Friday, September 23, 2022

Exhibit: A Fighting Tradition

Exhibit posterThe Dartmouth College community has been involved in every one of the country's major military engagements, from as far back as the Revolutionary War all the way up to the recent conflicts in the Middle East. For centuries, Dartmouth men and women have carried on a storied tradition of valiant wartime service to the United States of America, serving all around the globe and in all branches of the military.

During the 2022 fall term, an exhibit curated by Ryan Irving '24, current president of the Student Veterans Association, explores this tradition. "A Fighting Tradition: Dartmouth in American Wars" will be on display in Rauner Special Collections Library's Class of 1965 Galleries until December 3rd.

As Irving's exhibit illustrates, this tradition has evolved over the years, as has the college's identity and the nature of its student body. In the first decade of Dartmouth's existence, its connection to war was primarily through alumni involvement. Over the course of the next two centuries, the college's participation in war efforts grew in scope and variety: it saw the creation of student military societies, facilitated the training of soldiers on campus, sponsored military support services, and allowed students to put their college years on pause to enlist.

National unrest over the country's involvement in the Vietnam War was reflected on campus by the formal elimination of ROTC sponsorship due in part to student protest. However, in the early years of James Wright's presidency, and because his influence at a national level, Dartmouth was afforded the opportunity to support the war effort in a new way: by welcoming veterans to campus as students, along with the wealth of experience and diversity that they brought with them.

To see the exhibit while it's on display, come by Webster Hall and visit the exhibit space on our mezzanine. To read more about the exhibit online, visit its website.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Representing Lust (and Chastity!)

Woodcut image of ChastityThe use of emblems was popular during the Baroque time period in Italy and Europe in general, serving as a guide and source of inspiration for artists, poets, and sculptors when they were looking to creatively represent virtues, ideas, or even animals.

Cesare Ripa’s Noua Iconologia, printed in 1618, takes an encyclopedia-like format, alphabetically categorizing his emblems in multiple sections: Main Images (in 3 parts), More Notable Things, Animals, Colors and Metals, Gestures and the Human Body, Artificial Objects, Fish, and Plants. With each emblem description, Ripa also includes allegorical interpretations and references famous philosophers and writers of the time, whose interpretations of a particular object or virtue influenced his depiction of it.

Take the examples of Lust (Libidine) and Chastity (Castità). Ripa writes that the woman that symbolizes Woodcut image of Libidine Chastity in his emblem dresses in white to represent “the purity of the spirit, which maintains this virtue” (“Vestesi questa donna di bianco per rappresentare la purità dell'animo, che mantiene questa virtù.” (77).) and we see an association of colors with the value of chastity, but even more importantly, there is a suggestion that chastity leads to strength and truthfulness of character, as though someone who isn’t chaste is deceitful. Similarly, the emblem of Lust uses a particularly large amount of animal imagery, from beaks to panthers, all of which Ripa says symbolize lust, whose beauty “devours time, money, fame, body, and soul and spits it out becoming a slave to sin and the devil” (“Il che molto è simile alla Libidine, la quale con la bellezza ci lusinga, e tira, poi ci divora, perché ci consuma il tempo, il dannaro, la fama, il corpo, e l'anima istessa ci macchia, e ci avvilisce, facendola serva del peccato, e del demonio.” (312)). This, therefore, adds an element not just of deception, but of monstrosity and of sin, bringing in a religious element as well. Lust, according to Ripa, derives in women not even solely on a sexual level but also on the pursuit of fame and money.

All of this is to say that the use of emblems both had an impact on the time period’s interpretations of virtues, people, and things in the moment, as well as a longer lasting impact when the allegorical interpretation of these virtues are still seen in the present day depictions of values and morality.

To explore the woodcuts of Lust, Chastity, and many more, come to Special Collections and ask to see Rare N7740.R52 1618.

This post was originally written by Diana Alvarado '22 for Nancy Canepa's Italian 23 class, "17th and 18th Century Italian Literature".

Friday, September 9, 2022

New Mini-Exhibit: The Early African American Novel

Frontispiece and title page of ClotelleWe have a new exhibit on display in our foyer: The Early African American Novel. Literature written by African American authors expanded enormously during the 19th century. Autobiographical narratives of enslavement, such as Frederick Douglass's 1845 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Harriet Jacobs's 1861 Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were particularly prominent and influential to the rhetoric of abolition.

At the same time, the African American Novel was developing. This nascent genre dealt with many of the same topics as the autobiographical narrative - such as enslavement, escape, and identity - but in a different literary medium and through a different lens. We've put together a selection of five early works by African American novelists, dating from the mid-1800s to the turn of the century, each important to the growth of that literary tradition. 

Come by the Rauner this September to see the following works on display: William Wells Brown's Clotelle; or, The Colored Heroine: A Tale of the Southern States, Frank J. Webb's The Garies and Their Friends, Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig: Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, Pauline Hopkins's Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South, and Charles W. Chestnutt's The House Behind the Cedars.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Freud and Closing Frontiers

Letter from Stekel to LondonEighty-three years ago this month Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist known globally for the foundation of psychoanalysis, died in London of oral cancer that had first appeared as a benign tumor on his jaw. Freud had been initially diagnosed with the disease in 1923, which was likely a result of his incessant cigar smoking. His earnest desire was to die in Vienna, where he had lived for most of his life after relocating there with his family at the age of four. Because of this, Freud narrowly escaped capture and confinement by the Nazis in 1938. His sons, who had previously lived in Berlin, fled to England and France in 1933, while his daughter Anna stayed in Vienna with him and his wife Martha.

In March 1938, Hitler arrived in Vienna. Soon after, Freud's house and office were ransacked, his passport was confiscated and Anna was taken in for interrogation by the Gestapo. After a significant amount of international pressure, the Freuds were allowed to leave Austria for London in June of 1938. Four of Freud's sisters were not so lucky; unable to secure exit visas, one sister died in the Theresienstadt ghetto and the remaining three were put to death at the Treblinka extermination camp in Poland.

Rumors about the fate of the Freuds spread quickly during the initial days of the Nazi's Austrian occupation, to such an extent that Wilhelm Stekel, one of his former pupils, wrote to a Dr. L. J. London in New Hampshire to ask if he had heard the news about Freud's imprisonment. The real purpose of the letter, however, was to beg London to send him an invitation to come to New Hampshire under the pretenses of participating a medical conference. As Stekel says in his letter, "Please act as quickly as possible because frontiers could be closed at any time."

To see this letter, and correspondence from other noteworthy psychoanalysts like Carl Jung or Fritz Wittels, come to Special Collections and ask to see the L. J. London Papers (MS-1062).

Friday, August 26, 2022

Stokely Carmichael at Dartmouth

Poster for Stokely Carmichael's 1966 talk at Dartmouth College
One of the meta things about working in Rauner Library is that we are situated in the building that used to be the biggest speaker's venue on campus. So, while we hold Dartmouth's history with the College Archives, we are inhabiting a space where history happened. Take this example: in 1966, the recently formed Dartmouth Afro-American Society teamed up with several other organizations on campus and invited Stokely Carmichael to speak. 1,400 students packed the building that is now Rauner Library to hear his speech on Black Power. The D, which misspelled his name repeatedly in its next-day reporting, quoted him as saying, "We are faced now with a situation where powerless conscience is confronted with conscienceless power." Oof, that's a statement that can still be made in a variety of contexts.

An editorial that followed sounded a bit square--concerned over Carmichael's "unfortunate tirade concerning racism," but appreciative of a new, deeper understanding of "Black Power." The bit about the "tirade" leaves us wanting to go back in time and sit with the 1,400 students. We might be more inclined to call it righteous indignation.

To read The D's reports, take a look at the November 13-15, 1966, editions. To see the amazing poster, recently donated by a member of the Class of 1969, ask for the "Lectures, 1960s" folder from the poster collection.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Ancient and Modern Apparel

De gli habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo (Ancient and Modern Apparel of Different Parts of the World) is a seminal work in the field of fashion history, though it perhaps reveals more about the biases of its author than it does about its purported subject. Written in the 1590s by Venetian author and woodcut printer Cesare Vecellio, the treatise contains hundreds of beautifully detailed images of clothing from throughout Afro-Eurasia. During the Baroque era, one's social class, gender, and place of origin could be easily divined based on appearance and clothing. Though this was beginning to change by Vecellio's time, it was still largely true that certain people predictably dressed in a certain way. Vecellio's book was an attempt at documenting these archetypal looks from throughout the world. The treatise is also considered to be an early example of anthropology or ethnography, as Vecellio often discusses the daily habits, routines, traditions, and customs of the people whose clothes he is describing. However, Vecellio is far from a reliable source. His descriptions of foreign cultures are often filled with speculation and stereotypes. He also spends the vast majority of his book describing European dress culture, with only a very small minority of the test devoted to Africa and Asia. (A later edition of the book would also include the Americas). So while Vecellio provides the modern reader with marvelous images and interesting tidbits about dress culture, his work is perhaps best read as a glimpse into the kaleidoscope of stereotypes and tropes through which a late sixteenth century Venetian saw the world. 

This post was originally written by Stephen Iovino '21 for Nancy Canepa's Italian 23 class, 17th and 18th Century Italian Literature. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

A Poet of the Cherokee Nation

Cabinet photograph of Dewitte DuncanWhen Dewitte Duncan was nine years old, the United States government forcibly removed him, his family, and the Cherokee Nation from their ancestral lands in Georgia. The discovery of gold near Duncan's hometown of Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1828 led to the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Over the next decade, numerous Native communities were subjected by the US authorities to what is known as the Trail of Tears, a brutal march west from the Deep South to what is now Oklahoma.

Duncan survived the ordeal and, after gaining an initial education at the Cherokee Male Seminary in Tahlequah, the Cherokee Nation's new capital, he was admitted to the class of 1861 at Dartmouth College. Duncan was the oldest member of the class at the time, graduating at the age of 39, and possessed great intellectual strength and physical presence. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and went on to be an educator in Lisbon and Littleton, New Hampshire, before returning to Oklahoma and serving as a lawyer for the Cherokee Nation. In addition to his legal acumen, he was also a prolific poet who published under his Cherokee name, Too-qua-stee.

Unfortunately, we don't have any of his works of poetry here at Rauner, but we do have an alumni file that contains more information about his life. To examine it, come visit us.