29 janeiro 2018

The First Lady's Library

Abigail Powers started life as a schoolmistress in New York state, and eventually married one of her pupils – future US president Millard Fillmore. The couple, though never rich, acquired a private library of over 4,000 books which was astonishing for the time.  Though Abigail stopped teaching after the birth of their first child, and Millard’s election to the New York state legislature, she never lost her love for learning. Her husband always made sure to buy her a few new books during his travels to cities like Albany, New York, and Washington. So when Abigail moved into the White House, she was horrified to discover that the executive mansion housed not a single book. No library for the president? An outrage.

She got Congress to give the Fillmores $2,000 to start a collection for a presidential library, and Abigail personally supervised the purchase of each item. Maps, reference works, histories, even some novels made their way to the White House’s second-floor parlor, which became the official White House library. The finishing touch was a piano, which Abigail had taught herself to play. Though the room has changed (from the second floor parlor to the ground floor) the White House library is still the most famous legacy of Abigail Powers Fillmore, the First Lady who loved to learn.

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A Chinese funeral in Macau, a Portuguese colony. Circa 1953.



A Chinese funeral in Macau, a Portuguese colony. Circa 1953.

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Eroded Layers in Shalbatana Valles


Layers, probably sedimentary in origin, have undergone extensive erosion in this image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of Shalbatana Valles, a prominent channel that cuts through Xanthe Terra.

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