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Anniversary of a heroic WWI Pigeon: Cher Ami, Savoir of the Lost Battalion. June 13, 2015

Posted by youngm2015 in Genealogy / Local History.
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On this date in 1919, Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon and recipient of the Croix de Guerre Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for Heroic Service in World War I, passed away in Fort Monmouth, NJ as a result of wounds suffered in war.  A pigeon of the Lost Battalion suffering both enemy and friendly fire, she was the only pigeon to avoid death long enough to deliver a message to Allied Forces to save the remaining members of the Lost Battalion.  She was severely wounded, and eventually lost a leg.  Members of the Battalion made her a wooden one.  She is now stuffed and in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.  This was discovered in one of the Steele Memorial Library’s copies of “History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion,” now in our reference collection, the book was given to members of Elmira’s American Legion Post, so we wouldn’t forget the sacrifices of the Lost Battalion.  In the end, 197 men were killed, 150 captured or missing, and 194 were rescued.

The message Cher Ami delivered to Allied Troops who were dropping friendly fire on the Lost Battalion

The message Cher Ami delivered read, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.”



History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion: Reference 973.91 M129.

History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion: Reference 973.91 M129.


U.S. Official Photograph taken in France shortly after the men were relieved and near the famous “pocket” the men were trapped in.

New and Old Dishonesty May 20, 2013

Posted by poppendeckc in Uncategorized.
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Here at the Horseheads library, I shared a brief but intense dialogue with a patron about corruption in government. It seems as if it is only getting worse. She stated the stories are repetitive; new times, but same hijinks.  I stated that even if a politician starts out noble, there is so much treachery, he/she would have a difficult, if not impossible time of maintaining their integrity all the time.

These statements are not new. Corruption in government is a very old story, and spans all cultures. Our constitution is based on our forefathers’ resolution to NOT allow the corruption of the times to infiltrate a new brand new government manifesto.

One only needs to peruse the 940-941 stacks in the library to get an idea of the injustices and corruptions that moved nations, sometimes brilliantly, sometimes brutally. This fluctuating agitation isn’t new. It has been with mankind since we traveled in tribes and clans. There will always be flux in determining the direction a nation will go, and those who have the abilities will drive the changes in ways they know to be effective, no matter how detestable.

But, we the people can and should always expect and demand uprightness from our government representatives. Otherwise, there is no balance, and who knows how far corruption can go? Explore the history section in your library to find out.

Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian
CCLD, Horseheads

History of the Bookmobile October 8, 2012

Posted by schoefflers in Bookmobile.
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First American Bookmobile

First American Bookmobile (1905)

Have you ever wondered where the Bookmobile originated? Bookmobiles have dated back as early as the late 1850s. It was a horse-drawn collection of books in the town of Cumbria, England that started its rounds to the community.

In 1905, Mary Lemist Titcomb, a librarian in Maryland, for whom the first bookmobile in the United States is attributed to, said, “Would not a Library Wagon, the outward and visible signs of the service for which the Library stood, do much more in cementing friendship?” We have definitely benefited from the vision that several people have had for taking books out to the communities around them.

Bookmobiles are also made up of different varieties. In earlier times, a mule-drawn wagon would carry wooden boxes of books to its patrons. In many foreign countries today camels, elephants, and donkeys transport books to their respective villages. An excellent book in our collection for children, Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia, by Jeanette Winter, portrays the story about Luis, who buys two donkeys and takes books to children in faraway villages.

You may wonder how many bookmobiles are in existence today. All states today have bookmobiles, with the exception of Maine. Kentucky leads the way with 98 bookmobiles; New York State has 11 bookmobiles.

Yes, the service that the bookmobile provides now not only helps to “cement” friendships, but also brings books, audiobooks, DVDs, and periodicals to those who would not normally be able to come to the library. Visits to schools, day care centers, and assisted-living apartments, etc., make up a large part of our services. A variety of programming is available throughout the year along with participation in several community events.

Finally, for more information on the history of bookmobiles please visit the following websites:

Sue Schoeffler

Thermopylae September 7, 2012

Posted by cclddirector in Director's Comments, Recommendations, Reference, Steele.
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At Thermopylae in the late summer of 480 the Spartan king Leonidas held out for three days with a mere 300 hoplites against thousands upon thousands of the best of the Persian Empire of Xerxes I during the second Persian invasion of Greece.

Romantic notions of the battle praise the sacrifice and discipline of the Spartan hoplites, citizens renowned for their lifelong combat training and almost mythical military prowess. While the crucial role of the Spartans cannot be denied what is often lost in modern depictions- in movies such as The 300 Spartans and 300 is the fact that after Leonidas dismissed the bulk of the Greek army there remained 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, most of whom were killed.

Thermopylae’s location was of great strategic importance as it was a chokepoint of the coastal road that allowed travel. Leonidas believed that the narrowness of the pass could negate the numbers advantage of the Persians (between 100,000 and 300,000 troops) and that holding the pass would delay the Persians long enough for other Greek city-states to prepare for battle or even keep the Persian at bay long enough so they would have supply issues If the position had been held for even slightly longer – the Persians might have had to retreat for lack of food and water.

Scholars may debate the actual strategic results of the battle, but anyone with a passing interest in history no doubt knows the result of the battle. Leonidas and the troops with him held for three days but were eventually overrun and killed. Militarily, the battle was actually not decisive in the context of the Persian invasion, but is of great significance on the basis of the first two days of fighting.

The inspirational example of the rearguard as it unwaveringly faced certain death is used to this day as an example of the advantages of training, equipment, and good use of terrain as force multipliers.

If you wish to read more about the battle, I highly recommend the following books available to our patrons- Thermopylae : the battle that changed the world by Paul Cartledge; Thermopylae : the battle for the West by Ernle Bradford; or The Spartans : the world of the warrior-heroes of ancient Greece, from utopia to crisis and collapse by Paul Cartledge

Ronald W. Shaw

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