Friday, January 29, 2010

Is this Cricket?

An illustration of figures playing on a college lawn.The earliest known image of Dartmouth appeared in the February 1793 issue of Massachusetts Magazine, illustrating a brief article on the College. The artist was Josiah Dunham, Dartmouth Class of 1789, then a preceptor at Moor’s Indian Charity School, and later to become a local newspaper editor.

However, it is possible that the image has another claim to fame. Thirty years ago, the College Archives received a request for a copy of the Dunham engraving from the curator of the Marylebone Cricket Club in London, who believed it might one of the earliest depictions of cricket being played in the United States or former colonies. At that time, he was not aware of anything in his collection that predated it. According to subsequent correspondence with the C.C. Morris Cricket Library at Haverford College, the American cricket archives there contain nothing earlier either. Although the playing of cricket in what is now the United States is documented in histories and newspapers back to the 1730's, the Dunham engraving of Dartmouth College might be the first visual proof!

The College Archives would be delighted to learn of an earlier likeness of the campus, or an earlier image of cricket in the United States or the thirteen colonies.

To see it yourself, ask for Rauner Iconography 399.

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