90 Years: Then and Now
The Hightstown Memorial branch will celebrate its 90th anniversary this year. An anniversary is a great time to reflect on all the changes we’ve seen over the years, and to think about how the past still affects us.
In 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize for physics. Even now, his theories are subject to much debate among scholars. In Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality, author Manjit Kumar explains the conflicts and collaborations between the great quantum physicists of the time, showing how scientific debate can become dramatic and intense. Scientists are still building on the quantum theories of Einstein: one notable example is Brian Green’s recent book, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos.
Atlantic City hosted its first beauty pageant in 1921. The Miss America contest was promoted to keep vacationers at the shore for a few more weekends. It has changed significantly over the years, updating its image and developing into a pageant and scholarship competition. (There are some easier ways to get scholarships, however; try Gen Tanabe’s The Ultimate Scholarship Book for some ideas.)
The 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, was inaugurated in 1921. So many years later, we’re still re-examining the impact of his presidency and its scandals. James Robenalt’s The Harding Affair: Love and Espionage During The Great War focuses on an affair that may have had far-reaching political implications in World War I. Warren G. Harding by John Dean takes a broader approach, discussing his entire political career. Our politicians now might want to take note, their actions will be discussed far into the future!
Several great writers were born in 1921:
- Alex Haley, author of Roots and co-author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
- Betty Friedan, author of the classic The Feminine Mystique.
- Multiple Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Wilbur, whose latest book Anterooms: New Poems and Translations was published last year.
I hope you enjoyed our trip down memory lane. What events do you think we’ll still be discussing 90 years from now?
(All of the books mentioned are available at multiple branches of the Mercer County Library.)
- Sharon G.