Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

Lamb of Tartary in Paradisi in Sole...
Rauner's Paradisi in Sole...
A few weeks ago, the W. D. Jordan Library at Queen's University in Ontario posted an image on Instagram of John Parkinson's gardening book, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris (1629), with the casual note, "Of particular interest in this lush Garden of Eden is the mythical Lamb of Tartary, in the middle behind the figure of Adam."

At that, our book nerd senses tingled. We set off in search of the Lamb of Tartary in our collections to find out what it was.

Edward Topsell, in his 1607 Historie of Fovre-Footed Beasts, writes that in "Muscovy" near the Volga, there is a "certaine beast of the quantity and forme of a little Lamb, the people call it Boranz ... [that is] generated out of the earth like a reptile creature ... [and is] thus lieth a litle [sic] while and neuer stirreth far from the place it is bred in, I mean it is not able to moue it selfe, but eateth vp all the grasse & green things that it can reach, and when it can find no more, then it dyeth." He cites "Sigismundus," Topsell's anglicized name for Sigismund von Herberstein (1486-1566), a Hapsburg nobleman and diplomat who wrote the first account of Russia widely known in Western Europe, Notes on Muscovite Affairs (1549). Von Herberstein was known for his accuracy, refusing to record anything unless it had been corroborated by multiple sources.

The legend of the Vegetable Lamb endured through the Enlightenment. Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was the co-founder, co-editor and author for the 18-volume Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, one of the foundational Enlightenment texts. Published over a period of 21 years (1751 to 1772), the Encyclopedia was meant to change the way humans thought. The entry on the "Agnus Scythicus" (Scythian Lamb) describes the Lamb -- which was probably a misunderstood plant -- and then immediately launches into a diatribe about truth. "All the wonder of the Scythian lamb reduced to nothing, or at least to very little, to a hairy root which people twist and turn to make it look a little like a lamb."
Agnus Scythicus in Diderot's Encyclopédie
"Agnus Scythicus" entry in Diderot's work


Today, most historians agree with Diderot, and cite the wooly fern Ciborium barometz as the inspiration for the legend.

For Topsell, ask for Rare Book QL41 .T66 1607. John Parkinson's Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris is Val 635 P229p. Diderot's
is Rare Book AE25 .E53 (18 vols.) Luckily for those of us who don't speak French, the University of Michigan has translated the entries into English (Scythian Lamb, cited above).

Friday, June 24, 2016

Artifact of His Time

We are always blogging about the really cool things you can find in Rauner. Usually, once things come here, they stay, but today we focus on one of our favorite things that we are losing. Dean of Libraries, Jeffrey Horrell, is retiring in June. A frequent denizen of Rauner, when he is here, he is definitely one of the coolest things not exactly in the collections, but among the collections.

We thought we might be able to declare him a part of the archives, but then we realized we would have to put a twenty-five year restriction on him (Dean's records, you know), and that seemed a little unfair to his family and friends. So, he'll just be deaccessioned and cast out into the world.

We will miss the delight he took in everything he saw in Rauner and his unceasing support for the collections. But, what we will miss most is the care, thought, and support he gave all of us everyday. He made us better at what we do, and made Dartmouth a more humane and decent place to work.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bellicose Paperwork

Mileage stamps
Mileage stamps
When the United States entered World War II in 1942, the American economy shifted to a rationing system administered by the Office of Price Administration (OPA). It became illegal to sell items without the correct amount of ration stamps, no matter how much money a customer had. As you might imagine, this led to an explosion of paperwork.

Today, these ration books are not only historically significant, but aesthetically appealing, as the government used patterns, watermarks, and color to deter counterfeiters. Most of the symbols were patriotic and bellicose, ranging from eagles and American flags to tanks and airplanes.
Rubber footware rationing card

The most commonly rationed items were gasoline, rubber, and oil, as these were all in high demand for the war. "Rubber footwear" required special permissions and paperwork, including a "Certificate to Acquire Men's Rubber Boots and Rubber Work Shoes." Even "Non-Rationed Shoes" required stamps.

produce rationing couponsThe government privileged the military in the culinary realm, sending preserved food (like canned goods) and specialty food (like chocolate) to soldiers overseas, while Americans faced food rations. In our collection we have sugar allowance coupons -- but this sugar is only "for home food processing," unless you had a Special Application (Form R-315). This sheet of rationing coupons for "Meats, Fats, Fish, and Cheese" is for citizens living along the Mexican border; the back includes instructions in Spanish.

These rationing cards come from MS-1280 (Office of Price Administration Ration Cards Collection), Box 1. Come by and figure out how many stamps you'd need to get that new bike. Or take the OPA's advice: "If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT." 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Howl for Wess

Inscribed title page to HowlWess Jolley, our Records Manager, is retiring later this month. He was interim director of Special Collections for about a year. During that time, he discovered his favorite book in the collection: an inscribed copy of Allen Ginsberg's Howl, the Pocket Poets Series edition from City Lights books. When he made that discovery we discovered that our Records Manager was a Ginsberg fanatic (how many institutions can say that?).

So, in Wess's honor, we again present you with Allen Ginsberg's doodling dedication to Richard Eberhart celebrating his "Home Made Hebrew Thought" traveling through "the Stem of William Blake.""Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?"

It is pretty amazing. You can see it by asking for Eberhart PS3513.I74 H6. And here is another cool Howl (as well as the story of the relationship between Eberhart and Ginsberg).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Das Boot" at Rauner

Cover of Logbook for U-53On May 5, 1916, the German Navy ordered a submarine from the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, the most important construction wharf in Germany. The U-112 was one of ten submarines built by the shipyard between 1916 and 1918. It was launched on October 26, 1917. As was the norm, the U-112 underwent a months long inspection period overseen by the Unterseeboot Abnahme-Kommission (U.A.K.), a commission established to ensure that the submarine was built to and performed to specifications. The U-112 completed its inspection period on June 30, 1918. However, it never got the chance to perform. It was surrendered to Great Britain on November 22, 1918 and was scrapped in 1922.

The story of the U-112 is represented in a small collection of German submarine material from World War I, which we have here at Rauner. Among the documents are rules, regulations and orders like this one, which, addressed to the command of the "S.M.S U 112," describes the rules for entering the Germania shipyard.

Letter U-112, frontLetter, U-112, reverse

"From land the shipyard may only be entered or left through the door by the fire station. A list of all names and ranks will have to be presented to the guard. Climbing over fences and doors is strictly forbidden. Smoking is not allowed in the shipyard. When entering the shipyard everyone has to identify themselves by uniform and identity card. A uniform alone is not acceptable…. People entering over land who do not belong to the crew have to be escorted by a fireman to the vessel and will have to be escorted back by a crew member, using the shortest distance…."

Embezzlement document; crew member stealing money for cigarettes
Another document describes the case of a crew member who had pocketed money intended for the cigarettes he distributed. In response it is requested that those in charge are to make sure that only trustworthy individuals and people who are not too young in age and rank be chosen for such as task and that they should be adequately supervised.

Telegram: Crew member asks for leave for weddingIn this telegram a crew member asked for a few extra days of leave because his wedding had to be postponed, pointing out that his marriage certificate would certify this.

The collection also includes an engineer's log of submarine U-53 and a general orders folder from the U.A.K.

You can find the collection under call number MS-5.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Very Special Time Capsule

Spilled beer (brown), now dried
In the world of Special Collections, legends of strange items occasionally drift through the office -- books bound in human skin (no, we don't have one), seal harpoons (yes, we do have one of those!), and other tantalizing snippets. This past week, we rediscovered one of the most Dartmouth-y time capsules ever: a beer can.

During the 1970s, Dartmouth was rapidly changing with women and computers improving campus life. Computer programmers developed Dartmouth's time sharing system, where multiple persons could make use of Dartmouth's computers at the same time. It was completed in the winter of 1977, and the programmers decided to create a lasting time capsule in honor of their creation. They chose a can of Miller beer.

The label on the can reads:
This time capsule was placed in the Kiewit Basement on 26-Feb-1977 to be opend [sic] in 100 years on 26-Feb-2077. The Sysprogs wish you greetings. 
The holes
Sysprogs is a common abbreviation for "systems programmers." Each of the programmers on the project signed  his or her name on two labels on the other side. Many signed their class years after, showing that many students from the class of 1980 were involved with the project.

In May 2005 (only 28 years in!), we discovered that the archival box was -- horror of horrors -- getting moldy. Our Collections Conservator Deborah Howe suspected a leak from the full can of beer. She drained it via two small holes at the bottom of the can.

Today, you can view the can (and the other items in the box, like a small statue of Paul Revere and a super old-school hard drive), by asking for DA-181, Box 4271.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bound Out

Deed of indenture, Marth Eastman, 1846When you think “town records,” you may think of nothing more than mundane city information and tax records. But delving into 19th-century Hanover town records offers quite the surprise. We discovered a deed of indenture, signed by representatives of the town of Hanover, regarding the fate of a 4-year-old girl by the name of Martha Eastman. The town deemed her mother, Josephine, as “not employed in any lawful business” and unable to provide sufficiently for her daughter. During this era, it was not uncommon for the local government to contract the poor into work. Oftentimes, poor adults were provided with room and board, but were required to work off their debts, usually on a poor farm. There were no centralized child services; rather, the town would indenture children, such as Martha, with an individual or family who was willing to take them in.

Detail from Martha Eastman Deed of Indenture
Martha was “bound out” to be trained as a seamstress and spinster for 14 years (until the age of 18) and to “faithfully serve” Mr. Abraham Perkins, the leader of the Shaker community in Enfield, New Hampshire. According to the arrangement, in exchange for Martha’s servitude, the Shakers were responsible for ensuring Martha’s education and training until the age of 18 when they would provide her with nothing less than “comfortable and decent apparel” – and, we assume, a chance to join the community for life. The Shakers are now mostly known for their furniture, communistic culture, and their belief in celibacy, gender equality, and passivity. For young Martha’s sake, we do hope her upbringing was as wholesome as the Shakers advertised!

Detail from Martha Eastman Deed of Indenture
Sifting through the other contracts regarding the poor, we found another that involves a boy: Moses Eastman. Moses was another illegitimate child of Josephine, and he was 8 years old at the time he was taken from her to be contracted into service. Unfortunately, he was not sent to Enfield with his sister. Instead, Moses was indentured to Laban Chandler of Hanover, a local farmer, for 13 years (until age 21). We found no additional record of Moses Eastman, besides Chandler’s census information which reported Moses to be Canadian. Also in this census, we know Josephine passed away “as a county pauper” in 1846, the same year that her children were bound out, although there is no apparent record of the cause.

Detail from Moses Eastman Deed of Indenture, 1846
After exhausting several leads on Josephine, her children, and their “masters,” we came to a dead end. Further searching through the Hanover and Enfield records here in Rauner offered no more insight as to where her children grew up, or whom they became. Perhaps in the future, we may stumble upon more clues …  for now, all we can do is wonder whatever became of Martha and Moses Eastman?

To see the Deeds of Indenture for Martha and Moses, ask for the Hanover Town Records, DH-1, Box 10801, folder 18.

Posted for Regan Roberts '16 (congratulations!)