Search for Scarlett

December 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the film Gone With the Wind. One of the biggest issues surrounding the film was the casting of the heroine, Scarlett O’Hara.  Dozens of famous actresses were considered for the part, and a nation-wide search was conducted. Eventually the part went to “that English girl” Vivien Leigh.  You can read more about The Search for Scarlett on this site from the University of Texas at Austin.

To read the Hollywood gossip of the day surrounding the casting, visit some of these articles:

Star Dust
Aspen Daily Times
February 11, 1937

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Noodle Ring Day

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, December 11th is National Noodle Ring Day. In honor of that auspicious day, we’ve found some classic noodle ring recipes in the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. From vegetables to lobster, you’ll find recipes for making a variety of noodle rings in Yesterday’s News.

Directions for Making “Noodle Ring”
Aspen Daily Times
July 5, 1929

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Health Information Resources for Limited English Proficient Persons

Numerous studies over the past 25 years have demonstrated a strong connection between language and health. Language can affect the accuracy of patient histories, the ability to engage in treatment decision-making, understanding a medical diagnosis or treatment, patient trust level with care providers, underuse of primary and preventative care, and lower use or misuse of medications. Culture also plays a significant role in health, healing and wellness belief systems – impacting how illness, disease, and their causes are perceived by the patient and the care provider.

The story of Mohammad Kochi illustrates how language and culture can impact health outcomes.  Mr. Kochi, a 63-year-old from Afghanistan, is diagnosed with stomach cancer. While he agrees to surgery, he declines chemotherapy due to religious beliefs, language barriers, and family conflict. Mr. Kochi is a Limited English Proficient (LEP) person.

An LEP person is defined as an individual who does not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. An LEP person’s national origin is based on ancestry, not citizenship. There are an estimated 25.3 million LEP individuals in the United States – up 81% since 1990.[1]

These persons are protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and all organizations receiving Federal financial assistance have a responsibility to take “reasonable” steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by persons with LEP. Title VI applies to many types of organizations including schools, hospitals, public health clinics, police departments, and social services.

Libraries can play a key role in supporting an organization’s ability to provide meaningful access, especially in the area of health information. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has developed many no-cost LEP-friendly health information resources for a variety of age and language groups. In addition, there are government agencies and authoritative non-profit organizations creating free health information content to address the linguistic diversity of the communities you serve. (Resources)

Spanish is the predominant language – other than English – spoken in the MidContinental Region (MCR) though you may see communities with strong German, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Navajo, or Algonquian populations[1]. The following table shows the LEP populations ages 5 and over in the MCR[2]:


Supporting LEP Person’s Access to Health Information

Public Libraries

Public libraries are highly focused on serving their local constituency, and continue to be an excellent conduit for transferring health information to community members with trained staff and technology infrastructure. For many citizens, the public library is the go-place for health information.


  1. What languages are represented in your community?
  2. What health information resources do you have access to in other languages?
  3. What organizations in your community might you work with to assist a non-English speaker with health information?


  • Local health departments, emergency responders, police and fire departments, clinics, hospitals, schools, churches.

K-12, Colleges, and Universities

Students whose first language is not English require language supports in order to meaningfully participate in school. Schools must also adequately communicate with limited-English-speaking parents about important school-related information in their preferred language.[1]

If you work in a K-12 setting, educators can utilize these resources in the classroom to help introduce, reinforce, and supplement health and science curricula; and school nurses can use them to enhance communication with students and parents. Here are the percentages of school-aged children of immigrants in the MCR[2]:

  • Colorado        24.30%
  • Kansas            28.52%
  • Missouri         29.67%
  • Nebraska        30.29%
  • Utah                29.06%
  • Wyoming        dataset too small for percentage

If you work with colleges or universities offering allied health or health sciences degrees, students would benefit from knowledge of these resources as future healthcare workers.


  1. What languages are represented in your school district, college, or university?
  2. What health information resources do you have in other languages?
  3. Who in your institution or community would benefit from these resources?
  4. Do you have access to trained interpreters? If so, what languages?


  • Teachers, faculty, school nurses, students, parents, administrators.

Medical Care and Public Health

Communication problems are the most common cause of serious adverse events with LEP patients and clients. They are at higher risk for longer hospital stays, readmission, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate treatment.


  1. What languages are represented in communities served by the medical care or public health staff?
  2. What health information resources do you have in other languages?
  3. Who in your institution or community would benefit from these resources?
  4. Do you have access to trained interpreters? If so, what languages?


  • Clinical staff, compliance staff, volunteers, case workers, patient navigators.

[1] U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Title VI Enforcement Highlights, July 2012, p. 13. Accessed July 18, 2014.

[2] Urban Institute, Children of Immigrants Data Tool, 2011. Accessed July 21, 2014.

[1] See the Resources section for multi-language and language identification tools.

[2] Authors’ tabulations from the US Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey (Table B16001. Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over). Accessed July 18, 2014.

[1]Migration Policy Institute, Limited English Proficient Population of the United States. Accessed July 18, 2014.

School Librarians: Engaging Teachers and Students with the History of Medicine

“When school librarians collaborate with classroom teachers to enrich curriculum content, they help create more authentic learning experiences.”

—Dr. C. Beth Fitzsimmons, National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Chairperson (2004-2008)

Douglas County High School (DCHS) in Castle Rock, Colorado recently served as host to the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Every Necessary Care and Attention: George Washington and Medicine exhibit. The only high school west of the Mississippi to receive the 6-week exhibit, Peggy Cummings, the school’s Library Media Specialist, had to make a strong case to NLM to bring the exhibit to her site.

Cummings, who has been with DCHS for eleven years, was no stranger to planning exhibits and programming. She worked closely with the school’s social studies teaching staff to bring the Gilder Lehrman Looking at Lincoln: Political Cartoons from the Civil War Era exhibit to the library, and she has hosts an annual two-day event” Remembering Our Veteran’s” –in conjunction with the Douglas County public library archival staff. Cummings interest in hosting the George Washington exhibit was peaked with a listserv posting announcement, noting that resources like this can serve as a bridge between the classroom and the library. “There were so many facets to George Washington that were not as well-known as they should be. And this would provide a way to work with different academic departments. “

Figure 1 Peggy Cummings, Library Media Specialist

Figure 1 Peggy Cummings, Library Media Specialist

The exhibit explores the health and safety issues Washington faced in his personal, political, and military life. Medical practices during George Washington’s life (1732-1799) relied heavily on home remedies, herbal treatments, and hypothesis. Washington and his wife Martha had their share of illness; George survived anthrax, pneumonia, and skin cancer, and had continual issues with malaria. Martha contracted measles and suffered from gall bladder disease.  Washington oversaw the medical care of his family, plantation staff, slaves, and troops at a time when medicine was just beginning to embrace evidence-based or scientific practice.

Figure 2 Six-panel exhibit with Washington cut-out for selfies and groupies.

Figure 2 Six-panel exhibit with Washington cut-out for selfies and groupies.

Cummings saw great potential to include just about everyone in the school, and had two years to make it happen – the earliest the exhibit could be booked as it traveled across the country to various sites. She didn’t waste a minute, working to get support from administration, faculty and staff; hunting down supplementary materials – including a George Washington cutout; and, planning the budget. Engaging faculty was a continual effort – from talking about the exhibit at meetings, to sparking interest with frequent, short e-reminders. Cummings put together resources for the teachers to tie the exhibit into their class curriculum, for example comparing the modern day Ebola epidemic to Smallpox. She also involved the district’s school nurses – providing space for their monthly meeting and hosting an exhibit reception catered by the DCHS culinary students.

Figure 3 One of many interactive history learning stations.

Figure 3 One of many interactive history learning stations.

Teachers embraced Cummings enthusiasm and many took on the challenge to integrate the rich history of the exhibit into their curriculum, and together developed “Essential Questions” for various academic areas:

  1. Art: How can you summarize historical events into a contemporary design looking piece?
  2. Family and Consumer Sciences: What Colonial foods are still available today and how can we incorporate these into a contemporary baked good menu?
  3. Language Arts: Does poetry influence culture of culture influence poetry? What is close reading of non-fiction text and how can I use this technique for all of my class readings?
  4. Music: How can I adapt Colonial piano music into a score for a string sextet?
  5. SNN Basic, Mild, Moderate (Special needs students): How can I incorporate a piece of information in the display into my research and final report?
  6. Social Studies: How did Americans influence the French Revolution, and the French influence the American Revolution?  What primary source resources did the Founding Fathers use and how were these incorporated into the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution?
  7. World Languages: How did Spain’s colonization of the new world differ between North and South America at the time of the American Revolution? What influence did the French and Indian War have on Washington, and later, what role did the French play in the Revolutionary War?
Figure 4 Students. Library staff and volunteers researched colonial towns and  created signage to mimic the streets Washington might have walked.

Figure 4 Students. Library staff and volunteers researched colonial towns and created signage to mimic the streets Washington might have walked.

Peggy’s Tips for Exhibit Success:

  • Have the backing of who’s in charge.
  • Have authority, there are a lot of nitty-gritty decisions you need to make.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Publicize ahead.
  • Learn as you go.
  • Ask for help and cooperation.
  • Pace yourself, you will be working a lot of extra hours.
  • Smile and enjoy.

Peggy’s Supplemental Exhibit Resources:

National Library of Medicine’s Exhibition Program:

Explore the exhibitions and educational resources about the social and cultural history of medicine. There are a number of traveling exhibits and a wealth of online materials, including lesson plans and online activities, that can be used to support K-12 health and science curriculums.

St Nicholas Day

The feast day of St. Nicholas is celebrated each year on December 6 and November 19. While Santa Claus may be better known, St. Nicholas was an historical figure who lived in what is now Turkey. Read on to learn more about Nicholas.

The Legend of Good St. Nicholas
Colorado Banner
December 23, 1875


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Shackleton Departs for Antarctic

In summer 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his 27-strong crew departed on the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Their goal was to be the first team to cross the Antarctic. They sailed from south Georgia Island on December 5, 1914 and calamity soon followed.

The Shackleton TransAntarctic Expedition
Akron Weekly Pioneer Press
March 13, 1914


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Rail Oddities

For the rail road fans among us, a few random railroad facts.  When did the last German train leave Paris after WWII?  Can you cook on a train?  You’ll find the answers to these and other Rail Oddities in this series sponsored by the Association of American Railroads.

Rail Oddities
Aspen Daily Times
February 8, 1945

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Building Aspen Mountain

November 27, 2014 was the official opening day for skiing at AspenSnowmass, but thanks to early snow the slopes are open now!  Friedl Pfeifer, veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, started his ski school in Aspen in 1946.  Construction of the first ski lift began in Spring 1946 and was front page news in the Aspen Daily Times. Visit these articles to read the ski school news as it happened.


Plans Now Complete To Start Pfeifer Ski School
Aspen Daily Times
October 18, 1945


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Colorado Experience : Sand Creek Massacre

November 29, 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre near Fort Lyon, Colorado.  PBS Colorado Experience ( ) will highlight the events in the November 27th episode.  Reaction at the time was mixed, as you will discover in these articles, starting with praise for the soldiers and shifting over time.

Big Indian Fight!
Rocky Mountain News
December 7, 1864

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Historic Beauty Ads

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Aging and Adult Services section produces a Healthy Lifestyles eNewsletter for each month.  The newsletter has links to Monthly awareness topics related to general and aging health. If you’re looking for health tips, be sure to check it out.  As November is Healthy Skin Month, we thought it would be fun to look back at historic skin care and beauty ads.

Many a Lady
Fort Morgan Times
February 19, 1885

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