Please welcome Cindy Ladage to the blog as she shares A Tale of Two Libraries with us as we explore a year of literary travel.
Libraries are magical places where books bring history, travel, science and beyond to life. All it takes is opening a book and you can learn about almost anything your heart desires. Some libraries though go beyond just the book and add that extra magical experience. Libraries vary from the elaborate downtown ones like the Chicago’s Public library with their soaring ceilings and architecture that send eyes upward and small like my charming hometown Pawnee Public library, with its lovely wooden shelves and huge stuffed bears make you smile.
Some libraries just bear sharing and that is what this is about, a tale of two libraries that are quite astounding. First, there is the Charles City Public Library and second is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
LIBRARY TALE I
The Charles City Library is exceptional not just because it is a very neat library, but because of the Mooney Art Collection and gallery that the public can view free of charge. The exhibit includes 77 old master prints from the collection of Arthur Mooney. Artists in the collection include Rembrandt, Grant Wood, and Salvadore Dali to name a few.
The art on display represents over 500 years of printmaking, encompassing three continents and various techniques that include woodcut, engraving and lithography.
All prints are original, and are not to be confused with the many kinds of photomechanical reproductions of works of art, misleadingly called “prints”.
The story of how the art ended up in Charles City is pretty amazing. Arthur Mooney was born in Rockford, Illinois, but his family came to Charles City in 1859 when he was eight. He traveled to Charles City along with his parents and sister all who died in 1881 when he was only twelve. The orphan was taken in by the photographer James E. Rich, who also taught him about photography.
Through this, Arthur Mooney developed an interest at an early age. In 1890, Arthur Mooney attended art school in Minneapolis and later moved to New York City where he was an employee, and later an executive at the Eastman-Kodak Company. In New York Arthur Mooney became interested in art and the art movement. Moving in the art circles of New York, and traveling to Europe often for work, he started collecting art and especially original fine art prints.
Over the years, Arthur Mooney never forgot the kindness of the people of Charles City and he left his magnificent collection to the Charles City Library. He is quoted saying in remembering the people and his childhood, “the distant days and the people who were so kind in many ways.”
Whether you spend hours, or a few minutes in Charles City, be sure to visit this amazing art collection the gallery is free and open to the public during library hours. Special times and group tours may be arranged. The Charles City Public Library is located at 106 Milwaukee Mall, Charles City, Iowa 50615. Call 641-257-6319 or log onto www.charlescitypl.com for more details.
LIBRARY TALE II
In Springfield, Illinois, the heart of Lincoln Land is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. After opening in 2005 The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library rapidly became the best attended of all the Presidential libraries and one of the most studied new museums in the world.
Popularity aside, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is a beautiful place full of history and interesting exhibits like the heart wrenching Boys in Blue which tells stories of the Civil War soldiers.
Many wonderful events take place at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The library and museum encompasses a 200,000 square foot complex, which includes an Archive, Library and Museum. The library has documents and artifacts of the 16th President and his presidency. In the library, you won’t want to miss the Papers of Abraham Lincoln so you can see memos, letters and other papers written in Lincoln’s own hand. Appointments are recommended for any research in the Manuscripts, Audiovisual, and Lincoln Collections.
While admission to the Presidential Library is free you may have to pay the museum admission fee to see the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. While at the library, be sure to take the time to tour this award winning interactive museum. The museum has a couple of films that are must see along with a tour of the wonderful exhibits like the Treasures which house artifacts that actually belonged to the Lincoln family. The library and museum brings Lincoln’s legacy to life. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library is closed on the weekends and on holidays. Log onto http://www.alplm.org/ or call 1-800-610-2094.
These two libraries offer more than just manuscripts. Together they bring art and history to life!
More about Cindy: She is farmer’s wife and an award-winning columnist for Farm World, she recently won the American Women in Communications Clarion award for her column “Wrenching Tales”. Cindy writes for antique tractor and toy magazines along with other publications like and her travel blog is http://travelingadventuresofafarmgirl.com.