Profile: Connie Carter

Library of Congress

Born in Whitefield, NH, I spent my school days in Lancaster, Keene, Nashua and Manchester and at Northfield School for Girls in Massachusetts.
In my freshman year at Smith College, I announced that I didn’t think it was necessary to leave America’s shores. Thus the college was pleased when my first job turned out to be in Trinidad, BWI. Smith had taken this provincial miss and had expanded her vision enough that she’d sought and found employment abroad. This was truly the meaning of a I graduated from Smith with a degree in Zoology in May 1959. My job as Girl Friday for ornithologist William Beebe, of Bathysphere fame, was to start that October. Following my graduation in May, a curator at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) suggested that museum work might be a good career move after my time in Trinidad, and invited me to visit. My visit to the MCZ included a tour of the museum’s 250,000 volume library, where we found the librarian wringing her hands in distress: her head of reference and circulation had suddenly left on a four-month leave of absence. This was serendipitous for me, given that my father had just cut off my allowance. I found myself accepting a temporary position as librarian. Soon after, while browsing through the card catalog, I noted a book on the tufted titmouse had been classified with the mammals and not with the birds! I decided, right there and then, that my mission in life would be to save the scientist from the non-zoological librarian. I took to librarianship like a duck to water, and Harvard had a cataloging job waiting for me, at $2800 per year, when I returned from Trinidad.

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Presidential Wheels: A History

Knowing my interest in all things presidential, a colleague recently left a copy of Herbert Ridgeway Collins’s Presidents on Wheels (1971) at my desk. The book, which covers the vehicles used by the presidents through Richard M Nixon, contains many historical tidbits of information. Did you know that that first President-elect to ride to his inauguration in an automobile was Warren G. Harding in 1921? The Packard Twin Six, in which President Harding and President Woodrow Wilson rode, was supplied by the Republican National Committee.

Category: History

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Civil War Thanksgiving Foods

Since the holidays are upon us, and we are also still in the midst of commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War, we thought it might be interesting to explore what the soldiers ate during that war and how they celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday.
At the time of the Civil War, some states did celebrate Thanksgiving on a day decided by the governor—usually in October or November after the crops had been harvested and the bounty preserved. But what was actually on the menu?

Category: History

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