Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Medical Humanities

One of the joys of working in the archives is finding a moment of Dartmouth history that just blows your mind. The Dartmouth Medical School (now the Geisel School of Medicine) stopped granting degrees early in the 20th century because they feared they were about to loose their accreditation. The 1910 Flexner Report doomed most rural medical schools because it argued that students in rural areas could not be exposed to the variety of cases necessary for a well-rounded medical education. But, by 1960, medical training had changed, and Dartmouth was again poised to grant medical degrees.

To celebrate the re-establishment of a fully operational medical school, Dartmouth hosted a three-day convocation on "The Great Issues of Conscience in Modern Medicine." For such an event, you would expect a series of congratulatory, optimistic and forward-looking speeches by leaders in the medical community. But Dartmouth took a very different path: among the speakers invited were C. P. Snow and Aldus Huxley. Just the year before, scientist and novelist C. P. Snow had shaken the academic world with his famous "Two Cultures" talk at Cambridge. He outlined a course of history that had driven a wedge between the sciences and the humanities and left the two areas of intellectual pursuit incapable of communicating even on a basic level. This divide, he charged, had dangerous consequences for the future of civilization.

His dire warnings paled next to the damning critique of science and medicine offered up in Aldus Huxley's Brave New World. In a tragic dystopian future, medicine was simply a tool in the hands of a totalitarian state stripped of any humanity. Not only that, but Huxley was also gaining new fame for his explorations into hallucinogenic drugs.

These are the people you invite to celebrate the grand reopening of the medical school? A scholar who believed the entire system of knowledge generation was broken and a mescaline eating novelist who foresaw a joyless future predicated on eugenics? Wow, that is pretty cool.

To see the proceedings of the convocation, ask for D. C. Hist R111 .D3 1960.

Friday, May 22, 2015

World Peace Through World Law

"Dr. Einstein, why is it that when the mind of man has stretched so far as to discover the structure of the atom we have been unable to devise the political means to keep the atom from destroying us?" "That is simple, my friend. It is because politics is more difficult than physics."

Grenville Clark quoted this memorable exchange in a tribute he wrote for Einstein published in the New York Times following Einstein's death in April 1955. Clark had overheard this conversation at a conference about disarmament and world government that took place in January 1946, at Princeton, New Jersey, five months after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Clark was a prominent Harvard educated New England lawyer who was deeply involved in the world government movement. This political movement advocated two imperatives following World War II: no peace without disarmament and no disarmament without limited world government. The Princeton Conference, which Albert Einstein attended, was a continuation of a prior conference that took place in Dublin, New Hampshire, in October 1945. Clark organized this series of conferences as a way to forward proposals for a world government and amend the United Nations Charter. Clark and the conference attendees, including Albert Einstein, sought to make the United Nations a truly effective world institution for the maintenance of peace in a disarmed world governed by law.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Clark worked tirelessly as a leading advocate for the world government movement. In 1953, Clark published a book titled, Peace Through Disarmament and Charter Revision: Detailed Proposals for Revision of the United Nations Charter, which Albert Einstein read and commented on in a letter he sent to Clark in September of that year. In this letter, Einstein stated how he had "read [Clark's] propositions for an attempt to make the United Nations strong and effective enough to solve the international problem of peace and security" and "hope[d] that [his] work will have the recognition and influence it deserves."

Clark's dedication to achieving world peace through enforceable world law became the subject of his major work, World Peace Through World Law, co-authored with Louis B. Sohn. In this book, Clark and Sohn proposed revisions to the United Nations Charter. This book advocated for a truly international world state, a unicameral parliament chosen on the basis of weighted population bases, a vetoless executive arm, a world court, and a world police force. Following its publication in 1958, World Peace Through World Law was translated into numerous languages and became a classic of international relations.

To see Einstein's correspondence with Clark, come to Rauner and ask for ML-7 box 160, folder 70. To see the numerous translations of World Peace Through World Law, ask for Rare JX 1977 .C554.  And lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about Grenville Clark in general, check out the full finding aid to his papers at Dartmouth: http://ead.dartmouth.edu/html/ml7_fullguide.html

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Translated from the Original Equine

If a horse could tell his own story, what would he say? Anna Sewell embraced this challenge when she “translated” the story of Black Beauty in her famous novel, Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions: The Autobiography of a Horse (London: Jerrold and Sons, 1877). The first edition, bound in green cloth and stamped in black and gold, sold quickly in Victorian England; no one had read a story from an animal’s perspective before. Since it was published in 1877, Black Beauty has become one of the world’s most popular books, selling more than fifty million copies and inspiring a slew of movies, plays, and stories told from an animal’s point of view.

Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty with a specific purpose: improving animal rights. As she writes in the novel’s dedication, Sewell was “devoted to the welfare of others.” After growing up with injuries and diseases that limited her ability to walk, Sewell became invested in the lives of the horses upon whom she depended every day. Beauty, the narrator, may even be based on one of the Sewell family horses--an opinionated black mare named Bess. Not only does Black Beauty capture the centrality of horses in Victorian life, from the transportation of people and goods to war, style, and sport, it also gives its characters an emotional complexity that resonates with both juvenile and adult readers.

The best-selling first edition, published just five months before Sewell’s death, had a widespread impact on the early animal rights movement, both in its native England and the United States. While Sewell includes a note at the end of this edition, in which Black Beauty’s “Translator” asks the reader to learn and practice proper animal care, it is Beauty's stories that have the most impact. With both humor and heartbreak, he describes kind treatment and cruel abuse, along with practices that harmed horses for the sake of fashion, like the bearing reins that forced carriage horses to hold their heads unnaturally high. Black Beauty, and the movement it inspired, produced the first legislation that would begin to curtail practices like this, and the abuse of animals in general.
There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham.
--Black Beauty

To follow Beauty on his journey, ask for Rare PR 5349.S427 B6 1877.

Posted for Emily Estelle '15.

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Love Harry

 Harry Ackerman is one alumnus you’ve probably never heard of, but probably should have. He was a high executive at Screen Gems, a company owned by Columbia Pictures, and during his prime was responsible for up to seven popular TV shows at a time on the network. His life is documented through his papers which are all housed at Rauner. Although his correspondence and pictures are interesting, what’s really unique is the scripts that we have. The collection includes numerous pilot scripts, from flops you never knew were written to the origins of smash hits.

One of the pilot scripts is Archie by Ray Allen. Although Archie wasn't quite a hit, this 1962 script was the prelude to the 1964 movie of the same name. It’s bizarre to read the script without the visual presentation that the comic provides. Bits that would usually be resolved at the end of a strip are awkwardly connected to a larger plot. In case you were wondering, Archie doesn’t end up with Betty or Veronica this time. He takes Mildred to the dance.

Another curiosity is the pilot script for Bewitched. It turns out Samantha, the witch who charmed television screens for eight years starting in 1964, was actually originally named Cassandra. This script is from a little under a year before the air date. The title is penciled in, so it may be this copy is one of the first with the actual title “I Darrin, Take This Witch Samantha.”

Ackerman's legacy that you’re probably most familiar with is I Love Lucy. Ackerman saw Lucille Ball ad libbing on a charity show and wanted her for the part. He was an exec at the time, and in an article he wrote titled “The Legacy of Lucy,” he talks about how she was terrible during rehearsal, but completely stepped it up for the live performance. We have an early draft of the article, and it seems it was Ackerman who decided I Love Lucy had to be taped live. This, in combination with the filming style, led to the three-camera technique that has become a staple of the industry.

We also have the pilot of Dennis the Menace, which, aside from being really cool, includes a list of “don’ts” during shooting, ranging from “No drunkenness” to “No shaving or display of shaving equipment.”

The collection is housed under ML-81
For Archie, ask for Box 8 folder 24
For Bewitched, ask for Box 8, folder 40
For I Love Lucy, ask for Box 12, folders 17-21
For Dennis the Menace, ask for Box 10, folders 7-8

Posted for Maggie Baird '18

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Geneva Bible

When the Catholic queen Mary Tudor ruled England (1553-1558), a group of Protestants fearing persecution fled to Geneva. While there, they created a new English translation of the Bible, which they printed in Geneva in 1560. Because it drew from the renowned international and academic resources in Geneva, the Geneva Bible was considered the best of contemporary scholarship. At the same time, the composition and style of the Geneva Bible made it attractive and accessible.

The Geneva Bible quickly became the most popular English translation and was printed primarily by the Royal Printer in London. As the notes on the text were considered to have a Calvinistic bent, the Puritans particularly loved it. Indeed, many of the early American colonists brought Geneva Bibles with them to the New World. Most of the Geneva Bibles at Dartmouth were passed down through families for generations and then donated to the college.

While one might perceive of Bible printers and sellers as pious individuals, those involved in the production of the Geneva Bible were anything but saintly. London printers and their rivals in Amsterdam engaged in a series of nasty lawsuits in the first half of the seventeenth century. The John Alden Bible on display in Rauner is an example of a Geneva Bible printed in Amsterdam in 1633 with a false imprint claiming it was printed in London in 1599.

The Geneva Bible was given the nickname “Breeches Bible” in the nineteenth century because of the reference in Genesis 3:7 to Adam and Eve clothing themselves in “breeches.” Though this rendering was memorable, it was not unique to the Geneva Bible. In fact, the earlier Wycliffe translations also contained this wording. This nickname can be seen on the spine of at 1584 Geneva Bible on display in Rauner. This Bible has original covers containing tooled leather with metal bosses and clasps, but the spine was rebound more recently.

The exhibit will be on display through Commencement in the Rauner Library Reading Room.

Posted for Abby Thornburg '15

Friday, May 8, 2015

VE Day: In Letters

"VE day was taken very calmly here. It was really very much of an anti-climax as we had been anticipating it for a number of days and had been seeing hundreds of German soldiers who had laid down their arms and were trying to reach our rear area. No one paid any attention to them. It really struck me as very satirical as the war was still going on at that time."

That was the view of Corporal Charles Roland in a May 10, 1945, letter to Henry Williams. Roland was in Germany at the time and he also notes that he felt that "as of VE day plus one I am in the best of shape and therefore feel that my chances of surviving this old war are pretty darn good." He goes on to caution Williams against "this Pacific business" since Williams was "a married man." Roland writes that "If I were you I would try to stay right where you are."

A letter from George Lucas in Okinawa dated May 25, 1945, expresses the hope that since the "news from Europe is very good" he hopes that "the same kind of news comes from this way soon." Lucas also mentions his lack of sleep due to the fact that the Japanese "still insist on sending planes over every once in a while."

These and numerous other letters from friends of Williams document the experiences of many during World War II. They range in content from a brief postcard sent from Dijon - "The town is one of the best I have seen over here" to a much more candid letter.
I've seen some pretty horrible things over here, but let's not go into 'em right now - or anytime. I wish to forget as fast as is possible.
And later in the same letter:
If things continue I may make the "White Boat" and return to the States. I rather expect to, but don't like the method. I feel like I've done something over here to help out, but am scared to death of what I might do in my sleep. An I also don't see much sense in returning - if at all - a mental wreck. I'm wondering where I can find a psychiatrist to check me over.
In addition to being a Dartmouth faculty member, Williams served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where he became an expert in camouflage design and attained the rank of Captain. After the war, he returned to Dartmouth and was appointed Director of the Experimental Theatre. Though his papers focus mainly on his work at Dartmouth and his interest in the theater, there are several boxes related to his work during World War II which include correspondence from friends serving in various areas, numerous training manuals and photographs.

Ask for ML-69. A guide to the collection is available. Most of the World War II material is contained in boxes 8-12.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Side Table

In 1905, Russia and Japan signed the peace treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War. Though brief in duration, the war was a harbinger of the coming mechanized conflict that tore the world apart in 1914. The treaty was signed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, just across the border from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

That same year, John Bartlett, Dartmouth 1894, purchased "one of the mahogany tables used in the Peace Conference room." Though not the "large table... at which they sat when they did their actual diplomatic sparring," it was "one of the side tables around which one party or the other gathered when they wanted to whisper to each other." He then offered the table to Dartmouth President William Tucker in the hope that it would be used either in "some reading room" or as a "centre table or reference table." After a bit of prompting, Tucker accepted the gift, complete with an engraved silver plate commemorating the Treaty signing.

Another Dartmouth link to the treaty is Asakawa Kan’ichi, Dartmouth 1899, the first Japanese student to attend Dartmouth. Asakawa was a professor at Dartmouth from 1902-1906 and President Tucker paid Asakawa's expenses to attend the proceedings, presumably as part of Asakawa's ongoing research into the conflict and its resolution. This trip may have helped provide material for his article in the Atlantic Monthly on "Korea and Manchuria Under the New Treaty."

To see the table in its current home, come in to Rauner. Ask for the vertical file "Portsmouth, Treaty of, Table" for more information. To read Asakawa's article, ask for Alumni A798k.