Redwood Journal

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When Abraham Redwood gave the funds for the Original Collection in 1747, many of the books were on practical subjects like medicine, farming, or, interestingly enough, beekeeping. John Thorley (1671-1759) writes expressively on both the preservation of bees and on their utility as an ideal model for human behavior.

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Ernest Hemingway was one of the most prolific, and at times controversial, writers of the early twentieth century. His works often focused on such themes as love, loss, and war; topics that stimulated thought and deep feelings from readers. This reading list will hopefully evoke those emotions again, sampling a taste of Hemingway's body of fiction as well as outside perspectives of his life.

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Newport is best known as a summer resort destination and for its collection of ornate Gilded Age homes. Historians agree that the Gilded Age began at the end of the American Civil War when do to the construction of railroads and industrialization, the U.S. economy expanded considerably, allowing not only for these lavish summer "cottages" to be built but also for their owners to entertain in a grand scale.

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Rhode Island has a varied past when it comes to the American Revolution. Riots in Newport during the Stamp Act Crisis in 1765, and the burning of the HMS Gaspee in 1772 were significant displays of protest in the face of British policy in the years leading up to the Revolution. When the War of American Independence began, Rhode Island struggled with trials and tribulations after it was the first colony to declare it's Independence in May of 1776.

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It was in this coming week, in 1780, that General Rochambeau arrived in Newport with around 6,000 French soldiers under his command, signaling to many the beginning of the end of the Revolutionary War. He remained at Newport through 1781, when he joined forces with George Washington’s troops at the Battle of Yorktown.

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Fort Wolcott was the primary fort protecting Newport, Rhode Island from 1703-1836. Over the years it had many names and served different military forces, later aided by the United States Army Hospital on site. The collection we are featuring today consists of one incredibly detailed meteorological diary maintained by the US Army Hospital at Fort Wolcott on Goat Island in Newport Harbor.

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One of the portraits we have in our collection by the well-known painter Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) is of Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846). According to reports, the young Waterhouse, who was born in Newport, spent some time reading medical books at the Redwood Library. He went on to become part of the first faculty of Harvard Medical School and an early experimenter with the smallpox vaccine.

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It’s the weekend before the Fourth of July, which means it is time to prepare your homemade fireworks! Well perhaps we wouldn’t recommend that, but we did find a book in our vault that could help if anyone were so inclined.

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The struggle for colonial independence in Rhode Island has one of its anniversaries this weekend, which marks 245 years since the burning of the Gaspee. An armed schooner in the King’s army, the Gaspee first appeared in the waters of Narragansett Bay in March 1772. By June 9, 1772 it had been destroyed by an anonymous group of Rhode Islanders who were never punished.

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Our collection of historic maps provides us with very different perspectives of early Newport, with each map influenced by the point of view of its creator. The map featured here, for example, is a military plan, drawn in August 1778 by Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy (1746-1804).

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