Have You Heard of This New Holiday, “Halloween”?


I usually just trawl old issues of The Chatham Record for items to write about, but this week I used our nifty search feature to find articles about Halloween.

The November 2, 1893 issue buries this little nugget on page 3:

HALLOWEEN.—Among the few old English customs that are now observed in this country is that of celebrating with pleasant sports the eve of All Saints Day, called Halloween, the night before the 1st day of November. Last Tuesday night being Halloween a pleasant party was given the young folks of this place at the residence of Rev. W.H. Moore which was greatly enjoyed in playing the old games and predicting the future as has been done in “Merrie old England” for centuries past.



Mister Miller Is Watching


This advertisement from the August 7, 1884 edition of The Chatham Record makes an cogent point-by-point case for The Diamond Shirt, but that last line makes me a little nervous:

“If your dealer doesn’t keep it, send his address to Daniel Miller & Co., sole manufacturers, Baltimore, Md.”

I may prefer The Diamond Shirt, but I’m no squealer, Mister Miller.


eBook Friday: Silent Spring

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson:

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was first published in three serialized excerpts in the New Yorker in June of 1962. The book appeared in September of that year and the outcry that followed its publication forced the banning of DDT and spurred revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century.


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!

I’ll Take Nineteenth Century Geography for Thirty Cents, Alex.


This advertisement appeared in the February 15, 1894 edition of The Chatham Record.

Greatest of Family Games

Progressive America.

 The most entertaining and instructive game of the century. It delightfully teaches American geography, while it is to young and old as fascinating as whist. Can be played by any number of players. Sent by mail, postage prepaid, for fifteen 2 cent stamps. The Trade Company, Boston, Mass.

I presume the name refers to the map’s changing face as the United States acquired land over the years, but I can’t be sure. Though this advertisement appeared in many papers of the time, I haven’t found anything else about the game.

I’ll keep looking. It seems to me this game would be a fascinating snapshot of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century.

eBook Friday: The Secret Place

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they find leads them back to Holly’s group of close-knit friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points towards his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.


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!

eBook Friday: Night of the Ninjas

Night of the Ninjas (Magic Tree House Series, Book 5), by Mary Pope Osborne:

Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series–the Magic Tree House!

Have you ever met a real live ninja?

Jack and Annie do when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to ancient Japan, where they find themselves in the cave of a ninja master. Will they learn the secrets of the ninja? Or will the evil samurai warriors get them first?


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: Home Grown eBooks






NC LIVE is experimenting with a new eBook project that gives North Carolina library patrons unlimited access to more than 1,200 eBook titles from North Carolina-based publishers. This collection offers a wide range of content, including novels by popular North Carolina authors, poetry, short stories, and non-fiction and features titles like Guests on Earth by Lee Smith and North Carolina and Old Salem Cookery by Beth Tartan, among many others.

NC LIVE partnered with eight local publishing houses to purchase the eBooks, including Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Crossroad Press, Gryphon House, Ingalls Publishing Group, John F. Blair Publishing, McFarland, Press 53, and UNC Press.

The Home Grown eBook collection is available at http://nclive.org/ebooks.  (You will be prompted to log in with your library card.) Unlike traditional library eBooks, this collection features always available, unlimited simultaneous user access during the life of the pilot, meaning patrons will not have to place a hold or wait for an eBook to become available. Users may view the eBooks in a web browser or download them to their tablet devices via the BiblioBoard Library app.

These Don’t, But I’m Sure Yours Will


This advertisement for a pamphlet on poultry farming appeared in several issues of The Chatham Record. The best reproduction I could find was in our copy of the August 8, 1895 issue.

I have nothing to add here. Gambling chickens, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you and good night.

Free eBook Friday: On Writing

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.


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!

Global Warming? Gotcha Covered.


On September 9, 1896, The Chatham Record reported this patent:

To Cool the Atmosphere

A western inventor recently patented a scheme by which he claims he can artificially cool a whole community at little expense. At certain intervals he would erect skeleton towers-like windmill tower-each having an electric trolley wire running from bottom to top. The wire transports peculiarly made bombs to the top where they are exploded by electricity. The bombs contain liquefied carbonic acid gas, which, when liberated by the explosive, will instantly evaporate and severely chill the surrounding atmosphere.

So there you go. Problem solved.