Constitution Week


Constitution Week is September 17-23. This is an annual celebration to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. The week was originally adopted by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787 and was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Here are some fun facts about our Constitution:

  • Two of our “founding fathers” did not sign the Constitution- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Jefferson was in France at the time, representing the U.S., and Adams was doing the same over in the UK.
  • There are multiple spelling errors in the Constitution, but “Pensylvania” stands out because it is directly above the signers’ names.


  • George Washington and James Madison were the only presidents who signed the Constitution.
  • 42 delegates attended most of the meetings, but only 39 signed the Constitution. George Mason, Edmund Randolph, and Elbridge Gerry (of Massachusetts) did not sign, partly because the bill of rights was not yet included.
  • The U.S. Constitution is the shortest and oldest governing document of any nation. It contains only 7 articles and 27 amendments. The first 10 amendments are the “Bill of Rights.”
  • More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced to Congress, but only 27 have received the necessary approval from the states to become amendments.
  • James Madison was responsible for proposing the resolution to create the Cabinet positions within the Executive Branch and 12 amendments to the Constitution.

Home Movie Digitization


In collaboration with the University of Virginia Library, JMRL Central branch is preparing to celebrate Home Movie Day 2018! Home Movie Day events are held annually, worldwide to celebrate the stories and memories captured by amateur film, as well as advocate for its care and preservation. These events provide the opportunity for individuals and families to see and share their own home movies with an audience of their community.

October 20th from 5-7pm at the Vinegar Hill Theatre (220 W Market St, Charlottesville) UVa will present a curated screening of film footage submitted (in 2K projection) by the community, with selections from home movies (on 16mm film) found in the Small Special Collections Library. This screening is free and open to the public.

From now through October 14th, we will be offering a free digitization drop-off service for up to 3 reels of home movies (16mm, 8mm, or Super-8 motion picture film only). Submitted films will be cleaned and digitized (condition permitting) by trained staff at the University of Virginia Library and returned to the patron as a digital file—all submitted film footage may be used as part of the October 20th screening event, but will not otherwise be retained.

Questions about the digitization drop-off service? Email:

Film submissions will be taken at the JMRL Central branch through October 14th or at one of the events listed below.

Home Movie Digitization Workshops

Connect with a UVa preservation specialist to learn how best to care for your home films and why they’re important. Have a home movie you’re curious to see or learn more about? Drop in and a preservation specialist will digitize up to 3 film reels of 8mm, Super-8, or 16mm film. The funniest and most compelling films will be eligible for inclusion in an October 20th screening event at Vinegar Hill Theatre presented by UVa.

Crozet – Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 6:30 – 8:30PM

Northside – Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 1:30 – 3:30PM

“I was born with the devil in me . . . I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing.”

devilBooks on Tap read The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson at Champion Brewery on September 6.  Instead of usual novels, this title was a work of narrative nonfiction. It follows the men who established the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, those who planned and built it, and the male serial killer who took advantage of the influx of young women into the city.

What we most responded to was the rivalry Chicago felt with both Paris, the site of the previous fair, and New York, who competed to host the 1983 iteration. Larson shows both the civic cooperation and dysfunction that launched the fair, reminding us that the Windy City nickname is a result of its politicians as much as its weather. We also discussed the contrast between the White City of the fair and the Black City of open sewers and dark alleys. It was both the allure of the fair and the chaos of parts of the city that allowed serial killer H.H. Holmes to prey on the young woman who flooded the city looking for independence and work. While more workers at the fair died than Holmes probably killed, the state of police work and the undervaluing of the victims allowed Holmes to go undetected until he kidnapped three children.

All of our readers liked at least some parts of the story, especially tidbits about products introduced at the fair like the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jack and chewing gum. However, some readers thought that the book could have been more satisfying and faster-paced with fewer minor storylines. Larson, a former journalist, is a formidable researcher but not every detail was necessary to the story. He does pull the reader along by hanging the narrative on a few familiar names such as Frederick Law Olmsted and maintains suspense around Holmes’s activities, even though the reader already knows the broad outlines of the story. Ultimately, Larson’s research enabled us to trust him as a reliable reporter as he spun out this at times unbelievable tale.

More Information:
About the author
Interviews with the author
About the book
Upcoming movie
Images from the 1893 World’s Fair
The most recent World’s Fair in Kazakhstan in 2017

Related Recommendations:
Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews
David McCullough, especially The Great Bridge
Nathan Philbrick, especially Sea of Glory

Books on Tap Information:

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