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Help the NYPL

I am the daughter of a librarian, and I love libraries.   As in, one of my favorite things in the world is to go to a new library.  When I worked at the Harriet Jacobs Family Papers and had to hire interns and staff members, I would always make sure to tell them they would need to do research at the 42nd Street research library.  (The one with the lions).  If their eyes lit up in excitement, they were hired.  I knew they were researchers at heart.

The New York Public Library, like so many institutions these days, is facing a budget crisis.  The budget for buying books has been cut by 26%.  For its Friends Spring Book Fund  Campaign, it has two angels, however; NYPL Trustee Tim Barakett, and his wife Michele, will match every dollar given with two of their own, up to $100,000.  So please consider contributing, even a small amount; your money will have triple the punch.

Speaking of the NYPL, I was thrilled to learn that the Jefferson Market Branch has added Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography to its collection.   My mother worked at this branch when I was a baby, and it is now my local library, so it means a lot for it to be there.  (I’m especially honored after learning of the budget cuts.)
If you haven’t visited, stop by the next time you are in Greenwich Village–it is a beautiful building, originally a courthouse, designed by Frederick Clark Withers and Calvert Vaux in the 1870s.  Don’t miss the spiral staircase.  And Sex and the City fans should make sure to also visit the garden next door–it is where Steve and Miranda got married.

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I will be speaking about Harriet Hosmer’s relationship with Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning at the Poets of Nassau gathering on February 22 at 7 PM. This event was arranged by Christina Rau, a writer I met this summer at the terrific NEH workshop Along the Shore, which explored the history and future of the Brooklyn waterfront. She recently published two poems inspired by her experience in Brooklyn: Down the Promenade (scroll down) and How to Begin a Brooklyn Romance.

The talk will talk place at Bellmore Memorial Library, at 2288 Bedford Avenue in Bellmore.   You can learn about the group on its blog.

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As many book lovers, especially those who live in the western United States, know, the Tattered Cover is an incredible independent book store in Denver–or now 3 stores, actually.  I have gone there my entire life. I remember sitting on the floor reading Gnomes in its first tiny location in Cherry Creek, after taking ballet at the Red Shoes up the street.  And my shelves groan under the weight of books I have either purchased there or that other people have purchased for me as gifts.  When my family is in Denver for Christmas, the Tattered Cover is always the last stop on my father’s and my marathon Christmas Eve shopping trip.   (Below is picture of Neilson, my father, and I last Christmas in the store.) For all these reasons, I am especially excited that I will speaking about Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography on March 22 at 7:30 at the LoDo branch of the store.

Tattered Cover, Dec. 24, 2009

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On Friday, I popped into the Harvard Book Store, a terrific independent book shop in Harvard Square (obviously) to see if it carried Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography.  I didn’t see the book in the American history section, so I dropped off a press release at the information desk.  (A friend of mine who works in marketing for a big publisher had suggested I approach independent bookstores personally about carrying the book.  It is not something I would have ever thought of–like many authors, I think, I just assumed bookstores would just magically know about it.  But it was great advice.)  Yesterday, I received a very nice e-mail from the head buyer for the store explaining that, in fact, the store did carry the book–in the art section!  Which of course makes perfect sense.  So if you are in the Cambridge area and want to buy a copy while supporting a local merchant, stop in.  You can also order online from the shop.

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Just a reminder that I will be discussing Harriet Hosmer at the Watertown Free Public Library tomorrow night (January 6) at 7:30 PM.  The library owns several Harriet Hosmer sculptures and some other artifacts, including her sculpting tools.  I’ve included a slideshow of some of the artifacts below; the image that serves as the header of this blog was taken in the library’s special collections reading room.

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On January 6, I will be giving a talk at the Watertown Free Public Library at 7:30.  The library owns several of Hosmer’s works, as well as her sculpting tools and a collection of her papers.  The staff there was very generous and helpful as I worked on the book, especially in allowing me to use images the library owns.  Hosmer’s childhood home, which no longer exists, was just a few blocks away from the library; below is a picture of what I approximate to be the view of the Charles that she would have had from the house.

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Yesterday, I visited the Metropolitan Museum with some old friends.  I had always hoped the Met gift shop would carry Harriet Hosmer: A Cultural Biography, as the museum collections include Hosmer’s Daphne and one of her   Clasped Hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  The store even sells a replica of the Brownings’ hands.  I was thrilled when I did find in on the shelves; it was the first time I have physically seen the book for sale somewhere.  Below is a picture of me, the book, and my young buddy Ben; Frida Kahlo looks a little skeptical of us all.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to the Hoist a Pint to Harriet event.  I believe a good time was had by all–at least I had a great time.  A jazz band playing the final hour of the party made it even more festive.

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I will be a guest on the Z. Travel and Leisure Hour on WVOX 1460 AM in New Rochelle on Monday Dec. 6 at 8 PM.   The hosts are Susan and Art Zuckerman.  If you are not in the area, you can listen online.

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If you are going to be near lower Manhattan on Sunday, stop by the Greenwich Village Bistro to celebrate the publication of the book and Harriet in general.

Greenwich Village Bistro , 13 Carmine Street, between 6th and Bleecker, New York, NY

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