On December 10, 1901, the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war. The Nobel Prizes are still presented annually on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. In 2006, each Nobel Prize carried a cash prize of nearly $1,400,000 and recipients also received a gold medal, as is the tradition. Find the Nobel Prize at the library, on hoopla, in Avalon’s Media Download Center and in South Jersey Media Download Center.
Mary Norton, or Kathleen Mary Norton née Pearson, English author of children’s books, was born in London, England on December 10, 1903. She is best known for the The Borrowers, series of fantasy novels (1952 to 1982), which is named after its first book and, in turn, the tiny people who live secretly in the midst of contemporary human civilisation. Norton won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising The Borrowers as the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British subject. Borrow the Borrowers at the library and on hoopla.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, American poet, was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1830. Although part of a prominent family with strong ties to its community, Dickinson lived much of her life highly introverted. While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime. The works that were published during her lifetime were usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson’s poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends. Find Emily Dickinson at the library, in hoopla and on OverDrive.