R.I.P. Hector Black

If you have never heard of a man named Hector Black, from Cookeville, Tennessee, I hope you will continue to read this.  Hector died on August 20, 2020, at age 95.  Born in New York City, he served in the Army in World War II.  After the war he studied at Harvard, and began to attend Quaker meetings, being attracted by their non-violent creed.  He and his wife became involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and moved to Atlanta in 1965 with their three daughters, where they protested for racial justice alongside Martin Luther King Jr.  While in Atlanta, they also adopted two more daughters, making a family with five children, all girls.

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Travelogue of a 17th Century Survivor

In the summer of 1627, corsairs from the Barbary Coast sailed about 3,000 miles to Iceland, killed or captured nearly 400 people, and took their captives back to North Africa to sell as slaves.  Ólafur Egilsson, a 65-year old Icelandic Lutheran pastor, was taken in the raid, along with his wife and children.  The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson is his first-person account of how he survived the raid and its aftermath, written after his return to Iceland in 1628.

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Looking for a Good Book?

The New York Antiquarian Book Fair is underway at the Park Avenue Armory this weekend.  Among the offerings is a first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), printed in Nuremberg in 1543, the year of the author’s death.

According to The New York Times, the book, which is one of about a dozen copies that are in private hands, is being offered at a price of $2 million.  If that happens to be out of your price range, it can also be found in the usual places, and even in free pdf downloads.  But the alternatives won’t look as good, or feel as good in your hands. Continue reading “Looking for a Good Book?”