Daniel Boone cover

Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone
Daugherty
1939

Submitter: In Daniel Boone, Native Americans are variously described as savages, demons, “rats in the night,” “infesting the woods,” cat-eyed, and “as doomed as the buffalo.” White skin or white racial identity is frequently painted as superior to other races, for example: “The great landlords were demanding costly land titles and bringing in slave labor so that it was a disgrace for a white man to work with his hands” (page 25).

Amos Fortune

Friday Fiction: Amos Fortune: Free Man

Amos Fortune: Free Man
Yates
1951

Submitter: Somehow this book from 1951 was still on the shelf, maybe because of that shiny Newbery sticker on the cover. Or maybe it just got overlooked. Either way, a story of a slave written in the 50s is likely going to be questionable today, and I would say this one is. Descriptions comparing Black characters to dogs and untamed animals are jarring. The idea that Africans needed to be civilized before they could handle freedom seems to be presented not as something that many people wrongly believed at the time but as actually being true. At one point it is spoken directly from the still-enslaved main character himself. With some guidance and discussion, this book could be instructive of assorted historical and current trends in racist thought and language, but the public library kids biography section isn’t the place for that.

National Geographic

American Heritage

What do we have here? I’ll tell you what: approximately 70 years of bound American Heritage magazines. Each book is one year of issues. The last 20-ish years were individual monthly issues.

These have been living in the reference collection at my library, gathering dust since who knows when. I’ve worked there for 12 years and they were already dusty then.

bicentennial almanac front cover

200 years of fun

The Bicentennial Almanac
200 Years of America
Linton, ed.
1975

Another book from Mary’s Swedish Death Cleaning Project.

This title really had me scratching my head. I was a cynical and naive kid back in the 1970s. I was a history fan, so I can only surmise that someone gave this to me as a gift. I doubt it was ever opened. If you were around back then, the whole country had bicentennial fever. Every product out there seemed to make a “Bicentennial” version of whatever was around.

Mary's library for weeding

Library Death Cleaning

Since I am working from home right now, I have set up shop in what we call “the library.” Most of the stuff in this room are books, pictures, and some miscellany from family. This room is more for reading and not working. However, I wanted to keep library work separate from my other stuff, so I used this room so I could spread out.

We have a LOT of books in this room. Most of the time, I don’t pay attention since I mostly read library books. I can’t remember the last time I looked at titles in here. Combine this with the fact that I turned 60 last month, and we have known people that have been sick – and in some cases died – from COVID-19, I had a literal Swedish Death Cleaning moment. I am not planning to die soon, but I have decided that it’s time to get rid of our detritus throughout the house, starting with this room.

Forts

American Forts

Historic American Forts
From Frontier Stockade to Coastal Fortress
Colby
1963

I have no doubts that historical forts are worthy of a book. Back in the early 1960’s, this was probably a reasonable choice. This is some brief history and a bit of tourist information on about 15 forts across the United States. Not bad, but I am sure any tourist information, including maps, are woefully out of date after more than 50 years. The library binding of the old days, dense print, and lackluster photography means no one will be giving this book a second look no matter how informative.

Mary