Friday, July 15, 2011

Beautiful Writing

A curving, heavily stylized alphabet.Try to imagine a time when beautiful handwriting was considered so important that writing masters traveled the country giving lessons on practical and ornamental penmanship. Calligraphy, from the Greek words meaning "beautiful writing," is well represented in the Rauner collections, which include over two hundred manuals, writing books, and manuscripts, originally gathered by Professor Ray Nash. Rauner also holds a small group of manuscripts and some fifty books on the art of calligraphy, acquired by the Library from various other sources.

Curling lines forming the image of two creatures, resembling winged fish.
A page reading "N.C. Knapp's Practical and Ornamental Chirography," surrounded by decorative, swirling lines.
N.C. Knapp's Practical and Ornamental Chirography, ca. 1830, is not a printed book, but an album filled with painstakingly hand-penned examples of the art of calligraphy. The elegant, flowing lines swirl gracefully into animal shapes, angels, and other ornamental designs in addition to the letters of the alphabet. Imagine the agony of discovering a mistake after such laborious effort. One wonders whether Knapp just never noticed the rather glaring one on his title page, or eventually discovered it and decided he, and we, would simply have to live with it.

Ask for Codex 003046.
Swirling lines forming the shape of a long-tailed bird on a tree branch.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ford K. Sayre '33

A black and white photograph of a man crouched by a girl on skis.In the fall of 1929 a young man from Glen Ridge, N.J. entered Dartmouth College and discovered his love for skiing. After graduating in 1933 he and his wife Margret (Peggy) became the managers at the Ravine Lodge on Moosilauke. In order to stimulate business at the Lodge, the Sayres started a junior ski school, held during the Christmas and February breaks. They fixed up a little farmhouse and called it Spyglass Hill. In 1935 the couple became the managers of the Hanover Inn and brought the ski school idea with them. On winter afternoons Ford would leave his office and take old skis and poles to various sites in the area, ready to teach any interested children to ski for free.

In 1942 Ford enlisted in the Army Air Force. After receiving training at Miami, Florida, he was assigned to duty as commanding officer of a regiment of African American troops in Spokane, Washington. However, his service was cut short when in 1944, during an air show meant to showcase the realism of aerial combat, the plane he was in collided with another, killing everyone on board. Wanting to continue her husband’s work with the ski school, Peggy asked that in lieu of sending flowers a fund be collected in Ford’s name so that his enthusiastic and effective interest in children’s skiing would be perpetuated.

A photograph of a group of people in costume, possibly singing.

By 1949 the demand for ski instruction was so great that the Community Junior Ski Council was formed to assist Peggy. By 1950 the JSC and the Ford K. Sayre Memorial Fund merged their activities into the present Ford. K. Sayre Memorial Ski Council so that in the spirit of Ford Sayre "Every child should have the chance to ski!"

To learn more about Ford K. Sayre and the Ford K. Sayre Memorial Ski Council ask for MS-1171 or his Alumni File.