Mary's Library

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Moran Prairie Library

On Saturday, I made it over to the Moran Prairie Library, where the Friends of the Moran Prairie Library were having a book sale. Our good friend, Jan, is quite active with the Friends. This event was not to be missed. The Moran Prairie Library is part of the Spokane County Library System. That means that Mary and I have County library cards, as well as Spokane City Library cards. Two library cards, however, are not nearly enough for Mary, so she has library cards for Washington State University and Eastern Washington University. WSU and EWU have branch campuses in Spokane.

Anyway, I did find three books to purchase. The book sale featured books from the personal library of the late press secretary for former U.S. Representative Tom Foley of Spokane (a former Speaker of the House). From that collection, I acquired Where Water Falls, by Clarence C. Dill (1970). Mr. Dill was a U.S. Representative and then a U.S. Senator from Washington in the 1920s through the 1940s. After retiring from the Senate, he practiced law in Spokane for many years. I met him briefly back in the 1970's when I was right out of law school and he was about 90 years old and all but retired from law. We had a delightful conversation. I doubt that I have ever had a greater encounter with living history. Mr. Dill told me about highlights of his career, such as authoring the original Federal Communication Act (which he still called the Radio Act) in the 1920's and negotiating with President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930's to get the Grand Coulee Dam built. Mr. Dill became a rather passionate advocate of public power -- especially hydro power -- and his legal career involved working on public power projects around the world. He was a very prominent lawyer in Spokane, and the house he built near Cliff Park is a Spokane landmark. Where Water Falls is his political memoir and I am eager to read it.

For Mary, I found The Young Brontes (can anyone tell me how to do an umlaut in Blogger?), by Phyllis Bentley (1960). This is a children's book, but Mary has been on a Bronte kick lately, and she likes children's literature, so I gave it a shot. Mary seems to be pleased with it.

Finally, I acquired, for both of us, Twenty Years at Hull House, by Jane Addams (1910). When I was in grade school, it seemed that Twenty Years at Hull-House was a book that all of the girls read. That, of course, meant that a boy simply could not read it. It just wasn't the done thing. But, I always wanted to read it. So, now I have my chance. In the 1880's Jane Addams travel to Europe and was both appalled by the poverty that she saw in London and elsewhere and was inspired by the settlement house movement in England. Upon returning to the United States she worked to found a settlement house in Chicago. This effort resulted in Hull-House, the most famous of American settlement houses. Hull-House provided opportunities for Chicago's poor (especially immigrants and children of immigrants) to pursue mental, physical, and cultural development.

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