Welcome to the Friends of the New York State Library website. We are a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting the New York State Library through public education and advocacy.
Our site provides you with information on The Friends’ projects, news and events, and the ”New York State Library News” newsletter. If you are curious about The Friends organization, be sure to check out the About Us and What We Do sections.
We hope you’ll join us in our mission to strengthen library services for the people of New York State. Become a member today and help support our State Library. Also, show your support by liking us on Facebook.
-Press Releases: The Friends program “Bobsledding: An Albany Invention” has made it into Friday’s issue of the Capital Region’s popular and highly circulating newspaper, The Times Union! Read it here to learn more about the history of bobsledding in Albany. And, if you’re still eager to learn even more about Albany’s claim to the popular winter sport, check out All Over Albany’s blog on this topic.
Couldn’t make it to the program? No problem at all, the Friends recorded it for all the members, friends, and interested parties who couldn’t make it. Enjoy!
Christopher Lindsay speaks at the Fort Orange Club on February 8th about his research on bobsledding in Albany:
-Catch it while you can: 7th Floor Exhibits
The New York State Library presents “Cookbooks” the latest exhibit in the glass cases on the 7th floor. The exhibit draws 19th and 20th century cookbooks out of the State Library’s diverse collections.
-New State Library Hours: Now in effect, the New York State Library opens Mon – Sat from 9:30 – 5; closed Sundays.
- New York State Library News:
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! The Friends have issued the latest New York State Library News newsletter for Fall 2013. Get it online or at the New York State Library today. Take a peek inside the latest issue:
-The Battle for the Humanities: Judge Souter spoke about the crying need to restore funds for teaching the humanities
-Remembering JFK: The NYSL commemorates Kennedy’s assassination with an exhibit entitled “Dallas, 11/22/63: 50 Years Later”
-New Mobile APP: If you are registered with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress, you can now download audio and Braille to your Apple devices free of charge
-Volunteers Help Find Answers: Devoted volunteers, like Peg Harbour-Holland, help patrons define what they seek and help locate appropriate resources
Chasing Monsters: State Library staff, Bruce Hallenbeck, take us to the imagined and the real in his new book,Monsters of New York
-Be a Friend: Support the Library by becoming a member of the Friends of the New York State Library today!
-Mary Linda Todd: State Library and Technology and Federal Aid Team Leader, Mary Linda Todd, received the Teresa Strozik Award at NYLA’s annual conference
James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924 to Emma Bardis Jones, a domestic worker, in Harlem, New York. She divorced his father when he was still an infant because of his problem with drugs and remarried to factory worker and preacher, David Baldwin. Although, Baldwin referred to his adoptive father as “father” in many of his writings later in his life, they had a strained relationship. David was particularly abusive to him than to his half brothers and sisters. Much of his young life at home was spent taking care of his seven younger siblings. Otherwise, when he wasn’t babysitting, he spent his time reading.
Between the ages 14 and 16, he served as youth minister for the Harlem Pentecostal Church. It was David’s faith which lead him to the church in the first place. His reputation began to precede him when his popular sermons drew in larger crowds than his stepfather’s. At age 17, however, his view of Christianity changed such that he left his faith behind him, but found that it was a necessary remedy for his traumatic experiences growing up. Still, he never referred to himself as atheist. In spite of his personal stance on religion, he appreciated that it encouraged African Americans to fight oppression during such highly racial times. Later in life, his writings would reflect his understanding of religion and its role in the world.
He attended the DeWitt Clinton High School, a prestigious school with a high populace of Jewish students, in Bedford Park, Bronx. He became the literary editor for the school’s magazine alongside Richard Avedon, a famous American fashion and portrait photographer later in life. The magazine gave Baldwin the opportunity to publish his poems, short stores, and plays.
After high school, he sought work instead of enrolling in college in order to help support his financially strained family. He accepted a job laying railroad tracks in New Jersey for the U.S. Army and struggled with incessant racial abuse until he was eventually fired from the job. In 1943, David died of tuberculosis in a mental hospital when Baldwin was nineteen. The same day, Baldwin’s mother gave birth to her eighth child.
As an aspiring writer, he moved to Greenwich Village in New York City to join the community of other artists and writers there. He took odd jobs to support his living, but after he met popular writer, Richard Wright, he was offered a fellowship to cover his living expenses so he could strictly write. Not long after, his short stories and essays began to be published in popular magazines, such as The Partisan and The Nation. Three years later he was offered another fellowship to continue writing and moved to Paris. The repressed issues he had with his father poured out into his stories, including his popular and first novel entitled, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953).
In 1987, Baldwin died in Saint-Paul de Venice, France from esophageal cancer. Many of his writings have received critical acclaim in the literary world for his insight on racial, spiritual, and humanistic issues during the mid-twentieth century. Other popular works written by Baldwin include Giovanni’s Room and Notes of a Native Son.
Want to know more about the life and works of James Baldwin? You can find these titles and more at the New York State Library.
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