November 18, 2009

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Claude Lévi-Strauss and the Smithsonian The James Smithson Bicentennial Medal was presented for conveyance to Claude Lévi-Strauss, who has been called the “father of modern anthropology,” on June 24, 2009 when he was 100 years old. The presentation ceremony was held at the office of the Ambassador of France to the U. S., Pierre Vimont. Representatives of the Smithsonian who attended were Wilton Dillon, Paul Michael Taylor, and Edgardo Krebs. This occasion was especially poignant since Levi-Strauss died on Nov. 3, 2009, just 25 days before his 101st birthday. Ties between Lévi-Strauss and the Smithsonian are longstanding. A Frenchman, Lévi-Strauss began collaborative work with the Bureau of American Ethnology (the BAE, now the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology) in the 1940s. He did field work in South America and contributed to the BAE Handbook of South American Indians. He mentored many Smithsonian scholars. He authored dozens of books and articles, and became internationally known as a public intellectual. Lévi-Strauss himself gave a paper at the James Smithson Bicentennial in 1965 at the invitation of then Secretary S. Dillon Ripley.—Amy E. Levin Just a few of the classic works by Lévi-Strauss available from the Libraries' catalog: La voie des masques [French], The way of the masks [English translation] Du miel aux cendres [French], From honey to ashes [English translation] Le cru et le cuit [French], The raw and the cooked ; introduction to a science of mythology [English translation] L'homme nu [French], The naked man [English translation]Related articles by Zemanta The raw, the cooked and Claude Lévi-Strauss...
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Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address During July 1-3, 1863, the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War took place around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Confederate defeat is seen as the turning point of the war ending the invasion of the North. Over 160,000 participated in the battle with close to 50,000 dead or wounded. The over 7,000 dead were placed in quickly excavated graves or not buried at all. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin authorized the purchase of seventeen acres for a cemetery so that the Union dead could be properly buried. David Wills, a Gettysburg attorney, bought the land and hired landscape architect William Saunders to draw a plan. Wills also planned the dedication ceremony for the cemetery and invited President Abraham Lincoln to give a few remarks. On November 19, 1863, a crowd of around 15,000 gathered for the Gettysburg National Cemetery's dedication even though the reinterment of the Union dead was only half completed. The main speaker was Edward Everett, a famous orator who gave a two-hour formal address. Thereafter, Lincoln then stood and gave an address that took about 2 minutes and would become one of the most famous speeches in United States history. The 272 word address started wih the now famous phrase, "Four score and seven years ago" and concluded with "and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." The Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) and the National Museum of American History both have resources on Lincoln's Gettysburg...

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