Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Splendid" Lillard

Page 128 from vol. 25 of the Dartmouth student newspaper that describes Dartmouth's victory over Harvard
Dartmouth's recent football victory over Harvard, after several decades of agonizing defeats, brought to mind another time long ago when Dartmouth was king of the gridiron and its students were scholar-athletes in the truest sense. One of those men was Walter H. Lillard, known as "Cappy" to many, a member of Dartmouth's class of 1905. Among his many exceptional accomplishments, Lillard was on the Dartmouth football team that notched the college's first-ever victory against Harvard in 1903. Lillard, although being a bit small for a football player, still put on a performance in the left end position that the Dartmouth called "splendid." The memory of Dartmouth's stunning shut-out of Harvard that year must have been in the minds of the men who hired Lillard to be the assistant football coach for two years after he graduated. Phillips Academy in Andover soon poached him to serve as their football coach as well as teach English Literature; by doing so, he became the first faculty member at the school also to serve as football coach. Eventually, Dartmouth was able to lure him back to campus in 1908 as the head coach.

After receiving an A. M. from Dartmouth in 1910, Lillard returned to Phillips Academy, Andover, to coach and teach English. Lillard found the hierarchy of American college sports, with its designation of varsity and junior varsity, to be distasteful. He soon instituted a policy at Andover that required all students to participate in athletics of some kind. Six years later, he accepted the position of principal at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, where he served for twenty-six years.

Page from Lillard's passport showing his photograph (and the x'ed out photos of his family)In addition to his  school responsibilities, Lillard was very active in his community, serving as Civil Defense director, chairman of the Red Cross chapter and a member of the board of library trustees and school building committee. In 1945 he was appointed American field representative in Vienna, Austria, where he worked with the Intergovernmental Committee of Refugees. We have his passport from his trip to Europe, and the photo in it suggests that the United States government back then was less stringent about what sorts of photographs were acceptable for official documents.

To look through more of W. H. Lillard's papers, come to Rauner and ask to see MS-1159. The early 20th-century copies of the Dartmouth are on the reading room shelf, if you want to read all about how the football team trounced Harvard for the first time so many years ago.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Encyclopedic Enlightenment

Title page of the Encyclopedie's prospectus
Denis Diderot's Enyclopédie, ou dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, a mammoth undertaking that was launched in 1751 and took over twenty years to complete, is arguably one of the most famous encyclopedias ever made. The work ticks a lot of boxes for people who love "firsts," as nebulous as such claims may be: first to include contributions from a wide number of well-known people such as Voltaire and Rousseau, and first general encyclopedia to describe the mechanical arts. Diderot's work is also hailed as representing the intellectual thought of the Enlightenment, and is sometimes credited as an inspiration for the French Revolution because of his and others' entries on political authority.

A plate titled "Agriculture" from the Encyclopedie.Here in Special Collections, we're fortunate enough to have a complete set of the Encyclopédie and we also have a facsimile of the prospectus. Sent out as a way to drum up financial support in advance of the actual publication, the prospectus promised a ten-volume work with a clearly defined finish. Ultimately, however, the sprawling encyclopedia swelled to twenty-eight volumes, frustrating its subscribers and even causing a few lawsuits along the way (as well as a run-in with the royal censors).

To see our copy of the Encyclopédie, come to Rauner and ask for Rare AE25 .E53. To see our prospectus facsimile, ask for Rare AE25 .E25 1751a.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

First Frost

“This is the very first I ever had published …” reads Robert Frost’s words penned atop this newspaper. On November 8, 1894, The Independent, a New York newspaper which ran from 1848-1921, became the first professional publisher to feature poetry by Robert L. Frost.

However, The Independent was not the first to print Frost’s poetry, or even “My Butterfly.” Frost worked with a printer in Lawrence, Massachusetts to self-publish two copies of a collection he called Twilight, one for himself and one gifted to his future wife, Elinor. Only Elinor’s copy of Twilight survives today –  after personally delivering Elinor’s copy to her at St. Lawrence College and perceiving rejection, Frost destroyed his copy.

While Elinor's copy of Twilight is housed in special collections at the University of Virginia, Dartmouth’s Rauner Alumni Collection features an original copy of the Independent, issue number 2397. This particular copy features a brief note penned by Frost dedicated to one Earle Bernheimer. Bernheimer, it turns out, was a patron of Frost who supported him financially in exchange for bits of writing from the poet. Their letters suggest that, at least for Frost, the relationship was more business than friendship, and that he got Bernheimer to progressively pay him more and more for less and less. Ultimately, Bernheimer had to sell his collection of Frost’s works during a divorce settlement. It is quite possible that this piece was part of that very collection.

The poem, “My Butterfly” itself was written by Frost at eighteen and was also featured in his first commercially published book of poems A Boy’s Will. Another thing that stands out about the poem is its use of poeticisms – formalistic flairs like thee, tis, and o’er – which slowly fled Frost’s work as he progressed as a poet. On January 30, 1895 Frost composed a letter concerning “My Butterfly” to Susan Hayes Ward, an editor for The Independent, “If it is seriously I must speak, I undertake a future. I cannot believe that poem was merely a chance. I will surpass it.”

The rest of Frost's inscription quoted above is "...unless you count the three or four I had in the Lawrence High School Bulletin when I was at school." We have one of those, too. To see "My Butterfly" ask for Alumni F9296my; to see the Bulletin, ask for Frost LH1 L285 H54 1892.

Posted for Bradford Stone '19.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Going Back to the Well

Page opening of Jenson's edition of Pliny.We have blogged before about Nicolas Jenson's obsession with the perfect page and his devotion to an austere typography, so we don't have much to say about this book, except to exclaim, "Damn, look at that page!"

This is Jenson's 1476 printing of Pliny's Natural History, translated into Italian by Christophoro Landino. The size of the book is daunting, then you open it up and see the luxurious margins Jenson provided to set off his unrelenting text block. Purity of form.
Person holding book to show scale.

To see it ask for Incunabula 137.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Translating Tamil

First page of a letter from Levi Spaulding to his nephew Lyman Spaulding, August 22, 1863.
In June of 1819, a young man named Levi Spaulding embarked on a trip to South Asia that would ultimately lead him to the island country of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. The small nation had just been colonized by the British in 1818, and Spaulding's intent was to serve as a minister of God to its indigenous people. Spaulding had originally intended to be a farmer in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where he was born in 1791, but his father's death in 1809 changed the trajectory of his life. Instead, he enrolled in Dartmouth College as a member of the class of 1815 and had a spiritual awakening there after several years of religious indifference. After graduating, he promptly attended Andover Theological Seminary and received his degree in 1818. Only a short year later, Spaulding was on a ship headed for India. He would return only once to his native country for a two-year furlough and spent his life ministering to the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and southern India. He died in Uduvil, a town at the north of the island, in 1873 at the ripe old age of 82.

The title page from Spaulding's Tamil translation of the New Testament (vol. 2).One of the most daunting initial challenges for Spaulding was a lack of suitable religious texts. When he wrote to his nephew in 1863 to describe his early days as a missionary, Spaulding mentioned that upon his arrival he discovered that there were only two grammars in the mission, no dictionaries, and no Christian texts. There weren't even enough English Bibles for the missionaries. Spaulding dedicated himself to translating various tracts, sermons, and other religious texts into Tamil, including Pilgrim's Progress. Spaulding recounted in his correspondence that he would often pick up new words during his conversations with the local community and then immediately pencil them on his shirt sleeves for later transcription. Eventually, the fruit of his labors was both a Tamil-English dictionary and a Tamil translation of the New Testament.

To see a volume of Spaulding's Tamil New Testament, come to Rauner and ask for Alumni S7393t v.2. To read his correspondence with his nephew, ask for MS 838563.1.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Doctor Franklin and Lord Dartmouth

Engraving of the 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, William Legge
This week, we welcomed to Special Collections a visiting delegation of Rotarians from the United Kingdom. First editions of works by Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare were on display for them, as well as historic Rotary Club publications and a few items connected to the college's namesake. William Legge, the second Earl of Dartmouth, was the leading trustee for the English trust that funded Eleazar Wheelock's initial educational venture, Moor's Charity School. In an an effort to drum up financial support for the founding of Dartmouth College, Wheelock named the school after Legge. Wheelock hoped that the nobleman would be flattered and respond with a generous donation; Lord Dartmouth declined the invitation to contribute.

In addition to his connection to America through Moor's Charity School, the Earl of Dartmouth had
Engraving of Benjamin Franklin
another important tie to the colonies. From 1772 until 1775, he served as the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for the Colonies; the position had been newly created in 1768 to bring the American colonies to heel after the passage of the controversial Townshend Acts in 1767. Among the items we had on display for our British guests was  a letter written (or, at least, dictated) by Benjamin Franklin to Lord Dartmouth in December 8th, 1772. In his letter, Franklin states that he would like to share his perspective on the general sentiments of "leading people in America" with Dartmouth, particularly their concerns about recent measures taken by the British government. Franklin suggests that Dartmouth may not be receiving a true account from his official government representatives in America.

At this time, Franklin was living in London. He had originally moved there as a representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly to protest the influence of the Penn family. However, over the two decades
Manuscript text of the letter from Franklin to Dartmouth
that he was there, his role soon morphed into a defender of the colonies at large, including the Massachusetts Colony. He became well known in London political circles in particular for his vehement rejection of the 1765 Stamp Act. In 1772, Franklin was writing to Lord Dartmouth because he had recently come into ownership of a packet of letters written by the current Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson, that both recommended strengthening executive power in the colonies and asserted that colonists would never have the same full rights that they would enjoy if they still lived in England. That very same month, Franklin would send those letters to the Massachusetts Assembly. Six months later, they were published widely in America and served to fuel the fires of rebellion.

To read Franklin's letter to Lord Dartmouth and see the engraving of him, come to Special Collections and ask for Ticknor 772658.1. To see the engraving of Lord Dartmouth, ask for Iconography 741.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Simple Cobler

Title page of "The Simple Cobler"Some title pages are just irresistible--you know from the start of this pamphlet that nothing is likely to be as it seems. The title reads:
The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America. Willing to help 'mend his Native Country, lamentably tattered, both in the upper-Leather and sole, with all the honest stitches he can take. And as willing never to bee paid for his work by Old English wonted pay. It is his Trade to patch all the year long, gratis. Therefore I pray Gentlemen keep your purses.
It was written by Nathanial Ward, a minister in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and author of the first law code for New-England. In this work, printed in London in 1647, tattered shoes are just a metaphor for the moral depravity of both England and New England under Charles the I. The metaphor of a Simple Cobler is so quaint, and so utterly inadequate for what was about to transpire. Less than two years later, Charles the I was beheaded and England thrown into civil war

To give it a read, ask for McGregor 182.