When Boardwalk Empire, the new series about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, debuted September 19, it had plenty of factors in its favor: an acclaimed director (Martin Scorsese), writer (Terence Winter), and network (HBO). But it also had a powerhouse researcher in its corner: Atlantic City Free Public Library’s Heather Halpin Perez.
The show is based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. And while the show blends fiction with fact, producers utilized the library to ensure accuracy in historic details.
The newspaper that the character Nucky Thompson reads the day of Prohibition’s enactment, for example, is a replica of the actual January 16, 1920, issue of the Atlantic City Daily Press from the library’s archives. The library also helped producers closely replicate Dr. Martin Couney’s baby incubator exhibit, a popular boardwalk attraction of the era that was featured in the pilot episode.
Read more at American Libraries Magazine.
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