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View of wetlands and trees around a spring.

Elder’s Spring

View of wetlands and trees around a spring.

“Elder’s Spring was the water supply for the house-holds of Isaac Allerton, the Mayflower Pilgrim, and of other occupants of the farm, until it came into possession of Elder Thomas Cushman, for whom the present name was given. The old spring was a lovely spot, shaded by huge willows, and boiling up from clean, white sand, a strong and steady flow. A generation ago, Mr. John Bagnell, to make a fish or duck pool, dug away the bank, cut down the willows, and so changed the surroundings of the spring, it is quite different from what it used to be.”

Trees and grass in foreground, water in the distance at right.

Source: Emily Fuller Drew Collection MC16; quote from her notes on place names in Kingston.

Libraries AND online booksellers

You might have seen that article last July in Forbes, which breezily suggested that libraries are obsolete in the brave new world of Amazon. Or, maybe you missed it because the large and furious backlash quickly prompted the magazine to pull the article.

To follow up on the story, and the story after that story, the library group OCLC conducted a study with an Ohio public library to find out how their patrons use libraries and Amazon.  This blog post details the research, making the

quantitative argument that libraries are not just important to the people who use library services, but to the businesses in adjacent spaces.

Have a look! 

 

 

Kingston Photo of people buying and selling produce at the Community Market, 1917

A new idea, from 101 years ago.

Kingston Photo of people buying and selling produce at the Community Market, 1917

 

In 2018, a new farmer’s market opened in Kingston. The Library’s usually there; check us out! It’s a great new venture with some interesting echos of the past.

In  1917, Kingston also had a new community market, this one located at the Point, right where Summer Street splits from Main. The Old Colony Memorial on July 13 that year invited anyone with surplus food  to join in.

No matter how small an amount you may have to sell, you are invited to bring it to the market. Products of the garden, dairy, poultry, etc. in fact, anything you are engaged in producing…

Part of the national effort to increase local food production as the nation entered the First World War, Kingston’s market was sponsored by the Grange, the Patriotic Society and the Food Production Committee of the Public Safety Commission. There was no charge for selling: vendors just had to show up with their wares.

Within the first week the market was open, 17-year-old diarist Helen Foster wrote that “things sure were stirring there.”

Source:  Newspapers PC19; Mary Hathaway Collection MC21

Cover of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, showing a hearse under a storm cloud

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist : a True Story of Injustice in the American South, by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

Cover of The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, showing a hearse under a storm cloudInvestigative journalist Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, Director of the Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi, have put together a heart-rending account of the institutional racism embedded in the intersection of law and science in Mississippi. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist of the title are Dr. Stephen Hayne and Dr. Michael West, who together held sway over the murder investigation and prosecution  for decades. Leaning heavily on an antiquated system of county coroners, complicit officials who fought hard to maintain the Jim Crow status quo and a gloss of CSI-style razzle-dazzle and jargon, Haynes  literally cornered the market on autopsies in the state and brought along his friend West, who professed expertise in a number of shaky forensic techniques.

The two became the favored experts for prosecutors. not least for their creativity and willingness to shape the “evidence” to the state’s needs.  Judges accepted the “science.” State officials refused to staff or fund a modern medical examiner’s office. Haynes and West grew rich and famous.  And innocent people, mostly African-American, went to jail.  While two of the wrongly convicted men detailed in the book were exonerated when Haynes and West eventually fell from grace, many others remain imprisoned with no systematic review of this deep injustice likely.  This is not a story with a happy ending, but one that will leave you shaking your head and whispering Mississippi goddam.

Gravestone of Edward Gray in Plymouth cemetery

In other spelling news

Gray’s Beach Park is named for Edward Gray, who arrived in Plymoth Colony in the 1642 and eventually became one of the the richest men around. He owned land along what later became Kingston’s shoreline, including as this notable land record,  the site of  Kingston’s little beach.

And we know it’s Gray’s with an A, because, yes, it’s carved in stone.

Gravestone of Edward Gray in Plymouth cemetery

This is Old Burial Hill in Plymouth, and Gray’s is one of the oldest marked stones there. The more legible of the two markers is actually a sign pointing to the original stone, which appears to be  in some kind of protective frame.  The related page on Find-a-Grave has some good modern close ups of the actual stone.

Source: The Jones River Village Historical Society Lantern Slide Collection IC4, series “The Pilgrim Story, Plymouth” 90 slides copyright A. S. Burbank, circa 1920.

Grimacing toddler on the cover of Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness by Melissa Dahl

Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkardness by Melissa Dahl

Grimacing toddler on the cover of Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness by Melissa Dahl You probably know the feeling well. You’re lying in bed, just trying to fall asleep, but images of your worst moments in junior high — the bad haircut, the wrong clothes, the time you called the teacher “Mommy” —  just will not stop tapdancing through your painfully conscious mind.

That’s the feeling Melissa Dahl investigates in Cringeworthy: A Theory of Awkwardness.  To get deep inside the cringe, Dahl talks to anthropologists, sociologists, neuroscientists and advice columnists. She puts her own social discomforts, teenage angst and work dilemmas in the spotlight to illustrate and individualize scientific studies and broad research. She pores over her own online writing; attends workshops to learn to talk about race; even reads from her teenage diaries on stage.

Her eager search for compassion for her awkward self — indeed, for all the cringing selves everywhere — is deep and kind and just plain funny. You’ll cringe in sympathy, and maybe stretch your understanding of this very, very human experience.

The awkward in me sees and bows to the awkward in all of you.

*Recommended by Susan.