Humanities Moments

The First Book I Ever Checked Out of a Library

Contributed by Joan Hinde Stewart, President Emerita, Hamilton College
Joan of Arc, from 'Vie des Femmes Celebres,' c. 1505

In this video, Joan Hinde Stewart recalls the first book she ever checked out of a library — a biography of Joan of Arc — a memory triggered by an experience in her sixties. She describes the fascination she felt about Joan of Arc from an early age and the conflict she felt about reading this biography, as it was unsanctioned by the Catholic church.

As she notes, however, “I became positively besotted with The Maid of Orleans. I could do nothing but think about Joan. That’s the way she is. She grabs you, and no matter how well you know the story you keep hoping — I keep hoping — that it will turn out differently.”

Title

The First Book I Ever Checked Out of a Library

Subject

Formative experiences with the humanities have the power to shape our lives, returning to us again and again, to intrigue and inspire. And, from the distance provided by age, experience, and deeper knowledge we sometimes come to appreciate those subjects — for instance the life of a remarkable woman like Joan of Arc — in new and more meaningful ways that continue to challenge and fascinate.

Description

In this video, Joan Hinde Stewart recalls the first book she ever checked out of a library — a biography of Joan of Arc — a memory triggered by an experience in her sixties. She describes the fascination she felt about Joan of Arc from an early age and the conflict she felt about reading this biography, as it was unsanctioned by the Catholic church.

As she notes, however, “I became positively besotted with The Maid of Orleans. I could do nothing but think about Joan. That’s the way she is. She grabs you, and no matter how well you know the story you keep hoping — I keep hoping — that it will turn out differently.”

Contributor

Joan Hinde Stewart, President Emerita, Hamilton College

Identifier

joan-stewart-first-library-book

Location

Collection