Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wanda of the Golden Dawn

To help celebrate the 90th birthday of Wanda Potts, MPL Indiana Room Librarian Emeritus, we offer a poem, which we have made into a video (included on our YouTube Channel's Program Trailer playlist, among others).  Here's the "video poem."

Happy 90th, Wanda!  We hope you enjoy today's celebration at the Library to which your life's work has been devoted.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Birthday Celebration for Mooresville's True Historical Treasure Trove

Next Saturday (June 11, 2011), Wanda Potts will be celebrating her 90th 29th birthday at a party hosted in the Community Room of Mooresville Public Library (Mooresville, Indiana).  It is open to the public.  Bring the gift of your questions for Wanda.  I'll explain presently.

Some of my readers may not know (or know of) Wanda, so allow me to elaborate.

MPL Indiana Room

The MPL Indiana Room and Wanda Potts are interchangeable.  Wanda was the Indiana Room Librarian from 1966 to 2002 (although a local newspaper article a decade ago said she started working in that position in 1967, but I think that's slightly off the mark). Virtually EVERYTHING contained in this collection, which is devoted to genealogy as well as state and local history, was assembled by Wanda, with the help of a few assistants and volunteers over the years.  Our Library has this material entirely because of her dedication and diligence in preserving the community's historical records. Quite simply, she is the town historian par excellence.  No living individual knows as much about the history of Mooresville, Indiana (and surrounding communities) as Wanda.

Wanda Potts (the 1998 Recipient of
the Mooresvillian of the Year Award)

Most of us have some detailed knowledge of our hometowns, especially when we were growing up.  But can you tell me what business occupied the southwest corner of a central downtown intersection in your hometown?  In 1938?  1913?  1882?  1968?  Pick any date you like.  Do you remember that level of detail about your hometown?  Wanda does.  She remembers more historical information about her hometown than most of us retain about our own lives. She is the living, breathing history of Mooresville, and that makes her an invaluable treasure.  How do you know where you are if you don't recall where you've been?

Wanda as "Sweet Rosie O'Grady"
(From the 1943 Movie Starring Betty Grable)

Movie Poster (1943)

I wonder if Wanda had Lloyds of London insure her legs for a million dollars, as was done for Betty Grable's legs?  I wouldn't be surprised.  Those are pretty nice legs, so a library colleague tells me.

How was I able to track down these historical tidbits?  You guessed it. Wanda's 3,000-plus vertical files in the Indiana Room Collection had the corroborating details.  You just have to know where to look.

Wanda's birthday party will be a joyous affair, with fond recollections of the good ol' days.  But we need your help!  We want YOUR questions about Mooresville history--questions that only Wanda could answer--to ask her at the celebration.  Email your questions (please type "Questions to Wanda Potts" in the subject line).  If you visit the Library, we have a question box (using old-fashioned, but reliable, 3" x 5" note cards--Wanda would appreciate the low-tech approach) on the circular book display across from the new books (for adult readers) bookshelves.  Write down your questions and drop those cards into the box.  What could be easier?

We hope to see you at Wanda's celebration.  There will probably be some food--always a good reason to visit the Library--but, most importantly, you will be sharing the wisdom and life's work of a pillar of our community.  That, my friends, is well worth the price of admission, which is free, of course.  We are a public library, after all, and the information and research assistance we provide in our Indiana Room Collection is due entirely to Wanda Potts.  So, thanks are definitely in order.

Watch our program trailer (above) to see some of the photographs Wanda Potts safeguarded in our historical collections.

Here is another of our program trailers, this one promoting the Library's self-guided walking tour of downtown Mooresville, Indiana, made possible, once again, by Wanda's resources in the MPL Indiana Room.

In this program trailer (above), we learn why Wanda's work is so significant.

One of the number one records of 1939, when Wanda Potts graduated from Mooresville High School, was "Stairway to the Stars," performed by Ray Eberle (vocalist) and Glenn Miller and his Orchestra (recorded June 26, 1939).