Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Foley House New Year's Resolution

A printed resolution by Foley House.
Aegis, 1971
In January 1971, Foley House, then a fraternity within Dartmouth's Greek system, published a resolution to cease to exist as a fraternity but remain a social organization on campus arguing: "the brothers and sisters of Foley House believe that the fraternities should not and can not play a significant role in Dartmouth College's future as a coeducational institution." It was not a surprising statement from the house that had been bucking the system for several years. Foley House was among the first of the Greek houses to break with their national chapters over race black balling and, in 1966, they dropped their Greek letters and renamed themselves in honor of History Professor and fraternity alumnus, Al Foley. In 1969 they went co-ed before the College by accepting two women as members during one of Dartmouth's co-education weeks--the women were students at Dartmouth, they reasoned.

A set of black and white photographs featuring and wine both and glass, an exterior door to Foley House, and a group of bundled people standing outside in the snow.
Aegis, 1971
At the time of the "resolution," Pilobolus founding-member Robert "Moses" Pendleton, and future Congressman Paul Hodes were both members of the house. But, like so many New Year's resolutions, this one was short lived. Foley House remained in the Greek system for another 15 years. The organization still exists as an affinity house devoted to communal living.

Through the College Archives, you can piece together a rich history of many social organizations on campus. Perhaps you should resolve this year to visit Rauner and explore the history of a part of Dartmouth important to you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Robert Frost's Christmas Cards

A card featuring a print of trees in snow.In his December 24, 1929, letter to Robert Frost, Joseph Blumenthal, head of the Spiral Press, writes that he and his wife feel privileged to have the pleasure of using Frost's poem "Christmas Trees" for their Christmas card that year.

Apparently Frost himself thought the idea a good one; in 1934, he and the Spiral Press began a formal collaboration on annual Christmas chapbooks, which was to last through Frost's final Christmas in 1962. Used by the Blumenthals and Frost, as well as collectors, friends and family, the cards were illustrated by a number of artists, including a favorite illustrator of Frost poems, J.J. Lankes.

Shown here is the cover of the 1941 card, with a Lankes print about to be used in the upcoming publication of A Witness Tree, in 1942. Frost inscribed this card to Dartmouth librarian Harold Goddard Rugg:
Picture of a Witness Tree
As in my book about to be;
Which see

A printed holiday greeting, interspersed with handwritten notes.
1951 Christmas card inscription to Mrs. Eberhart, wife of poet Richard Eberhart

A card featuring a print of a snow-covered tree with a church in the distance.
1942 card, with a hand-colored illustration by J. O’Hara Cosgrave
Come to Rauner to see the entire collection.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter; or, The Causes, Appearances, and Effects of the Great Seasonal Repose of Nature

The title page and frontispiece for 'Winter," including two color illustrations of winter scenes.Robert Mudie, born in Scotland in 1777, was a teacher, author, editor and illustrator, who wrote or compiled nearly 90 volumes in his lifetime. Among them is Winter…one of his 4-volume series on the seasons.

Of particular interest in this book, as well as several other of Mudie’s works on the natural world, is the frontispiece by George Baxter. Baxter, born in England in 1804, is credited with developing the first commercially viable system for producing color prints. His method combined intaglio and relief printing methods, starting with a key engraved metal plate and employing as many as 20 subsequent color blocks or plates. Using oil ink to print, allowing each color to dry before adding the next, and demanding perfect registration, Baxter’s intention was to create fine color prints at a price that would make artwork more commonly available.

The frontispiece, captioned "Avalanche at Lewes."
Baxter patented the Baxter Process in 1835, and later sold licenses to other artists of the time. After Baxter’s death in 1867 the process fell out of use, with the introduction of faster, and cheaper, chromolithography.

Ask for Illus B334muw.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pop-up Opera

A page of black, white, and purple geometric shapes.Nobody would accuse Bartok of being "pop," and his Bluebeard's Castle is a notoriously difficult opera.  Filled with abstract language and minimal movement, the one-act opera challenged performers and their audiences. But, in 1972, book artist Ronald King produced a dark pop-up version that takes Bartok's work to a new level of abstraction.

Through a series of silk-screened pop-up openings, the book presents seven rooms that Bluebeard unlocks for his new wife.  Each room is progressively more surreal and sinister, exposing the inter-workings of Bluebeard's mind.

An open page of black, white, and purple shapes interspersed with text.
Come in and take the tour by requesting Presses C495kibl.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Dartmouth Charter

A handwritten charter.In 1754, Eleazar Wheelock established a school for tutoring and training Indians in Lebanon Connecticut.  Wheelock’s school began modestly, but he soon realized that if it were to grow he would need to incorporate it, both so he could maintain control of the school, but also so that the school itself could hold real property.  This was the beginning of what would prove to be a long process to acquire a charter.

One of Wheelock’s star students was Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian who became a well-known minister.  Occom’s success boosted Wheelock’s reputation and that of his school.  Soon several Colonies were courting Wheelock to locate his school in their province.  Despite his growing stature in the colonies, Wheelock tried three times to obtain a charter without success.  One stumbling block was that several of the Colonies (Connecticut and Massachusetts specifically) were incorporations in their own right, and under eighteenth-century English law, one incorporated body could not create another.  Another factor was the growing tension between the Colonies and the Crown, which made obtaining a royal charter in England almost impossible.

Undeterred, Wheelock continued his campaign and in 1767 he began to look for a way to obtain a charter within the colonies.  New Hampshire was an obvious place to seek such a solution, in part, because it was a Royal Colony and thus was not incorporated.  But also because the young Governor, John Wentworth, expressed a willingness to grant a charter, something not specifically in his power, but for which there was precedent.

Encouraged by Wentworth’s interest in the school, Wheelock drafted a charter based largely on that written by William Smith for New Jersey College (later Princeton University).  He, rather boldly, wrote in the title of the institution as college rather than academy.  He was also careful to place himself in a central position within the new institution, thus minimizing the oversight from his English trustees, some of whose religious leanings were unpalatable to him.  Wentworth appears to have been as anxious to bring the school to New Hampshire as Wheelock was to obtain a charter, because he made almost no changes, and the document was signed into law on December 13, 1769 very much as Wheelock had written it.

A transcription of the charter is available on our website. To learn more about the charter, ask for Jere Daniell's Eleazar Wheelock and the Dartmouth College Charter (Hanover: Dartmouth College, 1969), D.C. History LD1420.D3.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giants Lately Discovered...

A title page for "Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack."The fascination with finding natural wonders in the New World lingered long after the initial rush of first encounters, and exotic "discoveries" continued to catch the public's attention. The cover of this 1768 Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack (London, 1768), depicts the "Giants lately discovered in South America."  The figure of the European sailor is said to be 5 foot 11 and 1/2 inches, and is offering the South American giants a biscuit.

The way this almanac came to our collections was something of a natural wonder in and of itself.  We are on a quest to get everything in our collections cataloged so people know what we have and can find it. Last week, we found this piece in a batch of material that had been in the library for 13 years, but never cataloged.  With it was a 1997 letter from a Boston book dealer that stated "33 years ago" then head of Special Collections, Betty Sherrard, had requested the book.  The dealer had just located a copy and offered it to us because of our past interest. We snapped it up, and now, 46 years later, we are pleased to report that Sherrard's wish has been fulfilled: the almanac is fully cataloged and ready for use.  A giant lately discovered...

Ask for Rare F73.3 B53 1767.  It was worth the wait!

Friday, December 3, 2010

French Signatures

A portrait of a man next to a block of text and a signature.You may have a signed photo from your favorite celebrity, but can you match a collection of autographs from notable French rulers and other "illustrious personages?" Starting with a Francis I document from 1529 and ending with a nineteenth-century letter from Napoleon III, this collection includes signatures from Catherine de Medici, Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, the "sun king" Louis XIV, Marie Antionette, and Napoleon Bonaparte among others.

Though most of the documents themselves are fairly commonplace and written by a secretary, this collection does provide small snapshots of the events of the times and a glimpse into everyday affairs.  A letter signed by Colbert from October 1658 discusses the king's edict to create a sovereign council to administer justice.  A document signed by Comtesse du Barry (official mistress of Louis XV) is an order for payment to a M. Pectern.

An engraved portrait of Louis XVI with his wife and child, above a separate picture of figures gathered around a guillotine.
Preceding each signed document  is an engraved portrait of the notable signatory, including a somewhat macabre illustration of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Dauphin juxtaposed against a view of a guillotine.

Ask for Codex 003094 to see this item.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Around the World in Search of the Antarctic Continent

The cover for a manuscript, featuring handwritten text beginning with "Erskine's panorama lecture."When Charles Wilkes' U.S. Exploring Expedition returned from its search for the Antarctic continent in 1842, it inspired the creation of an 11,000 square foot panoramic mural that toured the country. This manuscript was the script for seaman Charles Erskine's lecture given while the panorama was scrolled in front of an audience at the Roxbury Mechanic's Institute in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It attests to the public appetite for exploration stories and the 19th-century love of panoramas as popular entertainment.

After its useful life on the touring circuit was over, the panorama was sold in 1892 to the Revere Beach Scenic Railway and installed in one of their tunnels.  It has since disappeared. The only surviving remnant is this manuscript description. Among the geographic subjects discussed are: Estroza Pass, Isle of Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, Andes, St. Lorenzo Island, Tongataboo, Antarctic Continent, Henry's Island, and Cooks Bay.  The manuscript also contains extracts from press notices of Erskine's appearance.

A page of handwriting with the header "Antarctic Continent."
To see it, ask for Stef Manuscript 257.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Glutton's Spoon

A wooden spoon.Dartmouth has its share of quirky traditions. One of the oddest involved a giant wooden spoon. Each fall, usually in October or November, the Junior Class would assemble and a series of "honors" would be bestowed on class members. Among the awards was a giant wooden spoon given annually to the "heaviest eater of the Junior Class." The tradition appears to have started sometime before 1871 and continued up to 1906.

The broken-off bowl of a spoon featuring a painting of a man from behind.We have two of the spoons in our collections. One has been painted and shows a student departing from the college with suitcases in hand, above reads, "Thru Dartmouth's Classic Hall I Strayed." The other was presented to Randolph McNutt, Class of 1871. McNutt appeared to have stayed fit despite his hearty appetite, but he did become a fat cat in the business world, amassing a fortune as a distributor of school furnishings and through real estate dealings. He bequeathed $500,000 to Dartmouth in 1927, and two years later, Tuck Hall was renovated and renamed McNutt Hall in his honor.

A printed page reading "Class of '85 Junior Honors November 27, 1883."
Ask for Realia 79 to make yourself feel a little lighter after your holiday feast.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Respect My Authoritah!

A page of handwritten text, surrounded by an elaborate, pictorial border.Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain, ruler of half of Europe and a goodly portion of the New World, may not have respected Cartman's "authoritah" but he would have agreed with the sentiment. This grant of arms to Nicholas de Almacan of Arequipa, Peru, from May 14, 1552, features Charles V in the center of the illuminated border.  Facing the reader, he is flanked by an image of Caesar on the right and the conquistador Pizarro on the left, both ceding their authority to him though their gaze.  The highly decorated initial letter adds another lay of authority to the document: it contains the crest of the arms of the House of Habsburg.

The recipient of the coat of arms was a conquistador who fought with Pizarro and established himself in Peru. The image of Pizarro is a true rarity: perhaps his only known life portrait.  The coat of arms is displayed in the text, and the whole is framed with images of conquest and the New World's bounty.

To see this remarkable document, ask for Lansburgh 15.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dancing with Vesalius

One of our favorite books here in Rauner Library is Andreas Vesalius's De Humani corporis fabrica libri septem (Basileae: Ex officina Ioannis Oporini, 1543). The web is full of great information about the book, so we won't wax poetical about it, but we are excited to announce that it has inspired the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble. They will be performing this Friday, November 19, at 3:30 inside the glass box, and we will have Vesalius out in one of our display cases.  Here is the Dance Ensemble's description of the event:

The Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble will be performing behind the glass on three of the levels of the protected environment housing the priceless collection of books.

A poster titled "Revealing the Human Body ; a dance performance in Rauner Library." Half the poster is filled with an anatomical illustration of a human body from the hips up. The remaining text reads "inspired by De humanitarian's corporis fabric libra septum of Andrew Vesalius ; Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble ; November 19, 2010 3:30 pm Rauner Library - Dartmouth College."The theme of the performance is based on Andreas Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica (On the structure of the human body) anatomical illustrations of the dissected body circa 1543. This extraordinary book is in the Rauner Special Collections and was displayed in the atrium gallery area of Baker Library last year. The anatomical drawings have inspired the group choreography conceived by ensemble member Mayuka Kowaguchi '11.

This will mark the first dance performance event, which utilizes and features the unique architecture of Rauner Library.

We hope to see you there!

And, if you ever want to see the book, just ask for Rare QM25.V4

Friday, November 12, 2010

Printed at the Sign of "The Penguins"

The cover for "Aurora Australis," which includes a blue landscape illustration.We have plenty of contemporary artists' books in Rauner that make inventive use of ordinary objects, but it's much rarer to find an older book bound with materials as strange as packing crates and harness leather. Aurora Australis, an anthology of poems, essays, and illustrations about life in Antarctica, has an excellent reason for its odd binding -- it was printed by the members of Ernest Shackleton's 1907-1909 Nimrod Expedition in the middle of an Antarctic winter.

Pressed for space in its small ship, the expedition brought along an iron handpress, an etching press, paper, ink, and type, but planned to improvise a binding from the lightweight wood boards of the expedition's packing crates. The editor was Shackleton himself, and the printers were two sailors who had had only three weeks training in presswork and lithography. The end result is both charmingly quirky and astonishingly professional given the conditions in the hut where the press was set up. As one sailor described:
Dust from the stove fills the air and settles on the paper as it is being printed.... It is too cold to keep the printer's ink fluid; it gets sticky and freezes... the printers were called away while the candle was burning, and... when they returned they found that the plate had overheated and melted the inking roller of gelitinous substance. I believe it was the only one on the Continent and had to be re-cast somehow.
In all, about 90 copies of Aurora Australis were printed, bound, and distributed to the members of Shackleton's expedition. Rauner's is affectionately known as the "Oatmeal Copy" for the label which is partially visible on the inside board cover.

A printed page from "Aurora Australis."The inside board cover of "Aurora Australis."

Ask for Stefansson G850 1907 .A8 to see Aurora Australis for yourself. Also, make sure to take a look at an historical introduction to the text in our facsimile copy: Stefansson G850 1907 .A8 1986.

Posted for Anne Peale '11

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Freshman Caps

A photograph of two men looking at a book together. They are both wearing caps with the year 1952 on them.Had you been a College freshman 99 years ago, you would at this moment be purchasing your freshman cap, a newly instituted requirement intended to make it easier to identify members of the entering class.

On October 26, 1911, The Dartmouth proclaimed:
Freshman caps will henceforth add a touch of the picturesque and a deeper hue to Dartmouth's campus.  The custom just initiated is worthy of continuing down the long years of the history of the College until it becomes a tradition as fixed and revered as the traditions that cluster about the old pine or the senior fence.
It is curious how few years are required to establish a new custom and to give it all the authority of a habit handed down from antiquity.  Four years hence, when all the classes now present in College have graduated, the freshman cap will have become a permanent feature of Dartmouth undergraduate life, and the ordinary student will associate its origin with the Indians, Eleazar Wheelock, the "Dartmouth Song," and the founding of the College.
A photograph of a crowd of men. In the middle, a young man is stuck in a stock and holding a sign reading "I wouldn't wear my beanie."
In actuality, the freshman cap tradition lasted not quite sixty years.  The style of cap, or beanie, changed somewhat over the years, as did the consequences of not wearing it.  In the 1950s a Dartmouth Night tug-of-war with the sophomore class determined whether freshmen could stop wearing the caps or had to keep wearing them until mid-November.  The class of 1973 was the last class, as far as we know, to wear the beanies.

Ask for Realia 93 to examine our collection of distinctive headgear.
A pile of five hats, most with years on them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gibson Girls

An illustration showing a man and woman, both well-dressed, sitting on either end of a sofa and looking away from each other. The woman has her hands in her lap and the man's arms are crossed. To the right of the page, a well-dressed older man carrying a tray of glasses stands just inside the room, looking at them. The illustration is captioned "A little story. By a sleeve."This original 1896 edition of Pictures of People by Charles Dana Gibson is currently on display in the Hood Museum's Space for Dialogue, in an exhibition curated by Sarah Peterson '10.  Sarah describes the compilation of Gibson's early pen and ink drawings as follows:

The book mainly focuses upon the Gibson Girl and her exploits while finding a mate: It was of principle importance to the Gibson Girl to secure a husband while she was young and beautiful. Therefore many of Gibson’s drawings explore the themes of love and courtship. This focus is present in “A Little Story: By a Sleeve.” The Gibson Girl in this image circa 1896 is wearing the most fashionable dress of her day. Interestingly, it is her garment that is central to the action of the scene. In the 1890’s the sleeves of dresses became increasingly large, until in the mid-1890’s they reached balloon-like proportions. Here, the Gibson Girl’s dress serves as evidence that the young man and woman were sitting inappropriately close to one another just before the servant arrived.

The Gibson Man was made by Charles Dana Gibson to accompany his leading female in her search for love. He is strong chinned, slim, and attractive, yet at times rendered powerless by the mystifying allure of the young Gibson Girl. However, ultimately he will succeed in his pursuit of the free and independent lady and she will in the end accept marriage and motherhood or be doomed to the fate of becoming an old maid.

You can see the Gibson Girl on display with the rest of Sarah's exhibit at the Hood Museum through January, 2011. After that, ask for Rauner Illus G357pi.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"More like Dr. Watson than Sherlock Holmes"

A poster advertising a series of lectures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, lost his son Kingsley during the 1918 influenza pandemic, two weeks before the Armistice that ended the First World War. Over the course of the war, Conan Doyle’s brother, two brothers-in-law, and nephew also died. In the wake of these losses, he became devoted to promoting spiritualism, which may have provided consolation in his grief, as it did to many who sought contact with departed loved ones. Many of Conan Doyle’s spiritualist writings omitted identifying him as the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Among Rauner Library’s collections is the archive of the Arctic explorer Viljhalmur Stefansson, who taught at Dartmouth from 1947 to 1962. Stefansson first met Conan Doyle in London in 1913, and the two corresponded during Stefansson’s Arctic travels and through the First World War. Stefansson visited Conan Doyle in England in 1920, and wrote later in his autobiography that in terms of spiritualism, he found Conan Doyle’s “ready acceptance inconsistently naïve. Confronted with the spirit world, Doyle was more like Dr. Watson than Sherlock Holmes.”
A handwritten letter to Stefansson.

Despite his friend’s skepticism, Conan Doyle enlisted Stefansson’s help in debunking a fraudulent séance during his 1922 American lecture tour. When Conan Doyle returned to England, he wrote to Stefansson that he felt his work in America had brought “knowledge and comfort to a lot of people.” He went on to write: “How strange our tasks! You are working on reindeer and I on disembodied spirits & both are equally part of the great whole. I quite see the Imperial aspect of your work.”

Come and see these materials and many others at the new exhibit in Rauner Special Collections Library, “The Adventure of the Archives: Detecting Sherlock Holmes in Rauner,” in the Class of 1965 Galleries. The exhibit was curated by Laura Braunstein and will be on display through December 22.

Friday, October 29, 2010


An illustration by Gustave Doré, featuring a figure from behind, pushing past heavy curtains. A banner reading "Nevermore" is draped across the upper left corner of the image and a skeleton can be seen in the upper right corner.  A raven flies across the scene, just under the skeleton.The famous last word and repeating refrain from Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem The Raven is arguably a one word summary of the entire work. First published in 1845, the poem follows an anonymous narrator as he mourns the "lost Lenore" and attempts to divine his own fate by questioning a mysterious raven whose only response is "Nevermore." The supernatural atmosphere and imagery evoked by the story and language of the poem have inspired many artists, including John Tenniel of Alice in Wonderland fame and Édouard Manet.

One of the more famous illustrated editions of the poem was published in 1884 (New York: Harper & Brothers) and features works by Gustave Doré who completed the twenty-six illustrations only a short time before his own death in 1883. Doré's visual interpretation perfectly complements the gothic nature of the poem and certainly adds additional elements of the eerie and haunted to the experience.

An illustration by Gustave Doré, featuring a cloaked skeleton seated on a large sphere with a scythe and hourglass. A raven and clouds drift past. There are stars in the background.
"Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before."
Ask for Illus D73po to see all twenty six illustrations.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reliquary, the Relic

A photograph of nine miniature books in an open wooden case with a glass top.It is hard to know where to start with this object. It is a set of Shakespeare's plays, in nine miniature volumes. The full text is there, printed by William Pickering in 1825. It is a case where a beloved text was produced to serve as a kind of fetish object--too small to be read comfortably, the set represents the larger whole, the whole of Shakespeare.

But there is an added twist. If we think of the edition as a fetish, we have to pay attention to the way it is housed and revered. The wooden box holding the nine volumes is a relic in and of itself: according to its nineteenth-century collector, the box is constructed from wood that was part of Shakespeare's house. A fragment of the true house, so to speak, creating a reliquary for the precious volumes. Together they create layers of culture encrusting a text.

A view of the closed case from above. The books are visible through the glass top.
Ask for Miniature 122.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

A photograph of a cloth book cover. The text reads "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz By Frank L. Baum Pictures by W. W. Denslow" in red and green. The backdrop is beige and shows a bespectacled cartoon lion with a small bow in its mane, also in red and green.
One of the most well known American stories, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Chicago; New York: G. M. Hill Co., 1900) was first published in 1900 and has spawned many companion books and adaptations, including the classic 1939 film.  It chronicles the adventures of Dorothy and her famous companions - the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion - through the land of Oz where they encounter Munchkins, witches, flying monkeys, and other bizarre creatures.

According to the introduction, Baum intended the book to be a departure from the "historical" tales of old.  He wrote "the time has come for a series of newer 'wonder tales' in which the stereotyped genie, dwarf, and fairy are eliminated, together with all the horrible and blood-curdling incident," adding "It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heart-aches and nightmares are left out."

An illustration mostly in blue on a green backdrop, of a girl perched on a fence and looking at a scarecrow. A small dog also leans against the fence and there is a basket on the ground.
Dorthy Meets the Scarecrow
More recently, author Gregory Maguire has revisited the land of Oz in his book Wicked (New York: ReganBooks, 1995).  This revisionist adaptation returns to a darker, more Grimm-like context, where the morality of the characters and their actions is explored and certainly contrasts with Baum's attempt to "dispense with all disagreeable incident."  To learn more, come hear a talk by Maguire this Sunday, October 24, in Alumni Hall in the Hopkins Center at 3:00 PM, co-sponsored by the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library.

Ask for Rare Book PS 3503 .A923 W59 1900 to see the first edition from 1900.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Sleepy Lagoon Case

A title page for "The Sleepy Lagoon Case."One of the critical events that led up to the infamous Zoot Suit Riots in L.A. was the Sleepy Lagoon murder case. In 1942, a group of young Latino men were charged with the murder of Jose Diaz. 17 were convicted of first degree murder. The case brought to light the deep racial tensions that flared up two years later with rioting in Los Angeles and other cities across the country.

In 1942, the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee was formed. It consisted of civic leaders, intellectuals and Hollywood luminaries such as Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth and Joseph Cotten. They first issued this pamphlet in 1943 before the riots. This third printing from 1944 recounts the Sleepy Lagoon Case and reflects on the riots in a new introduction. The pamphlet tied the tactics of the prosecutors to those of Germany, Japan, and Italy, making the case a microcosm for the war effort. What was at stake was American liberty:

We are at war. We are at war not only with the armies of the Axis powers, but with the poison-gas of their doctrine, with the "biological basis" of Hitler and with his theories of race supremacy....
     We are at war with the premise on which seventeen boys were tried and convicted in Los Angeles, sentenced to long prison terms on January 13th of this year. We are at war with the Nazi logic so clearly and unmistakably set fourth by Mr. Ed. Duran Ayres, the logic which guided the judge and jury and dictated the verdict and the sentence.
     And because this global war is everywhere a people's war, all of us are in it together, all of us together take up the challenge of Sleepy Lagoon.

Ask for Rare KF224.S495S54 to see this remarkable pamphlet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Jug of Wine and Thou

A photograph of an elaborate cover book featuring a peacock surrounded by a border of grapevines. The binding appears to be set mostly in gold with pearls in the peacock's feathers.This time it's not about the content, it's all about the presentation.  Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, this bookbinding masterpiece is one of a number the pair produced in the early-twentieth century.  Like many similar examples, Rauner's copy was designed for the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. However, as the cliché states, you can't judge a book by its cover, and the sumptuous exterior stands in contrast to the fairly standard text block, which is from the 3rd edition (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1872). 

A photograph of the book's back cover, featuring a snake wound around a gold chalice, surrounded by a border of grapevines and a floral backdrop. The snake itself is set with snakeskin and the majority of the binding is gold.The most famous of these Rubáiyát bindings was lost on the Titanic and has been dubbed the "Great Omar."  Though not nearly as complex a binding as the "Great Omar" which featured several thousand individual jewels and leather onlays, our copy does include precious and semi-precious materials and a similar peacock motif on the front cover.  The serpent twined around the gold-leaf chalice on the back cover is made from real snake skin, naturally.

Ask for Bindings 210 to see this favorite.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

As Nature Shows Them

An image of a yellow and black butterfly.At first glance, Sherman Denton's As Nature Shows Them: Moths and Butterflies of the United States (Boston, J. B. Millett, 1908) appears to be just another field guide for butterfly enthusiasts. But a closer look shows something extraordinary: the illustrations seem to shimmer like the flash of a butterfly wing in the sun. That is because the color plates are, in the words of the maniacally obsessed author:

Direct transfers from the insects themselves; that is to say, the scales of the wings of the insects are transferred to the paper while the bodies are printed from engravings and afterward colored by hand. The making of such transfers is not original with me, but it took a good deal of experimenting to so perfect the process as to make the transfers, on account of their fidelity to detail and their durability, fit for use as illustrations in such a work. And what magnificent illustrations they are, embodying all the beauty and perfection of the specimens themselves!

The edition of 500 copies, each with three volumes containing hundred of plates, required tremendous effort by Denton. He continues:

As I have had to make over fifty thousand of these transfers for the entire edition, not being able to get any one to help me who would do the work as I desired it done, and as more than half the specimens from which they were made were collected by myself, I having made many trips to different parts of the country for their capture, some idea of the labor in connection with preparing the material for the publication may be obtained.

To see the wonders of his "labor of love" ask for Rare Book QL549 .D42.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Houston, We've Had a Problem"

A photograph of a tank, captioned "onboard camera view."So goes the often misquoted announcement by Jack Swigert after one of the spacecraft's oxygen tanks ruptured during the Apollo 13 mission.  The ultimate cause of the rupture was determined to be a fairly lengthy chain of unlikely events.  This is detailed in the NASA report from July 1970, titled Apollo 13 Cryogenic Oxygen Tank 2 Anomaly: Anomaly Report No. 1. Shown here is an onboard camera image of the tank area after the rupture. This report as well as the mission plan and final report for Apollo 13 can be found in the papers of Richard Allenby, Dartmouth class of 1944.

In addition to the Apollo 13 mission, Allenby's papers contain photographs, illustrations, technical reports, professional correspondence, mission reports, and official programs from the NASA manned Space Programs Gemini III, IV, V, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, Mercury, and Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Among the many images in the collection is one of President Richard Nixon exchanging "OK" signs with the members of the Apollo 11 mission.  Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were the first astronauts to land on the moon and were placed in quarantine aboard the USS Hornet after they returned to earth to minimize the possibility of contamination by unknown pathogens from the moon.

A photograph of Nixon exchanging "OK" gestures with crew members behind glass.

Ask for MS-1024 to see these items and many more.  A finding aid for the collection is available.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Most Popular Item

A title-page for the Book of Mormon.People always ask us what is the most requested item in our collections. When we answer, they are almost always surprised. That is because the most requested item in our collections is something that is hardly ever requested by Dartmouth students, faculty, or staff--90% of its use is from visitors. What is it? The first edition of Joseph Smith's The Book of Mormon; An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi (Palmyra, NY: Printed by E.B. Grandin for the author, 1830).

The book gets so much use that our Preservation team, Deborah Howe and Stephanie Wolff, constructed a special box for it. With the pull of two simple cords, the box transforms into a secure custom-fit cradle to facilitate use of the book.
The Book of Mormon, open inside its case.

Joseph Smith was born in nearby South Royalton, Vermont. Thousands of people visit his birthplace each year from all over the world. Many then pay a visit to Rauner Library to view the Book of Mormon. Smith has an important tie to Dartmouth: Nathan Smith, founder of the Darmouth Medical school (and no relation to Joseph), treated his leg when he was a child and, so the story goes, saved his leg from amputation.

To see the book yourself, ask for Val RBJM B644sg.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A is Not for Aubrey

A printed capital "A," backed and framed a a flowering branch grows around the border of the print.Though Aubrey Beardsley is perhaps best known for his more grotesque and erotic works, many of which were featured in illustrated editions of Oscar Wilde's writings, he was also involved in numerous other influential projects.  One of these was the lavishly produced edition of Morte d'Arthur (London: J.M. Dent, 1893-1894) which was issued in 12 parts and included more than a thousand illustrations by Beardsley.  The text was a reprint of the original William Caxton printing from 1485 with text by Sir Thomas Malory, but the spelling in this edition was updated to a more modern style - presumably to allow for easier reading.

The same "A" printed in red within a black text block. The flowering branch border surrounds the entire Block.Shown here are both an original drawing and the final printed version of the illustrated chapter initial from book 13, chapter 1, which begins the story of the Grail and starts "At the vigil of Pentecost..."  Though the original is unsigned, there is a note on the reverse which reads: "In my opinion this is a genuine drawing by Beardsley.--R.A. Walker (authority on Beardsley)"

To see the original drawing, ask for Iconography 212.  To compare it to the printed version from the "superior issue", ask for Illus B38maja, vol 3. and turn to page 689.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before the Lorax

A colorful puzzle showing a family in a car escaping an assortment of beasts.Soon after Ted Geisel (Class of 1925), aka Dr. Seuss, graduated from Dartmouth, he worked in the advertising business. Among the more prominent clients he worked for was Standard Oil. He created ad campaigns for several of Standard Oil's products including an insecticide, "Flit," made primarily of mineral oil used to kill mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. Liberal spraying around the yard was encouraged. Dr. Seuss also created advertisements for Ex-Tane, a petroleum based cleaner, and and engine oil, "Essolube."  Our collection contains advertisement work for all three products including this jigsaw puzzle, just recently acquired. It is part of "The Five Star Theater Foiled by Essolube: A Jig-Saw-Melodrama." It features a family driving away from a hoard of automotive monsters: the Zero-Doccus, the Karbo-Nockus, the Moto-Munchus, the Oilio-Gobelus, and the Moto-Raspus.

The title page for "Foiled by Essolube."The advertisements show the evolution of Seuss's style, but they also force you to think about the evolution of his environmentalist ethic. In the late 1920s and 1930s, when these ads were created, petroleum products were hardly a concern to most Americans: they offered cheap fuel for progress. Only later, when the impact of pesticides, harsh chemical cleaners, and automobile exhaust became apparent, would these ads seem out of character. Seuss, of course, went on to create, The Lorax, a cautionary tale about the dangers of pollution brought on by mass consumerism and industry.

Friday, September 24, 2010

100 Things You Need to Know

A title page for "100 Questions and Answers about Dartmouth College."What could be more appropriate for our 100th blog post than 100 Questions and Answers about Dartmouth College, published in 1937? Here, prospective students learned that Dartmouth teams "compete creditably" with other schools athletically, and that "Fraternity membership is not greatly emphasized at Dartmouth." Only 20% of the students received financial aid, but then tuition was a mere $450.

One of the more fascinating facts is that room rents varied "from $80 to $320 per student per year." The concept of students selecting rooms based on what they could afford, and that the wealthy could live in relative luxury while the poorer students had humbler digs, must have brought social class into the fore, especially in the midst of the Great Depression.

Two pages of printed questions and answers.

On a cheerier note, to the question "Can a student save money by not eating with the Dartmouth Dining Association?" the guide answers, "Occasionally, by means of careful budgeting, an upperclassman may save money by not eating with the College Dining Association, and at the same time not injure his health."

To see if you want to attend Dartmouth, ca 1937, ask for DC Hist LD1428.D3 1937.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have You Picked up Your Membook Yet?

The cover of a memorabilia book belonging to Bruce Walter Sanborn. Dartmouth students used to be devoted scrapbookers. It seems hard to fathom now in the days of Facebook, but during freshman orientation new students would pick up blank scrapbooks with their names embossed in gold, nostalgically titled "Memorabilia from College Days." We have hundreds of these "Membooks" in our collection compiled by students from the mid-1800s up to around 1930, when they fell out of fashion. Membooks are our best window into student life from a century ago.

A black and white group photograph for a basketball team, accompanied by a newspaper clipping.
Pictured here is a recent donation from the family of Bruce Walter Sanborn, class of 1904. It includes a rather frightening set of rules for incoming freshmen, Valentine cards, photographs, news clippings, programs, course work, ticket stubs, and even a piece of the old chapel bell melted in the fire of 1904.

So, get scrapbooking and then have your grandchildren donate it to the Archives!
A handwritten note.A printed list with the title "Freshmen! Read and Obey!"