Friday, December 28, 2012

Dartmouth in the Rose Bowl?

In 1937, Dartmouth was a major college football powerhouse and was invited to play Cal in the Rose Bowl on January 1st--and Dartmouth turned it down. It is hard to imagine both sides of that sentence: Dartmouth invited to the Rose Bowl? A major college football program turning down "the granddaddy of them all"? Presumably the payout wasn't quite the equivalent of the $22.3 million that Wisconsin and Stanford will reportedly each collect for participating this year.

Dartmouth went undefeated in 1937 with six wins and two ties. According to the 1938 Aegis, "pre-season predictions of the gridsters went no further than the term 'dark-horse,'" but the team made up for scant experience with speed and strength.

President Ernest Hopkins response to the Rose Bowl invitation is a testament to his view of student athletes:
To carry our football season over until the first of the year and end it up with the distractions of a jaunt across the continent and return, would force us into the position where all members of the team would be penalized in lower grades, which they inevitably would get and which might endanger the academic standing of some of them, or else put us into the position of having to extend special privilege to members of the team in the consideration which should be given to them.
In other words, it might hurt the young men's studies.  The same year, Hopkins declined an offer by the Chicago Bears to play a benefit game for Chicago's Hull House at Wrigley or Soldier Field.

Interestingly, the school's worry about the disruptive nature of post season athletics did not carry over to other sports: in 1942, Dartmouth reached the finals of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

To see the letters, ask for the "Athletics" file from DP-11, Box 6980.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not "A Christmas Carol"

Everybody knows the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts of Christmas whose visitations cause the former miser and all around misanthrope to reform. The other novellas of Christmas penned by Charles Dickens have not stood the test of time as well, perhaps due to lack of such memorable characters like old Mr. Fezziwig.

The first followup to A Christmas Carol (London: Chapman & Hall, 1843) was The Chimes (London: Chapman and Hall, 1845). Despite the inevitable happy ending, this story is a bleaker, more pointed critique of social issues of the 1840s. The goblins in the tale offer the main character glimpses of his family's potential future - each an illustration of how seemingly good people can become trapped in a cycle of evil.

The Cricket On The Hearth (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1846) is the third in the sequence. After several trials and tribulations, the spirit of the hearth cricket reminds the various characters of their potential for good and the futility of suspecting the worst of others.

The Battle Of Life (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846) omits the supernatural elements of the first three tales and instead focuses on the selfless acts of the daughters of the cynical Doctor Jeddler. Their devotion and caring brings about a change in his view of the world.

The final novella is The Haunted Man And The Ghost's Bargain (London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848). In this story, Dickens reenlists the aid of a supernatural entity to bring about the redemption of the main character whose initial bargain with his ghostly double to remove all painful memories brings calamity on all others he interacts with as they are also shorn of any unwanted thoughts, leaving them thoughtless and cruel. The lost memories and human feeling of all are returned through the inherent goodness of Milly Swidger whose own painful memories are the source of her benevolence.

Ask for Rare Book PR 4557 .C58 1843 (A Christmas Carol), Rare Book PR 4557 .C5 1845 (The Chimes), Rare Book PR 4572 .C78 1846 (The Cricket On The Hearth), Val 826 D55 O53 (The Battle Of Life), and Rare Book PR 4557 .H3 1848 (The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain).


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dear Dr. Seuss

Like the rest of the country, we have had school children on our minds this week. We were reminded of a batch of very sweet letters in our Ted Geisel collection addressed to Dr. Seuss. It seemed like a good time to share a few, as well as one of Seuss's replies.


To see all of the letters, ask for MS-1100, Box 1, Folder 8.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Nature Printing

Natural history in the nineteenth century strove to describe and classify everything in the living world. Museums were bulging at the seams with specimens and catalogs listing and illustrating classes of life proliferated. For some in the field, traditional illustration techniques were frustratingly inadequate for the level of precision and detail they were after: they wanted to show nature in all of her wonder. We have written before of one obsessive attempt to bring nature into book form with As Nature Shows Them: Moths and Butterflies of the United States which used the cells from butterfly wings to color the images.

We recently acquired a similarly passionate quest for botanical realism: Thomas Moore's The Ferns of Great Britiain and Ireland (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1855). The book employs a process dubbed "Nature Printing" that involved pressing an actual fern into soft lead then electoplating the impression to create an intaglio printing plate. The fern itself created the illustration and the effect is stunning. The book appears to be a collection of actual fern pressed into paper, but with colors that have not faded.

Another book in the collection takes this hyper-realism even further. Romeyn Hough's The American Woods, Exhibited by Actual Specimens and with Copious Explanatory Notes (Lowville: By the Author, 1888-1904) uses 750 paper-thin wood samples carefully mounted in cardboard cards to show the wood grains of hundreds of native trees.

To see a little nature in Rauner, ask for Rare QK527.M8 1855 and Rare SD536.H83.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

“… i will burn your building so help me god”

Sometime during the mid-1800's, a distraught wife wrote this brief note to Albert Dewey, a mill owner in Quechee, Vermont, begging him not to buy any more rum for his workers. In 1882, the New Hampshire Temperance Union urged farmers to raise better apples that were a "blessing not a peril," and to avoid making hard cider because it made "men cross, ferocious, bloodthirsty." Alcohol, its use, abuse and prohibition, does tend to evoke strong and, sadly in some cases, violent responses.

Broadside 000064
Within six months of the January 16, 1920, ratification of the 18th amendment prohibiting the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor, Dartmouth College came face to face with its own drink-related act of violence. On June 15, 1920, after an argument over the price of a bottle of liquor smuggled in from Canada, Robert Meads, Class of 1920, shot and killed Henry Maroney, Class of 1919.

Two days later, Dartmouth President Ernest Martin Hopkins made a formal statement to the press, denying that there had been any general system of smuggling of liquor into Hanover, and that the College authorities had, by every device available, kept watch and checked every known source of supply. He was loath to state this much, in case such diligence on the part of the College would imply an overwhelming need for such oversight, or that specific incidents would cast a bad light on the majority of students who did not partake of illegal drink.

However, in May the following year, President Hopkins was forced to admit in a letter to Matt Jones, Class of 1894, that the campus was in great trouble due to gallons of bootleg alcohol coming into town from Rutland and White River Junction, Vermont, and from New York. "I would like some real he-men with automatic revolvers and backbone who would hold up some of the suspicious automobiles that are floating around here…"

Broadside 001374
In April, 1932, Hopkins issued a statement in favor of ending prohibition, and was probably relieved that he had one less issue to worry about when the amendment repealing prohibition was passed, December 5, 1933.

Ask for ML-61, box 23, folder 25 to see the letter from the Dewey papers, Broadside 000064, Broadside 003174, and Henry Maroney's 1919 Alumni file.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

By the Author of 'Jane Eyre'

A while back we blogged about the first edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The publisher promoted the book with the suggestion that it was written by Charlotte Bronte (rather than Anne).  Well, we just acquired the first American edition of Wuthering Heights (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1848) and find that the confusion over the Brontes extended into the United States. The title page of Wuthering Heights clearly states "By The Author of 'Jane Eyre.'"

The publisher had a good excuse. All of the Bronte novels were published under pen names: Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell. Since this edition is pirated, Harpers had no contact with the Bronte sisters. The English publisher was also working to conflate the three "Bells." Harpers may not have known, or they may have been trying to cash in on the success of Jane Eyre which they had already brought out in a pirated edition.

"Pirated" is something of a misnomer. There was no effective international copyright law in 1848, so there were no legal impediments to Harper and Brothers printing a work originally published in England. But they did not pay a cent to the author--had they paid a royalty, one has to wonder whose name would have been on the check!

Ask for Rare PR4172.W7 1848 for Wuthering Heights and Rare PZ3.B790J for the first American Jane Eyre.

Friday, November 30, 2012

De architectura

Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman of the first-century B.C. He served in several of Julius Caesar's campaigns, most likely as an engineer responsible for the construction and maintenance of the army encampment. Little else is known about his life save what is revealed in his only surviving work De architectura, a treatise on architecture which detailed then current Roman practices as well as methods and designs from Greece and earlier cultures. His philosophy on design is often summed up by his statement that a structure should incorporate elements that make it solid, useful and beautiful. Rediscovered in the 15th-century, De architectura had a profound effect on Renaissance design and served as inspiration for Da Vinci and others.

De architecura is divided into ten books and is commonly known as the Ten Books on Architecture. Each book focuses on a related subset of design and construction methods or decorative motifs.  These include sections on temples (book 2), water and aqueducts (book 8) and Roman engines - primarily military in nature (book 10).

Rauner holds several editions of De architectura, the earliest being the first illustrated edition published in Venice in 1511 which is notable not only for the illustrations but also for Fra Giovanni Giocondo's revisions and corrections to earlier published editions. Rauner's copy additionally features numerous notations in the margin. Other editions include the first (1521) and second (1526) Italian translations.

Ask for Red Room 871 V92 1511 to see the first illustrated edition. Other editions can be found by searching the catalog.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Real Little Women

It's no secret among Little Women fans that Louisa May Alcott based her beloved novel on her life growing up with three sisters. However, fewer people know just how much of the Alcott family's work lies within the walls of Rauner Library. Though we are missing works from Abigail May (the wise mother) and Lizzie (who, like her Little Women representation Beth, died young), Rauner has works of the other three sisters and their father: controversial transcendentalist Amos Bronson Alcott.

Amos Bronson Alcott's role as "Father" in Louisa May Alcott's fictional books is mostly off-stage, either due to his fighting in the Civil War or extended recovery from injuries. In reality, Bronson was a huge and active part in the Alcott sisters' lives. The Alcott girls were Bronson's four most consistent pupils. Bronson's innovative and controversial method of teaching art, music, nature study and a curriculum of social reform led many students to withdraw and forced the family to move twenty times in thirty years. However, Bronson's views remain documented in Observations on the Principles and Methods of Infant Instruction. He became well known for his work across New England, forming a Concordian community with transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In addition to published works by Bronson, Rauner has one of his private letters of recommendation for a young woman pursuing a musical education, showing just how far-reaching the Alcott family's influence was by the 1890s.

True Little Women fans will remember Amy March's artistic aspirations (as opposed to Jo/Louisa's literary ones). In light of her fictional counterpart, May Alcott's representation in Rauner is unsurprising: a book of sketches of the Alcott's home in Concord and a copy of Little Women illustrated by May. Like her fictional counterpart (Amy), May became a moderately successful artist in Europe. However, while Amy returned to America married to Laurie (to the fury of fans who predicted his eventual pairing with Jo), May Alcott married a Swiss violinist fifteen years her junior at age 38, then died in childbirth in Paris.

Anna Bronson Alcott Pratt's representation in Rauner echoes her place in Little Women even more strongly. Comic Tragedies, written by "Jo" and "Meg" and acted by the "Little Women" smudges the lines between the fictional characters and the realities of the Alcotts' lives. On the first page are pictures of Louisa and Anna, labeled "Daguerreotypes of Jo and Meg," with a quote below from Mrs. Cheney's Life of Louisa M. Alcott. In the introduction, "Meg" describes the complex interplay of personalities and limited cast that caused the enclosed plays to be structured as they were. In fact, Anna Pratt (Meg's real life persona) published the book in 1893, and likely wrote the introduction herself. As Louisa May Alcott died five years prior to the publication, it is unclear if the melodramatic plays were collected from her Little Women material, or from a memory of her and Anna's childhood. Indeed as founding members of the Concord Dramatic Union, Louisa and Anna's love for the stage was greater than, or equal to, that of the March sisters.

Rauner has – of course – a number of writings by Louisa May Alcott, including numerous copies of Little Women, but also lesser-known works, like Louisa's Hospital Sketches and A Free Bed.  Come peruse a copy of Little Women, then read more from the family that inspired the novel!

Ask for Mss 872554 for Bronson's Letter; 1926 Collection A39 for Little Women (Illustrated by May Alcott); Rare PS1019.A2 C65 for Concord Sketches: Consisting Of Twelve Photographs From Original Drawings; and Rare PS1017.C6 1893 for Comic Tragedies, written by "Jo" and "Meg" and acted by the "Little Women."

Posted for Kate Taylor '13

Friday, November 23, 2012

Wheatley's Iliad

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American poet: born in West Africa in 1753, brought to America on the slave ship, The Phillis, she was sold into slavery at age eight to the Wheatley family in Boston. The Wheatley children provided her with a solid classical education and she began writing poetry.  Her Poems on Various Subjects was published in London in 1773, and she became a celebrity in Europe and America.

We have several important pieces by Wheatley, two manuscript poems in her hand, a presentation copy of her first book, and her 1770 Elegy on the Death of George Whitefield, but the object that often stands out is something she did not write.

It is a memento of her 1773 trip to London where she was presented to London society and even invited to visit King George III. During the trip she met Lord Dartmouth, yes, our Lord Dartmouth, who offered her a gift of an edition of Pope's translation of the Iliad. The gift must have had a certain resonance for Wheatley: according to most accounts she had studied Pope and read Virgil in Latin. Holding the book forces you into a very foreign world, one where a young woman could be feted in London and held up as a celebrated poet, yet remain a slave to a Boston family.

Did the book travel with her through the rest of her life? Probably not. It is likely she had to sell it for money. Freed in 1778, she married a free black grocer. They ran into financial difficulties and he was put into debtors prison. Placed into a different sort of bondage by poverty, Wheatley became a domestic servant to support herself and died at age 31.

You can see all of these pieces: ask for DC History PA4025.A2P6 1771 for The Iliad;Ticknor PS866.W5 1773 for the Poems; Ticknor 772501.1 for the manuscript poem above; and Rare PS866.W5 E5 1770 for the Elegiac Poem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trendy in Rauner

Looking through the glass case from the reading room, Rauner seems to be filled to the brim with rare books and manuscripts. While the library has its fair share of those, its shelves hold more than books. Our Realia collection, which supplements collections of books and manuscripts, has enough clothing to fill a walk-in closet. Unsurprisingly, with the number of free T-shirts Dartmouth doles out, one of the most popular items of clothing to enter Dartmouth's historical record is the humble T-shirt. What better to serve as a snapshot into the mindset of the students than the messages in words and images they have chosen to wear on their bodies at different points in time?

Marysa Navarro, among the first women professors at Dartmouth, has an extensive manuscript collection in Rauner that includes a wide range of materials: correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, proposals, committee meeting minutes, pamphlets, videotapes, photographs... and two T-shirts. Dartmouth feminist groups created the shirts soon after co-education in the 70s. One has "Women of Dartmouth" inscribed on a drawing of a woman. A more elaborate black shirt reads "Pyro Feminism" with a picture of two women charging around the Homecoming bonfire. On the back is the abbreviation "B.T.M.F.D.": "Burn The Motherf***ers Down." The mental image of young women at Dartmouth in these shirts defines a historical moment in a very different way than a paper on radical feminism on college campuses would.


The College's two sets of workout gear offer a way to compare gym time at Dartmouth that could be alternatively titled "Tanks Through the Ages." A wool knit tank top with a "D" sewn on the front, paired with knit sweatpants show the promise of a more formal (and sweatier) uniform for physical education in the early 1920s. The 1990's tank sold by the Dartmouth Review is closer in style and fabric to what most of students expect to see on treadmills in 2012. Featuring the "Dartmouth Indian" lifting weights on the back, the shirt serves as a glimpse of Dartmouth's former mascot's role in campus life. While the Indian stopped being used officially by the college in the 70s, the Dartmouth Review has continued the promotion of the mascot since the publication's founding in 1980. Though Native Americans at Dartmouth have protested the formal and informal use of the stereotypical "Indian" as a mascot since the 70s, the Review defends its continued use, producing T-shirts and referring to sports teams as the "Indians" in the publication.

Other shirts in Rauner's collection have a less obvious message than "Pyro Feminism" or the use of the Dartmouth Indian. Where did a Dartmouth Lorax shirt from 1991 come from? What does a Tucker Foundation shirt from the 70s reading "Visit beautiful downtown New Jersey" mean? Kappa Kappa Kappa has five shirts from the 1980s in Rauner. Are the similarities between these shirts and those seen on Tri Kap's around campus in 2012 mark of tradition or just a pattern?

Viewing these T-shirts is a reminder that books are not the only way to understand the past. What people wore every day bears marks of the ideas, values and norms of a certain point in time. What would your T-shirt collection tell future generations at Dartmouth if they show up in Rauner in a few decades?

For the Old school gym uniform, ask for Realia 65; the Dartmouth Review shirt is Realia 212, and the Lorax T-shirt is Realia 222

Posted for Kate Taylor '13

Friday, November 16, 2012

Before He Was Anybody

Peter Rabbit is one of the most famous characters in the world of children's literature. But he wasn't always that well known. In fact, as with almost every other author, Beatrix Potter was initially unable to find a publisher for her story due to the usual rejections and her own insistence on a specific format and quality. Instead of compromising her vision, she decided to have a small run of the story privately printed.

The first private edition ran to 250 copies and was printed by Strangeway's in London in December 1901. A second run of private printings was completed in February of 1902. Finally, later that year, the first commercial edition was published by Frederick Warne & Co. The Tale of Peter Rabbit quickly became a commercial success and paved the way for numerous additional tales set in the same world.

Rauner holds one of the original first printings from the 1901 private edition.  Ask for Val 827P849 X to see Peter before he was famous and read about his misadventures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Playfully Morbid World of Edward Gorey

Edward Gorey described his mission in life as "to make everybody as uneasy as possible... I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that's what the world is like." As a writer and artist, Gorey has created his own uneasy world, through thousands of macabre illustrations. Gorey's world is equal parts morbid, silly, and exquisite. It expanded and evolved through books, pictures and even beanbags.

However, Gorey isn't for everyone. To find out if you find him delightfully creepy or just plain morbid, look at one of his best-known works, The Gashlycrumb Tinies. It is a short book, styled on a traditional children's alphabet book. However, the rhymes and pictures within aren't suited for most preschoolers. Instead, the book details the absurd deaths of a series of children in alphabetical order. Gorey begins with a bang: "A is for AMY who fell down the stairs" and "B is for BASIL assaulted by bears." The alphabet continues all the way to Zillah (who drank too much gin). If you find the image of the toddler Zillah drinking with a skeleton in a dress more delightfully ridiculous than offensive, there are a few other works to check out in Rauner's extensive collection of rare Gorey works.

Gorey wrote over one hundred books, all striking a delicate balance between gruesome and playful. One standout is The Loathsome Couple, about two child murderers and their casually miserable marriage. The book contains the inner flap description, "This book may well prove to be its author's most unpleasant ever." Another Gorey classic is The Gorey Alphabet, arranged in a similar style as The Gashleycrumb Tinies (and, like many of Rauner's works, signed by Gorey himself). The 'B' in this alphabet reads: "The Baby, lying meek and quiet/Upon the customary rug/Has dreams about rampage and riot/And will grow up to be a thug." One of the Gorey's less structured works is F.M.R.A. Published in 1980, F.M.R.A. is a box containing a mishmash of everything from dark Valentines to an envelope full of tiny pictures. Dartmouth owns one of the 426 copies created, signed (as all copies were) by Gorey.

Gorey also illustrated a number of books by other authors including Freaky Friday by Mary Rogers and The Recently Deflowered Girl: The Right Thing to Say on Every Dubious Occasion by Phypps Hyacinthe.

Gorey's work is popular outside of the world of literature. Rauner has an Edward Gorey board game, if you want to play with some friends, as well as a "Fantoid Pack" if you wish to predict your future (warning: it will not be bright). If you’re tired of the typical cheeriness of Christmas cards, check out Rauner's Edward Gorey Christmas Cards collection. Or, if you’re too stressed to study, seek the company of one of the Gorey's cuddlier creations: cat and pig beanbags. Through his illustration, Edward Gorey has created a vast and nonsensical universe. Come to Rauner to live in it for a few hours.

Take a look at F.M.R.A., Illus G675fmr; Pig Beanbag, Realia 504; The Fantoid Pack, Illus G675fan; and The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Illus G675gas.

Posted for Kate Taylor '13

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mourning a Prince

Four hundred years ago this week, Henry, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, died at the age of 18. The death of the popular prince, which cleared the way for the later ascension of his younger brother Charles I, was met with a great show of public grief. One slender volume in our collection, Three Elegies on the Most Lamented Death of Prince Henrie (London: William Welbie, 1613) by Cyril Tourneur, John Webster, and Thomas Heywood, shows the depth of mourning through its very printing.

The book's title page expresses loss by inverting the usual woodcut printing process to print white text on black. But the printers carried the grief throughout the book by alternating pages printed in black opposite each page of text. The dark ink on each verso bleeds through the paper so the text rests on a somber, dark background.

Between the elegies, a period of sorrow is enforced by two-page spreads of black.

For a moment of reflection and grief, ask for Rare PR1195.E5T68 1613.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Zombie President

What happens when a candidate passes away during an election? When Horace Greeley lost the 1872 election, he lost a lot more than his pride. In fact, Greeley died before the Electoral College even cast their votes – but after the popular election was over. How does an election continue with one of the major contenders dead?

The 1872 election was framed by the Liberal Republicans and Democrats as "anyone but Grant." Liberal Republicans split from the incumbent president, Ulysses S. Grant, and the Radical Republicans in 1870. In 1872, they nominated Horace Greeley to represent the party. The Democrats, who Greeley had clashed with in the past, decided to back Greeley as well, in hope of getting Grant out of office. However, Grant had too much support and momentum. While both parties backed Greeley, neither had a strong sense of loyalty to the poor campaigner. Grant won 286 electoral votes and Greeley 66.

Only 25 days after the general population voted, Greeley died. The election and the death of his wife had driven him to overwhelming psychological and physical breakdowns. In light of a situation that had never been encountered before (or since), the Electoral College was unsure on how to proceed. Some voted for Greeley, despite his death. These votes were invalid. Most cast their votes for other Democrats, though, unsurprisingly, none were able to make a sizeable dent in Grant’s lead. Grant went on to four more years as President, and the issue of a President dying in election has not been dealt with since.

For a dead man to lose the election is tragic, but politically resolvable. While Grant had clearly won the 1872 election, polls are much closer this year so dealing with the death of a candidate would likely be more complicated. There is no federal mandate on how the Electoral College votes; logically the parties would instruct electors on their chosen plans of action, whether it be to elect the Vice President or to select a new candidate.

For the Election poster ask for Broadside 872900.2, the letter on the election is MS 872554.1.

Posted for Kate Taylor '13

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hitting the Right Note in Presidential Elections

One aspect that dominated earlier presidential elections in the United States missing from modern day elections is campaign songs. Candidates today often use already popular songs as "theme songs," a tradition started by FDR in 1932. In previous centuries lyrics specific to the candidate would be set to well known tunes. This allowed for more direct arguments in songs to be sung in rallies and spread in support of certain candidates. Looking at the bold and sometimes absurd lyrics, the images the candidates wanted to portray of themselves (and their opponents) becomes strikingly clear.

For example, "For Jefferson and Liberty" made the pretty obvious link between the election of Thomas Jefferson and escape from religious bigotry and tyranny. George Washington was similarly straightforward in "Follow Washington" (featuring lyrics such as "My lads march on/And follow, follow Washington"). The peppy, upbeat melodies were easy to follow, allowing for wide distribution and singing at events.

However, candidates were not opposed to an occasional smear campaign. Depictions of the grim future other candidates would bring to America are common in modern elections and were just as prominent in the nineteenth century. "Little Know Ye Who’s Coming" was a frankly terrifying description of the future should John Quincy Adams not be elected--an America filled with swords, pistols, guns, famine, slavery and knavery. On a similar note, "If the Johnies Get Into Power Again" warned against allowing the Southern Democrats to win the 1880 election, as "The nation’s flag will lose its stars/The stripes they’ll change to rebel bars."

Rauner has a number of works from one election famous for its campaign songs. The 1840 presidential election had one of the more extensive and influential repertoires, forming a key part of William Henry Harrison's enthusiastic campaign. "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" is perhaps the best-known campaign song of all time. The song that became Harrison's slogan refers to Harrison's battle between his Indiana militia and Native Americans while gesturing to his vice president, John Tyler, "too." While "Tip and Ty" was most popular, Harrison had other songs, such as the "National Whig Song," which called for citizens to vote for this "fine, true-hearted gentleman." Harrison's aggressively upbeat campaigning allowed him to side-step national issues, such as slavery. Instead, he was able to portray himself as the candidate of the people in a time of economic depression. Unfortunately, his intense campaigning and extended inauguration speech led to Harrison's death of pneumonia only a month after being sworn into office.

Looking at these examples makes one wonder - should Obama and Romney be writing their own campaign songs? While will.i.am created a memorable music video "Yes, We Can" supporting Obama in 2008, no such tunes have emerged this year. Would YouTube and the Internet offer a new way to make these campaign songs go viral?

To sing along, ask for: The National Whig song - SC 414, Tip and Ty - SC 288, The Whigs of Colombia shall prevail - SC 478

Posted for Kate Taylor '13.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shakespeare's Superstorm

The Shakespeare play that best lends itself to a spectacular performance is The Tempest.  Magic, fairies and huge storms gave 19th-century producers an opportunity to put on a Big Show and entertain audiences with the latest special effects. These playbills from our extensive Williams/Watson Theater collection present Shakespeare as a rousing good time--not exactly the high culture we have come to expect.

The 1823 production at Theatre-Royal in York hyped the "BURSTING of a MOUNTAIN into a VOLCANO" and "the ascension of Ariel." The play was based on Dryden and D'Avenant's popular 1670 rewrite of The Tempest and contained nearly 20 songs. More impressive was the 1856 production that featured 23,000 feet of painted scenery scrolling behind the actors in an "enchanted panorama" and used "extensive machinery" for other effects.

Curiously, a playbill from 1897 has Isadora Duncan in a bit role as one of the "spirits attending on Prospera." The next year she moved to London where she would soon become one of the giants of dance.

Come in and ask for Playbills PR ENK-You-TR 8230512, PR MA-Boe-BoT2 8560329, PR MA-Bos-Hol 8970510.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friends Conceived

With birth control a hot button issue with the upcoming election, Dartmouth students can look inside Rauner library to gain some insight on topics that are still inciting national controversy. The papers of Juliet Barrett Rublee offer a peek into the beginnings of the birth control movement in America, with private letters and publications from which Planned Parenthood stemmed.

Rublee became involved in the birth control movement after meeting Margaret Sanger at a literary salon in 1912 and was immediately drawn to the activist. Sanger, at that time just beginning her work in sex ed and the fight for birth control, would go on to become the infamous founder of Planned Parenthood. She and Rublee became fast friends in the 1910’s, just as the birth control movement was beginning to blossom and Sanger was forced into exile in Europe. The pair was in near constant communication over the following decades. While Rauner has an extensive collection of letters Rublee received from a number of people, including her husband and other birth control activists, her letters from Sanger are perhaps the most intriguing.

Sanger is a figure that has been portrayed in modern times as impossibly forward-thinking and inconceivably cruel, an opinion usually divided across political lines. However, her letters to Juliet Rublee instead show an emotional and passionate woman deeply invested in the issue of birth control. Her letters are intended to keep Rublee, one of Sanger’s major funders as well as a leader in the movement, in the loop on different fronts on the birth control movement. Sanger’s casual name-dropping of authors, radical political figures and celebrities paint a rich picture of the interconnected world of early-nineteenth-century radical politics.

The letters also offer a window into Sanger’s private life. While Sanger and Rublee were brought together by political activism, they also shared less lofty interests: the opera, worrying about illness, strange crash diets. Sanger and Rublee, despite their warnings to the other to burn the letters in fear of discovery, rarely censored themselves in their writing, leading to both sordid details and a few tersely worded fights. Some particularly juicy letters touch on Sanger and Rublee’s interest in psychic mediums, Sanger’s involvement in the free love movement and associated affairs, and hints at a relationship between Sanger and Rublee that boarders on romantic.

Check out MS-731 to see how Juliet Barrett Rublee mixed her personal and political life in helping found the birth control movement in America.

Posted for Kate Taylor '13.