Decades Book Challenge

sesquicentennial logo.JPGSince Traer is celebrating our Sesquicentennial (1873-2023) this year, we will be doing a Decades Book Challenge all year long! To cover our 150 years, each month you will choose a book corresponding to a specific decade(s). This is YOUR Challenge so you can choose how you fulfill the prompt. You can choose a book published in that decade, a book about an event from that decade or set in that decade, or any topic related to something from the decade.  It can be fiction or non-fiction.


You have a lot of leeway with your interpretation of a book relating to the decade(s)! Adults and children can participate! Remember, if you find a book you’d like to read that we don’t have in our library, we can get it from another library for free, or look on Bridges/Libby for an e-book or audiobook


You can pick up a log sheet at the circulation desk to keep track of your books each month (or if you are not in town we can email you the info). We will also have a list of topics and book ideas, or just ask and we can help you find something! We will be giving away gifts to those who complete the challenge! We hope you have FUN with this challenge as Traer celebrates our 150 years!


 February  - 1900’s – 1910s – Topic Ideas


1901-1910 Immigration hit an all-time peak with over 8.8 million immigrants in the 10 years from 1901-1910.

1900       Galveston Hurricane in Texas kills 8000 people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and 25% of the population were left homeless.

                L. Frank Baum publishes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The first edition’s 10,000 copies quickly sold out. It was adapted as a Broadway musical in 1902, and in 1939 the classic film with Judy Garland was released.

1901       Sept 6 - Assassination of William McKinley. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumes office as President of the United States following McKinley's death on September 14.

                England’s Queen Victoria who ruled for 64 years, also died this year.

                First Nobel Prizes awarded.

1903       December 17: First controlled heavier-than-air flight of the Wright Brothers.

1906       April 18: An earthquake in San Francisco, California, magnitude 7.9, kills 3,000, and destroys 80% of the city.

1907       Bakelite, the world's first fully synthetic plastic, invented in New York by Leo Baekeland, who coins the term "plastics".

1908       October 1: The Ford Motor Company invents the Model T.

                First commercial radio transmissions.

1910       April: Halley's Comet returns.

1911       March 25: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City results in the deaths of 146 workers and leads to sweeping workplace safety reforms.

1912       April 15: Sinking of the RMS Titanic after it struck an iceberg.  Over 1500 passengers and crewmembers were killed.

1914       July 28: World War I begins.

1915       The first large scale use of poison gas by both sides in World War I occurs, first by the Germans at the Battle of Bolimów on the eastern front, and at the Second Battle of Ypres on the western front, and then by the British at the Battle of Loos.

                A torpedo from a German U-boat sank the Lusitania killing over 1000 people.

1917       April 6: USA joins the Entente for the last 17 months of World War I

                MayOctober: Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal.

1918       July 1617: Assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

                The Armistice of 11 November 1918 ends World War I.

                The Spanish Flu infected approximately one-third of the world’s population, and killed an estimated 20 million-50 million people, including 675,000 Americans.


February Book Ideas: (these are all available at the Traer Public Library)

F LET                     Finding Dorothy  (fictional account behind the making of the movie “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”)
F MEI                     The nature of fragile things  (setting: 1906, San Francisco)
F GAY                    The girl who came home: a novel of the Titanic  (setting: 1912 & 1987, Titanic survivor)
F SHR                    Stella Bain: a novel  (setting: 1914-1918, London & America)
New F LP CHI         Switchboard soldiers  (setting: 1917, France)
F LP STE                A good woman  (1912-1918, New York City; France)
F MCP                    The Seamstress of New Orleans  (1900; New Orleans)
F MOY                    The girl you left behind  (setting: 1916, Paris; 2006)
F MAS                    The winter soldier  (setting:  1914, Vienna)
F DAL                     Little Souls  (setting: 1918, Colorado)
F MEI                      As bright as heaven  (setting: 1918, Philadelphia; Spanish Flu)
F WIS                     The orphan collector  (setting: 1918, Philadelphia)
F DON                    The pull of the stars  (setting: 1918, Ireland)
TN F ALE               The kitchen boy  (setting:  1918, Russia)
F SMI                      A tree grows in Brooklyn  (setting: 1900-1918, Brooklyn, New York)
F LP DAV               The magnolia palace  (setting:  1919 and 1966, New York City)
F LP DAV               The lions of fifth avenue  (setting: 1913 & 1993, New York City)
F QUI                     The Alice Network  (setting: 1915 and 1947, France)
F BEN                    The personal librarian  (setting:  1905, New York City)
F TUR                    Light changes everything  (setting: 1907, Arizona Territory & Illinois)
F LP WAL              The cold millions  (setting: 1909, Spokane, WA)
F GAY                    A memory of violets: a novel of London’s flower sellers (setting: 1912 & 1876, England)
F LP WIL                Band of sisters  (setting: 1917, France)
F LP KEL               Lost Roses (setting: 1914, St. Petersberg, Russia; Paris; USA)
B STE STE             Letters of a Woman Homesteader (setting: 1909-1913, Wyoming)
B ROO AUC           Theodore Roosevelt
B WRI MCC            The Wright Brothers
362.12   LOR         A night to remember  (setting: 1912, England, and Atlantic Ocean aboard the Titanic)
363.12 MAR          Titanic  (setting: 1912)
363.12 BRY          The Titanic disaster: as reported in the British national press April-July 1912
363.17   MOO       The radium girls (setting: 1917 through 1920s, USA)
910 MOW             Sinking of the Titanic: eyewitness accounts (1912)
917.3 GUI             The Vagabonds: the story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s ten-year road trip
940.4 LAR            Dead wake: the last crossing of the Lusitania  (setting:  1915, aboard the Lusitania)
 940.47 MOO       No man’s land: the trailblazing women who ran Britain’s most extraordinary military
        hospital during World War I
947.08 RAP         The Romanov sisters: the lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
AUD CD 918.1 MIL   The River of doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s darkest journey (setting: 1912, Brazil)
J 551.55                World’s Worst Hurricanes
JF TAR                  The Galveston hurricane, 1900 (I Survived #21)
JF BUR                  The Secret Garden  (setting: 1910, Yorkshire, England)
JF BAU                  The Wizard of OZ: Great Illustrated Classics
JB WRI SOB          The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
JF TAR                   I survived the San Francisco earthquake, 1906
J940.4 HEI             Voices of World War I: stories from the trenches



January  - 1870’s – 1890s – Topic Ideas

1865 – 1900s – The “Wild West”

                Notorious for gunslingers, outlaws, train robberies, westward expansion and gritty lawmen

1880-1900 – The “Gilded Age”

A time when things were glittering on the surface, but with shaky foundations and corruption underneath. The US experienced rapid growth in population and industry. Skyscrapers became commonplace, as did trolleys, cable cars, and subways. Unhealthy and dangerous working conditions arose leading to labor strikes and the formation of labor unions.

1873 – Blue Jeans & Barbed Wire invented

                Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented a method of reinforcing work pants with metal rivets.

                Joseph Glidden applied for patent for double stranded barbed wire.

                Both of these items had major impact for the settlers moving west.

1876 – Battle of Little Big Horn

The battle was fought on June 25, 1976, in Montana near the Little Big Horn River.  General George Custer led 600 federal troops against around 3000 Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors.

1879 – Light bulb invented

Thomas Edison publicly demonstrated an incandescent light bulb. In 1880, he created the first strand of electric lights and strung them outside during the Christmas season. It wasn’t until 1895 when President Grover Cleveland spurred the acceptance of indoor Christmas lighst by having them in the White House.

1881 – Outlaw Billy the Kid shot and killed by a lawman in the New Mexico Territory. Several months later, outlaw Doc Holliday and lawman Wyatt Earp were involved in a gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ. 

1881 – American Red Cross

Clara Barton founded the Red Cross after learning about a similar organization in Switzerland

1883 - Brooklyn Bridge opened on May 24, 1885

At the time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River.

1886 – The Statue of Liberty constructed on Liberty Island.

The statue was first built in France, then disassembled and shipped to New York City in 1885.

1887 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle debuted his literary detective Sherlock Holmes

                Doyle went on to write four novels and 56 short stories about Sherlock Holmes.

1888 – Jack the Ripper murders occur in London

The unsolved murders of five women occurred that autumn. Over the next four years perhaps a dozen others were committed by the same person.


1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota

This was the last battle in the American Indian Wars, and represented the end of the American Old West.

1891 – Carnegie Hall in New York City opens.

One of the most prestigious facilities in the world, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists. It was built by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who also funded the building of many small-town public libraries across the country.

1892 – Basketball invented

James Naismith, a physical education teacher, created the games using two half-bushel peach baskets.

1893 – Chicago hosted the World’s Fair. The fair debuted the first Ferris Wheel.

1896 – Olympic Games revived in Athens

The games originally were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.  The modern era began with the formation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894.

1896 – Gold discovered in the Klondike region of Alaska.

When news reached Seattle and San Francisco the following year, it triggered a stampede of prospectors. Roughly 100,000 people of dreams of striking rich flocked to Alaska, although only around 30,000 completed the journey.  Some became wealthy, but the majority went in vain.

1898 – Spanish American War

The American Battleship USS Maine exploded in the harbor at Havana, Cuba.  This mysterious event lead to the US going to war with Spain.