Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sometimes we like to write about happenings or news or stuff that, while only loosely within our authority, give off a certain – say – profundity. It’s part of our all-around service to bring these to your discerning attention.

Hallowed Histories

Hallowed Histories, which last year was sponsored by the Second Air Division Memorial Library, is beginning a second season.  To kick off this annual event, we are offering a free-to-the-public screening of The Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves, 1968) and the short featurette The Trial of Elizabeth Gadge (Dan Zeff, 2015).  The screening will be introduced by historian and University of East Anglia Professor Malcolm Gaskill.  Professor Gaskill’s work largely focuses on the witch trials of East Anglia and the folklore, superstitions and facts surrounding a period that he has coined as being a ‘17th Century English Tragedy’.

This may not initially seem relevant to the mission of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library and its continued establishment of the ‘friendship bridge’ between the United States and the local area, however, many might not realise that the self-appointed Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins, himself a resident of Manningtree a civil parish located on the Essex/ Suffolk borders, almost immigrated to the US with his father, a Suffolk Puritan minister.  In fact, the plans were drawn up and the Hopkins family was all set to go until the unforeseen and untimely death of James Hopkins.  It is indeed an ironic coincidence that the man who might be seen as being chiefly responsible for the East Anglian Witch Trial mania almost found himself residing in Massachusetts, the state in which Salem is located!

However, not only is Matthew Hopkins connected to the US colonies, but Professor Gaskill’s most recent monograph, entitled Between Two Worlds: how the English Became Americans (2014) also further explores this ‘special’ relationship.

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The film screening of Witchfinder General will take place on the 19th of October at UEA’s Julian Study Centre room 3.02 starting 7:00 pm to be followed by a drinks reception.  Although tickets are free, we do suggest that you book a place through Eventbrite to ensure a place.  To listen to our podcast interview, for more information on this and the other events that make up this year’s Hallowed Histories  or to book for this event, follow the links to be found on our website at www.hallowed-histories.org  You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram at Hallowed Histories or at Twitter at @hallowedhist.

And finally, be sure to drop in to the Memorial Library where Professor Gaskill’s book is available.

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In The Library: Photo Wall

By Don Allen

In the reading area of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library there are comfy chairs and tables where you can sit and read a book or talk with friends. On the wall behind you stands a large wall plastered with a collage of photographs from World War II and the 2nd Air Division. The actual photographs can be found on our Digital Archives (www.2ndair.org.uk/digitalarchive), and I’ll leave most of them unidentified in this post so you can make a scavenger hunt game out of it if you’d like. However, I am going to post a few pictures of the wall here and identify some of the individual photos, one of a person which I’m sure most of you will recognize!

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Photo Wall from just inside door. A photo of the WAAC’s/WAC’s (Women’s Army Auxilary Corp/Women’s Air Corp) is on the left.

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The “Friendly Invasion” photographic mural from the main desk

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A 2nd Air Division B-24 Liberator Aircraft

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Then Lt. Colonel Jimmy Stewart receiving the French Croix de Guerre with Palm in 1944

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Book review: Hope in the Dark

By Danielle Prostrollo

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Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Solnit is perhaps most famous for her book Men Explain Things to Me which birthed the phrase “mansplaining” to describe a man that speaks condescendingly to someone (usually a woman) about a topic he does not necessarily know a great deal about (see: Merriam-Webster’s history of mansplaining). And because of this, I have come to know Solnit as an activist, feminist, and essayists.

Hope in the Dark was written in 2003 shortly after the start of the Iraq war, when the 9/11 attacks were still very fresh and tender in the mind of America, but covers several events from the (relatively) recent past: Zapatistas in Mexico, the Central Park protests for nuclear disarmament, the Berlin Wall. The thread that binds all of these events and essays together is an underlying reason to believe in the human spirit which makes this a great read for anyone fatigued by the news each night and finds themselves in a place of unease.

Our copy is a 2016 edition with a new forward written by Solnit and even just within the first few pages there is fuel for a realistic hope dotted throughout:

“It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings” (p. xi-xii).

“Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons” (p. ix).

“Hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal…” (p. 4).

To reserve Hope in the Dark and to explore our stock of social action and American history books of an array of topics, visit us in the Memorial Library!

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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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