Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Rendezvous of all Sin"

If you are a little too enchanted with Holiday "cheer," we've got just the book for you: Samuel Ward and Samuel Clark's A Warning-piece to All Drunkards and Health-Drinkers (London: Printed for the Authors, 1682). Temperance works are not that uncommon, but this particular one comes with "Above one hundred and twenty sad and dreadful examples" of the evils of drink, as well as twelve illustrations showing various ways people have died under the influence.

Driving (in this case, a horse) is not recommended... nor is swimming.

And, should you choose whiskey, be sure not to drink it on the rocks!

For a sobering experience, come in and ask for Rare HV5047 .W37 1862.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Medieval Hereafter

Book of hours hand colored illustration with gold leaf. Depicts Jesus Christ in the sky surrounded by two angels in blue, hovering above a group of the dead. A gold tower is to the left and a hell mouth is to the right.For those living in the Middle Ages, death was a constant presence: Plague, famine, war, and a lack of medical knowledge all contributed to high mortality rates among European medieval society, especially for those living in cities. Consequently, much of life was occupied by thinking about and preparing for death. The Church provided hope through its promotion of the afterlife, although the path to that blissful eternity was a narrow one. At the Final Judgment, upon the return of Jesus Christ, many souls would be forced into the mouth of Hell instead of being ushered into paradise. Given the inexorable approach of death, and the concerns of the living about what might come afterwards, many artists and authors from the Middle Ages to the present day have attempted to represent the lives and deaths of saints and sinners as well as imagining what life after death might entail.

Book of Hours illustration. Woodcut that depicts a monk and a skeleton side by side. The upper border features more skulls.
At Rauner, we're currently displaying an exhibit that explores representations of death and the afterlife, chiefly from medieval and early modern sources. The exhibit was curated in conjunction with the New England Medieval Consortium's annual conference, held here at Dartmouth College on November 19th. From now through January 27th, come visit Rauner's Class of 1965 Galleries and see breathtaking illuminations from our medieval books of hours, fascinating printed books made only a few decades after Gutenberg, and various representations of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, arguably the most important work about the afterlife that has ever been written in Western culture.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cuba Libre

paper cover of the Gelpi y Ferro's Album historic fotografico de la guerra de Cuba, colored grayish blue. There are water stains and a worn edge along with some design work around the center of the page, which reads as follows: "Album historic fotografico de la Guerra de Cuba desde su principio hasta el reinado de amadeo I. Dedicado a los benemeritos cuerpos del Ejercito, Marina y Voluntarios de eta isla. For D. Gil Gelpi y Ferro. Con Veinte Y Cuatro Grandes Fotografias de los distinguidos artistas varela y suarez. Habana. Imprenta "La Antilla" de cacho negrete, calle de cuba numero 51. 1872."The recent death of Fidel Castro, controversial politician and undeniable revolutionary, and the impending regime change here in the United States started us thinking about Cuban-American relations and a relatively recent acquisition of ours. In the past, we've blogged about three fascinating items from our collections that are connected to Castro's revolt against the Batista regime in 1959. For today's post, we go back nearly a century earlier, to a series of wars for independence in Cuba that ultimately started the complex and often contentious relationship that now exists between Cuba and the United States.

This is the frontispiece to the volume. It's a tipped-in photograph of a drawing or engraving of two women, one in Spanish dress with a breastplate and helmet and the other in native garb, standing on top of a pile of rocks, a broken spear, and a large water jug. The women are holding a spear pointed at the heavens, and above the tip of the spear float the words, "Cuba Siempre Espanola". In front of them on the ground are several fallen bodies, presumably soldiers killed in the fight. To their left, numerous men in military uniforms with guns are cheering. To their right, in the background, several men are riding away from them on horseback.
In 1868, after nearly four centuries of European rule, native Cuban planters and their slaves revolted against their Spanish masters. Led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a sugar planter, a motley army of recently-freed slaves and native sons of Cuba took up arms against the forces of the Spanish Governor-General. Although the revolutionaries initially made great strides, the Spanish forces pushed back with a war of extermination, eventually settling into a rhythm of pitched battles that essentially resulted in a long-running stalemate.

A tipped-in full-page photograph following page 32 of the book, with the caption "Defensores de la Integridad Nacional." The photograph depicts four different types of soldier, all in different uniforms. The soldier on the far right is seated and seems to be a sailor given his distinctive hat. The soldier third from the left is of African descent while the other three appear to be Spanish. on the ground in front of the men lie a cannon and several cannonballs.Gil Gelpi y Ferro's Album historico fotografico de la guerra de Cuba, published in Havana in 1872, is a beautiful work of Spanish propaganda written just after the peak of the continuing conflict. Gelpi y Ferro was a Spaniard who had moved to Cuba in 1864 to work at a newspaper in Havana. His large and elegantly bound volume is filled with numerous full-page photographs that have been tipped in between descriptions of people, places, and battles. These images convey a sense of inevitability about the downfall of the rebels while emphasizing the harmony and unity of the royalist population.
However, despite Gelpi y Ferro's optimistic assessment of Spanish might, the war wasn't even halfway finished when his book was published. Finally in 1878, the Pact of Zanjón was signed, signaling an end to hostilities without a clear winner to the conflict. One of the positive results of what came to be called the Ten Years War was that slavery was abolished in Cuba in 1886. However, independence for Cuba was still a dream long deferred. It wasn't until two additional wars of independence had been fought, and the United States had been drawn into war with Spain in 1898 over the sinking of the USS Mainein Havana harbor, that Cuba was finally able to establish its freedom in 1902.

To see Album historico fotografico de la guerra de Cuba, ask for Rare F1785 .G43 1872.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An Immigrant Story

Thanksgiving, the most American holiday, is, at its root, a celebration of immigrants making it in the new world. The story of the first Thanksgiving is a romanticized history of a past that so many people would love to hold as true: a group of immigrants come to a new world seeking a better life; they are helped by the established residents; and a feast is thrown to celebrate survival and the promise of future prosperity.

So, for this Thanksgiving, we turn to more promises: some of which turned out well, and some that did not. In the mid-nineteenth century, hundreds of books and flyers were produced to lure new immigrants to America. Areas in the Plains and the West wanted to boost population, and the industrial Midwest was hungry for cheap labor. In our collection are three guides to help the immigrant settle in America, all offering the enticement of economic prosperity. The 1848 Emigrant's Hand-Book for the United States opens with the U.S. Constitution, then systematically outlines all of the regions of the United States. Iowa as it is in 1856 is a "gazetteer for citizens, and a hand-book for emigrants." It contains extended descriptions of each town in Iowa, the qualities of the soils throughout the state, and is dedicated to those abolitionists committed to keeping Iowa free soil.
But the little pamphlet produced by a Dubuque, Iowa, real estate office best captures the spirit and the hyperbole of the time: Iowa, the "Great Hunting Ground" of the Indian; and the "Beautiful Land" of the White Man": Information for Immigrants (Dubuque: John Taylor, 1860). It boasts that "the quantity of good land entered in Iowa is so much greater than is required by the resident population" and can be obtained for as low as a dollar per half acre but will increase by "ten to twenty percent" annually. The climate is conducive to good health, there is timber land, plenty of water, excellent soil, good schools, and easy access to the markets via six railroads. Buy now, settle the great land, and become prosperous and free in "The Queen State of the West." Despite the motives of the publisher, you can see him playing into some of the same tropes of the original Thanksgiving story: it elides the troubled relationship between the "Indian" and the "White Man" to envision a land of opportunity where community is built and individual freedom is valued for everyone. Not always the truth, but a story retold each year as we feast.

To see Iowa from 1860, ask for McGregor 175. The Emigrant's Hand-Book is Rare E161.E5 1848, and Iowa as it is in 1856 is Rare F621.P23 1856.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Arctic Nights

Color frontispiece of sketch of "Gus" Masik in his cabin in Alaska. He is playing an accordian wearing hih boots with a big smile on his face. The cabin has a wood pile and a stove and Masik's modest belongng.The nights are getting really long as we approach winter. One of the nice things about having a huge polar research collection, is that whenever our northern climate starts to wear on you, there are plenty of harrowing stories in the collection about places much colder and much darker through the winter. Today we stumbled on a northern version of A Thousand and One Nights. But in the polar regions, one month-long night will do the job for a pretty long story.

Arctic Nights' Entertainments (London: Blackie and Sons, 1935) recounts the life and adventures of August Masik as told by him to Isobel Hutchinson over 25 days of darkness. Born in Estonia, "Gus" took to the seas as a young man. His travels took him into the arctic regions where he decided to stay, but he never settled. His life is full of harrowing journeys across the ice. A colorful storyteller, it is tough to judge when he is dead serious and when he is exaggerating for effect. But, if the Hanover winter gets to you, come into Rauner: Masik's tales will warm you up.

You can see the book by asking for Stefansson Alcove F 909 .M38.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Looking Ahead - A.D. 2001

A black and white cover of the Collier's Weekly Magazine. The word "Collier's" is written in big letters across on the very top of the page. Both sides of the title are decorated with illustrations of different farming tools and studying utensils. In smaller fonts, "weekly journal of current events"are written right below. The majority of the cover page is a black and white illustration with a caption that reads "captured Chinese flags." In the illustration, an endless row of soldiers are marching with flags of various designs, most of them depicting imaginary animals like dragon. In the front of the illustration stand people looking at the military parade. Norwich Public Library's book club visited Rauner for a session in September to take a look at materials on the development of science fiction as a literary genre. Many of Jack London's works were brought out for this session as his novels employ similar schemes that one can find in current science fiction stories, and thus are considered the predecessors of the science fiction genre. One of these works is a short story titled Relic of Pilocene, which was first published in Collier's Weekly Journal of Current Events in 1901. Though the story does not explicitly employ scientific inventions and technology, it does reference paleontology and its spirit of the wilderness adventure works in a similar way to the Star Wars movie series, imaginatively exploring the unknown world. In fact, Relic of Pilocene goes well with this volume of Collier's Weekly in that this volume was dedicated to recapitulating technological developments of the 19th century. The articles in this volume demonstrate technological developments in many areas such as transportation and communication from 1801 to 1901.

The most remarkable page in this volume was this imaginary illustration of what the technology in 2001 would look like. Frederick Strothmann, an American illustrator known for his World War I propaganda poster "Beat back the Hun with Liberty Bonds," drew this image with a caption that says "Broadway, New York, as it may appear a hundred years hence, when modern inventions have been carried to their highest point of development." In his drawing, Strothmann includes many subtle and not-so-subtle clues about what he thinks will be commonplace at start of the 21st century.

Page 29 of volume 26 of Collier's Weekly. It's a black and white entire-page illustration. In the background of the illustration loom tall, grey sky scrapers which completely covered the sky. The two buildings in the front of the illustration are connected with wires which holds floating capsule-looking trams. Some people are mail materials are floating in the bottom and middle of the illustration on hot air balloons. Large crowds are waiting for the floating capsule train on platforms protruding from the building on the left side of the illustration. The lower platform sign reads "Wall St" and the higher platform sign reads "Manhattan Air Lines." Different signs hung on the side of the buildings. On the very top left corner of the illustration, the sign reads "Youth Restored by Electricity While You Wait. 199th Floor." On the very left bottom corner the sign reads "To Europe, 6 Hours by Submarine Line." On the right bottom side of the illustration are two signs. One of them reads "Wireless telephone, local and Europe," and the other one in the bottom reads "Quick Lunch: Compressable Food Tablet."In some ways, it seems like our technology has reached its highest point. We do have skyscrapers that loom over the skyline, and wireless telephones do allow people from across the world to stay in touch. Though not exactly identical to Strothmann's vision, floating trams do exist in underground or above-ground versions in big cities across the world. The United States doesn't have submarine lines to Europe but underwater tunnels do exist in parts of the world, like that between the United Kingdom and France. Though not by hot air balloon, people, and mail, were able to travel by air well before 2001.

At the same time, some other projections are far from accurate and, in fact, we still believe that a few of these will be realized in the future. Some people still fancy the idea of compressable food tablets that provide all the nutrition we need without having to have a full meal, and some do argue that it could be possible in the near future. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if we will ever be able to restore youth by electricity, though it sounds very tempting!

Take a look at other cool illustrations printed in this volume by asking for London PS 3523 .O46 R45 1901.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Break with Reality

The cover of the pamphlet, colored yellow with a interesting woodcut border and the full title of the text along with a brief abstract of its contents.
Never has a text seemed more relevant than this particular one does today. Entitled "A Secret Worth Knowing: A Treatise on the Most Important Subject in the World, Simply to Say, Insanity," this 95-page pamphlet was written by Green Grimes, an inmate of the Lunatic Asylum of Tennessee in 1846. In this fascinating little book, Grimes recounts his experiences that led to what must have been a psychotic break. After his father remarried when Grimes was fourteen, his older brother, Grimes's only confidant and protector, was driven away from the house by the new wife. On the brother's journey to his new apprenticeship with a local parson, he drowned while crossing a river. This initial trauma was followed by many other significant events which ultimately led to Grimes's breakdown and admittance to the insane asylum. In the introduction, Grimes notes that his goal for writing this book is twofold: to be a practical resource for others and to raise a small amount of money to provide for his five orphaned children.

After recounting his own story, Grimes goes on to describes many examples of insanity that he has
A woodcut image of the author, seated while wearing a jacket, waistcoat, and necktie and clutching a wooden walking cane and looking directly at the reader.
encountered or heard about during his lifetime, delineates the process by which people go insane, and then takes great pains to differentiate between insanity and "idiotism." Throughout his work, he attempts to encourage his readers who have family members suffering from mental illness by providing advice about how to care for and watch over their loved ones. Finally, he concludes by saying, "There is, perhaps, nothing short of the goodness of God that can effect a final cure of my disease. I am perfectly resigned to His will, and await his final coming and decision with hope."

To examine this subject, please come to Rauner and ask for Rare RC464 .G756 1846.