This week we continue our discussion of Swift Justice by Harry Farrell which details the 1933 kidnapping of San Jose retail heir Brook Hart and the ultimate lynching of his accused abductors. I also hope you'll join me this Saturday, September 22, for a walking tour of some of the important sites from the Hart case and other challenging times from San Jose's past. Grab your smartphone, sturdy walking shoes and a water bottle and meet me at St. Patrick's Church (389 E. Santa Clara St.) for the Scan Jose tour, Tragedies and Calamities. At each stop, we'll access historic photos and information related to an event that occurred at that very spot.
As we continue our discussion of Swift Justice and the events of 1933, we hope you will participate in the discussion by contributing your comments.
Our question this week is: What do you think of the statements and actions of Governor Rolph in support of the lynch mob? How is the public's faith in the justice system affected when even public officials will not give it a chance to work?
I found Governor Rolph's comments both before and after the lynching surprising. When Sheriff Emig called for assistance, the Governor apparently refused to even consider it, even though he was well aware of the possibility, even probability of violence. He told attorney Vincent Hallinan, "If they lynch those fellows, I'll pardon the lynchers." Later, he issued a statement that, "I'm not going to call out the Guard to protect the kidnappers who willfully killed that fine boy. Let the law take its course (p. 193)." By refusing repeated requests for assistance, Governor Rolph more or less insured that mob violence, rather than "the law" would "take its course." Elected officials swear an oath to uphold the law and that requires them to see that the rights and safety of all citizens, even those accused of heinous acts be insured. What did you think of the Governor's remarks? Should citizen's have faith in our justice system when even elected officials are not willing to give the system a chance to work?
This week we continue our discussion of Swift Justice by Harry Farrell which details the 1933 kidnapping of San Jose retail heir Brook Hart and the ultimate lynching of his accused abductors. Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and its ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by contributing your comments.
Our question this week is: From the time Brooke Hart was snatched off the street until Jack Holmes and Harold Thurmond were lynched, do you think the fates of these three men were sealed? Could different choices have potentially changed their outcomes?
I do think that there were decisions made along the way that may have affected the ultimate fates of these three men. I think that the decision to send home most of the police reinforcements and the lack of communication with officers standing by from other jurisdictions both contributed to the violence of that November night. I also think that there were opportunities to save young Hart's life, had observations been acted upon, especially the cries for help heard by the Ridleys. How about you? What choices or decisions do you think might have changed the outcome of these events?
For September 2012, our Online Book Club selection takes a step back in time, revisiting one of the most infamous events in San Jose’s history. In his true life police procedural Swift Justice: Murder and Vengeance in a California Town , award-winning author Harry Farrell documents the 1933 kidnapping and subsequent murder of Brooke Hart, heir apparent to a family owned San Jose department store. After Hart’s lifeless body is finally discovered, a mob gathers at the downtown jail leading to a night of violence and ultimately the lynching of the two suspects in custody. Although most of the key figures in the case are now gone, today’s readers will still recognize many of the locations central to a case that captivated our city nearly eighty years ago. For more information on the kidnapping and the violence that followed, visit the library's local history collection in the California Room of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library or visit key sites from the incident by grabbing your smart phone and retracing the steps of some of San Jose's greatest tragedies and calamities.
Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and its ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by contributing your comments.
For Week 1, we'd like to ask: What factors led to the mob violence of 1933? Could such events happen in San Jose today?
Several factors contributed to the eruption of mob violence in 1933. I think one of these factors was the size of San Jose itself. San Jose was a much smaller town in 1933, before the rise of Silicon Valley. Brooke Harte was recognizable to the residents, many of whom shopped at the downtown store where he worked. They felt they knew him; many, in fact, did. I think this familiarity, real or imagined, contributed to the city’s sense of outrage over his kidnapping and murder. While most of us are saddened and disturbed by the disappearance of Sierra Lamar, for example, the majority of those searching for her, following her story and praying for her safe recovery do not know her personally. I think that familiarity, often missing in today’s large metropolitan areas, was one of the key factors that incited the city to violence in 1933. How about you? Do you think such events are still possible in San Jose today?
When Maria Delaney took the photos out of her folder, her face glowed as she showed me a family photo dated back to the early 1900s. Even though it definitely had signs of deterioration and fading, Maria was at the library to preserve this photo digitally. At Evergreen Branch Library’s Scan Day, Maria and other customers brought photos that weren’t “born digital” and created electronic copies.
Gloria Guel is one of many siblings in her family. “Everyone wanted the same picture but we only have one,” says Guel. So her solution: scan the photos and send electronic copies to everyone.
If you are interested in getting some photos scanned, you still have a chance! In celebration of National Preservation Week, Scan Days are planned at the following locations and dates:
Friday, April 13th 3-5pm
Saturday, April 21st 11-1pm
Customers are limited to 10 photos/documents to scan. Each customer will receive copies of their items on a CD. If you’d like to see what the library has as far as photos, take a look at our California Room’s Digital Collections.
National Preservation Week is later this month and on Saturday at King Library you can participate by bringing in some of your historic photographs or documents to be scanned. Library staff will be on hand to assist you and you will receive a copy of your scanned photos on CD.
Scanning will take place from 11am to 1pm on the 3rd floor in Study Room 390. Bring up to 10 items for scanning on a first come, first served basis.
Making digital copies of old family photos is a great way to share your past with your children and other family members who may live far away. This photo is of me on Easter Day in 1969.
Local legend tells us that Sarah Winchester was a woman obessed. Was she consumed with the need to do what the spirits told her, or was she just misunderstood? Here are some books that you can read to make up your own mind about what you think Sarah Winchester and her Mystery House was all about...
"The Inscrutable Mrs. Winchester and Her Mysterious Mansion" attempts to dispell some of the myths surrounding her and gives insight on the facts that rarely come to light.
"Captive of the Labyrinth: Sarah L. Winchester heiress to the rifle fortune" gives an overview of of Sarah Winchester's life and attempts to demystify her as the notorious eccentric history has made her out to be.
Was she really trying to stave off the ghosts? Did she really believe that non-stop construction would confuse the spirits? Or is it possible that Sarah Winchester was really a loving, caring woman who mourned the loss of her husband and infant daughter, and just wanted to be left alone? Maybe we'll never know, but the great thing about this mystery is you get to decide!
Many of us come to the library to borrow the latest movie or newest bestseller, but did you know we also have items that are over 100 years old? The California Room is the home to three sculptures by 19th century African-American and Chippewa-Indian artist, Edmonia Lewis. To learn more about these sculptures, come to the California Room’s spring open house where local expert Mary Parks Washington will discuss the artist and her work.
Along with the sculpture presentation, we’ll be featuring some of our unique local history collections including: Frontier Village photos and memorabilia, items from the 1906 earthquake, local yearbooks dating back to the early 20th century and many other items you can’t find anywhere else! The open house will be this Wednesday, February 15th from 6-7:30pm.
If you are unable to make it to our open house, feel free to stop by during our open hours OR check out the many items available to you 24/7 in our digital collection.
There are some doom-sayers who are claiming that the world is coming to an end on December 21, 2012. Whether or not they are right, there are some other people who are taking it to heart in a joking way and creating a "bucket list" for 2012. There's a facebook group if you'd like to join and I thought I'd share my own "bucket list" for 2012.
1. Go to Alcatraz. I've lived in the Bay area for 10 years now and I still haven't done the boat ride and tour of Alcatraz. And before I go I need to read: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. It is the story of a boy whose family moves to Alcatraz Island when his father gets a job as a guard there in 1935.
2. Go to Disneyland. I went when I was 2 years old and I hear I had a good time, but I frankly don't recall! I have a lot of friends who still love to go to Disneyland as adults. And before I go, I need to read: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow. This one is a free ebook download so I can use my ereader...
3. Eat Cioppino. This is apparently the most famous San Francisco Fish Dish. I don't know what they're talking about because I've never tried it. Bobby Flay did a Throwdown against Phil DiGirolamo from Phil's in Moss Landing for this dish and includes a recipe in his book: Bobby Flay's Throwdown. There are a lot of restaurants who carry this dish so I don't think I'll have a problem here!
4. Bike the Coyote Creek Trail. This trail is 18.7 miles in total so I might take it easy and do it in a couple of sessions. But I'd be able to get a scenic view of a lot of San Jose! But first, I need to fix my bike up - I think I'll need to check out the Complete Bike Book by Chris Sidwells.
5. Wow! I'm running out of good ideas for my bucket list! Time to check out Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in the San Francisco Bay Area by Scott Van Velsor!
Maybe you'd like to join me in creating a "bucket list" this year instead of a resolution. Come up with some fun activities and give yourself a reading list too! Let me know how it goes and Happy New Year!
I took the coolest walk this morning. Thanks to a new library resource made possible by a grant from the California State Library, I joined some friends and took a self-guided tour of historic downtown San José. By connecting to www.scanjose.org on a Smartphone I was able to view historic photographs from the library's California Room collection as I visited those same spots today. I took A Walk Around the Plaza which started at the San Jose Museum of Art (formerly both a post office and library) and stopped at San Jose's Chinatown, the site of a suspicious fire, the location of California's original state capitol and historic St. Joseph's Cathedral among other places. At each stop my phone revealed how that very spot appeared to visitors a hundred years or so ago! Scan Jose offers two more self guided tours as well. I can't wait to visit Old Santa Clara Street or experience Tragedies and Calamities from our city's past. I hope you'll join me.
We seek an independent consultant with experience and knowledge in appraisal of children’s books.
San José Public Library owns a collection of materials called the Children’s Resource Collection (CRC), consisting of approximately 7200 non-circulating books and magazines dating from 1763 to 1996. The materials get little use, and we’re interested in appraising the collection to determine its value and make a decision as to its future.
Scope of work
The consultant will evaluate the CRC materials and offer an appraisal of the collection as a whole as well as individual appraisals for any item for which the estimated value is over $25.00, or of special significance for another reason. The appraised values should be those at which the Library can reasonably expect to resell the items. Deliverables will include a written assessment of the collection’s condition and value; appraisals for the collection as a whole as well as individual items as stated above; and written recommendations for potential buyers for the collection. The consultant may also be asked to make a fifteen-minute presentation at a library management meeting to explain her/his findings.
The Library will inventory the collection before the consultant starts. We will provide full access to the collection Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, and other hours as mutually determined; office space for the duration of the project; a laptop for the duration of the project to be used for research within the library; and office supplies as needed.
How to apply
Please email the following materials to Daisy Porter, Manager of King Access, Children’s, and Youth, firstname.lastname@example.org, by September 23.
• A résumé detailing your qualifications for evaluating historical books, especially children’s materials
• A letter of interest including your requested fee and the time you estimate it will take you to complete the project