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!


June 1950s - Topic Ideas

With the Great Depression just a memory and the post WWII economy strong, the 1950s began a time of rapid change in the US. Families were growing fast, giving rise to the baby boomer generation, and began flocking to the suburbs in search of an “idyllic” life amid increasing fears of the atomic bomb. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights movement were major news events of the 1950s, but here are a few other noteworthy events:

1950    August 25Bertie the Brain, one of the first computer games, is released.

North Korea invades South Korea in June.  SeptemberNovember: UN forces reclaim Seoul and invade North Korea.

Senator McCarthy’s campaign against alleged communists during the Red Scare which lasted from 1950-1954.

1951    September 8: The Treaty of San Francisco ends the Occupation of Japan and formally  concludes hostilities between Japan and the US.

1952    February 6: Queen Elizabeth II becomes Monarch of the Commonwealth realms.

      Development of the first effective polio vaccine by Jonas Salk.

1953    April 25: Discovery of the three-dimensional structure of DNA.

      Elvis Presley's musical career is launched.

The first color television is produced.

1954    May 17: The Supreme Court of the United States decides Brown v. Board of Education,   ordering an end to racial segregation in public schools.

1955    April 12: The Salk polio vaccine having passed large-scale trials earlier in the United States, receives full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

            The Vietnam War began in November.

            Disneyland opened.   

1957    October 4: Launch of Sputnik 1 and the beginning of the Space Age.

First prescription of the combined oral contraceptive pill.

Beginning of the Asian flu in China, leading to a worldwide pandemic that lasts until the following year.

1958    July 29NASA formed.

      Invention of the optical disc and the cassette tape.

1959    February 3: Rock and roll musicians Ritchie ValensBuddy Holly and The Big Bopper die in  a plane crash.

            First documented AIDS cases.

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


B BRY BRY                            The life and times of the thunderbolt kid (setting: 1950s, Iowa)

B CHA CHA                          The girl with no name: the incredible story of a child raised by monkeys (setting: 1950s, Colombia)

B ROW ROW                       About my mother: true stories of a horse-crazy daughter and her baseball obsessed mother (setting: 1950s, Baltimore, MD)

616 SKL                                The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks (setting: 1950s, Maryland and Virginia)

636.1 LP LET                       The ride of her life: the true story of a woman, her horse, and their last-chance journey across America (setting: 1956-1956, across the US)

951.904 LP SID                  On desperate ground: the Marines at the reservoir, the Korean War’s greatest battle

951.904 DRU                      The last stand of Fox Company: a true story of U.S. Marines in combat

951.904 HUT                      Sgt. Reckless: America’s War (setting: Korean War – about a horse)

NEW 951.9 MAK               Devotion: an epic story of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice (Setting: Korean War)

F BEN                                    Her hidden genius (setting: 1950s, Paris & London)

F JEN                                     Bloomsbury girls (setting: 1950, London)

F JOY                                     Miss Benson’s beetle (setting: 1950, London & South Pacific)

F JOS                                     The henna artist (setting: 1950s, India)

F OWE                                   Where the crawdads sing (setting: 1952 & 1969, North Carolina)

F RIC                                      The book woman’s daughter (setting: 1953, Kentucky)

F ROS                                    White collar girl (setting: 1955, Chicago)

F SHA                                    The frozen hours: a novel of the Korean War (setting: 1950, Korea)

F TAY                                     The brighter the light (setting: 1950, North Carolina)

F VAN                                   The good dream (setting: 1950s, Tennessee)

F WIN                                    The orphans of Mersea House (setting: 1957, England)

F LP BEN                               The swans of Fifth Avenue (setting: 1950s, New York City)

F LP DEF                               An American summer (setting: 1955, Baltimore, MD)

F LP ERD                               The night watchman (setting: 1953, North Dakota & Minnesota)

F LP HUG                             By her own design: a novel of Ann Lowe, fashion designer to the social register (setting: 1953, New York & 1918, Tampa)

F LP LEE                                Go set a watchman (setting: 1950s, Alabama)

F LP OWE                             Where the crawdads sing (setting: 1952 & 1969, North Carolina)

F LP SCH                               The daughters of Erietown (setting: begins in 1957, Ohio)

F LP SEP                                Out of the easy (setting: 1950, New Orleans, Louisiana)

F LP TOW                             The Lincoln Highway (setting: 1954, multiple states)

J951.9 RIC                           Korea 1950: Pusan to Chosin



May 1940s - Topic Ideas

The 1940s is the decade when Depression turns into prosperity, when disillusionment gives way to optimism, when want yields to plenty — and when domestic peace is shattered by world war. The 1940s were defined by World War II, the Holocaust, atomic bombs, and the beginning of the Cold War. Women were needed in the workforce to replace men who went to war, and wartime production pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. We have no shortage of WW2 books, both non-fiction and historical fiction.  World War II domonated the decade, but there are a few other noteworthy events that happened in the 1940's:


1940    May 15McDonald's founded in San Bernardino, California.

1941    JuneDecember: Hitler commences the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

      December 7: The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor leads to the USA joining World War II.

1942    The Manhattan Project begins.

            July 5 – Anne Frank goes into hiding

1943    January 15The Pentagon is completed.

            January 18: Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

February 2Battle of Stalingrad ends with over two million casualties and the retreat of the German Army.

1944    June 1: First operational electronic computer, Colossus, comes online.

            June 6: D-Day when over 150,000 allied troops landed on beaches in Normandy, France


1945    April 12: President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office, making his vice president, Harry S. Truman the new president

May:  End of World War II in Europe.

      The Holocaust ends after ~12 million deaths, including 6 million Jews.

August: The US dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, ending the war in the Pacific

October 8: The microwave cooking oven is patented, with the one of the first prototypes placed at a Boston restaurant for testing.

October 24:  United Nations charter signed by 50 nations.

1947    April 15Jackie Robinson becomes the first baseball player of color.

            Polaroid cameras invented

            June 27:  Dead Sea Scrolls discovered.

1948    June 24Berlin Blockade begins.

1949    June 8George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four.


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


F BEL                      The Paris architect (setting: 1942, Paris)

F CHA                    The stolen marriage (setting: 1944, North Carolina)

F DOE                    All the light we cannot see (setting: WWII France & Germany)

F FOR                    Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet (setting: 1940s and 1980s, Seattle)

F FUR                    A hero of France (setting: 1941, France)

F HAR                    The book of lost names (setting: WWII France, 2005 Germany)

F HAR                    The forest of vanishing stars (setting: World War II, Eastern Europe)

F HEA                    Girls of flight city: inspired by true events a novel of WWII, the Royal Air Force, and Texas

F KEL                      Lilac girls (setting: WWII; New York, Paris, Germany, Poland)

F KIE                      The baker’s secret (setting: 1944, Normandy, France)

F MEA                   Dragonfly (setting: World War II, Paris)

F MYE                    The tobacco wives (setting: 1946, North Carolina)

F NEM                   Suite française (setting: 1940, France)

F ORW                  Nineteen eighty four (1984 of the future; London & near-future Oceania)

F QUI                     The rose code (setting: 1940 & 1947, England)  

F RIM                    The things we cannot say (setting: 1942 & 2019, Poland)

F ROB                    The gown: a novel of the royal wedding (setting: 1947, London; 2016, Toronto)

F ROS                    Sarah’s key (setting: 1942, 2002 – Paris)

F SAL                     Angels of the resistance (setting: 1940, Netherlands)

F SHA                    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (setting: 1946, England & The Channel Islands)

F WEI                     Code name Verity (setting: 1943, France)

F WIL                     The golden hour (setting: 1941 Bahamas)


NEW F HLA          The book spy (setting: WWII, New York City & Portugal)

NEW F REA          Go as a river (setting: 1940s, Colorado)

NEW F SAL          Angels of the resistance (setting: WWII, Netherlands)

NEW F SPE          Beyond that, the sea (setting: 1940s London and Boston)

F LP GIL                City of girls (setting: 1940s, New York City)

F IF GRE                Things we didn’t say (setting: WWII, Minnesota)

F LP CAM             The Paris dressmaker (setting: WWII, Paris)

F LP FUR               Under occupation (setting: 1942, Paris)

F LP JEN                The kommandant’s girl (setting: WWII, Poland)


B AIR BRU            The race of aces: WWII’s elite airmen and the epic battle to become the masters of the  sky

B FOU OLS           Madame Fourcade’s secret war: the daring young woman who led France’s largest spy network against Hitler

B GOI PUR           A woman of no importance: the untold story of the American spy who helped win WWII

B SMI PAP           Inferno: the true story of a B-17 gunner’s heroism and the bloodiest military campaign in aviation history

B ZAM HIL           Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption


NEW 823 KEN    Schindler’s list

341.6                     Enemies within: Iowa POWs in Nazi Germany

940.53 BRA         Three ordinary girls: the remarkable story of three Dutch teenagers who became spies,  saboteurs, Nazi assassins – and WWII heroes

940.53 EDS          The monuments men: Allied heroes, Nazi thieves, and the greatest treasure hunt in history

940.53 SUL          The Betrayal of Anne Frank: a cold case investigation

940.53 WIN        1944: FDR and the year that changed history

940.54 AMB       Band of brothers: E company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne: from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s nest

940.54 BRO         The greatest generation

940.54 FEL           Ghost riders: when US and German soldiers fought together to save the world’s most beautiful horses in the last days of World War II

940.54 LOR         The miracle of Dunkirk: the true story of Operation Dynamo

940.54 MUN      Code girls: the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II

940.54 SAT          We band of brothers: the Sullivans and World War II

940.54 SHA         World War II day by day


F TN HES              Girl in the Blue Coat (setting: WWII, Netherlands)

F TN SEP               Salt to the sea (setting: WWII: East Prussia)


JF LOW                 Number the stars (setting: 1943, Denmark)

JF GN PAL            White bird (setting: World War II, France)

JF GN TAR            I survived the Nazi invasion, 1944             

J940.54 HUE       Voices of World War II: stories from the front line




April - 1930’s – Topic Ideas


The 1930s saw the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl which was the worst drought in American history. While in Europe there was the rise of Hitler and Nazi power in Germany, and the beginnings of World War II.


1930    February 18: Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.


July 1330: The first FIFA World Cup is hosted in Uruguay.


1931    March 3: "The Star-Spangled Banner" is adopted as the United States's national anthem.


            May 1: Empire State Building completed.


June: Floods in China kill up to 2.5 million people.


1932    March 1: Lindbergh baby kidnapping.


The neutron is discovered by James Chadwick.


1933    Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated to fourth term as President of the United States.


December 5Prohibition in the United States is abolished.


1934    May 23Bonnie and Clyde are shot to death in a police ambush.


August 2: With the death of President Hindenburg, Hitler declares himself Führer of Germany.


1935    September 15: Enactment of the anti-Semitic Nuremberg racial laws.


1936    December 11: After a reign shorter than one year, Edward VIII abdicates and hands the throne to his brother, George VI.


The Hoover Dam is completed.


George Nissen and Larry Griswold build the first modern trampoline.


1937    May 6: German zeppelin Hindenburg crashes in Lakehurst, New Jersey, ending the airship era.


            September 21: J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit.


            December 21: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first feature-length animated movie released.


1938    April 18DC Comics hero Superman has its first appearance.


            November 910: Kristallnacht, a pogrom, killing over 90 Jews in Germany while destroying 267 synagogues, and over 7,000 Jewish businesses.


      DecemberTime Magazine declares Adolf Hitler as Man of the Year.


1939    August 25: Release date of MGM's The Wizard of Oz.


September 1OctoberNazi invasion of Poland triggers World War II in Europe. Soviet  invasion of Poland begins 16 days later.


September 3: Britain and France declare war on Germany; World War II begins.


            December 15: Release date of Gone with the Wind.



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


NEW F FRE                The Lindbergh nanny (setting: 1932, New Jersey.)
F LP ALL                     A long petal of the sea (setting: 1930s)
F LP BRO                   Rainwater (1934, Gilead, Texas)
F LP TOW                   Rules of civility (setting: 1938, New York City)
F LP WAL                   Half broke horses (setting: first half of 20th century, Arizona)
F BEA                         Florence Adler swims forever (setting: New Jersey, 1934)
F BEN                         The Mitford affair (setting: 1930s, England)
F DAL                          The Persian pickle club (setting: 1930s, Kansas)
F EVE                         The saints of Swallow Hill (1930s, North Carolina & Georgia)
F GAR                         By starlight (setting: 1931, Montana)
F GWI                         Promise (setting: 1936, Tupelo, Mississippi)
F HAN                         The nightingale (setting: 1939, France)
F HAN (and in LP)      The four winds (setting: 1934-1936, Texas)
F KIN                           The green mile (setting: 1932, Cold Mountain Penitentiary)
F KLI                           Orphan train (setting: Depression-era Minnesota, and 2011 Maine)
F KRU (and in LP)      This tender land (setting: 1932, Minnesota & down the Mississippi River)
F LEE                          To kill a Mockingbird (setting: 1933, Alabama)
F LET                          Finding Dorothy (setting: 1938, Hollywood)
F QUI                          The diamond eye (setting: 1937, Ukraine, America)
F RIC                          The book woman of Troublesome Creek (setting: 1936, Kentucky)
F STE                          Grapes of wrath (setting: 1930s, Oklahoma & California)
F TOL                          The Hobbit, or There and back again
F TOW                        Rules of civility (setting 1938, New York City)
F WAL                         The color purple (setting: 1930s Georgia)
F WIN                          Before we were yours (setting: 1939, Memphis)



B NEW NEW              Diamonds at dinner: my life as a lady’s maid in a 1930s stately home

(setting: 1930s, England)

B ROO JEN                Franklin Delano Roosevelt


NEW B SPI SPI          Maus I & II : a survivor’s tale (1930s Poland, and 1970s, New York City)


305.23 BRO               The Orphans of Davenport: eugenics, the Great Depression, and the war   

                                    over children’s intelligence


798.4 HIL                    Seabiscuit: an American legend (setting: 1938, USA)


979.12 BRO                The boys in the boat: nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the

1936 Berlin Olympics


929.9 SED                  Star-spangled banner: our nation & its flag


943.08 LP LAR           In the garden of beasts: love, terror, and an American family in Hitler’s



978 EGA                     The worst hard time: the untold story of those who survived the great

American dust bowl



JF BAU                       The Wizard of Oz


JF TAR                        I survived the Hindenburg disaster, 1937


J811 KAL                    The Star-spangled banner


March - 1920’s – Topic Ideas


1920s    From the 1920s-1950s Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee  Children’s Home Society in Memphis. More than 5000 children (many who weren’t actually orphans) were trafficked.

1920       January 17: Prohibition in the United States begins.

                May 21: The Mexican Revolution ends.

                19th Amendment gave women the right to vote.

                National Football League is formed.

1921       January 25: Premiere of the science-fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), in which the word "robot" was first used.

                May 31-June 1:  Tulsa race riot.

July 29: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of the Nazi Party as hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic begins.

1922       November 4Howard Carter discovers Tutankhamen's tomb.

1923       October 16: The Walt Disney Company is founded.

1924       January 25February 5: The first edition of the Winter Olympic Games is hosted in Chamonix,  France.

May 10: The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation founded under J. Edgar Hoover.

The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held.

1925       July 18: Hitler's Mein Kampf is published.

                Nellie Tayloe Ross elected governor of Wyoming and is first female governor in the USA.

1926       June 19: National Broadcasting Company (NBC) founded in New York City as first nationwide radio broadcasting system.

1927      May 18: The Bath School disaster, a series of violent attacks by Andrew Kehoe results in 45 deaths in Michigan, USA.

May 2021: Charles Lindbergh performs the first nonstop flight from New York City to  Paris; becomes a world hero.

October 4Mount Rushmore construction begins in South Dakota, U.S.

1928       September 3: Accidental rediscovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming.

                November 18: Steamboat Willie, is the first appearance of Mickey Mouse.

                Bubble gum is invented.

1929       February 14: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago

May 16: The first Academy Awards are presented.

October 2429: Wall Street crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression.


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

F BRO                    Blind tiger (setting: 1920s, Texas)

F WIL                     A Certain age (setting: 1920s, New York City)

F ZEL                      The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights (setting:  1924, Brooklyn; late 19th C Russia; 1910s New Orleans)

F LP TOW             A Gentleman in Moscow (setting: 1922, Russia)

F SCH                     Last call at the Nightingale (setting: 1924, New York City)

F STE                      The Light between oceans  (setting: 1920s, Australia)

F ARM                   The Light of Luna Park (setting: 1926, New York City; 1951)

F LP DAV              The Magnolia palace (setting:  1920s & current day, New York City)

New F PAU         The Manhattan Girls: a novel of Dorothy Parker and her friends (setting: 1921, New York City)

F ROB                    Moonlight over Paris (setting:  1924, Paris)

F BEN                    The Mystery of Mrs. Christie (setting: 1926, England)

F RIN                     The Other typist  (setting: 1923, New York City)

F MCL                    The Paris wife (setting: 1920s, Paris)

F SKE                     The Second life of Mirielle West (setting: 1920s, Hollywood, and Louisiana leper colony)

F KLA                     Villa America (setting: 1920s, France)


B LIN KES             The Flight of the century: Charles Lindbergh & the rise of American aviation

B LIN LIN              The Spirit of St. Louis (Charles Lindbergh’s account of his transatlantic crossing in 1927)

362.73 CHR         Before and after: the incredible real-life stories of orphans who survived the Tennessee  Children’s Home Society (setting: 1920s-1950s, Tennessee and USA)

363.17 MOO      The Radium Girls (setting: America, 1917 through the 1920s)

364.132 MCC     Prohibition in Eastern Iowa (setting: 1920—1933, Iowa)

630.9773 MEY   Days on the Family Farm: from the Golden Age through the Great Depression (setting: 1901-1930s, Illinois)

918.1 GRA           The Lost city of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon (setting: 1925, South America)

919.89 SHA         The stowaway: a young man’s extraordinary adventure to Antarctica (setting, 1928, New York, Antarctica)

932 SAN               Egyptology: search for the tomb of Osiris: being the journal of Miss Emily Sands, November 1926 (setting: 1926, Egypt)

973.91 BRY          One summer: America, 1927

976.60 GRA        Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI (setting: 1920s Oklahoma)


J384 FAN             The Disney book: a celebration of the World of Disney

J384.8 PAS          The Story of Disney

J796.357 NEL     We Are the ship: the story of Negro League baseball (setting: 1920s, USA)

J978.3 BRO         Mount Rushmore



 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.