Posted in Holidays, Something to Think About

Constitution Day Fun Facts!

US ConstitutionIf you are reading this on September 17: HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY!

Are you now wondering why and how we have a national holiday surrounding the U.S. Constitution? If so, you’re in luck! Read on for some interesting historical tidbits and fun facts about Constitution Day.

Constitution Day commemorates the creation and signing of the U.S. Constitution back in 1787.  The Constitution was actually written in 1787, ratified (or officially agreed upon) in 1788, formally governing in 1789, and is the longest surviving written charter of government in the world.  In 1956, Congress established Constitution Week to encourage more Americans to learn about the Constitution and to commemorate the drafting of and signing of this foundational document.  September 17 was not officially designated “Constitution Day” until 2004 when Robert C. Byrd,a Senator from West Virgina, added the designation to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005.  The Constitution Day provision requires public schools and governmental offices to offer educational programs and/or events that provide a better understanding of the Constitution.

Fun Facts about Constitution Day

2004: year Constitution Day was established

2012: 225th anniversary of the Constitution

4543: number of words in the original, signed, unamended Constitution

11000 (as of 2012): number of amendments introduced in Congress

27: number of Constitutional Amendments

September 17, 1787: date of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4: number of months in length of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

9: number of 13 original states required to ratify the Constitution

70: number of delegates who were appointed to the Constitutional Convention

55: number of delegates who actually attended the Constitutional Convention

81: age of the oldest signer of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin

26: age of the youngest signer of the Constitution, Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey

39: number of delegates who signed the Constitution

3: number of delegates who did not sign the Constitution

  • George Mason, did not believe the Constitution established a “wise and just government” as it omitted the Bill of Rights
  • Elbridge Gerry, decided to become an ardent Federalist and also opposed the creation of the office of Vice President
  • Edmond Randolph, supported the Constitution during Virginia’s ratification when promised the position of Attorney General under George Washington’s administration
Posted in Holidays, Something to Think About

Christmas Trivia Quiz

tree, made out of books!In case you need a break from the end-of-semester stress, the library staff brings you a little Christmas trivia quiz to brighten your day:

1) Christmas carols were first introduced to formal church services by:

a) George Frideric Handel

b) Andy Williams

c) St. Francis of Assisi

d) Charles Dickens

2) Poinsettias, always popular at this time of year, were brought to America by:

a) Abraham Lincoln

b) Joel Poinsett, U.S Minister to Mexico in 1828

c) The Pilgrims

d) Johnny Poinsettiaseed

3) In the movie A Christmas Story, how many times does Ralphie say he wants a Red Ryder BB Gun?

a)  28

b) 102

c) Pi

d) This is a trick question.  He actually says he wants a poodle.

4) Charles Dickens’ initial choice for Scrooge’s statement “Bah! Humbug” was:

a) “Shutup!”

b) “Christmas?  We don’t need no stinkin’ Christmas!”

c) A “raspberry”

d) “Bah! Christmas”

5) The first commercial Christmas card, produced in 1846, featured a drawing of:

a) Family members happily toasting each other with glasses of wine

b) A dad angrily trying to assemble a wooden rocking horse

c) People walking to a church in the snow

d) The first Macy’s department store

6) Silent Night, written in 1818 by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr, was written because:

a) Mohr didn’t like the other songs available at the time

b) Mohr lived in a village with many children and was actually yearning for a silent night

c) His church’s organ was broken, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music

d) Deck the Halls had already been written

7) In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, in the scene where George Bailey and Clarence are on the bridge, George is sweating in spite of the cold and snow.  This is because:

a) He had just run all the way from downtown Bedford Falls

b) Actor James Stewart was nervous about how the movie would be received

c) The director told him to

d) It was actually 90 degrees the day that scene was filmed

8) The first U.S. president to have a Christmas tree in the White House was:

a) George Washington

b) Franklin Pierce

c) Barack Obama

d) Forced to clean up the needles himself

9) The tradition of hanging stockings on the hearth on Christmas Eve is derived from:

a) The days when people didn’t have dresser drawers to put them in

b) The custom in Holland of children placing wooden shoes next to the hearth the night before the arrival of St. Nicholas

c) The days before wrapping paper was invented

d) The custom in some countries of giving socks as presents

10) The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally written to:

a) Help Catholic children in England to remember different articles of faith

b) Torment people who don’t really like Christmas songs

c) Help make Christmas pageants last longer

d) Provide a Christmas list for wealthy people in the late 1700s


1) c

2) b

3) a

4) d

5) a

6) c

7) d

8) b

9)  b

10) a

Posted in Something to Think About

Facts, Fun

On this date in 1902 Willis Carrier invented what would morph into the modern air conditioning unit. It was not a common luxury at the time, however, and there were other devices competing to cool America’s spaces. Click the photo to read an interesting news clipping about Alexander Graham Bell’s “ice furnace.”




Posted in Research Skills, Something to Think About

Web Site of the Week: Library of Congress

Ever wonder what legendary tenor Enrico Caruso sounded like?  Have you ever wanted to see Ty Cobb’s 1911 baseball card?  Do you need a newspaper article from the time of the Great Depression?  How about a photograph from the Civil War?  Or a photograph of a dinosaur? (Okay, just kidding on that last one…I wanted to see if you were paying attention.)

These are just a few of the kinds of things you can find at the excellent website of the Library of Congress at  In case you were wondering, yes, the Library of Congress is more than just a huge collection of books (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – the LOC has manuscripts, maps, legal materials, sheet music, sound recordings, and perhaps a few  things they have forgotten to list.  Find out more about the LOC’s collections by clicking here.  Since we can’t all make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to experience these resources first-hand, the Library of Congress has helped us all out by digitizing portions of the collection, “concentrating on its most rare collections and those unavailable anywhere else.”  This is an ongoing process, and more content is being added almost daily.  Although the percentage of the total collection that is available online is fairly small, the LOC’s collection is so vast that there is still a huge amount available online.

When you go to the LOC homepage, look for the “Collection Highlights” box in the middle of the screen.  Here you will find such selections as American Memory, Prints and Photographs, Historic Newspapers, Sound Recordings, and Manuscripts.  Not all of the Collection Highlights are digitized, though, so you may prefer to choose “Digital Collections” at the top of the screen to go to the digital content only.  You can also use the Search box at the top right-hand corner to search the entire site.

There is a lot of content that is just plain fun to explore, but there is a wealth of material relevant to academic pursuits as well.  Even though this website was named one of the 100 best websites by, I think this is an under-utilized and under-appreciated resource. I encourage everyone to take some time to investigate the LOC website, both for fun and education.