Wednesday, March 4, 2015


    Do you remember reading this old English nursery rhyme when you were a child?

Monday's Child
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child works hard for a living,
Saturday's child is loving and giving,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

When you first read this rhyme, did you zero in on the day you were born, imagining what your fate might be?  And now that you've "arrived" in life, does your birth-day prediction accurately reflect your true-life experience? 

Well, we're wondering if Nettie Bullis read this nursery rhyme and thought about that fourth prediction. You see, Nettie was born on March 23, 1893, and that was a Thursday. "Thursday's child has far to go" -- what does this actually mean?  The website "Famlii" says that the traditional meaning of Thursday's prediction is that the child will have a long, successful life without limitations. That same source also says that modern interpretations have associated Thursday's child with having obstacles to overcome in life.

Both interpretations describe Nettie Bullis's life accurately. She achieved great success in her life and also overcame many obstacles in order to do so. As we prepare to honor her once more on her birthday this month, let's remember her as a true Thursday child.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Tired of looking down and around at the white stuff that seems to have covering almost everything in our environment?

Then look up, at the sky!

But you say it's mostly cloudy these days?

Then we have a suggestion for you. Yep, it's another Bullis book:

The Orbs Around Us:
A Series of Familiar Essays on the Moons and Planets,
Meteors and Comets, the Sun and Coloured Pairs of Suns
by Richard A. Proctor
Published by Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1872

This almost-a-century-and-a-half old book covers a myriad of topics, all from prior-to 1872 scientific knowledge and research. Some of the chapter titles are:

"Other Habitable Worlds"
Other Inhabited Worlds"
The Rosse Telescope Set to New Work
Shooting Stars, Meteors, and Aeorlites
Professor Tyndall's Theory of Comets
The Sun's Corona
The Corona as a Phenomenon of Eruption

We hope we've given you enough "teasers" so you'll stop by the Bullis Room on one of the cloudy days we're sure to continue getting - and spend some time thinking and learning about our world beyond this planet. Then when the warm, sunny days and clear nights are upon us, and you can actually see what's up thereyou'll have a better appreciation of the universe that surrounds us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Boy, is it cold outside. It's so cold that the Bullis Room feels warm today. (That's an "inside" joke, folks.)

So what to do on a cold day? (We're told there are more days like this to come, so we need to have a plan.)

Our suggestion: Stay inside and read a good book. Better yet, come to the Bullis Room and (with a Bullis volunteer to assist you) find a good book, nestle into a comfortable chair over by the window, and enjoy.

There are lots of books to choose from ... fiction as well as non-fiction. History, horticulture, law, engineering, mathematics, religion, astronomy, science ....

We hope you can find (or make) the opportunity to stop by sometime in the next few weeks. And while getting here may be a bit chilly, we promise that you'll be surrounded by lots of good, warm books. Can any of us ask for anything more?

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Two hundred and six years ago, a man who is still revered had a humble beginning in a Kentucky log cabin.  Abraham Lincoln  grew up to become a lawyer, member of the U.S. House of Representatives,  and the 16th president of the United States.  As president he led our country through the Civil War, which resulted in the preservation of the union and the abolishment of slavery.

For those of you who would like to learn more about the world that Lincoln lived in as a child, there's a Bullis book for you! It is:

Pine Knot; A Story of Kentucky Life
by William Eleazar Barton
Published by D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1900

It's a work of fiction, and its content reflects the lifestyle that had not changed a great deal since the time of Lincoln's boyhood. Some of the chapter titles are:

Granny White's Remedies
A Blue-Grass Christmas
For the Cause of Freedom

So please stop by the Bullis Room and spend some time in Pine Knot ... and remember the man who made such a great contribution to his country.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


On January 25, 1915, a big celebration took place after the following conversation:

Alexander Graham Bell (sitting in New York, speaking into a telephone):  
"Mr Watson, come here.  I want you." 

Mr. Watson (Bell's assistant, listening in on a telephone in San Francisco): 
"It will take me five days to get there now!"

Prior to this history-making call, a trial phone call had already taken place in July, 1914, when Theodore Vail, the president of AT&T, spoke coast to coast with his voice being boosted in Pittsburgh, Omaha, and Salt Lake City. The company had been wanting to link the two coasts via phone, and finally found a device to make that possible - Lee DeForest's "audions," the first vacuum tubes. (, "A Transcontinental Telephone Line")

If you have an interest in the technology that made this event possible, we invite you to stop by the Bullis Room and spend some time with these century-plus old books:

The History of the Telephone
by Herbert Newton Casson
published in Chicago by A. C. McClurg, 1911


The Telephone: An Account of the Phenomena of
Electricity, Magnetism, and Sound, as Involved in its Action.
With Directions for Making a Speaking Telephone
by A. E. Dolbear
published in Boston by Lee & Shepard, 1877

Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone changed his life, and its modern equivalent has become such a part of our lives, we wonder how we would function without it. So "thank you," Mr. Bell. Many, many thanks.

Monday, January 19, 2015


An article on today lists "5 Ways to Honor the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr." They are:

Give something
Learn something
Teach something
Commit to something
Dream something

And so to honor Rev. King, some of us Bullis Room volunteers are focusing on the second item in this list and suggesting that all of us take a look at this 168-year-old Bullis book:

First lessons in civil government, 
including a comprehensive view of the government of the state of New York, and an abstract of the laws, showing the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens in the civil and domestic relations, with an outline of the government of the United States : adapted to the capacities of children and youth, and designed for the use of schools,
Published in New York by M. H. Newman, 1847,
12th edition, revised and adapted to the new constitution

Knowing what "rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens..." were taught to our ancestors two centuries past, we can have a better appreciation and understanding of Rev. King's civil rights legacy.

This week, you're invited to stop by the Bullis Room and learn something new from this rare book.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Actually, this one is turning 108 this year since it was published in 1907.  This week we are focusing on:

  Practical Mechanical Engineering; 
A Comrehensive Treatise on Steam Machinery and Apparatus, Compressed Air, 
Refrigerating Machinery, Hydraulic Elevators, Gas and Oil Engines, Turbines, etc.
Author: Carl S. Dow
Published: Philadelphia, The American Text-Boo Company, 1907

According to a recent newspaper article, practical household refrigerators were introduced in 1915. If you're curious about the technology used to produce this basic and indispensable household appliance, consider stopping by and taking a look at this book in the Bullis Room shelves.

Author Dow's book will give all of us a greater appreciation of the technology that produced the modern appliance that we occasionally enjoy raiding around midnight.  (Raiding a cabinet just wouldn't be the same.)

So ... please stop by.