josiah Bunting, (2004).
Like John Dean’s Warren G. Harding (2004), Bunting’s Grant rehabilitates a reputation commonly besmirched with scandal, and also, in Grant’s case, with drunkenness and military butchery. Grant did drink too much—almost exclusively, however, when, after the Mexican War, he was stationed on the West Coast, far from his family. Grant waged war with unstinting force, which Bunting says was necessary against an enemy fighting on their home ground; this led to increased Union losses, but Confederate casualty rates were greater. A richly written blow against ill-informed historical cynicism.
— Excerpt of review by Ray Olson first published September 1, 2004 (Booklist).
1. Article illustration:"On to Richmond". This painting depicts Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant on the field during the Battle of Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864, http://www.army.mil/-images/2009/05/03/36737/army.mil-36737-2009-05-01-1...
3. Book cover: U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth.
4. Grant from West Point to Appomattox, an 1885 engraving presumably intended to commemorate Grant's achievements after his death.
5. Grant's Tomb concrete structure face and dome shown.
General Grant National Memorial, known colloquially as "Grant's Tomb", is the largest mausoleum in North America, and one of the largest in the world.