Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness

In 1942, the Dartmouth basketball team reached the finals of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament by first defeating Penn State and then dominating the Kentucky Wildcats--the winningest men's college basketball program.  They lost in the finals to Stanford. The Big Green was headed up by team captain Charles "Stubbie" Pearson '42 whose college scrapbook provided these images.

Pearson is a tragic hero in the history of Dartmouth College. He was the 1942 valedictorian, captain of both the football and basketball teams, a poet, scholar, and inspirational leader on campus. Along with dozens of his classmates, he joined the Navy upon graduation and became a Navy pilot. In 1944 he was killed in action in the Pacific while dive bombing an enemy ship.

Looking through his scrapbook from his college days is an emotionally wrenching experience. It takes you from his freshman excitement through his achievements as a scholar and a athlete, culminating with his patriotically charged valedictory address. Surrounding materials from the College Archives and manuscript collections tell the rest of the story: letters from training camp to a Dean's daughter with a terrible school-girl crush, letters back to administrators telling of life in the Navy, and finally the story of his death told by eye-witnesses from his squadron.

But today, we will celebrate basketball.


To see his scrapbook, ask for Rauner Manuscript 895.