Friday, June 1, 2012

Almost Reaching That Peak

Browne (left) & Parker 1912
Belmore Browne was an explorer, artist and writer. Despite his contributions to these areas, he is perhaps most famous for his involvement in early attempts to summit Mt. McKinley. All three of the expeditions Browne was part of failed to reach the top - the last by mere yards.

In 1906, Browne was a member of Frederick Cook's expedition. Cook later claimed to have summited with another member of the expedition, but this was eventually proved false by photographs taken during Browne's second expedition - the Parker-Browne Expedition of 1910.  These photographs show that Cook's peak is actually a much lower peak several miles from the real summit.
Cook's "Fake Peak" at left
showing its relative height to the
real peak (right arrow)
Browne Photographing the
"Fake Peak" during one of the
Parker-Browne Expeditions
The third expedition missed the top by yards.  Severe storms kept the party from the top, despite several attempts to reach it.  This may have been providential as the glacier the expedition members were camped on shattered only hours after they had started back down the mountain. The first true summit of Mt. McKinley was finally achieved by Stuck and Karstens in 1913.
Page from Browne's
Stikine Trip Sketch Book, 1902

In addition to numerous photographs (prints, negatives, and lantern slides) of the various Mt. McKinley expeditions, Browne's papers contain his sketchbooks and diaries as well as scrapbooks and clippings.

Ask for Stef Mss 190. A paper guide to the collection is available in Rauner.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is Not My Word Like Fire

Long before he dreamed of Dartmouth College, Eleazer Wheelock was a key player in "The Great Awakening." The religious revival of the 1740s enflamed church and civil life in New England. Its stern vision of personal piety and salvation challenged the delicate balance of Puritan life. For Wheelock, the fervor was both religious and physical: this two-week preaching schedule scrawled on the back of some sermon notes shows Wheelock’s popularity as an evangelist. "Upon the Sabbath here, Monday at Hebron, Tuesday at Colchester, Wednesday at Goshen…." And in a letter from 1742, he wrote, "The week before last I preachd 10 sermons... last week I preachd 10 times again... I am exceedingly worn out with constant labour and much watching."

Letter - June 28, 1742
Our current exhibit, "Is Not My Word Like Fire," looks at the Great Awakening and Wheelock's participation. It will be up through the end of June in our Class of 1965 Galleries. You can see Wheelock's itinerary anytime by asking for MS 940, Box 2. The letter is Mss 742378.