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Erin Willis has been named the new curator of the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, on the third floor of the Bennett Martin Public Library, 14th and N streets. The room houses a special collection of more than 12,000 books by over 3,350 authors.

Willis received her master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Missouri, with an emphasis in special collections. She began her new duties on March 27.

The privately funded Heritage Room is named in honor of Jane Pope Geske, one of the original founders of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association (NLHA). The NLHA supports the Heritage Room through volunteers and fund-raising and is hosting two events this month:

* Major General (ret.) Mark Musick of Lincoln will discuss “Boxes: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes” by Douglas Wellman at 2:30 p.m. Sunday (April 19) in the Heritage Room. The book tells the story of the reclusive Howard Hughes who was unable to escape his famous life. The book claims he changed his appearance, employed a stand-in, accepted another name and identity and faked his death, yet continued to operate his business through his cadre of aides. The story says Hughes married Eva McLelland, who loyally kept his identity to herself. Over eight years, she relayed the story to Musick and told him that after the stand-in died in April 1976, Howard and Eva lived a reclusive lifestyle in Alabama for 25 years. After four years, Musick came to believe the story and set out to fully develop the intriguing tale. He worked for two years with Douglas Wellman, former Associate Dean of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, prior to the book’s release in May 2010.

* The 31st Annual Adult Spelling Bee is set for 7 p.m Thursday at Single Barrel, 10th and P streets. John Baylor will emcee the fun-filled evening. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for students.

To register for the Spelling Bee or find out more about the NLHA, call the Heritage Room at 402-441-8516.

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