Friday, July 21, 2017

Faces of Aeneas

Detail showing Aeneas from Ogibly's edition
Ogilby's Aeneas
You don't really think of classical characters being altered by 17th-century political turmoil, but the face of Aeneas, Virgil's hero in the Aeneid, was transformed toward the end of the century based on the political leanings of two publishers: John Ogilby and Jacob Tonson.

At least one scholar has suggested that Ogilby’s Aeneid, printed in 1654, pays homage to Charles II in its representations of Aeneas, whose round face and black mustache bears a strong resemblance to the king in his youth. It is probably not a coincidence that Ogilby was tapped to participate in the planning of Charles’s coronation in 1660; that same year, he also published his translation of Homer’s Iliad, which he dedicated to Charles.

Detail showing Aeneas from Tonson's edition
Tonson's Aeneas
Tonson’s edition of the Aeneid is a more complex political creature than Ogilby’s for many reasons. As a founder of the Whig Kit-Cat Club, he would not have been an eager supporter of Charles II. However, Tonson purchased the original engraving plates from Ogilby’s Aeneid for use in Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s works, which meant potentially including images of Charles II in his 1697 edition. As a result, Tonson paid an anonymous engraver to alter the images of Aeneas that looked most like Charles II so that the monarch’s tell-tale mustache was eliminated or obscured.

Close up of Aeneas showing Charles II's nose and mustache
Charles II as Aeneas
Close up of Aeneas clean shaven with Willian III's hook nose
William III as Aeneas

Moreover, John Dryden was Catholic and a staunch supporter of the recently deposed James II, to the extent that he had openly refused to take the oaths of allegiance to William III and Mary II when they took the throne in 1689. As such, Dryden refused to dedicate his translation of the Aeneid to William. This introduced a potential problem for Tonson, whose ability to publish in England relied on the king’s explicit approval. As a solution, to counteract Dryden’s Jacobite leanings in the text, Tonson hired an anonymous engraver to alter further some of Ogilby’s original plates of Aeneas so that the Trojan hero would share William III’s distinctive Roman nose.

Both books are currently on display (through Labor Day) in the Class of 1965 Galleries in our exhibit, "Adorn'd with Sculptures." After that, you can request them by asking for Rare PA6807.A1D7 1697 for the Tonson edition. We are still cataloging the Ogilby--which we just acquired!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rocks and a Hard Place

Broadside Verso: "Auction Sale Will be sold at PUBLIC AUCTION, on TUESDAY, the 30th day of MARCH inst., at 10 o'clock, A. M., the following property, viz.: The FARM on which I now live..."
Farming in New Hampshire has never been an easy proposition. Although the overwhelming number of boulders that fill the fields have been a great source of stone for house foundations and picturesque walls, they've also made clearing and planting particularly difficult. In addition, New Hampshire soil is acidic and thin, which makes growing anything a supremely challenging endeavor. It makes sense, then, that most traditional farms in New Hampshire in the 1800s were slowly abandoned by their owners, either for mill jobs in urban centers or for a new farming life in the west where rich soil abounded.

Broadside verso with four different family member letters and an address (the broadside must have been folded up and sealed as an envelope).At Rauner, we have a wonderful broadside that is a perfect illustration of how farming in New Hampshire became a dead end for all but a few hearty (and perhaps foolhardy) souls. In March of 1847, the Dow family of Hanover, New Hampshire, had had enough of the struggle. With plans to head west for better climes, they commissioned a broadside advertising the auction of their farm, including several fruit and maple trees, "one valuable mare," farming implements, and even books.

Our copy of this broadside has personal relevance for the Dow family beyond the sale of their property: on the back of the single sheet are numerous letters written to two of the Dow sisters who were currently working in the mills in Methuen, Massachusetts. Their sister Julia, mother Polly, father A. D. (Agrippa Dow) and brother Lewis all take some time and space to jot down messages to the girls, and their distinct personalities emerge from their words. Julia teases one of her sisters by asking if she wouldn't like to come home and help her with spinning now that she's been a "factory girl" for so long. Their mother says that she can't say much because it's washing day but frets that her daughters won't think much of the log cabin that the family will be living in after the move. The younger brother, Lewis, is happy that school is over. The patriarch of the family, Agrippa Dow, simply asks, "Will you go? Will you go?"

A close-up image of the father's text which reads "Will you go? Will you go? A.D."

To see the Dow family's group letter and auction poster, come to Rauner and ask for MSS 847214.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Sitter for Little Liza

Letter text in body of psot
We were answering a reference question today out of Charles Jackson's papers and we stumbled on a sweet little moment. Jackson was friends with Judy Garland and Ira Gershwin, and in a letter dated April 15, [1946], Gershwin writes:
We went up to see Judy and the baby. The baby is lovely but Judy isn't recovering as well as she'd like. Nothing serious though as she and Vincente expect to come here for dinner during the week.
I guess little one-month-old Liza Minnelli had a baby sitter that week!

To see the letter, ask for MS-1070, Box 1, Folder 45. There are also some letters between Judy Garland and Charles Jackson in the collection.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Camp Fire Girls

Wood display type poster for Camp Fire Girls Festival in 1912The Camp Fire Girls were founded just up the road from here in Thetford, Vermont, to give girls the same opportunities their bothers had in the Boy Scouts. We just acquired this poster from their 1912 festival with "The First Fire Maker" as the main performance. This complements correspondence between Percy MacKaye and Camp Fire Girls founders, and Luther and Charlotte Gulick. Percy, a multi-talented writer contributed to the first Camp Fire Girls songbook, and appears to have been a friend of the fledgling progressive organization.

The poster is a great example of local printing (the Vermonter Press) from wood display type. It simple layout combines with the rich red ink to make an immediate impact.

We are still cataloging this one, but we will add the call number when we have it (and here it is! Broadside 912640). To see the Gulick's letters to Percy MacKaye, ask for ML-5, Box 39, Folder 10.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Vacation Battles

Willey House photograph ftramed with pen and ink sketch of rustic boardsIn July 1864, a group of wealthy women and one gentleman set off on an excursion "to rusticate a few weeks among the mountains." They brought along a camera and took pictures along the way. When they returned, they had a book privately printed, a copy for each member of the party, with photographic prints framed with hand done decorations.

Image of one of the tirp participants framed with pen and ink ivyIt is an exquisite book commemorating their travels, but one has to wonder about their sense of place and time. While they rusticated and admired the natural wonders of the White Mountains, the country was still in the midst of the Civil War, when battles were being waged across the South. At one point the author notes a parallel, but one that reflects a distance from reality:
From this point it had been our purpose, if possible, to make the ascent of Mt. Washington on horseback, a method more congenial to our taste than the usual, though less fatiguing, one in a carriage from the Glen. But the haze! that pertinacious foe, adopting Gen. Sherman's tactics, had constantly flanked us since we started from Bethel; now, with provoking tenacity, it seemed to be taking position in our front up the mountain, and concentrating to dispute our passage.
Eventually they made it to the top, but the "battlements" of a storm came upon them and they had a "council of war" in the hotel parlor to decide what to do. In despair, they settled on a retreat to the bowling alley for nine pins. The rhetoric of war is not surprising, but it is a bit shocking how they could compare their lack of a view with the horrors of Sherman's march. Perhaps these families were more insulated from the war than most.

photo of flowers fromed with pen and ink drawing of tree branchs
The book is a fascinating view into their lives, views of nature, and their sense of adventure in a time of national calamity. To see it, ask for White Mountains F41.32 A465.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dissolution of a Confederacy

First page of two of Washington's letterThis Fourth of July, we celebrate the 241st Independence Day of the United States of America. However, despite the traditional association of this date with the birth of our nation, the battle for independence had begun more than a year before in April 1775 with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Soon after, fearing an invasion from the north, the Continental Congress authorized the invasion of Quebec. This campaign, which culminated in the Battle of Quebec on December 31st, 1775, was a disastrous failure and resulted in the death of American General Richard Montgomery and the wounding of Benedict Arnold. After many months of a protracted siege of the city, the Americans retreated in disarray in May 1776 amidst a smallpox outbreak within their ranks.

One of the major concerns of the Continental Congress which prompted the ill-advised invasion of Canada was the question of whether the Native American tribes in the region would choose to side with Great Britain or with the colonists. The Iroquois Confederacy, or the Six Nations as they were known then, was a particularly powerful regional alliance of the Mohawk, Onondega, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora tribes. The Iroquois weren't in a position to stay neutral for long, although they initially endeavored to do so; their lands were too close to the theaters of war and they were wary of further encroachment by either the British or their colonists should they stand by and do nothing.
Second page of two of Washington's letter
Aware of the importance of sustaining the Six Nations' neutrality for as long as possible, George Washington wrote a letter to them in February 1776, during the Continental Army's siege of Quebec. The letter is addressed to Joseph Johnson, a "missioner to the Six Nations," and asks him to communicate to the Iroquois that "we can withstand all the force, which those who want to rob us of our lands and our houses, can send against us." Washington further emphasizes that they can look upon him, "whom the Whole United Colonies have chosen to be their Chief Warrior," as their brother. He asks the Iroquois to stay neutral so that "the chain of friendship...should always remain bright between" them. However, despite Washington's hope, the Six Nations ultimately dissolved their confederacy, with some tribes siding with the colonists and the others taking up arms for the British.

To see this letter, and other letters by George Washington, come to Rauner and ask for the George Washington Collection (MS-1033), Box 1.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sachem Howl

First page of the transcript.
 We've blogged before about our amazing first City Lights edition of Allen Ginsberg's Howl, published in 1956, as well as the unique mimeograph of the poem that Ginsberg sent to the poet Richard Eberhart, complete with manuscript corrections in Ginsberg's own hand. Recently, while answering a reference question about the Sachem Oration, we discovered a Dartmouth alum's homage to Ginsberg's groundbreaking work. Previously, many speakers had delivered their traditionally humorous oration in a false old-timey accent meant to harken back to Eleazar Wheelock and the foundation of the college. H. Dutton Foster, member of the class of 1961 and the chosen Sachem Orator for his cohort, decided instead to take a more modern approach to the honor.

Second page of the transcript."I saw the second-best minds of my generation filed alphabetically in Parkhurst Hall," the speech begins, "Leaving their owners empty-headed, facing alone the dreadful I.B.M., / My brothers of sixty-one, Campion-clad, waiting for the sheepskin key to the magic forest of crisp green dollar bills, / Who trundled into Hanover, four years ago, from America's highschools and prepschools [sic] and  reform schools." Foster continues with such choice lines as, "I'm with you, sixty-one, / taking a Herb West course, and telling him that your mother wants you to get an A," or "I'm with you at Dick's House, / putting the thermometer under your armpit because you have an hour exam coming up." In conclusion, Foster says, "Goodbye, Dartmouth! It wasn't as bad as I make it look: we love you, even if we are critical! It's your own fault for lighting candles in our minds!"

To read the entire transcript of the 1961 Sachem Oration, or those from many other years, come to Rauner and ask for the "Sachem Oration 1947-1969" folder in Box 7443 from the Upper Class Deans Records (DA-673).