Friday, February 24, 2017

Something Wilde

Wow, what a cool discovery we made this week. For a nineteenth-century British literature class we had out a slew of materials related to Oscar Wilde. Among them was the 1882 printing of Rennel Rodd's Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf with an introduction by Wilde. It is a great example of the aesthetic movement--bound in vellum, printed on a thin vellum paper and interleaved with green paper to give the whole book the air of leaves. That alone was pretty amazing, but then we noticed a faint inscription on the front cover.

"For my mother, the poems [of] my friend"

Turns out the inscription, mostly worn away, is in Wilde's hand. We got tingles when we realized this was the copy he had given his mother. He would have been 28 years old, and his own first book of poems was selling well. His mother, Jane, had some notoriety at the time as an poet, participant in the Irish nationalist movement, and having just been convicted of libel against a woman her husband had seduced.

It doesn't appear anyone in the library had noticed the inscription because it is not in the catalog. The book came to us from Richard Mandel '26, former chair of the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library, and member of the Grolier Club. Presumably, as a bibliophile, he was aware of Wilde's hand on the book.

To see it ask, for Rare PR5220.R34 R6 1882.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Way up in the north: the land of the Sami

a librarian holding a book that is four times the size of her head beside her. She's sitting on a big table with the book open on top of it and looking at the book from the right side.Little had I known that my search for an item to post on Instagram would lead to the discovery of one of my favorite books at Rauner! Contrary to the imposing vibe that the huge size of this book exudes, the pencil-drawn illustrations inside appear much more approachable, similar to something you would see doodled in the notebook of an elementary school student -- though with much greater precision and detail. After some research, I learned that these were illustrations by Johan Turi, the first Sami author to publish secular works in the Sami language. Turi drew these illustrations to include in his 1931 book titled Muittalus Samid Bira, also known as Turi's Book of Lappland to an English-speaking audience.

black and white pencil drawing on a paper. Nine reindeers are lined up from the left bottom corner of the paper to the right top corner of the page. Three reindeers in the back are smaller than the other ones and children are riding them. Eight reindeers are lined up from the top right corner of the page to the left bottom corner of the page, just below the other line of reindeers. Conifer trees are drawn in the bottom of the drawing. Human figures are drawn in front of each reindeer lines. The Sami are the northernmost indigenous group of people in Europe, residing in parts of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. Turi's depiction of the lives of the Sami people in this book provides insights into the cultural and traditional conventions of Sami society.

Reindeer are the dominant feature in all of Turi's drawings as they play a significant role in the livelihoods of the Sami people.
You will notice that, in this drawing, there are two distinct groups traveling in opposite directions, illustrating the migration patterns for two different seasons. The group above are migrating towards the north, a spring migration pattern, whereas the group below are migrating towards the south, which occurs in autumn. Evidence indicating the coexistence of different time frames in this drawing are the horns of the reindeer. The horns of the reindeer in the bottom group are full-grown, which would have been true in autumn, whereas the horns of the reindeer in spring would not have fully matured yet.

A pencil-drawn image of a big circle divided into three parts, like one would cut a pie. Inside each parts are filled with reindeers, interspersed with human figures here and there. There are four animals, presumably dogs, outside the circle in the bottom left corner of the drawing. In autumn, when the reindeer are migrating southward, herds get mixed together frequently. To identify their animals, the owners install a stockade where they gather all the reindeer and begin to separate them. Each stockade has the same number of enclosures as there are owners. Then, the owners would use lassos to catch the reindeer to check to whom it belongs and put that animal in the appropriate pen.

A pencil drawing of a small tent with a line of three reindeer sleighs in front of the entrance of the tent. On the right side in front of the tent are a line of four people looking at the doorway of the tent where a man and an woman are standing and talking to each other. There is a smoke coming out from the top of the tent, presumably from a fire place. Aside from the reindeer herding, Turi introduces other aspects of Sami life such as courting, tent-building, and an annual trip to a church in JukkÀsjarvi, Sweden.

The book we have at Rauner only has illustrations and is without text descriptions. However, Baker-Berry Library has an English-language version of Turi's Book of Lappland, which includes explanations of each drawing.

If you'd like to see our book with only the illustrations, ask at Rauner for Stefansson DL 917.L2 T82. To better understand the illustrations, check out Turi's Book of Lappland from Baker-Berry and bring it over with you.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Dreadful Penny Dreadful

typorgraphical cover of The Dreadful Fate of Sir J. Franklin. It is a simple pamphlet on yellowing paper.When Sir John Franklin and his crew disappeared into Arctic waters in search of a northwest passage, it set off a massive hunt that lasted years. Expeditions from the United States and Great Britain failed time after time to find any trace. In 1854, nine years after Franklin set sail, John Rae discovered evidence of the demise of Franklin and his crew and sent the news back to England. It caused a sensation.

The search had captured the popular imagination, and the public still held out hope that the ships were in safe harbor, so Rae's bad news did not sit well. But there was one industry that was fully prepared to spread the news: the publishers of "penny dreadfuls." These inexpensive little publications reveled in the sensational and rushed to print the details they could glean from more respectable sources--sources that cost more and appealed to a different social stratum.  The Dreadful Fate of Sir J. Franklin (London: Saunders, Bros, 185_) describes the "melancholy termination" of Franklin's expedition. Included was this quote from Rae's official report:
From the mutilated state of many of the corpses and the contents of the kettles, it is evident that our wretched countrymen had been driven to the last resource--cannibalism--as a means of prolonging existence."
Just what the medium begged for. To read the sad tidings, ask for Stef G660.D72.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dartmouth Chocolates

Image of Dartmouth Chocolate adversitement showing a well dressed man in an overcoat with a hat carrying a box of chocolates. There are two women, also well dressed clinging to his arm. Each woman holds a Dartmouth pennant.For Valentine's Day we offer you some Dartmouth Chocolates from Smith and Sons of White River Junction. From the cover of this 1912 promotional pocket calendar included with the chocolates, they seem to have an almost magical power. This Dartmouth Man's one-pound box has attracted a Gibson Girl for each arm. Is it him, or the chocolates they are after? To be safe, better get the chocolate!

The text inside the pocket calendar promises that you can exchange six them for a full size poster of the image, "one of the most beautiful things Mr. Clarence Underwood ever painted." We only have two...

image of a round hard candy with Dartmouth College and a D worked into the candy in greey.
Inside our chocolate box is a little mystery. A piece of hard candy with "Dartmouth College" and the Dartmouth D worked into it. We're not sure why it is there, but it still looks edible.

To take a look ask for Realia 140.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Basilisk in Rauner

Wood cut image of a basilisk. The basilisk is a very long serpent with an arrow coing out of its mouth and a crown on its head.This year's Winter Carnival theme is "Dartmouth College of Icecraft and Blizzardry." Rauner is hosting an open house this evening (Friday, February 10) from 6:00-7:00 with plenty of old books and manuscripts, and even a very Dartmouth sorting hat. It will get you in the mood for a magical weekend.

What you may not know is that there is a Basilisk in Rauner. It is not down in the cavernous depths below the building, but on the second floor in the Rare collection. It is not very threatening to staff--none of us have been eaten, yet. Generally it stays politely within the covers of Conrad Gesners's Icones animalivm qvadrvpedvm viviparorvm et oviparorvm (Tigvri: excvdebat C. Froschovervs, 1560). There are some other cool beasts lurking in the pages--all very real to Gesner.

Wood cut image of three dragons. The one dragon is a snake-like serpent, another has wings and is in flight, and a third has wings and is rearing up. Wood cut image of a hydra. The hydra is serpent like with seven human-like heads each wearing a crown.

Come in this evening to see Rauner's Basilisk, or you can ask for Rare QL41.G372 anytime.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Off-Coloring Book

Coloring book style picture of two children in battered clothes standing by a trash heap. the caption reads "Welcome to my world"
There is something so disturbing about this book. It is an artist's book meant to make you uncomfortable and it succeeds. It is about Jean Genet, so by nature it is a bit on the raunchy side, but no worse than lots of things in our collections. What is so jarring is the juxtaposition of the theme, Genet's debauched lifestyle, and the medium, a children's coloring book.

Some things just should not be colored in--they are better in black and white and kept far away from the innocence of a box of Crayolas! Come in and take a look at Chip Duyck's Let's Play! Coloring and Activity Book based on the life of Jean Genet. It brings new meaning to adult coloring books!  Ask for Presses P595dule.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

When Two Worlds Meet

East Asian and Asian-American students have been the most rapidly growing minority groups at Dartmouth College since the mid-20th century. However, archival records on the communities' experiences are scarce; it was only around the 1970s that these students began to organize collectively around their shared ethnic and cultural identities. 

At Rauner, we are currently displaying an exhibit, "When Two Worlds Meet," which provides perspective on East asian and Asian-American student experiences on campus by looking at the archival records of some of the very first students of Asian descent at Dartmouth. To contextualize these students' experiences at Dartmouth, the exhibit also presents glimpses of larger historical conversations between East Asia and the West. These conversations include attempts by East Asians to document and communicate their cultural heritage and life experiences to Western audiences. The other side of the conversation consists of Western perceptions and interpretations of East Asian civilizations, whether accurate or not.

Several of the books published by Homer B. Hulbert, who was
featured in our last blog post, are included in this exhibit. An illustrated travel log of China written by a Dutch traveler, various pamphlets and publications from the Japanese internment camps during the World War II, and wartime propaganda graphic novels from China are also featured in the exhibit. The exhibit will be installed from now through March 17th in Rauner Library's Class of 1965 Galleries on the mezzanine floor of Webster Hall.

To read more about this exhibit online, visit the Exhibitions at Rauner webpage.