Kate Kelly, author of Election Day: An American Holiday, an American History, will discuss our nation's voting past on Monday, October 6 at Greenwich Library. In the 19th and early 20th centuries people relished getting together on Election Day. Parades for the candidates could extend for miles, and crowds of 40-50,000 people would come to town for community barbecues and bonfires in celebration of voting day, Kelly says.
"When it came to hearing the results of a presidential election, the news was slow and the process was often quite frustrating," says Kelly. "Bad weather could delay travel, leaving newspaper editors without any news. As communication methods improved and there was hope of hearing news on election night, a new tradition emerged--people gathered together to hear the news."
"To amuse crowds waiting for returns, newspaper offices came up with various distractions," says Kelly. "In 1920 crowds at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch were entertained by movies, including a Charlie Chaplin movie and a never-before-seen-by-the-pubic motion picture made by 'X-ray process' showing the movement of the knee cap when the knee is moved up and down."
Our Nation's Voting Past will take place on Monday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room at Greenwich Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Local History Librarian Carl White at 203-622-7948.