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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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One of the main themes in my biography of Hosmer is the ways she and her supporters shaped her image to make her acceptable to her nineteenth-century audience.  As part of this project, Hosmer made sure never to seem too ambitious or angry in public.  But in private letters a different picture sometimes emerges.  When she was in contention for the commission to sculpt a memorial to Missouri senator Thomas Hart Benton, for instance, she reveled in the thought of “collapsing the flues” of her competitors in Rome with the news of her victory.  When she did win, she reported that her friend Shakespeare Wood regretted one particularly jealous contemporary was out of town so Wood wouldn’t get to witness “his horrid grin of anguish” at the news.  Of course, Hosmer eventually took what she called the “wise & prudent” route of gracious acceptance.  Still the snarkiness was there, and therefore I think she would have really liked author Anita Liberty’s new line of Fair Anger Jewelry.  Simple and lovely pendant necklaces come with themes such as Confidence: Imbues with the confidence to knowledge to know you are, in fact, always right.  And Contentment: Amplifies your feelings of superiority and self confidence.  Hosmer, ever confident, would have coveted that one, I believe.

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