Friday, September 9, 2011

The First Tripees

1938 Trip
On September 10, 1935, a group of 16 freshman ventured into the wilds of northern New Hampshire on the first Freshman Trip. In the year 1934-35 the Outing Club was undergoing some internal scrutiny. There had been a “sharp decline in paid memberships” and the club was accused by some of “aloofness and unco-operativeness.” The first Freshman Trip was characterized in The Dartmouth as an “acquaintance trip” to introduce freshmen to the Outing Club and the “White Mountains and the territory.” Acquaintance trips had been tried before, but this trip was different as it was scheduled to take place before school was in session.

1939 Trip

1935 application
The application for the 1935 trip notes that, “The trip will break into shape with as much care as possible. However, the latter part of the program will involve some strenuous climbs, and the trip up Moosilauke on the first day is a tough one.” The students arrived back to Hanover “sun and wind burned.” No mention is made of the success of the trip, but since the trips have now been going on for 76 years, we can assume it was a hit. Notably, one of the students on the trip was named Daniel Webster. This Dan went on to become a physician, not a statesman like his namesake, but it seems appropriate that the name Webster should be associated with the first Freshman Trip.

The records of the Outing Club are held in Rauner and a finding aid is available.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Churchill vs. Churchill

When you hear the name Winston Churchill, you probably start thinking about cigars, England, World War II, and other details associated with the former Prime Minister.  But what about the American author of the same name?

The American Winston Churchill (1871-1947) was the author of several national best-sellers, most of which are now unknown despite their incredible popularity at the time.  At the turn of the 20th century, the other Winston Churchill was just starting out in his career as a writer and publishers sometimes confused the two authors as both published under the name "Winston Churchill."  To remedy this situation, the two Churchills agreed that the British Churchill would add an initial - "S" for Spencer - to distinguish himself from the American, who had no middle name.
Winston S. Churchill
The two also corresponded about more personal items.  In this December, 1900 letter from Winston S. Churchill accepting a dinner invitation from Winston Churchill, Churchill writes "I look forward to making your acquaintance with particular interest, for hitherto we have known each other only by name and repute."
Letter, December 1900
Winston Churchill later used the proceeds from his novels to build himself a mansion, Harlakenden House, in Cornish, New Hampshire.  He became an active member of the Cornish Art Colony, whose members included Augustus Saint Gaudens and Maxfield Parrish and also successfully ran for state office several times.

Dartmouth holds Winston Churchill's papers and a guide to the collection is available.