Category: Biography

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Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson

A widow of her first marriage, Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson was the wife of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Dying of ill health during the Revolutionary War, she did not live to see her husband become President.

Category: Biography

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An Oscar for Personal Courage

Dr. Haing S. Ngor's Oscar-winning performance in The Killing Fields gave him the platform to tell the world about the mass murder that occurred between 1975 and 1979 in Cambodia at the hands of the Khmer Rouge communists.

Category: Biography

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Last Word: Olivia de Havilland on Joan Fontaine

WITH any case of sibling rivalry, one party tends to like the last word and even at 100, Olivia de Havilland is no exception.
Her legendary Hollywood feud with Joan Fontaine lasted right until her younger sister’s death in 2013.
Now, three years later, de Havilland, celebrating her centennial at home in Paris, is ensuring that her side of the story is the final one.

Category: Biography

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Camilla Parker Bowles: Diana’s Death

This is the last in a series of three articles on the life of Camilla Parker Bowles. To begin with the first, please click here
It was a tragic twist of fate that would change the lives of Charles, Camilla and the entire royal family. Charles was spending some precious days with his sons at the royal summer getaway in Balmoral over the 1997 summer break. Then came the news that shocked the world.
Where could he turn for consolation?

Category: Biography

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The Hero of Hickory Farms

Richard K. Ransom, founder of Hickory Farms, died from Alzheimer’s disease on April 11, 2016. He was 96.

Category: Biography

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Lucille Ball & Desi: The Divorce

The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz show filmed on March 2, 1960 wasn’t only the final appearance for that wackiest of TV families, the Ricardos, it also marked the end of the couple’s real-life marriage.

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Remembering...

Many of you are already familiar with the wonderful articles and stories (and let's not forget our favorite guilty pleasure The iCandidate!) written by our very own Executive Book Club Director David Gardner. If you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to check them out - I'm quite confident you'll enjoy them!
This article is a bit different. Childhood memories stay with us throughout our lives, but rarely are they shared so powerfully.
Bravo David, and thank you.
Michelle Forsythe, NoteStream CEO

Category: Memorial Day

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Famous Gangsters: Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino was one of the most secretive and low-key of the major American mob bosses – but he was also among the most effective.

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Classic Bond: George Lazenby

George Lazenby, the forgotten Bond, went from being a car salesman and male model to win the most coveted role in Hollywood with absolutely zero acting credits.

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Famous Gangsters: Charles Lucky Luciano

Charles “Lucky” Luciano is known as the father of organized crime in the United States. With childhood friend Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel he went from running extortion rackets on the mean streets of New York to forming a National Crime Syndicate that spread the mob’s tentacles across the country.

Category: Biography

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'Toni' Stone, 1921–1996

Marcenia Lyle (Toni "Tomboy") Stone broke both gender and racial barriers by becoming the first female professional baseball player in the Negro Major League. During her career, she played with a variety of men's teams before making history when she joined the Indianapolis Clowns, a Negro Major League Team.

Category: Biography

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On Oscar Wilde and Plagiarism

Oscar Wilde is a legendary writer with a very controversial background. He's been criticized by many artists for his plagiarizing and considered (by many) to be a literary imposter.

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Blind Lemon Jefferson

Born in the 1890’s in Freestone County, Texas, Jefferson died some 30 years later on the 18th or 19th of December, 1929. At an early age, he was blind, or nearly so. As a young man, he traveled around Texas as a street musician.

Category: Biography

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Stellar Spectra: Antonia Maury

By: Lindsay Smith 29885
Antonia Maury (March 21, 1866 – January 8, 1952) was an American astronomer who published an important early catalog of stellar spectra.

Category: Biography

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Robin Williams: Battle With Depression

Robin Williams may have spent most of his life making other people laugh – but he was often crying inside.

Category: Biography

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Paul Brady, Carrie Grover, Bob Dylan, and 'Arthur McBride'

A few years ago, I wrote an article in Folklife Center News about popular recordings inspired by AFC collection items. One of the ones I chose was Paul Brady’s version of an Irish ballad he called “Arthur McBride and the Sergeant” (see thelyrics at this link). In the article I revealed that Brady had based his version on the singing of Mrs. Carrie Grover, of Gorham, Maine, and that AFC has the only known recording of Mrs. Grover singing the song. Given recent developments, I think it’s time to expand my research and comments on “Arthur McBride,” [1] and to present Mrs. Grover’s recording to our readers.

Category: Biography

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Jane Loudon

Jane C. Loudon 1807-58 was a British writer best known for creating the first popular gardening manuals, providing an alternative to the specialist horticultural books of the day.

Category: Biography

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Doris Day Marriage Disasters: Al Jorden

JUST like the sunny characters she played on screen, Doris Day was an incurable romantic.
At the impressionable age of 17 and just embarking on her singing career, the young songbird ignored her bandmates and her mother who warned her not to marry surly trombonist Al Jorden.
Even as a teenager, Doris dreamed of becoming the wholesome housewife she went on to personify in so many movies.
But her 1941 marriage would become more like a dark, violent horror film than a romantic comedy.

Category: Biography

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Annie Jump Cannon

If you've never heard of Annie Jump Cannon, prepare to be amazed. She was an outstanding scientist whose research helped shape contemporary astronomy. She was honored with numerous awards for her work at Harvard College Observatory, and In numerous cases, she was the first woman ever to do so.

Category: Biography

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Camilla Parker Bowles: Deceiving Diana

This is the second article in a series of three on the life of Camilla Parker Bowles. To begin with the first, please click here
They looked like best friends sharing a joke as they huddled against the wind at Ludlow racecourse close to England’s border with Wales.
For Lady Diana Spencer, it was an opportunity to spend some quality time with the royal insider who had championed her match with Prince Charles.
But Camilla Parker-Bowles had a very different agenda – she was lulling the naïve, young future princess into a false sense of security.
As history has borne out, Camilla and Charles never really had any intention of allowing Diana to live happily ever after with her dream prince.

Category: Biography

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Doris Day – My Heart – Terry Melcher

There was only ever one man in her life that Doris Day could really trust. Sadly, Doris’s only child, Terry, also broke her heart when he died from cancer at the age of 62 on November 19, 2004. Doris was so young when she had Terry at just 18 that she would often say they were more like siblings than mother and son.

Category: Biography

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Bugsy Siegel 1906-1947

Bugsy Siegel wasn’t the kind of shy gangster who pulled strings from a smoky back room. Handsome and charismatic, he was one of the first of the front-page mobsters.

Category: Biography

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Woman of Science: Marie Curie

She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize — in fact, to this day she remains the only woman to win two — and the first person of either sex to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. These achievements make it all the more noteworthy that her undergraduate education took place at an illegal, private institution.

Category: Biography

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The Highway Serial Killer

More than 300 unsolved murders are linked to an FBI file that is never closed at the agency’s profiler base in Quantico – the Highway Serial Killer case.

Category: Biography

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Lucille Ball: Marriage To Gary Morton

Lucille’s second husband was perfect for the exhausted star for one reason above all other – he was the anti-Desi!

Category: Biography

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Classic Bond: Roger Moore

For an actor who has starred in seven James Bond blockbusters, Roger Moore is famously dismissive about his acting chops.
“I have three expressions,” he likes to say. “Left eyebrow up, left eyebrow down, eyebrows not moving.”

Category: Biography

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Famous Gangsters: Albert Anastasia 1902-1957

Albert Anastasia was nicknamed “The Executioner” for good reason – he was one of the most feared and merciless Cosa Nostra assassins in criminal history.

Category: Biography

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Introduction to Jane Austen

With the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death coming next year, you can be sure that her name will once again be getting the recognition she never found in life and her many, many fans will continue to find solace in her stories from a gentler time.

Category: Biography

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Frank Sinatra and The Mob

It is the most shocking scene in The Godfather – a horse’s head still dripping with blood is discovered in the bed of a Hollywood studio boss who dared to say no to the Mob. In the movie based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel, the macabre threat is enough to win fading lounge singer Johnny Fontaine the big screen part that will put him back on top.

Category: Biography

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Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow

DEAN Martin once quipped he had a bottle of Scotch older than Mia Farrow.
When the elfin actress met Sinatra in 1964 he was nearly 50--she was 19, five years younger than Frank’s daughter Nancy. Frank and Mia insisted the 30-year age difference wouldn’t make any difference.
But, of course, it did.

Category: Biography

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Last Love: Sinatra And Barbara

BARBARA Marx had her hair in curlers just one hour before her 1976 wedding to Frank Sinatra when she got an urgent 11th hour delivery – a pre-nuptial agreement from the bridegroom.
After three failed marriages, the 60-year-old crooner wasn’t taking any chances.
This time, he was going in with those old blue eyes wide open.
“I really don't think I want to sign this right now,” Barbara said, pushing the document away.
“Unless you do, there'll be no wedding,” Sinatra’s attorney told her.

Category: Biography

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Sinatra’s First Wife: Nancy

IT was, as Sinatra’s oldest friends liked to say, a match made in Hoboken.
Nancy Rose Barbato was the nice girl from the neighborhood, hand-picked by his mother to keep her son in order.
With her big, noisy Italian family of five sisters and a brother, opera reverberating onto the porch of their large Jersey City, New Jersey house, Nancy was just 17 when she first saw Sinatra, then 19, walking home from the beach.
She would go on to bear him three children, scrub floors, sew her own clothes and scrimp and save while her husband pursued his dream to be a singer.

Category: Biography

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Robin Williams: Addiction

In the first flush of fame, laughter was enough of a drug to fuel Robin Williams’ manic need to be loved. But like most addictions, it wasn’t long before he needed something even stronger to keep his childhood insecurities at bay.

Category: Biography

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Cults and Secret Societies: Children of God

David Brandt Berg, frequently known by the pseudonym Moses David, was the founder and leader of the new religious movement formerly called Children of God, now called "The Family International"

Category: Biography

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James Wilson: America’s First Globemaker

At the age of 33, James Wilson (1763-1855) moved out of the log cabin he had built by hand, sold all the stock he possessed on his 100 acre farm, and managed to scrape together $130 in rural eighteenth century New Hampshire. And for what purpose? Wilson wanted to purchase all thirteen volumes of the third edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Category: Biography

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Camilla Parker Bowles: Country Girl

This is the first in a series of three articles on the life of Camilla Parker Bowles. You'll be automatically linked to the next NoteStream at the end.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, born July 17, 1947 is the second wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II.
This is the first in a series of three articles on the life of Camilla Parker Bowles. You'll be automatically linked to the next NoteStream at the end.

Category: Biography

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Famous Gangsters: Al Capone 1899-1947

Al “Scarface” Capone will forever be linked to one of America’s most notorious crimes, ‘The Valentine’s Day Massacre.’ In fact, the legendary gangster was in Florida on February 14, 1929, when seven members of the rival “Bugs” Moran mob were machine gunned by Capone’s henchmen posing as police officers.

Category: Biography

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He Volunteered to Go to Auschwitz

That was on a relatively good day at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942, in the words of the only known person to have ever volunteered to be a prisoner there. His name was Witold Pilecki. His story is one of history’s most amazing accounts of boundless courage amid bottomless inhumanity.
Powerful emotions gripped me when I first learned of Pilecki and gazed at his picture. I felt rage toward the despicable regimes that put this honorable man through an unspeakable hell. I welled up with admiration for how he dealt with it all. Here you have a story that depicts both the worst and the best in men.

Category: Biography

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Classic Bond: Sean Connery

With his virile good looks and an easy charm belying his hardscrabble beginnings, Connery was an overnight Hollywood sensation in ‘Dr. No,’ his first movie as Secret Agent 007.
But few knew that Connery’s first Bond film was very nearly his last.

Category: Biography

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The Man Who Made Your Selfies Possible

Giants in the field of photography have enriched our lives far beyond the imaginations of the first few generations of Americans. While the first photographic process — called daguerreotype — was introduced commercially in 1839, decades of innovation and investment followed before picture taking was inexpensive enough to make it a national pastime. More than anyone else, the man behind that investment was George Eastman.

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Jeanne d’Albret

Jeanne d’Albret (1528-72) Jeanne d’Albret, later Queen Jeanne of Navarre, was born on November 16, 1528, at St Germain-en-Laye, in France. She was the daughter of Henri d’Albret, King of Navarre, and of Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre, and niece to King Francis I of France. Little is known about Jeanne’s early years because female children, even those of royals and nobles, were not considered noteworthy until they became of an age to marry and bear children.

Category: Biography

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‘The Winner Always Has a Program’

Baseless prejudice sooner or later meets its match when it runs into raw talent and indomitable willpower. Jackie Robinson proved it in baseball, as did Joe Louis in boxing and Jesse Owens in track. In the world of tennis, the biggest winner of note was a black woman named Althea Gibson. Life’s victories don’t always go to the stronger or faster woman, to paraphrase an old adage, but Gibson demonstrated that sooner or later, the woman who wins is the one who thinks she can.

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Ghostwriter & Ghost: Strange Case of Pearl Curran & Patience Worth

In early 20th-century St. Louis, Pearl Curran claimed to have conjured a long-dead New England puritan named Patience Worth through a Ouija board. Although mostly unknown today, the resulting books, poems, and plays that Worth “dictated” to Curran earned great praise at the time. Ed Simon investigates the curious and nearly forgotten literary fruits of a “ghost” and her ghostwriter.

Category: Biography

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Abigail Smith Adams

As the wife of John Adams, Abigail Adams was the first woman to serve as Second Lady of United States and the second woman to serve as First Lady. She was also the mother of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams. A politAuhical influencer, she is remembered for the many letters of advice she exchanged with her husband during the Continental Congresses.

Category: Biography

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Lucille & Desi – Marriage Made In Hollywood

WHEN Lucille Ball first met Desi Arnaz she had a bogus black eye and was wearing a slinky gold lame dress slit halfway up the thigh.
Although she was in costume as a stripper for the 1940 movie Dance Girl, Dance, Desi thought she “looked like a two dollar whore who had been badly beaten by her pimp.”
In turn, she barely noticed him when she stopped by his table in the studio commissary to say hello to director, George Abbott, and couldn’t remember the swarthy Cuban’s funny Spanish sounding name.
But that was all about to change.

Category: Biography

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Martha Dandridge Custis Washington

As the wife of George Washington, the first President of the United States, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington is considered to be the first First Lady, but the title was not coined until after her death.

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When The Voice Met The Shape

THE first meeting between ‘The Voice” and “The Shape” would set the scene for one of the stormiest, most passionate romances in Hollywood history.
Frank Sinatra described Ava Gardner as having “the easy grace of a tigress.”
And although she would become the second Mrs. Sinatra, the famously controlling singer never did get to tame her.

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Dick On Liz: The Burton Diaries

SITTING reading in bed one night at the height of what was arguably the 20th Century’s greatest love affair, Richard Burton looked up from his book to ask his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, “What are you doing, Lumpy?”
According to his private diary, the actress called back from a neighboring room in a little girl’s voice, “Playing with my jewels.”
Millions of words have been written about Liz’s tempestuous relationship with the mercurial Welsh actor. But only in Burton’s own journal do you find the distorted sense of everyday domestic bliss/chaos such as episodes like this in April 1969 far from the prying cameras and hangers-on.

Category: Biography

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Woman Versus the State: Vivien Kellems

Born in 1896 in Des Moines, Iowa, Kellems was a locomotive that never quit. Indeed, to continue the train analogy, she was a real-life Dagny Taggart, the railroad vice president protagonist of Atlas Shrugged. Before Kellems died in 1975, she could proudly look back on a life of service to her country as a successful entrepreneur, an accomplished public speaker, a political candidate more interested in educating than in winning, and, most famously, as a tireless opponent of the IRS and its tax code. Outspoken to the end, nobody ever accused her of hiding her light under a bushel.

Category: Biography

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The Chairman, The Poet and the Dancer Part II

In part one of this tale, we’re introduced to Jilly’s Saloon, Frank Sinatra’s favorite bar, and the story of his friendship with owner Jilly Rizzo. Next we learn about the mobster plot to kill regular patron/TV talk show host Johnny Carson, and Jilly’s transition from casual midtown saloon to vodka emporium/Russian restaurant owned by famous exiles.

Category: Biography

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The Chairman, The Poet and the Dancer Part I

Russian Samovar opened in 1986, a partnership between three Russian expatriates: literature professor Roman Kaplan, famed poet Joseph Brodsky, and legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. All three men considered themselves “fundamentally pro-Russian, yet vehemently anti-Soviet Union.” They wanted a place where like-minded artists could gather, talk, listen to music, and eat. The vodkas came in the 1980s but the wooden bar has been there since the 1960s, when the place was called Jilly’s Saloon. Jilly’s was famous for a number of reasons, but two stand out above all others. One, someone decided to murder Johnny Carson there; and two, when Frank Sinatra was in New York, it’s where he would set up court, dining there several nights a week flanked by friends and associates.

Category: Biography

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George Washington: Weaving History

What stories can a little record book that George Washington assembled to track the productivity of his weaving workshop at Mount Vernon tell? The book, which is part of the extensive collection of financial records that are part of Washington’s papers at the Library of Congress, doesn’t look like much. Nine inches high and seven-and-a-half pages wide, it was rebound by Library conservators very simply in paper, having at some point lost its original binding, if it ever had one. Its 26 pages contain a series of tables, neatly drawn by Washington himself, each with the heading “An Account of Weaving Done by Thomas Davis &c in the Year . . . ” These describe the output of the weaving workshop from January 1767 to January 1771, show how much of what the weavers made Washington used himself and how much he sold to his neighbors, and tell less than we would like to know about the free and enslaved weavers who worked there.
(The following is a guest post by Julie Miller, early American history specialist in the Manuscript Division.)

Category: Biography

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Marie Curie: A Gift of Radium

This NoteStream is guest authored by Michelle Cadoree Bradley, a science reference specialist in the Science, Technology, and Business Division of the Library of Congress.
On May 20, 1921 Mme. Marie Curie, who co-discovered the radium element with her husband in 1898, received from the American people an appropriate, but hazardous gift—a gram of radium. In an interview with Mrs. W.B. (Marie) Meloney in the May 1920 issue of The Delineator magazine, Marie Curie disclosed that her lab had only a gram of radium to experiment with and that she needed more to continue researching.

Category: Biography

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Eunice R. Miles: Gemologist

This segment is about reminding our readers how women continue to make a difference in the jewelry industry. Recently during the Las Vegas show a question came up about Eunice Miles. My first thought, that would be a great segment for Ask A Gemologist.

Category: Biography

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