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Simsbury Free Library
749 Hopmeadow Street
P.O.Box 484
Simsbury, CT 06070
Hours:
Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:00 to 5:00
2nd and 4th Saturdays
10:00 to 2:00
860/408-1336

Email: simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS   
 

 

To make a reservation or for more info,

call 860-408-1336

or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com.


 

WHAT'S NEW
    
We have extended the deadline for our art contest to September 15th.  See below.
 
HISTORY TALKS
 

Bibi Gaston Talk on Gifford Pinchot and America’s Early Forest Rangers

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 @ 6:30 p.m.

 

Bibi Gaston will speak on Gifford Pinchot’s collection of letters (1937-1941) between him and his first class of American foresters, the “Old Timers”.

 

Ms. Gaston says “I think of the Old Timers Collection as a roadmap. Though we travel back in time, nearly 100 years to the time when these men and women served as forest rangers, the Old Timers collection is something that affords us the opportunity to remember who we are, and what we stood for not so long ago. Not only is the writing absolutely beautiful, but the collection reveals our roots in nature, in the conservation of trees water, wildlife and soil. It is non-partisan. We can all love the landscape. And through it, we hope, we can learn to love one another better."

 

Bibi Gaston has been a practicing landscape architect for over twenty years.  Ms. Gaston is the author of the memoir, The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home and came across the Pinchot’s letters while researching her book at the Library of Congress.

 

Her next book, to be published in the Fall of 2015, tentatively titled “A Forester’s Alphabet: Gifford Pinchot, the Old Timers, and 26 Stories to Lead us out of the Woods,” will bring her readers a greater appreciation of the early days of the U.S. Forest Service as a bold and innovative model of government service and environmental management that is ready, willing and able to lead the urgent challenge of climate change and resource depletion. Revealing the early roots in the Agency’s mission, successes, and shortcomings, “A Forester’s Alphabet” includes 26 original narratives penned by early forest service employees that point to a renewed mission staked by the Agency’s founders and influences including Gifford Pinchot, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Aldo Leopold and George Perkins Marsh.

 

Free for members, $15 for non-members. 

 


Connecticut’s Borders and Firelands with Tom Ratliffe

Tuesday, September 29th at 1:00 p.m.

 

Ever wonder how Connecticut came to have the shape it does (like the little notch in the top center and the tail or panhandle in the southwest corner)? Or why several towns in Northeastern Ohio have Connecticut place names (like Avon, Bristol, Southington, Farmington, and Hartford)? The story of our political boundaries is full of curious events, individuals, and disagreements covering almost two hundred years but fits nicely into a seventy-five minute discussion (complete with Power Point slides).  Professor Tom Ratliffe is back with another exciting history talk – this time on Connecticut’s unusual borders and the firelands in Ohio.  

 

Free to members, $5 for non-members.  

 

 
The Simsbury Free Library Was in the News!
 
There was a great article in the Hartford Courant about the Simsbury Free Library's latest exhibit of George L. Hall's World War II letters published on July 4, 2015.  Click here to see the Courant's online version of the article.
 
              
     
 
Pinchot Sycamore Art Contest

In honor of Gifford Pinchot’s 150th birthday, the SFL is sponsoring a contest to find the best artwork portraying Simsbury’s Pinchot Sycamore tree, which was named after Gifford Pinchot. Born in Simsbury on August 11, 1865 at his grandfather’s house (now the Simsbury 1820 House), Gifford Pinchot went on to cofound the Yale School of Forestry and become the first Chief of the U.S. Forestry Service. Pinchot was conservation advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt and served two separate terms as Governor of Pennsylvania.


Children and teens living or attending school in Simsbury are invited to join the competition. Prizes will be awarded in two categories: Teens (13-18) and Children (12 and younger). Prizes in each category are $25 for first place, $15 for second place, and $10 for third place.

 

Submissions must be original and can be in the form of paintings (oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.), drawings (pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink, markers), collage (must be two-dimensional), prints (lithographs, silkscreen, block prints), mixed media, computer generated art, or photography.

 

Artists interested in entering the competition may drop off artwork during our regular hours, with a completed release form affixed to the back, at the Simsbury Free Library at 749 Hopmeadow Street beginning on August 4, 2015. The deadline to drop off submissions has been extended to Tuesday, September 15th. Release forms are available at the Simsbury Free Library or click here Pinchot Sycamore Art Contest Release Form.

  

Artwork will be displayed from September 8-26, 2015. There will be an open house on Thursday, September 17, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. to honor the artists. Winners will be announced at 6:30 p.m.


GENEALOGY PROGRAMS

Genealogy Road Show with Diane LeMay

September 12th and 26th, from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Our genealogist librarian, Diane LeMay, will try to solve any genealogy research problems patrons bring her.  Free to members.  $5 for non-members.

 

 

 
 Add Row
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
  
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i
Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
  
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i

DROP IN BOOK CLUB

 

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Tuesday, May 12th at 11:15 a.m.:  

 

From Booklist: What goes on behind closed doors, especially when those doors are of the gilded variety, has fascinated novelists and journalists for centuries. The private lives of the rich and famous are so tantalizing that Robin Leach made a career out of showcasing them. One of the biggest eccentric, rich fishes out there was Huguette Clark. Deceased for more than two years, Clark, brought to life by investigator Dedman and Clark’s descendant, Newell, owned nouveau riche palaces in New York, Connecticut, and California. An heiress, Clark disappeared from public view in the 1920s. What happened to her and her vast wealth? Answering this question is the book’s mission. Based on records and the hearsay of relations and former employees, the book pieces together Clarks life, that of a woman rumored to be institutionalized while her mansions stood empty, though immaculately maintained throughout her life. Clark left few clues about herself, but she willed vast sums to her caretakers and numerous charitable endeavors. Still, her absence acts as a shade to seeing her fully, hinting at possible financial malfeasance, all the while conspiring to produce a spellbinding mystery.


No need to join this book club.  Just drop in when you are in town or when the book is of interest.


DROP IN BOOK CLUB

 

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Tuesday, May 12th at 11:15 a.m.:  

 

From Booklist: What goes on behind closed doors, especially when those doors are of the gilded variety, has fascinated novelists and journalists for centuries. The private lives of the rich and famous are so tantalizing that Robin Leach made a career out of showcasing them. One of the biggest eccentric, rich fishes out there was Huguette Clark. Deceased for more than two years, Clark, brought to life by investigator Dedman and Clark’s descendant, Newell, owned nouveau riche palaces in New York, Connecticut, and California. An heiress, Clark disappeared from public view in the 1920s. What happened to her and her vast wealth? Answering this question is the book’s mission. Based on records and the hearsay of relations and former employees, the book pieces together Clarks life, that of a woman rumored to be institutionalized while her mansions stood empty, though immaculately maintained throughout her life. Clark left few clues about herself, but she willed vast sums to her caretakers and numerous charitable endeavors. Still, her absence acts as a shade to seeing her fully, hinting at possible financial malfeasance, all the while conspiring to produce a spellbinding mystery.


No need to join this book club.  Just drop in when you are in town or when the book is of interest.


 
 
 
 
An Oral History with Thelma Hall
 
 
Thelma Hall
 

Interested in Simsbury's history? Our interview with Thelma Hall is now up on SCTV's website (simsburytv.org). Her daughter, Joanne Vanty, asked her questions about her nearly 90 years in Simsbury. Mrs. Hall has great memories of growing up in Simsbury: her father, the station master, walking to school in the snow and so much more. Check it out!  

 

Click here to see the interview.


 

 

BOOK OF WORLD WAR I LETTERS WRITTEN BY SIMSBURY NATIVE

 

Thank you so much to Joe Hall (of Hall's Farm on Terry's Plain) for sharing his great uncle's World War I letters and allowing us to scan them.  If you are a Simsbury or WWI history buff, stop in and have a look at our book of 44 letters that George L. Hall sent home between August 11, 1917 and October 21, 1918. Sadly, George was killed in action on October 28th, 1918, just 2 weeks before the Germans surrendered.  

The letters are a great look at the life of a 20-21 year old soldier in World War I and there a number of Simsbury tidbits as well.  George mentions the other Simsbury boys he sees in France, asks his mother to send fruit cake, hard candies and American cigarettes and tobacco, mentions the Hartford Courant and the "Farmington Valley", talks about how he can't tell them much because of the censors (most of the letters have the censor's signature, and at least one letter has a word or phrase cut out), he asks his brother how the Simsbury football team is doing, and the Home Guard. 

We hope to have the letters available to view on our website in the near future. 



 

PAST PROGRAMS

    

Did you know you can see some of our past programs on SCTV's website at simsburytv.org?  Click on any program on the right to view.