Friday, October 20, 2017

Illustrated Iberia


An engraving of the Iberian peninsula with hand-colored borders to mark the separate regions.
This week at Rauner Library, we hosted a high school class that was studying the history of Spain. That gave us an opportunity to explore the Bryant Spanish Collection at Dartmouth College. This phenomenal collection was begun in 1952 and now consists of over several thousand volumes of books in Spanish and books that reflect the culture and history of Spain. The collection was created by William "Junior" Bryant, class of 1925, with the assistance of Dartmouth's Associate Librarian Harold Rugg, class of 1906. Bryant had taken a class from Rugg during his student days at Dartmouth and had fallen in love with books as a result. Over several decades, Bryant worked with Rugg and his successor Edward Lathem, class of 1951, to curate an amazing gathering of texts that is rich in archeological works, histories of Spanish towns and institutions, dictionaries, travel guides, art books, philology, various ethnic groups within Spain, and geography.

While selecting materials for the Spanish class, we came across many fascinating items, including a
A hand-colored engraving of the entire world, represented as two circles to portray both sides of the globe.
pocket atlas that was printed in Madrid in 1711. The charming little volume is filled with fold-out illustrations and maps, most of which have been hand-colored with enthusiasm, if not with care. The map of Spain colorfully divides the country into clear regions, and there is a delightful map of the heavens that shows all of the creatures of the zodiac filling the sky. The engraving of the entire world includes a representation of California as an island and some random mountains above it, a signal that the reader's guess is as good as the engraver's or author's as to what awaits future explorers to the region. One of the high school students was struck by the fact that these images of the world would have been taken as fact for Spanish people of the 1700s, despite their many inaccuracies. For us, helping to provide these sorts of intellectual discoveries is even more exciting than finding a lost treasure among our stacks.

To explore Francisco de Afferden's Atlas Abreviando, come to Rauner and ask for Bryant G1015 .A3 1711.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dear Peter Pan

Watercolor of pirate ship with Tick TockLess than a year after Peter Pan's debut in London, the play came to Broadway starring Maude Adams in the title role. She was a spectacular success, and the play helped to cement her reputation as one of the most popular actresses of her era. She was inundated with fan mail, very little of which made it into the collection of her papers here in Rauner. But, one thing she saved was a book of artwork made by a class from the Francis Parker School.

The cover letter is absolutely adorable:
Dear Peter Pan,
This is our Thanksgiving to you for the pleasure you have been to us for many days.
Letter from second graders to Peter Pan
What follows is the creative interpretation of the play by a class of second graders in 1906. We thought you would like to see a little of what they sent to Maude.
Collage image of children flying through the window

Watercolor of lost boys in the woods
 Watercolor of sword fight

 You can see the whole booklet by asking for MS-285, Box 1.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Protector of the Indians?

Frontispiece of De Las Casas's "A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies," displaying violences committed against indigenous peoples by the Spaniards.
If you live in the Americas, there is a good chance that your country celebrated Columbus Day this past Monday. In the United States, the holidays of both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples' Day now uneasily occupy the same date on our calendar here in the United States. In some regions of the country, Columbus is seen in such a negative light that his holiday is not recognized at all. In particular, Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota, do not formally celebrate Columbus Day.

The controversy over Columbus that has raged on social media this week, combined with a Writing 5 class on Monday that explored world-building through word and image, has us thinking about the early days of exploration by the Spanish government on this continent. One of the books that we used in the class was a 1598 edition of Bartolome De Las Casas's A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. De Las Casas was one of the first Spanish colonists to arrive in the new world; he immigrated with his father to Hispaniola with he was about eighteen years old. De Las Casas was originally a slave owner who controlled an estate that garnered him profits via the encomienda labor system, which gave the beneficiary the legal right to own a number of indigenous
An engraving that depicts Spaniards burning indigenous people to death in a house while an indigenous women is hanged from a tree outside the building.
people in exchange for protecting Spanish interests in the region. He and his family knew the Columbuses because they had sailed with them to the Americas; Diego Columbus, Christopher's eldest son, was the Governor of the Indies during De Las Casas's time in Hispaniola.

However, in his early thirties, De Las Casas had a change of heart; he had witnessed the atrocities visited upon the indigenous community by their Spanish overlords, and was deeply troubled by the abuse and exploitation he witnessed. In 1515, he gave up his slaves and his resulting profits from their labor and instead began to advocate on behalf of the indigenous population in the Spanish Americas. He eventually entered the Dominican order and became a zealous proponent for ending the physical abuse and cruel treatment of native peoples. Ultimately, De Las Casas would be appointed to the administrative office of Protector of the Indians and serve as a liaison, advisor, and advocate for indigenous peoples and the rulers of the Spanish colonies. De Las Casas was by no means a singularly heroic figure; he had many flaws, including a belief in slavery as an acceptable practice that stayed with him for many years. Still, he made some small advances in a more humane official approach to treatment of colonized people by the Spanish government.

An engraving that depicts Spaniards overthrowing indigenous leadership
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies was one of De Las Casas's most powerful writings, sent to King Philip II of Spain after its publication in 1552. De Las Casas intended the book to be a wake-up call to the Spanish people because he feared for the state of their souls if they continued their abusive and exploitative treatment of other cultures. The already controversial text was later independently illustrated by a Dutch Protestant, Theodor de Bry, whose graphic depictions of horrific violence enacted by the Spanish soldiers shifted the emphasis of the text from jeremiad to anti-Spanish propaganda.

To see more of de Bry's engravings, or to engage with De Las Casas's argument in Latin, come to Rauner and ask to see McGregor 33.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The "Nansen passport"

Nansen passport circa 1929
"Nansen passport." From
United Nations High Commission for Refugees,
Nansen Centennial, 1961.
Although he started out his public life as an explorer, Fridjtjof Nansen was also renowned for his humanitarian work, especially his efforts in the various refugee crises that erupted after the First World War.

Nansen earned early fame as the leader of the first team to cross the interior of Greenland - he skied across in 1888 - and for his attempt to reach the North Pole. Though he didn't quite make it to the Pole, he came within a few degrees - again skiing the final leg of the journey. We've blogged about the ads that filled out his serialized Farthest North.

During his work for the League of Nations, Nansen was deeply involved in resettling Russian refugees following the Revolution. One of the innovations he introduced was the "Nansen passport," an identity document accepted by numerous governments which granted displaced and stateless people the ability to travel across international borders. For this and other efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.

Though most of Rauner's Nansen material focuses on his polar explorations, we do hold a few items related to his humanitarian work, including a letter to Gilbert Murray from 1926 in which he discusses "the saddest affair I have ever been connected with." Though Nansen doesn't specify the subject, he may be alluding to his work resettling Armenians following the attempted genocide by the Ottoman Empire.

Nansen letter to Gilbert Murray, March 1926

A guide is available for Stef Mss-156.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Scattered Poetry

Close up of a page from Fragments of Light showing cut circles of silver mylarWe previously blogged a truly spectacular manuscript Sufi prayer book. We were taken by it as a physical manifestation of the mystical teachings of Sufism. It now has a modern companion that complements it by scattering light and text in a translation of Rumi's poetry.

Vincent FitzGerald cut out lines of Rumi's verse on shiny Mylar pages, then used a steel plate backing to anchor his Fragments of Light 4 (New York, 2009). The result is a play of light and poetry that both "mirrors" the poems and reflects the reader (and photographer!) onto them.

Two-page spread of Fragments of Light showing mylar reflection
Come take a look by asking for Presses K298rufr.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Revolution!

Worker standing over slain "marauder" in propaganda poster from Russian RevolutionWe just put up a new exhibit, "Revolution!" that is full of really flashy materials reflecting the exuberance and experimentation of many artists and writers right after the October 1917 Russian Revolution. So, of course, today we give you the most bland looking thing in the exhibit. We think it deserves its own moment in the sun uneclipsed by the bold designs surrounding it.

Letter sent by Thomas Cotton to his family.This is a letter written by Thomas Cotton, Dartmouth Class of 1917, from Moscow on November 30th, 1917. He had just graduated from Dartmouth, headed out to Russia to do work with the YMCA, and found himself smack-dab in the middle of the Russian Revolution. His letter home to his family is full of chatty news: he tells them of social events going on around town for Americans; gives an account of running into his "old college chum" just arrived ("the old grinnin' son-of-a-gun he is worth ten ordinary men"); and relays Thanksgiving and Christmas wishes. But he also takes time to reassure them of his safety in a quiet reference to the turmoil:
By this time you people have quit worring [sic] about the safty [sic] of yours truly. Of course there's a lot of excitement at the front but there has been no danger come to any of our men yet. I am sure that the Russian people are the last on earth that would harm Americans.
Come in and take a look at the exhibit now through November 10th. After that, you can see Cotton's letters by asking for MS-632.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of the War

Title page to Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book of hte WarIn May, the Dartmouth College Library was abe to acquire the 1866 edition of Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, the most powerful and most well-known collection of photographs from the Civil War. It contains 100 original albumen silver prints, each mounted on lithographed cards and bound into two volumes. It was published in an edition of no more than 200 sets and includes many of the most celebrated and recognizable images of the war such as: "Burial Party, Cold Harbor"; "A Harvest of Death"; "Field Where General Reynolds Fell, Battle of Gettysburg"; and "President Lincoln on Battle-Field of Antietam.” The acquisition was made possible by a generous bequest by Hans Penner formerly of the Religion department.

"Harvest of Death" from Gardner's Photographic Sketch Book showing dead soldiers on the field of Gettysburg
To celebrate this amazing acquisition we are hosting a half-day symposium on September 25th, “Civil War Object Lessons: Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War as Relic, Monument, and Narrative” to which you are most cordially invited. We will be featuring two visiting speakers, Elizabeth Athens from the Worcester Art Museum, and Elizabeth Young from Mount Holyoke College, as well as two panels of Dartmouth faculty and staff to discuss how the book will be used in their teaching and research.

"Gettysburg" showing the fields around Gettysburg, PA
The symposium runs from 12:45-5:45, and all of the presentations will be held in the Kreindler Conference Room (Room 41) in the Haldeman Center. You can find the schedule here. If you can't make it to the symposium, sometime when you are free, come to Rauner and ask for Rare E468.7 G19 1866.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Return of an Old Friend

Antiphonal in Preservation labWe have a really amazing old Antiphonal that lives in our reading room. It is a beast of a book that can take a lot of use, so it is a good thing to have out. When it arrived, it was pretty beat up--some of the metal bosses were missing, a chunk of the back board had broken off, and it needed some cleaning. Still, it was made to be used, and we were able to use it for teaching and to satisfy people's curiosity fairly well. Then our terrific colleagues in Preservation Services had a vision to not only stabilize the book, but also have the work be a learning opportunity across campus.

New metal bosses being designed
They got the campus Jewelry Studio involved in creating new bosses based on the existing ones, and the Woodworking Shop built out the missing piece of the back board. Our conservator, Deborah Howe, worked with everyone to reassemble the book, and now it is back home in our reading room ready to be used again.

Back board being reparied with new wood
Come on in whenever we are open to take a look at it. The work they did is almost as amazing as the book itself!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rudolph as the New Red Meat

A photograph of a reindeer digging in the snow to reach food beneath its surface
In the early 20th century, there was great concern in the United States over the rise in beef consumption which was outstripping supplies. In Alaska, a couple of brothers had already come up with a possible solution. They founded an Alaskan meatpacking company in 1914 that focused on reindeer meat as an alternative to beef. The Lomen Reindeer Corporation, founded by Carl and Alfred Lomen, began with an initial purchase of 1,200 reindeer from a Laplander immigrant to Alaska. They then proceeded to dominate the export of reindeer meat from Alaska to the Lower 48, shutting down competition and selling over six million pounds of reindeer meat by the end of the 1920s.

Part of the Lomen brothers' success hinged upon their aggressive and widespread marketing partnership with Macy's. In the winter of 1926, they supplied live reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh for the various Christmas spectacles associated with the department store chain all over the country. Although reindeer had been connected to Santa for a long time before this marketing stunt, some would argue that this forever united the two in the minds of America's children.

An advertisement from Fisher's Flouring Mills Company that has the headline "Is It Hard to Imagine 160,000 Reindeer?" and has a drawing of a reindeer herd, an Inuit herder, a dog-sled team, and a bag of flour.One advertisement that we found recently in our collection is a great reflection of the impact that the Lomens had on both the reindeer industry and Santa Claus. An undated newspaper ad for Fisher's Flouring Mills Company tells the history of the Lomen brothers and their vision. The ad copy states that reindeer herding will make the "simple Eskimo" as "wealthy as his prairie cousin, the Indian oil baron of Oklahoma," and claims that native women have integrated Fisher's flour into their everyday cooking routine. Given that the "prairie cousins" didn't really fare as well as this advertisement suggests, we can't help but wonder if, much like Santa Claus, the incredible amount of money that reindeer herds were supposed to provide for the Inuit turned out to be an imaginary figure as well.

To see this advertisement, and learn more about reindeer as food, come to Rauner and explore the papers of Vilhjalmur Stefansson (MSS-98), box 15. To see more photographs of Arctic life, ask for the papers of Clarence L. Andrews (MSS-4).

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Against All Odds

“Noon in Mid-Winter” by W. H. Brown from Ten coloured views taken during the Arctic expedition of Her Majesty’s ships ‘Enterprise’ and ‘Investigator,Last Spring, we worked with Ross Virginia's Environmental Studies 15 class known as "Pole to Pole." It was a large class, 51 students, and their final project was focused on the search for the Northwest Passage. Each student mined our phenomenal Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration and, together as a group, they built an online exhibit tracing the history of the search with an emphasis on Sir John Hope Franklin. After a little tweaking over the summer, the exhibit, Against All Odds, is now live and open for viewing.

We hope you enjoy it. And remember, everything they used, you can come in and use yourself. It is a lot safer to explore the Northwest Passage here in Rauner than up north!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Yours Truly"

Letters quoted in text concerning Orozco painting in Baker LibraryWhen Jose Clemente Orozco created the stunning murals in Baker Library, concerned almuni and members of the public heaped criticism on President Ernest Hopkins for allowing such a thing to happen. For the most part, Hopkins courteously responded to the criticism. He supported the decision to bring Orozco to Dartmouth and defended the painting even though it expressed political views contrary to his own.

But one writer clearly got under his skin. A member of the National Arts Club wrote to Hopkins, "Does it seem fitting that in these times when American artists are starving that a College of the standing of Dartmouth College should go to Mexico for its Fresco--such monstrosities could as well be perpetrated by a disordered mind--in the United States?" The writer continued, "Are we training youth to deliberately cultivate all that is not moral or fine or beautiful? Why not run a sewer through your library--or hang mirrors to distort their reflection. The value in art is beauty--not this horrible stuff."

Hopkins, perhaps resenting that this letter came from someone not affiliated with Dartmouth, and also perhaps succumbing his gender bias, responded with curt furor:
I can reply very briefly and very definitely to the inquiries of your letter, that it is based on personal prejudice and unjustified presumptions. In view of the fact that I concede none of your premises upon which you base your argument, I naturally cannot have any interest in your conclusion.
He then jauntily signed off, "Yours truly."

To see the letters, ask for DP-11, Box 6928, Folder 14 (you'll find other critical letters there, with much friendlier replies).

Friday, September 1, 2017

Extra Illustrated Lincoln

SIgnature of Jefferson DavisIf you are a collector of stuff related to someone like Abraham Lincoln, how do you go about saving it and displaying it to its best advantage? A little scrap of paper with Jefferson Davis's signature is easy to lose, but it is likely to be one of the prizes of your collection. Framing it on the wall is a bit over the top, so why not tuck it into a book about Lincoln in an appropriate spot? Or better, bind it in, so it will never slip out and get lost.

That is exactly what one early 20th-century collector did. He took dozens of paper artifacts of Lincoln and had a copy of a finely printed Abraham Lincoln: A Biographic Essay disbound then reassembled with relics interspersed. There are images of Lincoln, scraps of manuscripts and other artifacts bound into the book.

Boradside concerning the Fugitive Slave Bill
Our favorite is a broadside issued somewhere in the northern states in response to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act. It contains the text of the act, bordered in black to symbolize a nation in mourning.

"Black List" calling out Northern Congressmen who voted for the bill
But in the corner is a calling out of the votes cast in favor of the act by congressmen from free states, thirty in all. It is is like a precursor to social media shaming of elected officials for their votes--though here the social media was a piece of paper pinned to a board in a public place.

To see it ask for Rare E459.8 S37 copy 2. The broadside is in part 1, between pages 72 and 73.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Demolition of Dartmouth

Opening stanza to Freneau's On the Demolition of Dartmouth CollegeFor one of the most iconic views of the College, Dartmouth Hall has quite a fraught history.  Though many people know that the old College Hall, as the building used to be known, burned down twice, few are aware that its first restoration actually occurred in the late 18th century, after students tore the structure down late one night. Ephraim Smedley, class of 1793, wrote in his diary that “The demolition of the old Hall happened on Dec. ye 3 A.D. 1789 about 7 o'clock in the evening there were seventy five of students, in number who combined for that purpose.” Apparently, the buildings were in such terrible shape that they were almost a danger to the members of the College. Work to restore the old College Hall had been frustratingly slow, and the students took it upon themselves to incentivize more rapid progress.

Interestingly, most of the story can be pieced together by looking at small references to the event in a number of different sources; Smedley includes only the one sentence in his journal entry for that day, instead focusing on the readings he had completed and other details of his schoolwork. Another letter similarly includes only one brief inquiry into the events. A student’s historical exploration of the history of Dartmouth Hall briefly recounts the students’ motivations for their “nocturnal visitation,” concluding that “not even the College officers were sorry to see it go,” and that the students’ actions had the desired effect of speeding up the restoration process.

Detail of letter to John Wheelcock asking about the destruction of the College
Our favorite retelling of the event is Philip Freneau’s poem “On the Demolition of Dartmouth College.” By no means the most reliable account (Freneau wasn’t even present that evening) it is certainly the most fun! Freneau adds some (possibly imagined) elements to the story, including the ringing of the College bells to call students to action, and an impassioned speech from the reluctantly awakened “reverend man that college gentry awes” that was largely ignored by students more focused on their mission. In a testament to its playful humor and clearly fantastically imagined nature, the poem concludes “So, three huzzas they gave, and fir’d a round,/Then homeward trudg’d—half drunk—but safe and sound.”

Closing stanza to Freneu's On the Demolition of Dartmouth College
To trace the story of the Demolition of the College Hall yourself, come in and ask for MS 789558, MS 790159, D.C. Hist. LD1440 D3 L4, and Val 815 F88 L2.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dartmouth Republicans

A portrait of Amos Tuck taken in 1859, when he was 49 years old.
Last week we blogged about an influential Dartmouth alum, Salmon P. Chase, who was a member of Abraham Lincoln's cabinet as the Secretary of the Treasury from 1861 through 1864. He later went on to become the sixth Chief Justice of the United States. This week, we found a fascinating document connected to Chase hiding among the papers of another famous Dartmouth alum and lawyer, Amos Tuck. A member of the class of 1835, Tuck was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1842. Originally a member of the Democratic party, he rejected their pro-slavery stance and was disavowed by the party. He then proceeded to run, and win, as an independent before gathering a convention to support an anti-slavery congressional candidate named John P. Hale.

This convention was the spark that was ultimately responsible for the creation of the Republican
Amos Tuck's naval commission signed by Abraham Lincoln and Salmon ChaseParty in New Hampshire. In 1853, Tuck convened a secret meeting of men who were opposed to slavery and suggested that they create a party called  the "Republicans." Following on the heels of this successful meeting, Tuck assisted in the formal creation of the state party in 1856. Soon after, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1856 and 1860. Some historians assert that Abraham Lincoln, a personal friend of Tuck, would never have received the presidential nomination if not for his efforts.

A portrait of an old Amos TuckAfter leaving politics, Tuck received a naval officer's commission and was stationed in Boston during the Civil War. Here at Rauner, we have the document itself, which was signed by both Abraham Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase. One wonders how much of the war really reached Tuck in Boston, although there were riots in the city in 1863 over the attempt to draft large numbers of Irish immigrants into the Union Army. Regardless, Tuck knew enough of the horrors of war to persuade his son Edward, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1862, to pay a fee to avoid being conscripted. After the war, Amos would go on to make a fortune in the railroad business; Edward would later use railroad stock to found the Amos Tuck School of Administration and Finance at Dartmouth College in honor of his father.

To learn more about Amos Tuck, come to Rauner and explore the Tuck Family Papers (MS-442) and Amos Tuck 1835's alumni file.

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Why I Must Say No, Again"

Front cover of the May-June 1960 issue of Rights magazine, including a photograph of protestors on the sidewalk holding signs with messages of support for Uphaus. In November 1950, Willard Uphaus, religious educator and executive secretary of the National Religion and Labor Foundation was invited to attend the World Peace Congress in Warsaw as a member of the US delegation. A committed pacifist, Uphaus had been warned that subversive elements, i.e. Communists "were cynically exploiting the passionate desire for peace to gain world domination" and that they would be dominating the Congress. Uphaus, however, disagreed. He knew that churchmen, like himself, would be there as well as many others who, despite being labeled "subversive," had a “deep and genuine desire for peace.” The Congress went well and at the end of it, Uphaus and others had the opportunity to visit Moscow through the Soviet Peace Committee. The trip was an eye-opener for Uphaus, confirming in him the desire to work even harder to foster American and Soviet friendship. Unfortunately, when he returned to the States he found himself "the spinning center of a tornado, one of the tornados spawned in the panic storm that culminated in what has become known to the world as McCarthyism."

An excerpt from the Saturday edition New Haven Evening Register, April 16, 1960, explaining who Dr. Uphaus is, what the World Fellowship is, and fundraising requests for the Fellowship and for Uphaus's legal fees.As a result of his trip to Moscow, Uphaus was forced to resign from the National Religion and Labor Foundation. He soon found another outlet for his peace activism when he became the co-director of the American Peace Crusade. Over the next several years he was “caught up in this great movement, with the war in Korea "lending a terrible urgency” to his cause. And then the World Fellowship of Faiths knocked on his door. Finding their mission completely in sync with his own, he and his wife became co-directors of the World Fellowship Center in Conway, New Hampshire in 1953. It was then that his trip to Russia came to haunt him.

The red and black cover of a publication titled "Excerpts relating to Willard Uphaus and World Fellowship Inc., from Subversive Activities in New Hampshire. Report of the Attorney General to the New Hampshire General Court. January 5, 1955.The case began with two critical articles about the Center in the Manchester Union Leader in September 1953; "Pro-Red Takes over New Hampshire Fellowship Group," proclaimed one. In response, New Hampshire's Attorney General Louis C. Wyman began to investigate the Center and in particular Willard Uphaus under the Subversive Activities Act of 1951. Uphaus was subpoenaed twice in 1954. During his second round of questioning he was asked to turn over the Fellowship's 1954 guest list and the correspondence with prospective speakers. He refused: "I told the Court that I could not in good conscience comply since doing so would be in violation of biblical teachings against false witness, our Bill of Rights which protects freedom of religion and assembly, and the teachings of my church against 'guilt of association'."

A press release by Uphaus for delivery at a rally in support of the First Amendment New York Center on Nov. 5, 1959. It is titled "Why I Must Say 'No' Again."
Uphaus felt that handing over the names "would make him a contemptible talebearer against people who, to his knowledge, had never done anything to injure the state or the country." For a while it looked as if the case could be resolved based on jurisdiction since Uphaus was a resident of Connecticut. However, on December 14, 1959, after several appeals, Uphaus was charged with contempt of court and sentenced to one year in in Boscawan Jail in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. He was released on December 11, 1960.

To learn more about Willard Uphaus’ legal fight and activism, his work with the Fellowship of Faiths, the National Religion and Labor Foundation, and the American Peace Crusade ask for the Willard Uphaus papers (MS-1077).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Delineating the Eclipse

detail from delineation of eclipse showing local time199 years ago, here in Hanover, a student displayed his mastery over mathematics and astronomy by delineating a solar eclipse as it would appear in Hanover on August 27, 1821. Unlike the total eclipse North America will experience next week, it was an annular eclipse, so there would have been a ring of fire around the moon as it almost blocked out the sun.

Document illustrating the angle of the eclipseBut like the eclipse next week, the one in 1821 would have only been a partial eclipse here in Hanover. The full force of it cut across the southern states as it moved out into the Atlantic. Event here in the North, it still provided a teachable moment that required computational and drafting skill. In this particular case, it was also an excuse to show off impeccable handwriting.

Detail of delineation of eclipse giving attribution to Nathaneal Cogswell
To view this solar eclipse, you don't have to travel far, just ask for MS 818416.1.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Vermont's Appeal...

Textual title page to Vermont's Appeal...well, this time of the year it is the weather and the blueberries, but Stephen Bradley had something different in mind in 1779. At the time, the newly independent states of New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts all had various claims on chunks of land in Vermont. It had not been one of the original colonies, but was being actively settled and contested, and of course was the site of several major Revolutionary War battles.

Inscription by Stephen Bradley to Colonel Sims of VirginiaBradley advocated for Vermont's standing as an independent state and the arguments laid out in this pamphlet were instrumental in Vermont's eventual admittance to the Union as the 14th state in 1790. Our copy is inscribed by the author to Colonel Charles Sims of Virginia, a lawyer with considerable political clout in the new republic whose support Bradley would need.

To see our copy, ask for McGregor 23.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Attorney General of Fugitive Slaves

scribbled note by Salmon Chase reading "Can Congress make wrong right?" followed by his signature.
With Congress taking a break for August after a series of failed efforts to legislate, we thought the following note especially apropos. Written by Salmon P. Chase in 1873, it says very simply, "Can Congress make wrong right?" Chase famously was the Secretary of the Treasury during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln and will be familiar to anyone who has read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. After winning the election of 1860, Lincoln reportedly said, "The very first thing that I settled in my mind was that two great leaders of the [Republican] party should occupy the two first places in my cabinet -- Seward and Chase." At the time, Chase was a newly-minted United States senator from Ohio who had been one of Lincoln's chief competitors at the Republican National Convention.

A photograph of Salmon P. Chase seated looking off to the right with his hands folded in his lap and his legs crossed.Before Chase became Secretary of the Treasury and then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he was simply a local boy from Cornish, New Hampshire. The town, now associated with Augustus Saint Gaudens and the Cornish Colony, was originally settled by Chase's grandparents. When Chase was sixteen years old, he enrolled at Dartmouth College as a junior and graduated two years later at the age of eighteen as a member of the class of 1826. Eventually, he would move to Cincinnati and be pejoratively known as the "Attorney General of Fugitive Slaves" because of his fierce anti-slavery views and willing defense of fugitive slaves. He went on to organize the Liberty and Free Soil parties in Ohio and eventually became governor of that state.

Here at Rauner, we have a small collection of correspondence from Chase as well as an alumni file.
One of the letters, written to a Judge Smith in August of 1860, several months after Chase's defeat at the convention, states that he holds no ill will for any of the people who voted for Lincoln. Rather, he prefers "the triumph of the cause to the success of any body, whether myself or another." He goes on to say that "the characters and abilities of Mr. Lincoln " provide some measure of hope for the party and its goals. Roughly a year later, he would join Lincoln's team of rivals.

First page of letter from Chase to SmithSecond letter of Chase to Smith

To explore the Salmon P. Chase letters, come to Rauner and ask for MS-103. You can also have a look at his significant alumni file while you're here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Versatile Spuddy

photograph of Sturgis 'Spuddy' Pishon in his football uniform, hands on hips.
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the United States' formal involvement in World War I. However, many Americans had already been serving in Europe, either in the Foreign Legion or in support roles such as ambulance or supply truck drivers. By the time the war had officially ended on November 11, 1918, over a hundred Dartmouth men had died as a result of the war. One of those who lost his life was Sturgis "Spuddy" Pishon, a member of the class of 1910 and a lieutenant in the U. S. Army's 341st Aero Squadron. Pishon's plane crashed during a training mission and he died soon afterward in the Post Hospital.

Spuddy was the epitome of heteronormative masculinity: he was a quarterback on the football team and regarded as one of the greatest Dartmouth football players of his time. Captain Galiher, Pishon's commanding officer, takes great pains to emphasize the manliness of his death. In his letter to Spuddy's sister Elizabeth, he claims that the young lieutenant "died like an American; he went down with his machine and retained consciousness up to the time of his death." Later in the letter, Galiher underscores that Pishon "died like a man."

first page of letter to Pishon's sister from Captain Galihersecond page of letter to Pishon's sister from Captain Galiher

Interestingly enough, none of the obituaries about or memorials to Spuddy mention his involvement with the Dartmouth Players, the drama club on campus. In the spring of his senior year, he played the role of Caroline, the daughter of the Earl of Dartmouth, in an operetta titled "The Pea Green Earl." Apparently, dressing as a woman for Dartmouth productions was hardly a one-time lark for the quarterback and future aviator; in the review for the operetta, it states that Pishon "contributes a three-year experience in female roles to the performance." One of the reasons Spuddy might have had so many female parts is because he was fairly short at five feet three inches. On the back of the photograph of him in costume, someone wrote, "Versatile Spuddy" and "The beloved Spuddy Pishon whose gridiron, stage and war records are part of Dartmouth's history."

To learn more about Spuddy Pishon's life, come to Rauner and ask to see his alumni file. To learn more about the Dartmouth Players, come explore their records (DO-60).