Friday, June 22, 2018

Webster Hall Thronged

Last lines of letter from Booker T. Washington showing signatureDoing some research for a reference question this week, we ran across a headline in The Dartmouth from April 1908 that caught our attention: "Webster Hall Thronged to Hear Booker T. Washington." Since we reside in the venerable old Webster Hall, it was inspirational to think of him addressing the student body here in the building that had just recently opened. It took a while to build Webster Hall because it was interrupted by the need to rebuild Dartmouth Hall after it burned. But, it was seven years earlier, at the laying of the cornerstone of Webster Hall, that Booker T. Washington was again on campus to receive an honorary doctorate. So, he was here, at least on this site, twice!

The signature above is from the thank you letter Washington sent to President Tucker after the honorary degree was conferred:
You cannot appreciate how very deeply I am moved by reason of the fact that Dartmouth College has seen its way clear to confer upon me the degree of Doctor of Laws.  I cannot in the slightest degree feel I am worthy of such a distinguished honor, but I wish to assure you and your trustees that that I am deeply grateful for this recognition and that I shall accept it and try to make my work in the future for the upbuilding of the race prove that no mistake has been made. I count it as an honor as well as a great privilege to be one of the alumni of one of the oldest, most conservative and useful institution of learning in our country.
To see the letter, ask for MS 901557.1.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Juneteenth and the First African-American Novel

portrait engraving of William Wells Brown
Today is the annual celebration of Juneteenth, a mash-up of "June Ninteenth," which marks the day that two thousand Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to promptly announce that emancipation had arrived. General Gordon Granger read aloud the following words, among others, to a crowd that had gathered to listen to his report from the federal government: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free." In 1997, over a hundred and thirty years later, the United States Congress formally recognized the celebration. Just this year, Apple Computers added the day to its iOS calendars as an official US holiday.

Title page of Clotelle, 4th edition, 1867Because Texas history isn't really our forte, we don't have any documents from that historical and momentous event. However, we do have a novel that shows the dramatic impact of emancipation, reflected in revisions made to the book by its author after the close of the Civil War. Clotel; or, The President's Daughter, was written by William Wells Brown and first published in London in 1853. Brown was himself a runaway slave who was living in Europe at the time; he was fairly well known in the United States because of his wildly popular autobiography, Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave, which was published in 1847. Brown had left the United States in 1849 to lecture in Europe about the evils of slavery, the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 made his return to the U.S. a risky prospect. He eventually returned to the American continent in 1854 after his freedom was purchased by wealthy benefactors in England.

Frontispiece from Clotelle, showing a room of wealthy white men seated around a table and an African-American standing on the table.Brown's Clotel, which later became Clotelle, was the first novel published by an African-American. In it, Brown relates the experiences of many African-American slaves in the United States, doubtless influenced and informed by his own life. As such, the novel changes and grows with each edition. The first American edition, printed as a dime novel in 1864, was titled Clotelle; A Tale of the Southern States. The fourth and final edition, which we have here at Rauner, was published in 1867 and is titled Clotelle; or the Colored Heroine. In the first edition, Clotel is chased through the streets of Washington D.C. by slave catchers and ultimately kills herself by jumping into the Potomac River from the Long Bridge. However, the ending to the fourth edition evinces some of the hope and joy that some of the onlookers must have felt in Galveston on June 19th upon learning of their emancipation. In the last edition of the novel, Clotelle marries her lover Jerome in the United States (instead of in France, as in previous editions) and then becomes an army nurse and travels to Andersonville Prison in Georgia to care for Union prisoners of war.

To see our edition of Clotelle, come to Rauner and ask for Rare PS1139.B9 C5 1867. To read William Wells Brown's autobiography, ask for Rare E444 .B88.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Death's Dominion

Listing for the week of August 29 to September 5, 1665.We were lucky enough to acquire a kind of miraculous survival of the Great Plague: ten of the weekly death tallies issued in London during 1665 as the plague ravaged the city. They list all deaths within the city and their causes. Turning from one week to the next, you can watch the classic epidemic curve play out in hard numbers as they were presented at the time.

The listing is harrowing--from 2,012 plague deaths the week of July 25th, to 6,978 death during the last week of August. When you factor in how many people lied to avoid quarantine, the total death toll is staggering. At the bottom of each weekly list, looking almost like an advertisement, there is a note on the price of bread dictated by the Lord Mayor. Imagine what the scene must have been as the epidemic spread and an increasingly proportion of the city's inhabitants fell ill or died. Basic services broke down. The Lord Mayor's assize of bread was an attempt to regulate the price of a basic human need that was becoming scare in nightmarish cityscape where price gouging threatened the already suffering populous. A penny bought a nine and a half ounce wheaten loaf; white loaves cost an additional half penny.
Close up showing assize for bread and weekly plague death total of 6,978
These broadsides give an immediacy to books like Defoe's Diary of a Plague Year published over fifty years later. To see them, ask for Rare HB1416.L8 D5.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Costumes of the East

The frontispiece of The Oriental Album by H. J. Van-Lennep
One of our favorite genres of book at Rauner is the costume book, which is usually a collection of images that display the various forms of dress that people wear from all over the world. Although the historical accuracy of these images can often be suspect, they are fascinating to explore, if only to get a sense of how American or European culture perceived other races and peoples over a hundred years ago. At Rauner, we have a beautiful first edition of The Oriental Album by Henry Van-Lennep, who was a missionary to Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman empire for twenty years (1840-1860). Although Van-Lennep was born to European merchants in Smyrna, he was educated in the United States, and so he returned here in 1861 to transform the many drawings that he had made of the Turkish people while abroad into a printed book.

The result was The Oriental Album, published in New York in 1862. There are twenty
A chromolithographic print of a Turkish woman without her veil and a young child
chromolithographic prints in this oversized album, each purporting to represent a different common figure or type of person in Turkish or Ottoman society. Each image is accompanied by paternalistic, moralizing, and sometimes incorrect descriptions of the individuals that are represented. For example, for the image of the "Turkish Woman (unveiled)," Van-Lennep says that "the custom of ages and the requirements of the Koran have produced in the female sex a strong sense of real shame, which does not allow them to let any part of their faces appear besides their eyes."

Despite the inaccuracies and questionable representations of the Ottoman Empire and its people, Van-Lennep's Oriental Album was one of the few large chromolithographic works created during the 1860s in America and is still considered by some to be the best American costume book created during the 19th century.

To flip through Van-Lennep's book of beautiful images, come to Rauner and ask to see Rare DR432 .V3 1862.

Friday, June 8, 2018

50 Years Ago...

Budd Schulberg and Jimmy Breslin among a crowd in the kitchen of the Ambasador HotelThe Class of 1968 is back on campus now to lead the class of 2018 into Commencement. Fifty years ago this week, they were deep in their final exams and preparing for Senior Week. But another Dartmouth alumnus, Budd Schulberg '36, was in Los Angeles following Robert Kennedy's run for the Democratic nomination for President. That week he witnessed the second earth shattering assassination of the year.

This photograph taken by Harry Benson, shows the chaos in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel on the night of June 5th, 1968. The distraught man in the center with the white hair is Schulberg. Off in the right hand corner is Jimmy Breslin, who had written the famous account of JFK's funeral that was centered on the grave digger.

Schulberg and others writers had just met with Bobby on the night of the California primary. They were standing nearby when he was shot and were among the first people to rush at Sirhan Sirhan. As you would imagine the event had a lasting effect on Schulberg and he wrote about it several times.

To see the photograph and read Schulberg's thoughts on Bobby Kennedy, ask for MS-978, Box 25.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dartmouth Blues

A portrait photo of Hildreth, most likely as a college senior.
With commencement only a few days away, we happened to stumble upon some images of a past graduation ceremony inside an alum's personal photograph album. Charles L. Hildreth was a member of the class of 1901 who grew up in Westford, Massachusetts. After graduating from Dartmouth College, he attended Harvard Law School and became a practicing attorney in Lowell, Massachusetts, for many years before dying there at the age of eighty-eight.

What makes Hildreth's photographs truly remarkable is not merely the
A group of men and women standing near Bartlett Tower.crispness of the images, but also that they are all cyanotypes. A cyanotype is an image made by employing a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print; engineering blueprints are probably the most familiar example of the process. We have a few examples of these fascinating images here at Rauner, and Hildreth's are some of the best of them. The image of men and women wearing their turn-of-the-century finest while crowded near the stump of the Old Pine, for example, is a fascinating look into the fashion of the time. It's hard to believe that they were wearing so many layers at that time of year.

A group of men and women listen to an orator on the lawn in front of Dartmouth Hall.
Another image, one of my favorites, shows a group of people gathered in front of Dartmouth Hall with Rollins Chapel in the background. On the steps of Dartmouth Hall, initially unremarkable, stands what appears to be a studio camera, complete with black hood for the photographer to hide behind. While two men fuss with the camera, the crowd listens to an orator perform. These are only two of the many remarkable cyanotypes from the album; there are also some fantastic images of the bonfire tower, both before and after being set ablaze. To turn the pages of Hildreth's book, come to Dartmouth and ask to see Iconography 1574.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Larger than Life

Photo of Augustus Saint-Gaudens looking into the camera and smoking a cigar
Recently, we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire. They borrowed several documents from our Augustus Saint-Gaudens papers to round out an exhibit on the American sculptor--the first major display of his work in New England in over thirty years. When our materials came back to us after several months away, it provided an opportunity to reflect upon the accomplishments of one of the most important American artists of his generation.

Initial sketch of Standing Lincoln monument, including dimensionsSaint-Gaudens is perhaps best known for his bronze bas-relief on Boston Common, the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. However, we were reminded today of another influential work that Shaw completed in 1887 at the age of thirty-nine: Abraham Lincoln: The Man. Often referred to as Standing Lincoln, Shaw's massive 12-
foot statue stands on a pedestal in Lincoln Park in Chicago. Saint-Gaudens was specially selected to cast the giant monument, a fitting choice in part because the artist held the late president in high esteem and had been at his inauguration. The initial sketches that Saint-Gaudens made of the monument evince his attention to detail, all the way down to the pedestal decorations.

initial sketch of small detail for monument pedestal base
The influence of Standing Lincoln on both the public and other artists was significant. Numerous replicas were made and now stand in places as far-flung as London and Mexico City. Smaller replicas were cast by Saint-Gaudens' widow, Augusta, after his death and now reside in art museums all over the country. The local significance of this statue is also worth mentioning: Standing Lincoln was the first monument completed by Saint-Gaudens in Cornish, New Hampshire, where one of his friends had lured him with the promise that the area had "many Lincoln-shaped men." Saint-Gaudens would become so enamored of Cornish that he decided to establish his studio there. Saint-Gaudens' presence attracted like-minded artists that included important figures like the painter Maxfield Parrish and the American novelist Winston Churchill. The regular but informal gathering of these artists every summer eventually morphed into an extended social network that would come to be called the Cornish Colony. Today, the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site is the only national park system site in the state of New Hampshire (other than our portion of the Appalachian Trail).

To explore the Augustus Saint-Gaudens papers, come to Rauner and ask for boxes from ML-4.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The World in Your Hand

Title page showing globeI pulled this book off the shelf just because it was so cute: a book less than 4 1/2 inches tall boasting "Atlas" from 1601 on the spine. I expected a few fold out maps, but I found the whole world compressed between the pages. It is based on a pocket atlas issued by Plantin in 1590--it might even use the same plates. Each page opening gives you a short textual description on the verso and an engraved map on the recto.

Map of AfricaMost of Europe gets detailed treatment, but all of the Americas (North and South) are relegated to one map--the same is true for Africa. What is the purpose of an atlas like this? It can't get you anywhere, and it doesn't have enough information or detail to give you a good sense of any of the places depicted. Maybe it was some kind of power thing--a statement of ownership or dominance. Or, just a quick reference guide for the geographically confused.

Two-page spread showing text and map of Zelandia
To judge for yourself, ask for McGregor 131.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

In the Still Watches of the Night

Color pencil sketch of bowlYou wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration--an idea that may be gold, or may just seem good when you are semi-conscious. Usually we just forget them, but can pretend in the morning that they were genius.

In 1935, Maxfield Parrish sketched out, both textually and literally, one of these moments in a letter to his son Max, who was trying to earn a little extra money as a carver:
I awoke in the still watches of the night and thought a body might turn an honest penny at some arts and crafts show by buying one of those big maple wood bowls at a hardware store and carve the rim and color it, somewhat like the scheme of color of the pohengles. And he might put on some kind of savagely ornamented handles too. I simply mention it. No, it needn't look anything like the object portrayed below.
At the bottom of the page, Parrish sketched a beautiful bowl in color pencil. Parrish worked the carriage of his typewriter to frame it in the left margin--an artist at work.

This is just one example of some the of materials we had out for a class earlier this week that had been studying Van Gogh's lavishly illustrated letters. The highlight was Andrew Wyeth's blueberries.

To see the Parrish sketch, ask for ML-62, Box 6, Folder 8.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sparring with Mailer

On November 23, 1952, Budd Schulberg wrote a review of Picture by Lillian Ross for the New York Times Book Review. Ross, who was a New Yorker writer at the time, had written five articles for on John Huston’s filming of The Red Badge of Courage which she turned into a novel—the subject of Schulberg’s review.

In his review Schulberg was critical of Ross’s attempt at impartiality to the subject matter- Hollywood and its movers and shakers. However, he conceded that the book presented “Hollywood’s more heroic attitudes as well as its more foolish and familiar ones.” Among the many book reviews Schulberg did during his lifetime, this one does not stand out in any particular way, except that it provoked a verbal sparring with another writer, Norman Mailer.

Mailer, in a letter to the editor of the New York Times Book Review rebuked Schulberg’s review of the book accusing him of being more “concerned with reviewing his attitude to Hollywood than Miss Ross’ book.” Mailer also felt that “Mr. Schulberg was doing his piece in such a way as to offend not a single important person in the Hollywood community.”
Three weeks later, Schulberg responded. Acknowledging a brief acquaintance with Mailer, he reminds him that in years past such a “calculated insult like your letter to the Times” might have led to a different response. However, Schulberg felt that “words seem to be the only weapons handy to the occasion” pointing out that Mailer was impugning his honor rather than his judgment and that he would normally “have classified your letter as the crack-pot kind I usually choose to ignore.” He continues that he was “struck by the callowness of your assumption that our differing opinions of Miss Ross’s book reflected your courageous honesty and my craven insincerity. This reeks of the black-and-white self-righteousness that makes clear thinking so difficult these days.” Schulberg than proceeds for another page and a half to defend and analyze his review while dissecting Mailer’s arguments. “I hasten to add, however, that I am not accusing you of having written it [the letter] in order to worm your way into the good graces of Miss Ross or The New Yorker.”

Norman Mailer did not lose any time responding to Schulberg as a week later he wrote another letter, this one directly to Schulberg in which he apologized for not having sent his initial letter directly to the latter, arguing that the reason for that was that he could not bear “a certain kind of book reviewing” and that it was more important to him “that the editor hear it for whatever my two cents are worth than the critic.” He continues to admonish Schulberg accusing him of doing something “which as an author rather than a critic is unforgiveable.”
Whether a book is good or terrible the labor put into it deserved the respect of treating the book as something in and of itself rather than as a tumbling board for the reviewer. I mean, look Budd, really and truly who gives a damn how many times you read the book, how you discussed it with your family… . The fact of the matter is that you spent, as I remember, what with chatting and synopsis, about three quarters of your review before you could get to judgement, and I don’t have to tell you that a writer reads his review for the judgement.
After a short treatise on “Impartiality and tact,” Mailer eventually gets to an apology.

Now for slandering you. All right, I did and there are nine chances in ten that I was wrong and hasty, and for those nine chances I owe an apology. But why in the devil must you feel that I must assume that you are pure and incorruptible. Who is?... Where I erred and where I do feel ashamed is imputing a vulgar conscious motive to you – I would have resented it just as much…. I feel I was wrong in writing the letter the way I did, and I think you were wrong in writing the kind of review you did. Let’s leave it this way.
We are currently re-processing some of Budd Schulberg’s correspondence. If you want to read the verbal sparring in its entirety ask for MS 978, Box 33, Folder 7.

Here is the original book review by Budd Schulberg, "What Makes Hollywood Run?"

Friday, May 18, 2018

Seeing Las Vegas

Photomontage of Las VegasThere has been a great deal of excitement on campus around the Library’s acquisition of the Mario Puzo Papers. Of course, Puzo is most well-known for writing the novel The Godfather and its subsequent screenplays, but his papers also reveal that he was a prodigious writer who worked across a range of literary forms. Alongside The Godfather material, drafts of scripts for superhero and disaster movies, a young adult novella, pithy works of cultural criticism, and memoiristic essays are also present in the collection. Puzo’s Inside Las Vegas (1977)—a sort of love letter from the author to the City of Sin (he was a self-described “degenerate gambler”)—appears to be a particularly unique publication in Puzo’s oeuvre. This is due to its inclusion of a corresponding photo essay that documents, in both black and white and color, the spectacle of life on the Vegas Strip.

Candid shot of showgirl in dressing roomThe striking photographs in Inside Las Vegas are both journalistic and artistic in nature. Black and white portraits of working show girls and newlyweds are depicted in a documentary style with compositional precision. Cityscapes, printed in color, are littered with bright lights and at times border on abstraction. Original prints of many of the book’s images (as well as others that were not selected for publication) can be found in Puzo’s papers.

While Inside Las Vegas as a whole offers revealing insights into Puzo’s vision of Las Vegas, taken separately, the photographs themselves have broader relevance to important currents in the history of photo journalism. John Launois, Michael Abramson, and Susan Fowler-Gallagher, the photographers responsible for the images in the book, were represented by Howard Chapnick at the famous New York City Black Star photo agency. Black Star was founded in 1935 in New York City by Earnest Mayer, Kurt Safrasnki and Kurt Kornfeld, Jewish emigres who had fled Nazi Germany and brought with them their knowledge of the increasingly popular format of photojournalism and the extended photo essay. Safranski, in particular, had previously worked at Berliner Ilustrite Zeitung (BIZ), the weekly German publication that is often considered the pioneer of photojournalism.

Posed shot of couple outside of a wedding chapelBlack Star quickly became the gold standard in commercial photography throughout a substantial portion of the twentieth century. Life magazine, founded just a year after Black Star in 1936, was one of the agency’s earliest and most important clients, and other notable clients would include The Saturday Evening Post, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek. In major outlets such as these, Black Star photographers helped to bring some of the most iconic images of the mid-twentieth century to the broader American public. They were responsible for documenting the historic events that have come to define the era: the assassination of JFK, the march on Selma, the fall of the Berlin Wall, just to name a few. Even Andy Warhol, who often repurposed journalistic images and symbols of pop-culture, used an image from a Black Star photographer in his Race Riot (1964) (it reproduced Charles Moore’s Life magazine photographs of black protestors being attacked by police dogs in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963).

John Launois, one of the photographers who worked on Puzo’s Inside Las Vegas book, also documented Malcolm X's pilgrimage to Egypt, and shot the recognizable images of a young Bob Dylan on his motorcycle which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1964. Michael Abramson, also a contributor to Inside Las Vegas, was a Chicago-based photographer who documented the black night club scene in the '70s and '80s to critical acclaim. His work is now found in the permanent collections at the Smithsonian and the Chicago Art Institute, among others.

While the Mario Puzo papers provide researchers a valuable new archive for examining “obvious” topics, such as literary depictions of Italian Americans, it may also open doors to more unexpected finds. A brief investigation into the esteemed Black Star photographers who collaborated on Mario Puzo’s Inside Las Vegas suggests something of the high status that Puzo had achieved in the publishing world by 1977—eight years after the publication of The Godfather, and five years after Godfather II won a best picture Oscar. But this collection may also offer unexpected riches for scholars and researchers such as those interested in this important group of midcentury photojournalists.

You can ask for MS-1371 to see more. As soon as the finding aid is ready, we will post a link here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Anti-Tom Novel

Title page to Uncle Phillis's CabinSoon after Uncle Tom's Cabin shook America in 1852, there was quick and vigorous backlash against Harriet Beecher Stowe and her portrayal of the institution of slavery, so much so that Stowe issued a "Key" to Uncle Tom's Cabin that cited sources for every atrocity detailed in the novel. One common attack against Stowe's work was the "Anti-Tom Novel." We have a copy of the best seller of the genre, Aunt Phillis's Cabin, or, Southern Life As it Is, by Mary Eastman. Our copy is from 1852 and is already boasting of 10,000 copies sold. You can imagine the basic plot and action of these books--slavery is depicted as a benign institution where harmony and contentment overwhelm the few bad instances that get all the press. It is propaganda, pure and simple.
Social Friends Book plate, Class of 1858

What is odd about our copy is that it was part of the Social Friends Library. The Social Friends was a student organization that had a library that rivaled the Dartmouth College Library and served many of the students' needs. But, for the most part, Dartmouth students were abolitionists or sympathetic to the abolitionist movement. What was the book doing there? It was presented by William Kimball, Class of 1858. His brief biography doesn't suggest much about his political leanings one way or another: the son of a reverend, he was born in Concord, New Hampshire, and moved to Kickapoo, Texas, where he was a teacher; he died young in 1865. Perhaps he was pro-slavery and donated this book to insert his viewpoint on campus, or, just as likely, he gave the book so students could understand their enemy. There is nothing here to tell us: his motivation remains a mystery.

To take a look, ask for Rare PS1567 .E23 A86 1852. Stowe's "Key" is Rare E449 .S8959.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"That is not Budweiser"

Three students eating lunch and drinking beer near Lake Champlain. Caption includes "That is Not Budweiser""
When you think of Prohibition Era rum running, images of Al Capone and gang warfare pop right to the fore. But sometimes it was a little more wholesome, as we recently discovered. While researching the Ledyard Canoe Club for the exhibit currently on display here in Rauner Library, Jaime Eeg discovered tales of Lake Champlain "expeditions" in 1931. How convenient it was to paddle up across the Canadian border, pick up some supplies then silently paddle back south. Just good clean exercise that would never draw the attention of anyone in law enforcement!

The reason we have such great documentation of the Ledyard Canoe Club, and why we can tell this story today is because of the collecting savvy and generosity of Jay Evans '49, who passed away last month. Jay was a guiding force both locally and nationally in kayaking and canoeing and he will be sorely missed by the Dartmouth community.

Fritz Meyer '33 and John Titcomb '32 in canoe with beer
The exhibit will be up through June 15th, so stop by and take a look. After that, ask for DO-31.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sexuality and Silence: An Unresolved Mystery in the Archives

Photograph of Arthur Soule, class of 1908, in character as a woman in the Dartmouth Players' production of "For One Night and One Night Only."
"Here boys is what they used for women in Dartmouth College plays in the days when Colby was just another college away off in Maine."
 – Larry Griswold ’08

For a college that would not admit women until 1972, the idea that men could cross-dress as women characters and be celebrated may seem preposterous. However, Dartmouth Theater has a long history of "female impersonators," a term which back then was used to describe men who regularly played women in theater productions. From the College’s founding in 1769 until 1925, Dartmouth Theater productions, which were predominantly performed by the group called the Dartmouth Players, only had men in the cast. In 1925, forty-seven years before the college would become co-educational, the Players began casting women in their productions. At face value, one might assume a "forward thinking mindset" was growing on campus. As I culled through the litany of hand-written letters, playbills and magazine articles, I discovered that this was not the case. Instead, it appears that fear and tragedy are the cause.

In 1921, four years prior to the integration of women into Dartmouth Theater, President Hopkins writes to Doctor Bancroft, a friend and psychologist, that "[he] is exceedingly anxious to send one of
First page of President Hopkins's letter to Dr. Bancroft
our boys down to talk with you because I feel certain of the advantage that it will be to him to feel free to talk with somebody…I do not think that in his case abnormality has gone any detrimental extent as yet…"

The student in question is James Harvey D. Zuckerman. Zuckerman is a junior at this time and a member of the Dartmouth Players. He is also one of their female impersonators and played one of the leading ladies in the past fall’s production.

President Hopkins is very aware of this background as he writes to Bancroft and, as common for his letters addressing these subjects, he dances around the issue with his descriptions of "unnatural instincts" that are "out of keeping" with Dartmouth’s values:

"Sometime I want to talk with some of your authorities on mental hygiene in regard to the general problem of whether playing girls’ parts in the dramatic performances make a man effeminate or whether being effeminate qualifies him for playing girls’ parts. I am considered, among the dramatic group, as being unduly concerned on the question and if so I want to get over it. The fact is, however, that we have had a distinct tendency among a considerable number of the men who have played the so-called leads in girl characters to develop exotic or unnatural instincts which are thoroughly out of keeping with what the College means to stand for."

Perhaps uncharacteristically, President Hopkins’s next few sentences are rather direct:

Second page of President Hopkins's letter to Dr. Bancroft
"In one case, three years ago, the boy wandered off from Hanover and safeguarded the College reputation to the extent that he committed suicide in New York rather than here, but the underlying fact was that his affection for one of his dramatic club associates was not only unappreciated but was rebuffed."

The correspondence never fully concludes whether or not "playing girls' parts" is the cause of the "exotic or unnatural instincts" of which President Hopkins is so concerned.

While there is a lot to unpack in President Hopkins' anxieties surrounding the gender performance of the Dartmouth Players, I was shocked by the story about the student who committed suicide and how much President Hopkins knew about the incident. His information about the student's "affection" for another Dartmouth Player and that this affection "was rebuffed" made me believe there was an investigation surrounding the incident. As such, I thought it would be fairly easy to figure out who this student was – President Hopkins even gave a timeframe: "three years ago." However, as I searched through records of students who would have been at Dartmouth in 1917, 1918, or 1919, there was no other information about the incident.

The 1940 catalog, which lists graduates and non-graduates of Dartmouth up through 1940, does not have any student who fits President Hopkins' description. The catalog places an "*" beside the names of alumni who passed away by 1940 along with a description of death. From 1911 to 1921, there is no student, either graduate or non-graduate who fits the given information.

Furthermore, no Dartmouth Players listed in the playbills died under mysterious circumstances: their alumni files describe their long lives after graduation. However, there are only two playbills from 1916-1919 which means some names could be missing. The Aegis includes some of the cast lists, but this is also not comprehensive, and, of the Players listed, none died by 1921.

There is one interesting letter from a Mr. Axtell to President Hopkins in which Mr. Axtell discusses that his son will respond to these inquiries after returning from service abroad. His son, F. Donovan Axtell, was elected Assistant Director of the Dartmouth Dramatic Association for 1917-1918, the years in question. However, there is no reply from F. Donovan Axtell to President Hopkins or any other correspondences. There are also no other indications in the records that President Hopkins wrote to any other members of the Directorate.

In the 1919 Aegis, there is an "In Memoriam" page for Norman Kingsley Pearce, Assistant Business Manager of the Dartmouth Dramatic Association. According to an article in the Dartmouth, he passed away suddenly on April 15th, 1918 in Mary Hitchcock Hospital due to sudden complications with a cold. He received an operation in Mary Hitchcock which slightly assisted in his recovery before losing consciousness and passing away shortly thereafter.

Who is the student that President Hopkins refers to in his letter to Bancroft? I have no clue. Perhaps President Hopkins over-embellished in the hope of gaining Bancroft’s support for intervention? It is possible. Perhaps the information has been lost or even purposefully excluded. Both of these are also possible, and we may never know which one is correct. What we do know is that the archives seem to be silent on this question, leaving us to wonder why.

To explore this mystery for yourself, or to learn more about the Dartmouth Players, come to Rauner and ask to browse the Dartmouth Players records (DO-60, box 6522, Folder 21 “For One Night and One Night Only”) and President Hopkin's Presidential Papers (DP-11, Box 6764, Folder 101 “Undergraduates S-Z”).

Posted for Katie Carithers '20, recipient of a Rauner Student Research Fellowship for the 2018 Spring term. The Rauner Student Research Fellowships provide full funding for a Dartmouth student to conduct research with primary sources during an off-term on a topic of their choosing. For more information, visit the fellowship's website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day

Title page of Cesar Chavez with letter from Geoge McGovern pasted in along with other clippingsIt is a fitting day to feature a very curious book in our collection. It is a copy of Jacques Levy's Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa, but one that has been transformed and re-titled "Journal of Protest" by Dr. George Margolis, professor of Pathology at the Dartmouth Medical School from 1963-1982. Margolis chose a book about someone he most admired to collect his own story of protest by pasting the book full of mementos of his fight for social justice.

Margolis was an advocate for diversifying the medical profession by actively recruiting minorities into the field. He also protested the Vietnam War and was co-founder of the New Hampshire chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, but he had a particular attraction to Chavez's movement to organize migrant farm labor.
Letter from Susan Drake, secretary to Cesar Chavez, to Dr. Margolis

The book is plastered with letters and news clippings from Margolis's rabble rousing as well as his personal reflections on his successes and failures. It is an odd example of a kind of cultural appropriation. He literally obscures the words of the book with his own memories, but simultaneously pays homage to Chavez--seemingly trying to meld their work into one. But, does his work blot out Chavez's work? Or, does Margolis see Chavez as a power so strong that he can support Margolis's own labors?

Letter from United Farm Workers to Margolis thanking him for donation to support strike against Gallo
To judge for yourself, ask for Rare R707.M37 1993.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Art of Photography

Photogravure of an old man looking at a marble statue of a womanThis last week, Rauner welcomed art history professor Katie Hornstein's History of Photography class for an hour-long romp through some of the most amazing books related to photography. Some of the gems included Gardner's Sketch Book of the Civil War and autographed prints by Margaret Bourke-White that were published in Erskine Caldwell's You Have Seen Their Faces. Another beautiful work that the students explored was Camera Work, a photography journal edited by Alfred Stieglitz that ran from 1903 through 1917.

Photogravure of a nude woman kneeling with her back to the camera and her arms clutching her headAlfred Stieglitz is often credited for the eventual acceptance of photography as an legitimate art form in the 20th century. He was also known as a promoter of modern art and ran several New York art galleries and was the husband of artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Shortly after 1902 Stieglitz founded a movement called the Photo-Secession that disavowed all traditional definitions of what constituted a photograph. This included a rejection of the oppressive control that contemporary institutions, galleries, and art schools had over the determination of what could and could not be considered art.

Photogravure of an adolescent looking at the camera smuglyCamera Work was a vehicle for promoting this movement by showcasing the work of the Photo-Secessionists, primarily through high-quality photogravure reproductions of film positives that had been transferred to a copper plate. Stieglitz's insistence on perfection in these reproductions was such that, at least in one instance, the photogravures were hung in a gallery exhibition instead of the actual prints, whose delivery had been delayed.

At Rauner, we are fortunate to have a complete run of Stieglitz's groundbreaking publication. To see more of the stunning photogravures in any of Rauner's fifty volumes (in twenty-four issues), come to the reference desk and ask to see Rare TR1 .C5.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


It is national poetry month, so we just put up a small display of some gems from the collection. The two jaw droppers are a manuscript poem by Phillis Wheatley in her immaculate hand, and the mimeograph copy of the Howl that Allen Ginsberg sent to Richard Eberhart. But there are some other amazing things as well: manuscript poems by Frost and Wordsworth, and beautiful printing of Rilke and others. 

Stop by and take a look. The case is just inside the front doors and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

From Inner Space to Outer Space

Artificial heart modelWhen he was a child, Arthur R. Kantrowitz and his younger brother Adrian liked to build things.  Using old radio parts, they constructed an electrocardiograph on the table in their Bronx kitchen in the 1920s. As the brothers grew up their paths diverged. Adrian became a physician and heart surgeon, while Arthur turned to physics and engineering. However, throughout the 1950s and 1960s they continued to collaborate on mechanical inventions that would prolong the life of patients with heart failure, such as the inter-aortic balloon pump (1967) and the left ventricular assist device (1972).

Arthur’s real passion, however, was fluid mechanics, particular the behavior of super-hot gases in confined spaces, which included experiments in nuclear fusion, laser propulsion, magnetohydrodynamics, and supersonic high intensity molecular beams. His invention of the nose cone (“Means for and method of controlling attitude of re-entry vehicle”) for rockets and space vehicles was instrumental in getting both man and machine safely back to earth. Altogether, Kantrowitz held 21 patents including a wide-angle isotope separator, a space vehicle, an axial-flow compressor, and a high-powered laser.

1937 patent diagram for Castering WheelsOne of his earliest inventions, however, was more tangible. In 1937, Kantrowitz submitted a patent request related to caster wheels, in particular the behavior of shimmy in said wheels. He proposed that by permitting the wheel only to move a limited distance “laterally relative to the axis of the castering spindle…the tire deflection is partially neutralized continually and its interaction with the angular motion can be reduced enough to prevent shimmy."  Kantrowitz felt that this application could be of significant importance when it came to a “castering wheel for aircraft and other vehicles.” The patent was approved in September 1939.

Kantrowitz was a scientists his entire life. He was a chief physicist at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1935-1946, after which he taught physics and engineering at Cornell University until 1956, when he founded the Avco-Everett Laboratory in Everett, Massachusetts, which he ran from 1956-1978. In 1978, after his retirement from Avco, he joined the faculty of the Thayer School of Engineering as a part time professor and senior lecturer.

Calculations on Health Care Costs
We recently re-processed Arthur Kantrowitz's papers and looking through them, it is apparent that he never stopped working to improve the life around him. That is probably why, in 1992, he took a look at health care costs, trying to solve a problem that has yet to be solved. Found in a folder entitled “Unfinished calculations,” it seems that he ran out of time. Arthur Kantrowitz died at the age of 95 in 2008, six days after his brother.

You can ask for MS-1097 to see more. As soon as the finding aid is ready, we will post a link here.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Illustrated with a Poem

MacLeish text "Now we don't know" next to Migrant Mother imageWe seem to be obsessing over photograph books lately. Not sure why, but here is another one! In 1938, while the Depression still raged, the poet Archibald MacLeish made use of the Farm Security Administration's invitation to writers to make creative use of their vast photographic collections. MacLeish produced a poem, but rather than use the photographs to illustrate the poem, he reversed the usual format. On the dust jacket blurb, he writes: "Land of the Free" is the opposite of a book of poems illustrated by photographs. It is a book of photographs illustrated by a poem.

MacLeish text "We're wondering" next to image of woman on a cot in a tent
The "poem" is also referred to as a soundtrack, and similarly to how illustrations change the way you read a text, MacLeish's poem alters your vision of the photos.

MacLeish text about a riot next to image of a riot scene
It is a cool interplay of text and image well worth your time. Come in and ask for Land of the Free, Rare E169.M16.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cruise of the "Pandora"

Photo captioned "My last look at the North-West Passage"We have blogged about William Bradford's mammoth photographic ode to the North, Arctic Regions, in the past. We just found in our collections a book that could be considered its little cousin: Allen Young's Cruise of the "Pandora" from 1876. Like Arctic Regions, it uses actual pasted-in photographs as illustrations. The scope and size is considerably smaller (it contains just twelve photos in a book you you can easily hold in your hand), but it shows the same kind of environmental and cultural tourism Bradford displays.

Photo captioned Cape Riley where the first relics of Franklin's Expedition were found."There are photos of Cape Riley "where the first relics of Franklin's Expedition were found"; a sentimental "last look at the North-West Passage": and the quarter deck of the Pandora after a successful hunt. The book also shares Bradford's awe toward the Arctic. Even though the journey had the dual purpose to complete the Northwest Passage and search for Franklin's lost ships, to Young, the region was a place of wonder and beauty.

Photo captioned Quater-deck of Pandora--A mornign's bag
To take a look, ask for Stef G665 1875 .Y5.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Americans

Photograph from The Americans showing a segregated bus in New OrleansIn 1959, as the country began to wake up (again) to its legacy of racism, an artsy photography book by a Swiss-born photographer was issued by Grove Press. It was so unsettling. Robert Frank's masterpiece, The Americans, took a cold, critical look at 1950s America and exposed it in a style evocative of the 1930s Farm Security Administration photographs. It was scorching. Things were supposed to be better now--the Depression was over and we had won the war. But, somehow they weren't.

Cover of French edition of The AmericansJack Kerouac wrote a Beat-inspired introduction that gave the book a counter-culture kick and set Frank up as a poet employing the medium of film and light. What most people didn't realize was that the book of minimally captioned photographs, without text except for Kerouac's short intro, had been released a year earlier in France. The French version contains the same images, but also an extended essay on American history and culture by French poet Alain Bosquet. The essay contextualizes Frank's work and simultaneously uses the images as illustrations. The two books set side by side represent very different aesthetics attempting to do different things for different audiences.

Photo from The American of apartment windows in Hoboken, New Jersey
We are now fortunate to have both "firsts" in our collections. Ask for Rare E169.02 .F713 1958 for Les Américains. The Americans will be cataloged soon. Come take a look and see what has changed and what hasn't.