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Library Happenings – Book donation brings unusual handbook for Greek immigrants

By Angie Georgeff

When we accept donations of old books, we sometimes get unusual items.  Kristy brought one to me a couple of weeks ago. The book is small and obviously rather old, but that was not what was so intriguing about it. Although some of the writing on the cover was in English, the title was in a foreign language. It looked like Greek to me, and so it was.  It proved to be a handbook, written primarily in Greek but partially in English, for Greek immigrants who wanted to become citizens.

It begins in Greek with a brief history of the United States. That is followed by a table of the presidents in English and a biography of “Kalbin Koulitz” written in Greek.  Calvin Coolidge was in his second term as president in 1928 when the handbook was published, so Coolidge was hot back then. Other than a sprinkling of small American and Greek flags and the Statue of Liberty on the frontispiece, there are only four illustrations in the book. They portray Coolidge, “Georgios Ouasigkton” (Washington), “Abraam Linkoln,” and “Beniamin Phragklinos” (Franklin).

Most of the text is devoted to practical information that an immigrant seeking naturalization would need to know. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and two series of questions and answers, one relating to the history and geography of the United States and another to the Constitution and the federal government, are presented side by side in English and Greek.

A bound-in ribbon bookmark was positioned between the English translation of the Greek national anthem and the text of what appears to be the Constitution of Greece. I smiled when I saw that because it reminded me of the ethnic pride of Michael Constantine’s character Gus Portokalos in the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” movies.

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Suzanne Brackins, who won the grand prize rocking chair in our “Exercise Your Mind—READ!” Summer Reading Program for Adults.

Back-to-School Carnival

Don’t forget!  The Back-to-School Carnival will be held at the Erwin National Guard Armory this Saturday, July 30 from noon to 4 p.m. Free backpacks filled with school supplies will be available to Unicoi County students entering grades K through 8.  Children must be present and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in order to receive a backpack.  There also will be free food, games and face painting. Your library will be there to hand out information about our programs and services. Be sure to stop by the library’s table. We have some really cute bookmarks for kids—even animal mask bookmarks–and other cool stuff!