Welcome to The Yocum Library of Reading Area Community College's Blog!

For many years we have published a print newsletter for the RACC community that provided information on the library's staff, resources, and services. In order to provide information on a more timely basis, we decided to switch to the blog format. We hope that you enjoy learning more about The Yocum Library of RACC.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meet the Yocum Staff - Kathleen Nye

Kathy Nye
Name: Kathleen Van Fossen - Nye
Position in Library: Library Assistant - Editor of Facebook, Twitter and The Yocum Library Blog.
Educational Background: A.A.S. and A.A. From Reading Area Community College.  Penn State University, Berks Campus, B.A. Professional Writing, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Favorite Book: The Color Purple
Favorite Movie: Paris Blues
Favorite Area of Library: Tower Room
Special Interest: Advocacy for Women with Breast Cancer Reconstruction.
Hobby: Photography, travel, cooking and genealogy.

To view profiles of other staff members click on "Labels : Staff " below..

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Reader's Digest
*5 Adorable Homemade Christmas Gifts That Cost Almost Nothing to Make
These cheap, cute personalized present ideas for friends and family come from the DIY book, InstaCraft. (You probably don't even need to hit the craft store to get started.)

By Alison Caporimo from Instacraft
1. Bright Light Ornaments
- Glitter
- Lightbulbs
- 24-gauge wire
- Glue
- Paintbrush

Use paint brush to cover glass bulb with glue. Sprinkle glitter onto bulb. Wrap wire around neck of bulb 5 times and tie, leaving one inch of wire remaining. Knot end of the wires to create a loop. Hang.

2. Cookie Cutter Frames
- Scissors
- Pencil
- Cookie cutters
- Photos

Place cookie cutter on top of photo. Trace outer edge of cookie cutter. Cut photograph along traced edge. Pop into the back of cookie cutter.

3.Message Stones
- Stones
- Fine-point paint pen

Clean off stones with water and let dry. Write words or phrases on stones with paint pen.

4.Trinket Tea Tags
- Large safety pins
- Bits of string, charms from old necklaces, beads, bows and just about anything else that tickles your fancy

Tie string, slide beads, or hook an old charm onto safety pins to tell beverages apart.

5.Tic Tac Spice Rack to Go
- 6 boxes of Tic Tacs
- Double-sided tape
- Spices
- Washi tape (for decoration)
- Nail polish remover

Peel off box labels, wiping away label glue with nail polish remover. Wash thoroughly and let dry. Cut double-sided tape into 1-inch strips and adhere to the sides of boxes. Push box sides against each other to make them stick together. Fill with spices—I used salt, powdered garlic, ground ginger, a salt and pepper mixture and pepper for an ombre effect. Line top and bottom with washi tape for added color.


Word of the Day

mot juste
 \ moh ZHYST \, noun;  
1.French . the exact, appropriate word.

I felt very bad because here was the man I liked and trusted the most as a critic then, the man who believed in the mot juste —the one and only correct word to use—the man who had taught me to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people in certain given situations...
-- Ernest Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast ," 1964

I felt that something might be learned of what I wanted from Flaubert and the mot juste  so admired by Ford and Pound.
-- A. S. Byatt, "Still Life/nature morte," Passions of the Mind , 1991

Mot juste  is a borrowing from the French word of the same spelling and meaning. It entered English in the late 1800s.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Word of the Day

 \ HWIP-er-snap-er, WIP- \ , noun;  
1.an unimportant but offensively presumptuous person, especially a young one.

He had not been eating much lately—he had better get that little whippersnapper  who attended Holly to give him a tonic.
-- John Galsworthy, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte," Five Tales , 1918

But, when the time comes, we all of us find that we have very little influence in the matter, and that a wilful whippersnapper  of eighteen, even, can peg stones at the family escutcheon at his or her sweet will.
-- Henry Cuyler Bunner, "Mrs. Tom's Spree," Zadoc Pine and Other Stories, 1891

Whippersnapper  came to English in the mid-1600s and is probably a blend of the earlier terms whipster  and snippersnapper .

Revolutionary War Genealogy

**Top 7 Websites for Revolutionary War Genealogy
By Gena Philibert-Ortega | Posted on July 28, 2014 by Gena Philibert-Ortega

To see the article with screenshots go to:

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog post, Gena discusses—and provides links to—seven top online resources for researching your American Revolutionary War ancestors.

Do you have a Revolutionary War ancestor? Maybe you have always heard that your ancestor was a soldier or a patriot during the American Revolution. Perhaps you have a female ancestor who was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Do you have copies of your ancestor’s military records but are not sure where to go next with your family history research? It’s time to make a genealogy research plan.

When thinking about researching your Revolutionary ancestor, consider what records may be left behind that result from his military service, death, and even his legacy.* Also keep in mind where such records may be held. While it’s easy to assume that the majority of records will be found at the National Archives or a subscription-based website, there are various online repositories with historical Revolutionary-period records useful to your ancestry research.

Ask questions of each record you find and then look for documents that answer those questions. While some of the research you do will involve looking for documents that include his name, there will be general histories about events your ancestor was involved in—which don’t specifically mention him by name—that you will also want to consult to learn more about his day-to-day life in the battlefields and political developments of the time.

Not sure where to start? Begin first with an overall search of newspapers and digitized books.

1) Newspaper Articles and Historical Books

In my previous article Tracing Your Colonial & Revolutionary Ancestry in Newspapers, I wrote about articles that can be found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives for finding your Revolutionary War ancestor. Whether you are just starting your research or have been at it for years, you should begin with newspapers to see what more you can learn. Because GenealogyBank is constantly adding newspapers, searching just once is not enough—keep coming back, to search the new material. A helpful feature of GenealogyBank’s Newspaper Archives search page is that you can narrow your search to an “Added Since” date so that you are not going through the same results you viewed previously.

 Obviously, one of the newspaper article-types that you will hope to find is an obituary. An obituary may provide key information including family members’ names, military service, occupation, and the cemetery where he is buried.

One resource researchers might not be as familiar with is GenealogyBank’s Historical Documents & Records collection, which includes the American State Papers. These federal government documents can include mentions of Revolutionary War soldiers—and their widows—as they applied for things like pensions.

Search Tip: As you search the GenealogyBank collections, make sure to keep in mind name variations. Don’t just stop after searching one version of your ancestor’s name. Write out a list of various name combinations that take into account their initials, name abbreviations (Jno, Benj., Wm.), and nicknames—as well as possible misspellings of the first and last name.

2) Online Grave Listings

In addition to newspaper articles and historical books, there are several online resources available for lists of Revolutionary War soldiers’ graves. To read more about these resources, see the article Revolutionary War Cemetery Records on the FamilySearch Wiki.

3) Daughters of the American Revolution

Want to verify that your ancestor was a Revolutionary War patriot? Maybe you have a copy of a female family member’s DAR application. Looking to become a member of the DAR or the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution)? Even if you aren’t interested in joining these groups, they have a vast collection of resources that can help you with your research. According to DAR member and chapter registrar Sheri Beffort Fenley, there are two resources all non-DAR members should use.

The first is the Genealogical Research System. According to their website, the Genealogical Research System (GRS) “is a collection of databases that provide access to the many materials amassed by the DAR since its founding in 1890.”

The second resource Fenley recommends is the DAR Library.

 While you are looking at the DAR homepage, make sure to click on the Resources tab. Here you’ll find the Revolutionary Pension Card Index as well as a great eBook entitled Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots of the Revolutionary War: A Guide to Service, Sources, and Studies.

4) Google Books

I would also recommend using Google Books to look through books and periodicals involving the DAR and their various chapters, as well as other genealogical information from the Revolutionary War. It’s a great place to find lineages and transcriptions.

5) Sons of the American Revolution

The Sons of the American Revolution Genealogical Research Library in Kentucky also may be of use to your research. To learn more about their collection and their SAR Patriot Index, see their website.

 6) National Archives & Records Administration (NARA)

The National Archives holds the records of our federal government, including military records. For the Revolutionary War you can find everything from Compiled Military Service Records to pensions and bounty land records. (Please note that NARA is the caretaker for federal records; they do not have state records such as state militia records. For those records, you need to contact the appropriate state archives.) Click here to see a list of NARA Revolutionary War records. A good tutorial for learning more about obtaining military records from NARA is on their web page: Genealogy Research in Military Records.

 7) FamilySearch Resources

There are also several Revolutionary War databases available from the free website FamilySearch, including the searchable United States Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Applications, 1800-1900. Most people automatically think of service records and pensions when they think of military service—but what is often missed are bounty land grants. Military Bounty Land was offered to men in return for their military service. This served as both an enticement and a reward for longer service. Your ancestor may have received much more from his service than just monetary compensation. To learn more about bounty land and how to research it, see Christine Rose’s book Military Bounty Land 1776-1855.

The United States Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 from FamilySearch “contains images of muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other personnel, pay, and supply records of the American Army during the Revolutionary War.” This collection is not searchable; you have to browse it, and you need to know the state your soldier fought for. Make sure to utilize the FamilySearch Family History Research Wiki to learn more about other Revolutionary War documents available from FamilySearch.

 Wherever you are in your search for your Revolutionary War ancestor, make sure to have a plan and a list of genealogy resources—and then go through each one. Using a combination of sources including newspapers, digitized books, and military records, you can start to put together the story of your Revolutionary War ancestor soldier’s life.


* Because the majority of soldiers in the Revolutionary War were men, I’m going to refer to them as “he.” However, women did fight alongside their male relatives on the battlegrounds. To learn more about the women of the Revolutionary War, see the book Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence by Carol Berkin.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Word of the Day

 \ ver-bij-uh-REY-shuhn \, noun;  
Pathology . the constant or obsessive repetition of meaningless words or phrases.
Definition of verbigeration| See synonyms| Comment on today's word| Suggest tomorrow's word

Which is to say nothing of what cannot be captured by the lens, namely her verbig-verbig-verbig-verbig- verbigeration : the unending repetition of words of words of words, or of phrases of phrases of phrases…
-- Will Self, Umbrella , 2012

When she dutifully regurgitated the shaman's explanation, it sounded like a crazy person's verbigeration .
-- Bruce Wagner, Memorial , 2006

Verbigeration  entered English in the late 1800s from the Latin verbigerāre  meaning "to chat, converse."


Meet the Yocum Staff - John A. Zukowski

Name: John A. Zukowski
Position in library: Library Assistant
Educational background: B.A. English Rutgers University, Master's Journalism Temple University
Favorite book: I like classic novels, spiritual books and creative nonfiction.
Favorite movie: City Lights
Favorite area of library: Reference Department
Special interest: Classic American movies, liberation theology, New England culture, social realism
Hobby: Photography, vegetarian and vegan cooking, genealogy, conversation

Make a Snowflake

Friday, December 12, 2014


You do not need an apostrophe when writing:
- 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc.
- CDs, PhDs, MAs, etc.
- As, Bs, Cs, Ds . . .Xs, Ys, Zs
- plurals (unless it may be confused with another word, i.e. As = A’s)

Word of the Day

 \ PRITH-ee \, interjection;  
1.Archaic . (I) pray thee.

Many a nobleman lies stark and stiff / Under the hoofs of vaunting enemies, / Whose deaths are yet unrevenged: I prithee , / lend me thy sword.
-- William Shakespeare, "Henry IV, Part 1 , " 1598

"Good Master Shelton," said the other, " prithee  forgive me. I have none the least intention to offend…"
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses , " 1888

Prithee  entered in English in the late 1500s as a shortening and alteration of the phrase "I pray thee."


Meet the Yocum Staff - Joy M Strouse

Name: Joy M. Strouse
Position in Library: Library Assistant (Data Processing) from 1996 to present.
Educational Background:
Diploma from Easton Area School District – Class of 1960
Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Kutztown University – Class of 1964 Post-graduate work at: East Stroudsburg University, Kutztown University, Penn State University – Berks Campus, Albright College, Reading Area Community College. Earned: Master’s Equivalency Certificate in 1987, Retired from teaching after 31 ½ years at the Daniel Boone Area School District in 1996
Favorite Book: Many - ‘The Good Earth’ by Pearl S. Buck
Favorite Movie: Many – ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’; Any movie starring Ingrid Bergman, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe.
Favorite Area of Library: Any window that looks out on the flowing Schuylkill River
Special Interests: traveling, reading, and visiting the Poconos; spending time with the guys in my life: 3 nephews, 9 great-nephews, and 1 great-great-nephew
Hobby: spending the summer at my home in the Poconos; riding my A T V in sky country; traveling with friends

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Scheduled Classes for Computers

11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Reserved—Mrs. Moyer
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Mrs. Lois Moyer ORI102 (10) Intro to Library PowerPoint presented by Ms. Kim Stahler.

Word of the Day

 \ HAP-uhn-stans \, noun;  
1.a chance happening or event.

“Do you really believe we are just the products of circumstance and happenstance ?” “Yes, I think so…"
-- Robert Henry Wright Jr., "Papelón: A Novel of Argentina," 2007

A pimple of a hillock here, a blue-gray mare there, a rumpled dark side. But not an anatomy: bleak evidence, rather, of heavenly happenstance .
-- John Updike, "Toward the End of Time," 1997

Happenstance  came to English in the late 1800s and is a portmanteau of happen  and circumstance .


Happy Finals

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From the Desk of Miriam Stone

One Light in a Dark Valley
A short story by Miriam Stone

There was once a football team and this is the story of how they changed one boy’s life.

Keith was a boy with several developmental disabilities. No one knew how he even got on the Middle School’s football team. The players were convinced that it was to meet a state quota, a convenient way for the school to squeeze through a technicality. They were not a compassionate group.

As a matter of fact, there were reasons that they resented Keith’s place on the team. There were good players out there who couldn’t get on the team because Keith took up a valuable space, and not only didn’t he help the team, he slowed them down. After all, football isn’t just a sport. It is the sport and even though this was only Middle School and the boys were only ten and eleven years old, they understood that winning was everything.

It would pave the way for them to play ball in the higher grades and if they were good enough, a college scholarship was not out of the question. Far more important, football made them popular and that was the real game they were playing, the popularity game.

Beyond even that, Keith was annoying. He annoyed everyone who knew him and the football players were more than annoyed. As they saw it, Keith was dumped on them and if they couldn’t argue with the school higher-ups who put him there, they could make life as miserable as possible for Keith – and they did. Keith became a target for the football team to attack, and as the football team goes, so goes the school.

It was the last game of the season. Parents cheered from the stands, the coach was a live wire ready to spring at any moment. Hopes were high. This team was good, even with the liability of Keith.

What happened next infuriated those in the stands and the coach really did spring. The team refused to score a goal. They got close, so close in fact that the young player with the ball had to slide and skid to a halt just before he crossed the goal line.

The players had a plan so secret that they did not share it with their coach, their parents or their friends. Everyone was so fixed on the ball that they didn’t see what the rest of the team was up to. They kept moving Keith closer and closer to the goal line. As Keith got closer, the rest of the team worked  to get the ball. Everything fell into place beautifully. As soon as the players got the ball and ran it to the goal line, they gave it to Keith. He crossed the line and scored a touchdown.

Finally, everyone got it. The crowd cheered, Keith’s parents cried with happiness and Keith, well he was just about out of his mind with pride and happiness.

The team didn’t stop there. They welcomed him to their table at lunch and “as the team goes, so goes the school”.

Some of the team were interviewed afterward and they all said that it was worth it just to see Keith feel so happy. One of the team members was interviewed and he said that he didn’t make up the plan. He just went along with it. The interviewer asked the player if he felt that he had learned anything from this. The player said that before he did this, all he cared about was himself and his friends. But, he now understood that it is equally important to make someone happy. Doing that also makes you feel happy and good.

These ten and eleven year old boys made a secret plan and pulled it off, all to make someone else feel successful.

There is so much bullying going on in our schools today. We wonder what happened to our children It is so refreshing to see some light shine in a very dark valley.

Top 15 Hot Tips for Finals

By Jeremy S. Hyman, Lynn F. Jacobs

*It's finals time! These time-tested tips for studying for, and taking, your final exams can make a huge difference in your results, and send you off happy to your holiday break:

1. Count your way forward. Many students, when starting to think about preparing for finals, look at the dates of their finals, then count their way back. "Biology final on Wednesday? That's two or three studying days needed. I guess I'll start hitting the books on Sunday." A far better idea is to count up from the day the study questions are handed out (or if your prof doesn't bother with such niceties, a week before the exam) to the day the exam will take place. "Seven days? Then I'll divide the course into sevenths and study two weeks' worth of lectures each day."

2. Shed some commitments. You'll find you have a lot easier time studying if you make extra time for it. Put off any unnecessary social obligations or family commitments. And, if you're working, try if at all possible to take 10 days off for final exam period (or at least trim your work schedule). Even a few strategically placed extra hours can make the difference between doing just OK on finals and doing a really great job.

Best-Kept Secret. If you can finish your term papers the week before the last week of classes, it'll free loads of extra time to study for finals.

3. "Triage" your study time. Some students think they should spend equal amounts of time preparing for each of their finals. Instead, proportion your study time to how hard the final is likely to be and how well you already know the material.

4. Figure out what's covered. One of the most important things you need to be clear about is what materials are going to be tested on the final. Are readings and discussion sections included, or is the final going to focus almost exclusively on material from the lectures? Is the final going to concentrate on materials since the midterm or is it going to be a comprehensive or cumulative final? Knowing the extent—and the limits—of the exam will make it much easier to organize and structure your studying.

5. Decide if it's going to be a grand tour or lots of local attractions. Professors have two strategies in making up finals. Some profs design a single, big question or two; other professors give a series of more focused questions, each covering some single issue in the course. Before you start studying, make sure you've figured out your professor's test-construction strategy.

6. Torture the samples. In the typical college course, there are many resources available that give you specific information about what questions will appear on the final. Sometimes, the professor or TA simply drops hints about what "would make for a good final exam question." But other times, the questions are right there in the open. A study guide, sample final, or set of review questions can often furnish questions amazingly close to the actual exam questions.

7. Study with a group only if it makes sense. Many students believe (mistakenly) that a study group always affords an advantage: more brain power plus peer pressure to crack the books. This works well when your study buddies are at least as smart as you. Exam time isn't charity time.

8. Cram with the professor (or TA). One of the best—and at some colleges, most under-used—resources is the review session. Here the professor (or sometimes the TA) will give you a window into the final. He or she might sum up the high points of the course, do sample questions or problems, give study tips, or sometimes just divulge about how he or she was thinking about the topics of the course. In any event, it's the single biggest help in studying for the final.

9. Leverage your notes (when allowed). Increasingly, professors are allowing students to bring their notes and books to the exam. Rather than the trick question, "gotcha!" kind of exam, these professors want to see how well you can express your ideas, given the data. Be sure your notes are in tip-top shape if you're given this chance.

10. Read the instructions—and make a plan. When you get to the exam and get your test sheet, take the time to carefully survey the format of the test. How many questions are you being asked to answer? Is there a choice? How much does each part count? Then make a (tentative) plan—right up front, before you start working—of how much time you're going to devote to each question.

4-Star Tip. Don't waste too much time outlining your answers, writing down formulas you've memorized, or (when given a choice) starting a question and then stopping and starting another question. You're being graded on the quality of your answer, not on notes to yourself or false starts.

11. Be sure to develop your answers fully. Many students don't realize that, on essay exams, part of what's being graded is how well you develop and explain your answer, not just how correct it is. Consider explaining your points in more detail so that someone unfamiliar with the answer would know, just from what you say, what the answer is.

12. Make it easy on the grader. In many courses, the professor or other person grading will have 70 finals to read in a space of two or three days, which means about 10 or 15 minutes per exam. You're more likely to get a good grade if you: make clear which question you're answering; begin to give your answer in the very first sentence of your essay; show all work in a problem-based exam; and, above all, write neatly.

13. Pace yourself. Two or three hours is a long time. Think of the final exam as a work session, divided into a number of sub-sessions. Take a few-minute break between each question or part. Approach each question separately from the rest.

14. Don't panic too soon. In three hours, confronted with a number of questions of varying degrees of difficulty, there are bound to be ups and downs—times you're feeling better, and worse, about how the test is going. Ignore such instantaneous feedback. Most tests are designed to have some harder questions, and in any case, such self evaluation is often wrong.

15. Stay 'til the bitter end. It's amazing to see, but many students leave before the exam is over. That's never a good thing to do, since there are always problems to be checked over or essays to be added to or proofread. Even making a single correction to a problem, or adding a single point to an essay (don't be afraid to pencil a paragraph into the margin or on top of the page), can spell the difference between a good grade and a not-so-good grade.

Best of luck on your finals!


How to Reduce Stress During Finals Week

By Kelci Lynn Lucier, About.com Guide

*While college stress is constant throughout the semester, college stress during finals week takes it to a whole new level. These 6 easy ways to rest and relax during finals week can help you make it through the madness.

1. Get time away/alone. Chances are, everyone you know at school is stressed during finals week, too. Take a few minutes to take a walk off campus, treat yourself to a coffee in a place not full of stressed students, or find some other way/place that you can get yourself out of the finals-week environment, if even just for a few minutes.

2. Spend 3-5 minutes not doing anything. This is often more challenging than it sounds. But take a few minutes to turn off all of your technology and sit and relax -- even meditate, if you can. Those few minutes can calm your mind and your spirit while helping your refocus and recharge.

3. Spend 15-20 minutes doing something purely for fun. The break for your brain will do wonders for its productivity later. Watch silly YouTube videos, read a trashy magazine, play a video game, or Skype with a friend far away.

4. Get exercise in a low-stress situation. Translation: practice with your basketball team doesn't count. Go for a relaxing walk, ride your bike without knowing where you'll end up, or go for a quick jog. And if it's too cold outside, try something new in the gym. You might be surprised by how relaxed -- and energized! -- you feel afterward.

5. Attend a sporting event. If you're studying for finals at the end of the fall semester, chances are you can attend a football or basketball game during finals week. Leave your books in your room and really let yourself relax and enjoy, knowing that the time spent away will help your studying later.

6. Make a list -- and write down everything. For some people, making a list can really help reduce stress because it helps put things in perspective. The best way to get things organized, and to get a feeling of satisfaction, is to write down every single thing you need to do -- like eating breakfast/lunch/dinner, doing laundry, getting some sleep, and going to class. Getting things written down -- and then crossed off! -- can do wonders for your sense of control and accomplishment during a very busy time.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scheduled Classes for Computers

11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Reserved—Dr. Singleton
Where: Yocum Instruction Area
Description: Dr. Donna Singleton COM041 (12) No instruction; reserve computer area.

Word of the Day

 \pav-loh-vee-uhn, -law-, -lov-ee-\, adjective;  
1.of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Pavlov or his work, especially of experiments in which he elicited predictable responses from laboratory animals.

They are like those “assorted” cookies that differ from one another only in shape and shade, whereby their shrewd makers ensnare the salivating consumer in a mad Pavlovian world where, at no extra cost, variations in simple visual values influence and gradually replace flavor, which thus goes the way of talent and truth.
-- Vladimir Nabokov, "Lance," The New Yorker, February 2, 1952

This is known as a Pavlovian effect, I tell the boy as I pour a tumbler for him to drink, my gums smarting like hell just from the stink.
-- Heather McGowan, "Duchess of Nothing," 2006

Pavlovian entered English in the 1920s as a term for followers of the work of the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov.


This Day in History - December 9

Dec 9, 1854: "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson is published

*On this day, The Examiner prints Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade," which commemorates the courage of 600 British soldiers charging a heavily defended position during the Battle of Balaklava, in the Crimea, just six weeks earlier. Tennyson had been named poet laureate in 1850 by Queen Victoria.

Tennyson was born into a chaotic and disrupted home. His father, the eldest son of a wealthy landowner, was disinherited in favor of his younger brother. Forced to enter the church to support himself, the Reverend Dr. George Tennyson became a bitter alcoholic.

However, he educated his sons in the classics, and Alfred Tennyson, the fourth of 12 children, went to Trinity College at Cambridge in 1827. The same year, he and his brother Charles published Poems by Two Brothers. At Cambridge, Tennyson befriended a circle of intellectual undergraduates who strongly encouraged his poetry. Chief among them was Arthur Hallam, who became Tennyson's closest friend and who later proposed to Tennyson's sister.

In 1830, Tennyson published Poems, Chiefly Lyrical. The following year, his father died, and he was forced to leave Cambridge for financial reasons. Besieged by critical attacks and struggling with poverty, Tennyson nevertheless remained dedicated to his work and published several more volumes.

The sudden death of Tennyson's dear friend Arthur Hallam in 1833 inspired several important works throughout Tennyson's later life, including the masterful In Memoriam of 1842. Later that year, he published a volume called Poems, containing some of his best works. The book boosted Tennyson's reputation, and in 1850 Queen Victoria named him poet laureate. At long last, Tennyson achieved financial stability and finally married his fiancée, Emily Sellwood, whom he had loved since 1836.

Tennyson's massive frame and booming voice, together with his taste for solitude, made him an imposing character. He craved solitude and bought an isolated home where he could write in peace. In 1859, he published the first four books of his epic Idylls of the King. Eight more volumes would follow. He continued writing and publishing poems until his death in 1892.

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