Category Archives: Memorial Library

Posts to do with the administration or staffing of the Memorial

The 2017 Charles Walker Memorial Lecture

By Danielle Prostrollo

Charles Walker, decorated B-24 Liberator pilot for the 445th Bomb Group at Tibbenham, was an active supporter of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library throughout his life. In memory of his life and support, a yearly lecture is organised as a joint effort between the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust and the Department of American Studies at the University of East Anglia which is titled the Charles Walker Memorial Lecture.

Each year a guest speaker, specialising in different facets of American histories and culture, is invited to Norwich for the annual Charles Walker Memorial Lecture. This year we are anxiously awaiting Professor Susan Castillo Street’s talk titled The Dark Side of Paradise: 21st Century Florida Gothic in Carl Hiaasen and Karen Russell. The money for this annual lecture is lovingly donated in Chuck’s memory by his widow Dr Dede Casad.

The evening will, no doubt, delve into each author’s depictions of modern Florida and those wanting to become more acquainted with the material (or simply refresh their memory) can pick up or reserve a copy of your favourite Hiaasen or Swamplandia by Russell from Norfolk libraries.

Please join us for an afternoon with Professor Castillo Street whether you are a well-read fan of the authors or are simply interested in learning more about American literature. The event is free and no booking is necessary.

Charles Walker Lecture (13-11-17)

 

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Filed under American Culture, Books, Current Events, Memorial Library, Public Events

Who is Lois Lane?

By Danielle Prostrollo

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With the success of the recent Wonder Woman film, I found myself drawn to the ‘other’ famous first lady of comic books – Lois Lane. Tim Hanley, comic book historian, has published a couple of great books on both Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, so I picked up Investigating Lois Lane in the Memorial Library. The book is such a great history of Lane as a character, a cultural icon, and measure of societal opinion that I’ve added a few brief bits that I found interesting both from the book and a bit of extra digging that the book inspired.

Lane has had an interesting history that volleys between plot device to a reasonably fleshed out character (at least, reasonably fleshed out for her time). Her complicated history includes the accomplishment of having her own comic book, Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane and a qualifier on that accomplishment, that her greatest ambition was not a front page scoop, but to marry Superman.

As a character, she often took unnecessary risks or acted without thinking. After rifling through a box of space artefacts she was told not to touch, she developed Kryptonite vision which, of course, caused Superman a great deal of pain and he angrily called her a “little idiot” and told her to get lost. What we later find out is, she didn’t actually have Kryptonite vision and Superman faked his injury in order to teach her a lesson.

DC eventually recruited their first female editor, Dorothy Woolfolk, to take over the ‘lady’ titles (Wonder Woman and Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane). She gave Lane a brief time placed squarely in the first-wave feminist movement: Lane broke up with Superman to concentrate on reporting stories she was passionate about. This didn’t last long, after only a hand full of issues Woolfolk was taken off the title and Superman’s Girl Friend was rolled into another.

In the radio universe, Lane had several iterations. In my opinion, Joan Alexander was the most fascinating. She was the 3rd woman to voice Lois. But when she was fired, she showed up to the auditions for her replacement in a wig, won the role back, and continued to voice Lois for several more seasons.

Alexander’s Lane had a tenacious go-get ‘em nature and often went ahead to catch a scoop despite the dangers of the job, which hinted at the independence of Lane and forward-thinking view of a woman’s role for the time. But so often the scenario ended up with Lois trapped and in peril, waiting for Superman to come and save her from an untimely demise.

 

Some other interesting links relating to Lois Lane and women in comics:
http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/32942226462/llfeminist

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/03/14/gendercrunching-january-2017-counting-lead-female-characters-at-marvel-and-dc/

http://sequart.org/magazine/63773/the-complicated-legacies-of-wonder-woman-and-lois-lane/

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Filed under American Culture, American History, Books, Memorial Library, Uncategorized

New eMagazines available!

By Danielle Prostrollo

In addition to the collection of physical periodicals in our collection, Norfolk Library and Information Service subscribe to some digital editions of American magazines. Recently, they have added Newsweek and National Geographic subscriptions to the list.

To view both the most recent issue and back issues, you can visit the links below:

Newsweek

newsweek

National Geographic

natgeo

While everyone has become more comfortable with the idea of the eBook, the digital edition of print magazines remains less common, but digital editions are a great way to stay up to date on your favorite publications while on the go! You can access these on your PC or Mac, tablet, or smart phone. You can browse the whole collection here

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Filed under Memorial Library, Online Resources, Uncategorized

The Friendly Invasion – Visit East Anglia

Seventy-five years ago the first of over 300,000 US servicemen arrived in the east of England to fight what was to become America’s longest battle of World War Two.

For the locals, their welcome presence signalled the biggest cultural and landscape impact of any event since the Norman Conquest almost 900 years earlier.

A rural backwater would soon be changed by the United States Army Air Force personnel, who brought to rationed England previously unknown items such as Coca Cola, chewing gum, peanut butter, Swing music and nylons. It was as if, just like in The Wizard of Oz, a monochrome landscape had suddenly gone technicolour.

The Friendly Invasion, as it became known, has left an indelible mark on East Anglia, and the sacrifices and bravery of those men have not been forgotten. The Eighth Air Force, The Mighty Eighth, suffered 26,000 fatalities, 3,000 more than the Marines in the Pacific, with a loss of 4,145 heavy bombers.

They are remembered at the American Air Museum at Imperial War Museum Duxford, at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, the Second Air Division Memorial Library at Norwich and at many airfield museums across the region, all staffed by dedicated volunteers determined to honour those from across the Atlantic who fought to preserve democracy, liberty and free speech.

Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker was the first to arrive on February 20, 1942, in civilian clothes, via Portugal. What was to follow became the greatest air armada in history. Their first mission was on July 4, despite their own planes not having arrived. But so determined were they to go on that symbolic date that they borrowed RAF bombers!

Later in the war, at peak strength, The Mighty Eighth could dispatch over 2000 four-engine bombers and more than 1000 fighters on a single mission.

‘This is a story that is unique to East Anglia,’ says Pete Waters, executive director of Visit East Anglia, the region’s tourism organisation which has created a new Friendly Invasion project working with US and UK museums and memorial groups. ‘But it is not as well-known as the road from D-Day to Berlin, or the campaign against the Japanese.’

Visit East Anglia is hoping that the announcement that a new HBO series based on Donald L Miller’s Masters of the Air book is being made by the production companies of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg will encourage more Americans to discover the rich heritage their forebears created.

‘Masters of the Air is entirely about the Mighty Eighth in East Anglia. We want Americans to come and see where Grandpa Joe came to serve and where Grandma Mabel maybe came from,’ adds Waters. ‘This is a story as much about social history as military.’

East Anglia’s links with America stretch back to the Founding Fathers – the highest percentage of passengers on The Mayflower came from the region. Abe Lincoln’s family came from the East of England, Thomas Paine, who wrote the pamphlets that arguably saved the Revolutionary War for George Washington, was born in the East of England, as was John Rolfe, who created The Special Relationship by marrying Pocahontas in the first inter-racial church wedding in north America and whose tobacco crop helped save Jamestown from bankruptcy. Where it not for Rolfe, Americans might now be speaking Spanish, French or even Dutch!

‘In inviting Americans to the region to experience The Friendly Invasion, we also want them to enjoy our contemporary visitor offering,’ says Waters. ‘We have wonderful links golf courses, two whisky distilleries, medieval castles, ‘Downton Abbeys’ in abundance, two cities in medieval Norwich and university Cambridge that are great for shopping, culture and arts, this is the rural home of the Royal Family, and, of course, we have superb spa hotels, fabulous fine dining, afternoon teas and quaint country pubs.’

After Band of Brothers aired on HBO, tourism in Normandy saw a 40% uplift in visitors from the US. Visit East Anglia is hoping that can be replicated with Masters of the Air.

‘In 1942 Americans came to the east of England,’ adds Waters. ‘Now we’d like to invite Americans back. They can be assured of a welcome as warm and friendly as their compatriots received seventy-five years ago.’

For more details visit the website, visiteastofengland.com

First published in The American magazine (www.theamerican.co.uk) June 2017

 

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Filed under American History, Local Interest, Memorial Library, Uncategorized, World War 2