William Waldorf Astor’s Premature “Brush” With Death
October 24, 2012

Celebrity train wrecks are pretty standard fare for today’s news media (thank you TMZ) but that doesn’t mean history lacks its share of eccentric and ill-advised antics; among these is the the premature report of William Waldorf Astor’s death in 1892. After a middling political career and having inherited a personal fortune that drew the unrelenting…

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Elephants in the (Reading) Room
March 27, 2012

Written by Joseph Ditta, Reference Librarian. Apropos of nothing, here are two elephant “firsts” from the library collections. The Elephant (Newburyport, Mass.: William Barrett, 1797) Broadside SY1797 no. 26. Although most accounts refer to it in the masculine, the first elephant brought to the United States (through New York, of course!), was actually female. Some…

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