Margaret Hill Smith grew up in a home full of books. Her father—a lawyer, newspaper editor, and historian—collected classic works of literature by Plutarch, Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others. The Hills’ library was vast and eclectic, and included books on topics ranging from the history of Mexico to evolutionary biology to the world’s most famous speeches. It’s easy to imagine Margaret, who received her degree from the College of Social Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley in 1901, curling up on the sofa with one of these books. She inherited at least a portion of the Hill family’s collection and eventually the books found a new home in the Smith House.
While living in Los Altos, Margaret met Roger and Peggy Bagnall, both local high school teachers. Peggy taught high school English and loved to read. Knowing the family’s passion for books, Margaret generously gave them over 175 volumes, cherished by the Bagnalls for many years. After Peggy passed away earlier this year, her children donated the books to the museum so they could return to the Smith House.
Inspired by this story and the power of books to bring people together, Los Altos History Museum is launching the History House Book Club. Free of charge and open to all LAHM Members, the book club is a way to get to know each other better through a shared love of reading. Every other month, we’ll choose a work of history or historical fiction to read and chat about.
The first meeting of the History House Book Club will take place January 14, 4-5:30pm. We will be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Ann Barrows. Come enjoy an evening in the Smith House discussing a great book with new friends!
Please RSVP to Amy Ellison at firstname.lastname@example.org.