Westfield Memorial Library Hosts Local Artist and Two Historical Exhibits
Monday, October 21, 2013 • 10:46pm
Through November 30, the Westfield Memorial Library is pleased to showcase the painting of Westfield resident and pet sitter Sharon Reed. The paintings are in the Internet Lounge of the library, which is located at 550 East Broad Street.
Ms. Reed has been “drawing and painting for as long as she can remember,” according to her artist’s statement, but she did not begin to seriously pursue her passion for art until she had completed her MBA at Rutgers. Then she studied design at the New York School of Interior Design and began to merge her love of painting with animals.
Some of the venues she has exhibited at included the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the Paper Mill Playhouse, and the Morris County Arts Council.
Her oil paintings of animals and nature display both a comic and realistic sense. For example, she has painted a chicken with a cup of coffee, as she wondered if chickens needed coffee to help them get started in the morning. Entitled “Lunch, a painting of a frog with his long tongue whipping out and lassoing a hotdog, depicts the unexpected.
The close up of the faces of two beautiful bridled horses, which won an Award of Excellence at the Westfield Arts Association Annual Show earlier this year, is quite realistic, as are the paintings of a beagle, Labrador, cardinal and tiny hoot owl.
Besides the paintings in the Internet Lounge, visitors to the library can see two fascinating collections in the display cases through October 31.The case in the front entrance of the library houses the telegraph code book collection of Steven Bellovin, and the display case near the New Fiction Collection holds the collection of historical scientific instruments owned by Jeff Warsh.
Material in Mr. Bellovin’s display case explains that during the telegraph era, companies charged by the word ($5 per word for a trans-Atlantic telegram in 1857!). To save money, people used codebooks, which represented a phrase or even a whole sentence in a single word. Some codebooks were used for secrecy as well, though that was rare and not particularly well done, even by the standards of the time.
The Codes and Abbreviations for the Use of International Telecommunications Services from 1958 shows phrases in French, English and Spanish, such as, “We are in agreement,” with the one-word code equivalent: “TUNHO,” or “…state they are unable to arrange” with the code “UBBID.”
Sheehan’s Telegraphic Cipher Code book, published in 1894, was used primarily by railway workers who used their employers’ telegraph lines to plan strikes. Another fascinating part of the collection is the “Secret Card” from 1952 which was used by Western Union for wiring money. Different words represented different amounts of money and without access to it, it was impossible a forge a transfer telegram. The words, unlike today’s passwords, were changed monthly.
The display of Mr. Warsh’s scientific instruments and measurement devices is a fascinating collection of familiar objects, some of which are outdated and others that are used today in updated versions.
For example, he owns two egg scales from the 1920’s and 1930’s, which weigh eggs in ounces and grade them according to size. There are several versions of explorers compendiums from the 1900’s, which are small cases housing a compass, Fahrenheit and centigrade thermometer, and barometer.
The short Tang Pin-on compass from the late 1920’s to 30’s is a very small compass that was designed to be worn on a jacket lapel. Manufactured by Marbles of Gladstone, Michigan, the compasses are the same type that were worn by Theodore Roosevelt on his hunting expeditions and by Admirals Perry and Byrd on their North and South Pole expeditions. Such compasses have been routinely pinned on GI bomber and flight jackets in every American conflict since World War II.
Other objects of note include the gold field scales, the antique precision calipers from the mid 19th century, and the gunpowder and gold dust short measures.
The paintings and display cases can be seen anytime the library is open. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Founded in 1879, the Westfield Memorial Library—the community’s destination for discovery and ideas—engages minds, entertains spirits and facilitates lifelong learning for people of all ages.
For more information call 908.789.4090, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter “Library Loop,” or stop by the library at 550 East Broad Street for a copy of the award-winning quarterly newsletter “Take Note.”