“He Was Preparing Us For Life”: John Wooden (1910 October 14th)

basketball on a court

Born Oct. 14, 1910, near Martinsville, Ind., on a farm that didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing, Wooden’s life revolved around sports from the time his father built a baseball diamond among his wheat, corn and alfalfa. Baseball was his favorite sport, but there was also a basketball hoop nailed in a hayloft. Wooden played there countless hours with his brother, Maurice, using any kind of ball they could find.

Wooden guided the Bruins to seven consecutive titles from 1967 through 1973 and a record 88-game winning streak in the early 1970s. From the time of his first title following the 1963-64 season through the 10th in 1974-75, Wooden’s Bruins were 330-19, including four 30-0 seasons.


“Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

“Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.”

. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

. “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”

. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”

. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

. “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

. “What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.”

. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

Wooden was a dignified, scholarly man who spoke with the precise language of the English teacher he once was. He always carried a piece of paper with a message from his father that read:

“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessings every day.”


Abdul-Jabbar recalled that there “was no ranting and raving, no histrionics or theatrics.” He continued: “To lead the way Coach Wooden led takes a tremendous amount of faith. He was almost mystical in his approach, yet that approach only strengthened our confidence. Coach Wooden enjoyed winning, but he did not put winning above everything. He was more concerned that we became successful as human beings, that we earned our degrees, that we learned to make the right choices as adults and as parents.

“In essence,” Abdul-Jabbar concluded, “he was preparing us for life.”

The “Sloopers” Are Coming: 1825 October 9th / Happy Leif Erikson Day


October 9, 1825, the sloop Restauration arrived in the United States, marking what is frequently considered the first planned emigration from Norway to the U.S.  Norsemen from Greenland and Iceland were the first Europeans to reach America, led by Leif Erikson around the year 1000. They founded a settlement in present-day Newfoundland, Canada, but didn’t endure due to struggles with the indigenous people.

On July 4, 1825, a group of 52 Norwegian immigrants boarded the single-masted sloop Restauration (also known as Restauration, Restoration, Restaurasjonen, and Restorasjon) in Stavanger harbor. Often called the Norwegian Mayflower, it was only about half the size of that famous ship. During the three-month voyage, the ship’s habitation increased by one, with the birth of Margaret Allen Larsen.

The Restauration finally arrived in New York on October 9, 1825. Upon entrance in America, the captain was arrested for carrying 52 passengers, far too many for such a small ship. President John Quincy Adams pardoned him a month later. The passengers from the ship established their first settlement at Kendall, New York.  Over the next century, some 800,000 Norwegian settlers would follow them to North America, with most settling in the U.S

Leif Erikson Day is a United States observance happening on October 9. It honors Leif Erikson, who led the first Europeans known to have set foot on North American soil. In 1964, Congress authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so. Presidents have used the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery

A Computer Wise Librarian: Henriette Avram 1919 October 07


Henriette D. Avram, whose far-reaching work at the Library of Congress replaced ink-on-paper card catalogs and revolutionized cataloging systems at libraries worldwide,

Henriette Regina Davidson was born in Manhattan on Oct. 7, 1919. She began premedical studies at Hunter College, and in 1941 married Herbert Mois Avram (pronounced AH-vrum).

In the early 1950’s, after her husband took a job with the National Security Agency, Mrs. Avram moved to the Washington area, where she studied mathematics at George Washington University.In 1952, Mrs. Avram also went to work for the N.S.A., where she learned computer programming; she later worked for Datatrol, an early software company. In 1965, she joined the Library of Congress, where she was put in charge of the Marc pilot project.In 1952, Mrs. Avram also went to work for the N.S.A., where she learned computer programming; she later worked for Datatrol, an early software company. In 1965, she joined the Library of Congress, where she was put in charge of the Marc pilot project.

The practical effect of her complicated mathematical formulations was to make library collections more readily accessible to scholars and the general public. Her work greatly expanded interlibrary loan programs throughout the nation and allowed people to sit at computers and look through automated card catalogs at libraries everywhere.

After working at the National Security Agency during the early years of the computer age, Avram joined the Library of Congress in 1965. With no background in library work, she was assigned to develop an automated cataloging format where none had existed.

Combining two complex fields, computer programming and intricate cataloging practices, she and a small team completed the MARC Pilot Project—for Machine Readable Cataloging—in 1968. The system quickly became the preferred format for libraries throughout the country and, ultimately, around the globe.

She designed a mathematical code using cataloging numbers, letters and symbols to denote different elements, or fields, of bibliographic information. The result was a system that could be shared among libraries, greatly increasing access to their materials and reducing the legwork needed to find them.  Avram’s innovations enabled libraries to exchange information more quickly and in greater depth. Interlibrary loans grew more common, as people could instantly learn where documents and other items were housed.

Her work changed forever the relationship of a library to its users, making it possible, with the push of a button, to search the holdings of a library thousands of miles away. It also made it possible to “visit” the library at midnight attired in nothing more than a bathrobe, a practice brick-and-mortar libraries traditionally discouraged.