One Way To Look At It

Lenoir Train June 15 1893


This item ran on page 3 of the June 15, 1893 edition of the The Chatham Record.

The boy’s version: “I saw a train today. It was little but then it got big.”


Free eBook Friday: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (audiobook):

This is the story of a middle-class American family, ordinary in every way but one—and that exception becomes the beating heart of this extraordinary novel.

Meet the Cooke family: mother and dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.”

Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Print Ads With Built-in Sound Effects

Lumber and coffins Jan 18 1900

This advertisement’s font choices were appropriate when it appeared in the  January 18, 1900 edition of The Chatham Record, but a century on it reads:


“Always on hand a lot of Lumber (honk!) both dressed and undressed. Also Framing and Shingles. Bills cut to order.

A supply of Coffins (fweeee!) and Caskets (ah-ooogah!) always on hand, from $2 to $100 in price. Will be delivered at any time, either day or night.”


Works for me.

Man, You Luklikell

luklikell 1131922

Evidently men complained about shaving long before women started borrowing their razors. This syndicated cartoon from the January 13, 1922 edition of The Chatham Record sounds like it was subsidized by the Local Barber’s Union.

In any case, what is the Luklikell Club? A web search yielded nothing but multiple publications of this very cartoon. Maybe it’s a way of saying “Looks Like Not At All What He Expected”.

Free eBook Friday: Scat

Scat, by Carl Hiaasen:

Bestselling author and columnist Carl Hiaasen returns with another hysterical mystery for kids set in Florida’s Everglades.

Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.

But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a “family emergency,” Nick and Marta just don’t buy it. No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.

And he does! But not in the way they think. There’s a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture.

That’s life in the swamp, kids.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

Resource of the Month: Small Engine Repair Reference Center

As winter finally starts to fade and the weather gets warmer, many folks are looking forward to getting outside. In some cases, that means on a warm-weather vehicle, such as a boat, motorcycle, ATV, or jet ski. Or maybe you’re just ready to fire up your lawn mower, tiller, chainsaw, or – if you’re more of an ambitious type – your tractor. No matter what sort of small engine you’re ready to use, it might need a little tune-up after a long winter’s rest. In that case, the Small Engine Repair Reference Center, available online through the library, is at your service!

Simply go to and click on the “Hobbies & Interests” category. From there, click on Small Engine Repair Reference Center and choose your engine.   You’ll need your library card to access the site, but it’s 100% free of charge.

So watch those fingers and toes, and get ready to repair your small engine!

Free eBook Friday: A History of the World in Six Glasses

A History of the World in Six Glasses, by Tom Standage:

Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece, wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization. For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

At Least Let Me Straighten My Horns

Bos Phosphates

“Bos” is bemused to find himself as W.M. Davison & Company’s bovine mascot in this ad from the February 23, 1882 edition of The Chatham Record. Probably a candid shot – post-coffee, obviously, but pre-coiffe.

Free eBook Friday: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green & David Levithan:

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans.


Every Friday, we highlight an eBook from our collection at
.  Let us know what you think of these selections, and tell us about eBooks you’ve enjoyed – we may feature them here!

There Certainly Is?

grape nuts dec 13 1916

This advertisement for Grape-Nuts cereal is from the December 13, 1916 edition of The Chatham Record.

I find the slogan “There’s a Reason” fascinating in its vagueness. What are people wondering about? How do Grape-Nuts figure into this mystery?