Seventy-five years ago, on April 30, 1939, amidst the billowing clouds of lingering economic depression and imminent war, the New York World’s Fair, with its sleek modernist designs, heralded “The Dawn of a New Day” and promised a better “World of Tomorrow.”
Why, with the American economy still in the doldrums and the rest of the world seemingly hell-bent on going to war, did millions of Americans flock to, of all things, a world’s fair?
Robert Rydell, professor of history at Montana State University and a leading scholar on the history of world’s fairs, explains why it is important to remember the New York World’s Fair, most especially for understanding how it shaped our world of today.
Just weeks after marrying in Washington, D.C., in 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving (he was white, she was African American) were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night and jailed for violating a Virginia law against marrying a person of a different race. Convicted, they were banished from the state and spent the next nine years fighting for the right to return, eventually taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thanks to the Lovings, the last remaining miscegenation laws in the U.S. were overturned.
Randal M. Jelks, associate professor of American Studies with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, provides opening and closing remarks.
Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks and his wife, blogger Roxie Hammill, discuss their book Mike and Roxie’s Vegetable Paradise, which is both a how-to manual and a memoir based on the authors’ years of gardening.
Their talk complements the launch of the Seed Library at the Kansas City Public Library’s Ruiz Branch, which allows patrons to “check out” flower and vegetable seeds. In the fall they will “return” seeds they have harvested from their plants. Ruiz will also house an expanded collection of gardening books available for checkout.
According to an ancient Frankish ordinance, “He who claims that someone else is covered in dung shall be liable to pay 120 denari.” In Skamania County, Washington, it is a felony to commit the “premeditated, willful and wanton” slaying of a sasquatch – a creature whose existence has never been proven.
Kevin Underhill examines weird, bizarre, illogical, and just plain funny laws from the past and the present in a discussion of his new book. Underhill is a partner in the San Francisco office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, the powerhouse law firm based in Kansas City. He is the author of the essay series, “If Great Literary Works Had Been Written by Lawyers,” and the blog “Lowering the Bar.”
Why do some children succeed and others fail? Answers don’t come from the ACT, SAT, or other measures of intelligence, Paul Tough says. The author points to less calculable qualities such as perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.
In a discussion of his best-selling book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Tough introduces us to researchers and educators who are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their experiences, he traces the links between childhood stress and achievement. He uncovers surprising ways in which parents prepare — and fail to prepare — children for adulthood. And he offers new insights into how to help youngsters growing up in poverty.
A writer and a filmmaker join creative forces to craft a unique work that can only be read the old-fashioned way, by turning the pages. A layered literary mystery, S. uses the story of a nameless man without a memory to tell another story of two college students’ romance and their life-threatening pursuit of an author’s carefully hidden secret identity.
In a conversation with Kaite Stover, the Library’s director of readers’ services, Doug Dorst explains how he and co-creator J.J. Abrams (TV’s Lost and Alias) conceived of and created S., in which the story on the printed page dovetails with the scribblings of two readers in the margins and the various objects — photos, maps, telegrams, postcards, letters — found hidden between those pages.
Authors Dav Pilkey and Dan Santat introduce young readers to the newly re-illustrated Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot book series – written by Pilkey and drawn by Santat.
Pilkey is the man behind the popular Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby series of children’s books. Santat, an award-winning author and illustrator, created the animated Disney Channel series The Replacements.
Books purchased during the event will be available for signing after the presentation.