THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: FEBRUARY 2 – 8, 2015

On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-groundhog-day

To learn more about groundhogs and other marmots click on these resources:

Freedman, Bill. “Groundhog.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Science in Context. Web.

Click here to read this article.

Karels, Tim. “Squirrels and Relatives II: Ground Squirrels.” Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. Ed. Michael Hutchins, et al. 2nd ed. Vol. 16: Mammals V. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 143-161. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

Click here to read the article above.

Groundhog

This Week in History: December 3, 1967

transplantOn December 3, 1967, a South African heart surgeon, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant operation. Leading a large team of surgeons at Groote Shuur Hospital in Cape Town, Bernard replaced the mortally diseased heart of Louis Washkansky, a 53 year old grocer, with the healthy heart of a 25 year old motor accident victim, Denise Darvall. Barnard said the main problem was not the operation itself, but persuading the patient’s immune system not to reject the new heart.

On this day : the history of the world in 366 days. New York, NY : Crescent Books. (1992.).

To find out more, visit the following databases available through the library:

Gale Virtual Reference Library:

Christiaan N. Barnard. (2004). In Encyclopedia of World Biography (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 7-8). Detroit: Gale. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3404700449&v=2.1&u=lcpls&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w&asid=47ad94fd26eda74015134a2d0c65464f

Health and Wellness Resource Center:

Christiaan Barnard: his first transplants and their impact on concepts of death. (Looking back…)

Raymond Hoffenberg. British Medical Journal. Dec 22, 2001 v323 i7327 p1478(3).

Find a full list of our available online Resources and Databases by clicking here.