Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Webster Hall that Almost Was

Photograph of Rauner Special Collections Library's reading room
Last week, Robert Venturi died at the age of 93. Venturi was an American architect and founding principal of the firm Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates. He was a major contributor to the postmodern architectural movement, and in 1991 he won the Pritzker Prize (and acknowledged that it was owed as much to his wife, Denise Scott Brown, as it was to him). We here at Special Collections are lucky to benefit from one of his firm's notable projects: in 1998, Venturi, Scott Brown completed the renovation of Webster Hall, where Rauner Special Collections Library now resides.

Still, long before Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates had imagined their redesign of Webster Hall's interior, one that would ultimately win them an Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects, the
A single sheet with an artist's rendering of the quadrangle on the top half of the page and a layout of the Webster Hall first and second floor on the bottom half.building had already been the target of many other proposed plans. Originally, Webster Hall was meant to have a domed roof and to form part of a balanced college quadrangle, with Sanborn Hall on the opposite side of the lawn. A later suggestion for the venerable building, after the Hopkins Center's auditorium space had rendered it redundant, was to make it into an indoor swimming pool.

A photograph of Webster Hall during its time as an auditorium, with rows of seats and an elevated stage.Luckily for us, the College and Venturi had better things in mind. Nowadays, students, faculty, staff, and visitors marvel at the natural light that streams into the reading room, at the beautiful natural cork floors, and at the majestic glass tower where the collections are housed.

To see more of Webster Hall as it once was, come inside and ask for the Webster Hall Vertical File and the Webster Hall Interior Photographic File. To see photographs of the renovation and subsequent Rauner Special Collections Library, ask for the Special Collections Library Rauner in Webster Hall Photographic File.

Friday, September 21, 2018

What a Downer!

Cover to Novermber 16, 1940, Dartmouth-Cornell football programWhat a weird cover for a football program. It is for the 1940 Dartmouth-Cornell game that was held here in Hanover on November 16th. The strange dolls on the cover represent Cornell cheerleaders and the drum major in a state of despair. The designer of the cover couldn't have gotten it any better, but the dismay of the Cornell faithful was not over a thrashing of the football team by Dartmouth--it was far stranger.

It was a defensive battle. The game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter when Dartmouth managed a field goal to go up 3-0. But the next drive, with only minutes to play, Cornell methodically marched down the field for a first and goal on the six-yard line. On first down, they moved it to the three, then on second down to the one-yard-line, and on third down to the one-foot-line. The quarterback called a timeout, but the team had none, so Cornell penalized five yards back to the five-yard line. Fourth down... and the pass into the end zone was knocked down by a Dartmouth defender. As the head linesman carried the ball out to the 20-yard line for Dartmouth to take over and run out the final three seconds, the referee overruled him and placed the ball on the five, Cornell ball. In the ensuing play Cornell scored to win the game. You can picture those cheerleaders on the cover perking up!

But... that was FIVE downs. Cornell got the hell out of town with a 7-3 victory. Protests and chaos overcame campus for two days until, on Monday, the head linesman sent a telegram to Lou Young, the captain of the Dartmouth football team, apologizing for his mistake, and Cornell conceded the game to Dartmouth. According to the yearbook, the campus "went all out in the greatest demonstration of  football enthusiasm the college has ever known." Those Cornell cheerleaders stooped in despair, the drum major despondent, just like the program prophesied.

We pulled this program from Charles "Stubbie" Pearson's papers, MS-895, Box 4, Folder 16. Stubbie is one of our favorite Dartmouth heroes--for more on him see our "March Madness" post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Early Modern Cross-Dressing and its "Cure"

Title page of Hic MulierEarly 17th-century London had a problem: cross-dressing (gasp!). Apparently, women in the city had taken to dressing like men and having their hair cut in manly styles. In 1620, in response to this trend, an anonymous author published a pamphlet called Hic Mulier: Or, The Man-Woman. Beginning with a  quotation from Virgil, "Non omnes possumus omnes," the tract purports to be a "medicine to cure the Coltish Disease of the Staggers in the Masculine-Feminines of our Times."

Inner page of Hic MulierThe author's strategy to win over his transvestite audience is dubious, at best: he addresses his comments to them directly, but immediately begins by telling them that they "have made Admiration an Asse; and fool'd him with a deformity never before dream'd of" and that they "have made [themselves] stranger things than ever Noah's Arke unladed." Even the title, Hic Mulier, is designed to underscore the socially discordant spectacle of a woman wearing breeches: Hic is the masculine form of the demonstrative pronoun, paired with the feminine noun Mulier. Things go downhill from there.

To see the other ways that the author fails to connect with his intended audience, come to Rauner and ask for Rare HQ1148 .H5 1620.

Friday, September 14, 2018

True North

Title page of the 1816 edition of the Columbian Orator
In a few weeks, Roger Guenveur Smith will be bringing his solo show called "Frederick Douglass Now" to the Hopkins Center for two nights. In preparation for attendance, the 8th-graders from Crossroads Academy in Lyme, NH, will visit Rauner Library to explore copies of the Columbian Orator, an early nineteenth-century collection of political essays, poems, and other writings. Douglass, in his autobiography, notes how he found a copy of the Orator as a twelve-year-old and the impact that it had on his life. The editor of the Orator was a man named Caleb Bingham, who was a member of Dartmouth's Class of 1782.

Title page of The North Star, edited by John Greenleaf WhittierIn addition to looking at the Columbian Orator, the students will have a chance to look at a small volume of collected poetry called The North Star that was edited by John Greenleaf Whittier, an American Quaker poet and fervent abolitionist. The slim volume holds numerous poems from famous Americans, including John Quincy Adams, Whittier himself, and an anonymous poem by Williams Wells Brown, the first published African-American author. The name of the book is an acknowledgement of the North Star's symbolic representation of freedom for enslaved people who used it to find their way north through the wilderness.

To see one of our sixteen editions of the Columbian Orator, come to Rauner and ask for Alumni B513co. To see The North Star, ask for Rare PS595.S7 W5.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Tale of Two Marios

Poster for The Gang that Couldn't Shoot StraightIn December 1970, director James Goldstone '53, signed on to direct a motion picture for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer entitled The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jimmy Breslin. The screenplay had been written by Waldo Salt, who only a year earlier had won the Academy Award for his screenplay Midnight Cowboy. A key role in The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight was the part of “Mario” for which All Pacino had been suggested.

Goldstone met with Pacino on numerous occasions in January and February of 1971. During those meetings, Pacino was very interested in playing the role and he and Goldstone discussed possible actors to fill the remaining parts. According to Goldstone, Pacino felt that the role of “Mario” was the best role for him and his career. However, around the same time, Pacino was also asked to read for another part in a movie for Paramount Pictures. That movie was The Godfather by Mario Puzo - and the rest is movie history. Al Pacino became “Michael Corleone” and the part of “Mario” went to Robert de Niro.

Promotional flyer for The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight
It is interesting to note that The Godfather and the The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight were shot in New York City at the same time. While The Godfather production had to deal with pressures from the Italian-American community to excise words such as Mafia and Cosa Nostra from the script and Italian-American actors were pressured not to appear in The Godfather, The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight encountered no such problems according to a press release:
'As far as I know,' said director Goldstone, 'we had only one phone call which may or may not have amounted to pressure. Our casting director, Marion Daugherty, was called by someone who asked to see a copy of the script. Presumably it was a person connected with one of the Italian-American organization. The call was referred to Irwin Winkler, the producer. Apparently, it was never followed up. If it had been, the caller would have been told that we were not submitting the script for approval of any charitable organization… and we had no trouble with casting.'
The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight met with only lukewarm success when the picture opened in 1972.  The humorous story of incompetent Italian mobsters was generally panned by reviewers who felt that the actors worked way too hard at being funny and that the humor was too slapstick.  Most of them blamed the script by Waldo Salt and the loose direction by Goldstone.

Movie Still for the Gange that Couldn't Shoot Straight
If you would like to see the script for The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight and many of the other projects Goldstone was involved with including scripts for such television shows as The Outer Limits or Ironside, ask for MS-1073, James Goldstone papers.

Friday, September 7, 2018

An Obstetric View of Orozco

Page from Modern Medicine showing Orozco muralWhen Orozco first painted his famous murals in Baker Library, the reception was decidedly mixed in the national press. Some loved the murals (most notably Lewis Mumford in the New Republic), some marveled that a bastion of capitalism would commission a communist to decorate its library, and some just didn't quite know what to make of the murals. Modern Medicine, though, saw it all as a joke, and their use of the murals was so campy (and, well, dumb), we just had to share it.

They illustrated the section of their May 1934 issue devoted to the latest advances in Gynecology & Obstetrics with Panel 15, "The Gods of the Modern World." They renamed it "Childbirth of Ideas" and gave it the following caption:
The skeleton in labor, bedded on books & giving birth to another scholar, born with a mortar-board on his head (rather than a gold spoon in his mouth) is the sardonic obstetric conception of 51-year-old modern, "unmannered" Mexican muralist, José Clemente Orozco. Grim accoucheurs, supervising the perpetuation of their fleshless species, are pictured pundits of the chaotic modern world.
They must have thought themselves so clever--you can just see those old doctors chortling away.

As part of New Student Orientation, Saturday, September 8th, from 10:15-1:00, Rauner Library will be part of the Shared Academic Experience where students will visit the murals with Professor Mary Coffey and then come over to Rauner Library to see archival films, Orozco's original sketches from the Hood Museum, and examples of how the murals were received by Dartmouth students and alumni, as well as by fuddy-duddy OB-GYNs in the 1930s.

You can find a series of newspaper and magazine articles on the murals by asking for DL-34, Box 8865 and Box 6122.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Eastern Tales for Western Kids

Walking through the stacks in search of something to post to our Instagram account always reveals a something new and exciting. Just last week, while hunting for interesting books from the 80’s (of any century), I found The Silly Jellyfish, a children’s book from the 1880’s printed on Japanese crepe paper, or chirimen-gami. After a little digging, I found 8 more of these beautiful crepe-paper books,chirimen-bon, printed entirely on the intricately textured paper.

Cover of "The Boy Who Drew Cats," showing a boy drawing a cat.These translated Japanese fairy tales were originally printed by Takejiro Hasegawa beginning in the mid 1880s and into the early 20th century. He predominantly sold to a Western market as souvenirs and eventually exports. Each one is beautifully bound and illustrated. These publications were incredibly popular for children because they are more durable. The stories in our collections range from tales about goblins and ogres to crabs warring with monkeys. My favorite is The Boy Who Drew Cats, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, a fairy tale about a little boy who gets into trouble for drawing cats instead of studying, but his illustrations eventually come to life to defeat a giant goblin.

To read The Boy Who Drew Cats, just ask for Rare PZ8 .H35 B6 1898 cop. 2. For our other chirimen-bon, ask for Rare GR 340 .B38, Rare GR340 .O48, Rare PZ8 .H35 C6 1903, Rare PZ8 .H35 G6 1899, Rare PZ8 .H35 O4 1902, Rare PZ8 .M43 1896, Rare PZ8 .J27 no. 7b and Rare PZ8 .S56 1887.  For more incredible Instagram finds, check us out at https://www.instagram.com/raunerlibrary/.