Author Archives: Susan

“Riffraff”

“Riffraff” Italian immigrants to the United States faced fierce discrimination in the early 20th century. In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti tells part of that story. Primo Magazine—the magazine for and about Italian Americans—recently posted an interview with me about … Continue reading

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Certainly Not a Bright Spot

Certainly Not a Bright Spot January 2, 2013. You and I still have time to make our New Year’s resolutions. On a different January 2, however—January 2, 1920—only one resolution mattered for thousands of people across the United States: the … Continue reading

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Six Dollars a Week

Six Dollars a Week The American stories of long-ago immigrants come alive at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum on—where else?—New York’s Lower East Side (www.tenement.org). In a gutsy feat of urban archaeology, planners restored 97 Orchard Street to the … Continue reading

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The Pull of the Past I asked: What books influenced you when you were growing up? You replied: Nancy Drew mysteries. “I wanted to be a detective. Now I’m an art historian and art appraiser—an art detective!” Under the Lilacs. … Continue reading

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Name That Book “What books influenced you as a child?” Good question. I’d never really given it any thought, so when someone asked me that recently, I didn’t have a ready answer. Then I remembered Mrs. Babcock, the librarian at … Continue reading

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Where Bookivores Gather I love ink on paper. On two spectacular fall days last weekend, thousands of others who feel the same way I do turned out for the 2012 National Book Festival. There was something for everyone. More than … Continue reading

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Echoes As I remember 9/11 (not that I could ever forget), I also recall 9/16, an earlier day of violence and tragedy in the financial district of New York. Just after noon on September 16, 1920, a huge explosion created … Continue reading

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Heaven on the Mall? The amazing (and free!) National Book Festival starts in in 18 days, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it this year. I’ll be speaking about In Search of Sacco and Vanzetti at 2:30 p.m. … Continue reading

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One Midnight in August Eighty-five years ago next week, on August 23, 1927, Nick Sacco, age 36—husband, father, shoemaker, anarchist—was strapped down into the Massachusetts electric chair and executed for murder, a crime of which he had been convicted despite … Continue reading

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Makes Sense to Me, #2 Quotations That Resonate “If a storyteller thinks enough of storytelling to regard it as a calling, unlike a historian he cannot turn from the sufferings of his characters. A storyteller, unlike a historian, must follow … Continue reading

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