Reference Blog Entries

The Demonic Violinist

Laura's picture

Niccolo Paganini was born on October 27, 1782 in Genoa, Italy. He was an Italian composer and a violinist of extraordinary virtuosity who became the most popular musician of his dayGrainy black and white image of Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini performing

In 1828 he began a European tour that was wildly successful. His behavior was outrageous.He created strange sounds from his violin and he received large sums of money for performing. Rumors about his personal life were rampant.He caused women in his audiences to swoon and he frequently played benefit concerts for indigent artists. Although he played classical music in the nineteenth century, he had something of the aura of a modern-day rock star.

His gaunt physique, his uncanny musical skills and his unconventional way of holding the violin, added to his bizarre public persona to the point that some called him “demonic”. He had the ability to spread his fingers more widely than normal, perhaps because of a genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Finally, he added to his own Goth mystique by wearing black clothes, riding in a black coach pulled by black horses, and seeming to enter a trance while performing

Read more about this enigmatic musician and his era in sources provided by the Upper Arlington Public Library. 

Logo for Gale Biography in Context, rectangle with a pale blue background, an image of President Barack Obama, blue and black lettering.Logo for Oxford Music Online database.  Murky background, white lettering.Logo for World History, Modern Era database.  Bust of Napoleon in red cape and navy tr-corner hat.  Detail of a paining.

Curious local voting history; learn more about our electoral past

Ann's picture

We have stacks and stacks of Ohio Room materials pulled out as fact-checking resources for the next edition of UA Historical Society’s History of Upper Arlington. I picked up Architecture Columbus, and as I was flipping through, a photo of a very small building identified as a “Columbus Voting Booth, circa 1900” caught my eye. What’s this?

A small building on wheels, that was transported to different locations around Columbus to allow people to cast their votes. In the essay, “The Secret Life of James Thurber,” in Thurber Carnival), he mentions accompanying his father as he cast a vote for Ohio’s own McKinley in 1900 at a “booth” just like this, set up somewhere on Mound St. “It was a drab and somewhat battered tin shed set on wheels…” (If you are interested in seeing one of these mobile voting booths, there is a picture showing the one at Hilliard’s Historical Village.)

1900 McKinley campaign poster Prosperity at Home, Prestige Abroad

This little photo made me think about our electoral process and how much it has meant to people through our history to be able to cast their votes. So, as contentious as this election is, it’s still a great privilege. If you need any info–about your local ballot—local, state and national, Erin has created a terrific General Election 2016 resource page.

We have many unusual books that can tell you more about the history of our elections, campaigns, and parties. Here are just a few:

  • Encyclopedia of Third Parties – Read about >80 third parties! The U.S. has a long history of citizens developing alternatives to the two-party system. Ever heard of the “Know Nothings?”
  • Encyclopedia of Presidential Campaigns, Slogans, Issues, and Platforms - Make America Great Again? How about “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” (Garfield), or “Safety, Solvency & Sobriety” (Hoover)! A fun collection of information about the rhetoric of presidential campaigns from 1789 forward.
  • Presidential Elections 1789-2008– A great primer with an overview of how a campaign runs, the history of elections, primaries, popular vote and the electoral college, with statistics and graphics.

And don’t forget, you can always contact a Reference Librarian by phone, textemail, or in person for assistance in using our databases and eBooks.