– Lowell Politics and History

Norman Rockwell’s Iconic Images of Thanksgiving in America

The works of Norman Rockwell – famed 20th-century American painter and illustrator – were perhaps the best at portraying the images of Thanksgiving that reflect his time and and the culture of his time. Today his images seem more nostalgic but nonetheless they are evocative of American memories. What images will be evocative of our time – this time in America? To you and yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful.

Norman Rockwell’s ”Freedom from Want” (Saturday Evening Post, 1943)

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving - thanksgiving Photo

Norman Rockwell’s “Mother and son peeling potatoes ~ Home for Thanksgiving” (Saturday Evening Post, 1945)

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving: Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes Saturday Evening Post March 6, 1943


Norman Rockwell’s “Saying Grace” (Saturday Evening Post, 1951)… (Not Thanksgiving but certainly being thankful!)



A much earlier Norman Rockwell  image ~ “Cousin Reginald Catches the Turkey” (The Country Gentleman
December 1, 1917)

English (US)


Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon and Training Dec 7

Wikipedia has been one of my go-to resources for many years.  No matter what the topic, it always seems to point me in the right direction and its crowd-sourcing production model has influenced my thinking on many undertakings.  Once, I tried to log-in and contribute to an entry about Lowell but I stumbled slightly with the technology and since there are plenty of other online demands on my time, I never made an effort to return.

Happily that may be changing thanks to a collaborative effort by the Pollard Memorial Library and the UMass Lowell Library.  It’s a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon that not only teaches the skills of editing a Wikipedia entry but also will add to the body of knowledge about Lowell.

The first session is Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 10 am until 4 pm at the Pollard Memorial Library.  That session will focus on Downtown Lowell.  Subsequent sessions (see below) will deal with other neighborhoods.

To participate, you should bring:

  • A Laptop or tablet (if you have one- computers will be available if not).
  • Your digital camera or smartphone.
  • Photos and videos of Lowell you have taken (feel free to walk around the neighborhoods ahead of time to take digital photos).
  • Books or other material you have explaining the history of Lowell.

Refreshments will be provided in the morning and there will be pizza for lunch.  Come when you can, leave when you need to.

Other sessions will be held on:

  • January 25 @ Pollard Memorial Library
    • Topic: The Acre
    • Time: 10AM-4PM
  • February 21 @ O’Leary Library (South Campus) UMass Lowell
    • Topic: The Highlands
    • Time: 10AM-4PM
  • March 28 @ Lydon Library (North Campus) UMass Lowell
    • Topic: Pawtucketville
    • Time: 10AM – 4PM

Please register for the December 7 session at:

(For questions, contact Win Flint of the Pollard Memorial Library at
Winifred Flint
Community Planning Librarian
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St,  Lowell, MA 01852
(978) 674-1548

On immigration, who’s the turkey this Thanksgiving? by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

turkeymWe don’t need a Rockwell painting to remind us that Thanksgiving is all about those who came to this nation as immigrants.  Everyone,  of course, except the Native Americans.  The Pilgrims came to escape religious persecution. My great grandparents did it in the 1800’s. At some point, your forebears did it as well. Wave after wave throughout our history left their homes, endured challenging voyages and , with little to their names, worked hard and helped to build this nation. So what’s the matter with the Republican Congressional leadership?

The answer is basically Obama.  The President has called their bluff.  A year and a half after the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill House Speaker John Boehner has yet to take it up.  The simplest answer to the President’s executive order is for the orange man to bring the Senate bill to the floor or pass a House bill and let the differences be worked out in conference committee. The Republican response, however, is to sue the President for overreaching.

Let’s be clear.  Every President except William Henry Harrison has issued executive orders, and he didn’t because he died a month after taking office.  The most ever issued was 3721, by our longest serving President Franklin Roosevelt.  Jimmy Carter issued 371; Ronald Reagan, 381; Bill Clinton, 364; George W., 291 .  Barack Obama has issued 193. Obviously, there’s a wide range of substance among these orders.

Obama’s most recent would put a hold on deportation for three years for the parents of children who are citizens or legal residents.  Those adults would have to have been here for five years and face criminal background checks. This would not be a path to citizenship.  About 5 million of the 11 million undocumented individuals would be able to come out of the shadows and pay taxes. And there would be more flexibility in the H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign-born workers. More resources would be deployed to deporting criminals.

A majority of the public favors these changes and more reforms of our immigration program. (Even many Republicans acknowledge we can’t deport all 11 million people who came or remained here illegally.) But a majority also disapproves making changes by executive order.

What is particularly disconcerting is the number of times (including March, April and September of 2011 and February and September of 2013) that the President said he can’t reform immigration by executive order, that “The path is through Congress,”  “I am not the emperor,”   and “My job is to execute laws that are passed.”  Perhaps he was talking  about comprehensive reform and not about his recent decision. Clearly he had the authority to do what he is doing now but chose not to do so for a variety of reasons, especially the obvious political ones having to do with the election.  He outsmarted himself by holding back before the election to help red and purple state Democrats, who went down to defeat.

Now he’ll have to demonstrate that what he has done by executive order is not an overreach, that it is, as he put it, “a commonplace middle ground approach.” I believe he can make that case. The better path would be for John Boehner, seeking to mitigate the anti-immigrant stench of the GOP before the 2016 election,  to play statesman and get the House to pass a bill by the end of the year.  In the holiday spirit, I’d like to believe that, too, would be possible, but I fear that, when it comes to immigration, there’s a greater chance he’ll prove to be the Thanksgiving turkey once again.

I welcome your comments in the section below.


President John F. Kennedy lies in state at the Capitol Rotunda ~ November 24, 1963

On this day – November 24, 1963 – the body of the 35th President of the United States – John F. Kennedy lay in-state in the Rotunda of the U. S. Capitol. President Kennedy served in both the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. See additional rare photos  here…

Kennedy was the first president in more than 30 years to lie in state in the rotunda, the previous one being the only president to ever serve as chief justice, William Howard Taft, in 1930. He was also the first Democrat to lie in state at the Capitol. Jackie Kennedy asked the Honor Guard to face inward looking at the coffin, because when she entered the Rotunda and saw them looking out towards the crowd, she thought her husband looked starkly alone.

Flag draped coffin is placed on the catafalque in the center of the Rotunda. Flag-draped casket was surrounded by combined Honor Guard. Mrs Kennedy, her children, Robert Kennedy, members of the family and large crowd of dignitaries standing near the casket. President Johnson and a Marine places a wreath at the head of the coffin.


John F. Kennedy's coffin lies in state in the Capitol Building, 1963

The United States Capitol rotunda is the central rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Located below the Capitol dome, it is the tallest part of the Capitol and has been described as its “symbolic and physical heart”. The rotunda is 96 feet (29 m) in diameter and rises 180 feet 3 inches (54.94 m) to the canopy. The Rotunda is used for important ceremonial events as authorized by concurrent resolution, such as the lying in state of eminent citizens and the dedication of works of art. The Rotunda canopy features the painting entitled The Apotheosis of Washington, and the walls of the Rotunda hold historic paintings and a frescoed band, or “frieze,” depicting significant events in American history.

The Honor Guards at military funerals come from the same branch as the deceased. The president gets men from each branch of service because he was Commander in Chief of all of them. They’re actually supposed to be facing out, to protect the body of the president, but Jackie thought that JFK looked lonely and had the honor stand facing him. (Photograph by George F. Mobley, National Geographic).

President Johnson and a Marine places a wreath at the head of the coffin.

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