Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Seeing the Elephant--not the Pink One!

Playbill from Lyme Dramatic Club, December 1876You can't beat the way they ushered in the New Year in Lyme, New Hampshire, in 1877.  On New Year's Day, the Lyme Dramatic Club took over Church Hall in Lyme to perform the three act drama, Little Brown Jug, followed by the "side-splitting farce" Seeing the Elephant.

We had to know more, so we did a little research to see just what they were watching. Seeing the Elephant was written by Vermont native David "Doc" Robinson and was first preformed in California during the gold rush where Robinson opened a theater. It was an immediate success, and according to a 1969 article in Western Folklore, the phrase entered the lexicon of American slang. It carried the connotation of having seen everything and was used by people touring the rowdy Barbary Coast. It makes us wonder about the crowd that New Year's evening, 1877, in Lyme. After the show, did they "see the elephant" with a stroll through town?

Have a Happy New Year!

To see the playbill, ask for Broadside 876925.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Death at Christmas

Richard Nelville Hall graduated from Dartmouth on June 23, 1915. Six months later he was dead, the first Dartmouth man to perish in World War I, the Great War. By all accounts, he was a fine young man, greatly beloved by all who knew him. Born into an academic family in Ann Arbor, Michigan (where his childhood home still stands), he matriculated at the University of Michigan, then transferred to Dartmouth at the beginning of his sophomore year. His older brother, Louis, was a member of the Class of 1911.

Immediately upon graduation, Dick Hall volunteered to serve as a driver in the Dartmouth Ambulance Corps in France, which was part of the American Field Service Ambulance Corps. Keep in mind the fact that the United States did not officially enter the war until April 1917, so Hall’s service was that of a non-combatant and humanitarian. Nevertheless, he faced great danger and peril every day, and his courage and valor were legion.

Photographic portrait of Dick HallLate on the night of December 24, 1915, or in the early hours of December 25 (reports vary), a stray German shell hit the ambulance Hall was driving in the Vosges mountain range in eastern France, where fierce trench fighting was raging. He was killed instantly, and his body discovered several hours later in the ruined hulk of his ambulance. He is buried in the French Military Cemetery at Moosch, Alsace-Lorraine.

Edward Tuck, Class of 1862, that great benefactor of Dartmouth and ardent Francophile, paid for a fine memorial to Hall which may be seen just inside the west door of Baker Library on the lower level.

Photograph of Hall on Dartmouth CampusRauner Special Collections Library holds several highly evocative relics of Hall’s life and death, including the rusted casing of the shell that took his life, and the Red Cross insignia from the side of his ambulance. These were given to the College by his parents. Ask at the Rauner reference desk to see these items, or his alumnus file, which is unusually large and detailed for one whose life was so short.

Requiescat in pace, son of Dartmouth. On this, the centenary of your young death, we acclaim you, we honor you, and we remember you.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bored at Home?

cover of Charades bookTry Acting Charades! This 19th century pastime is way more complicated than what we call charades today. There's a whole book dedicated to the proper art of Acting Charades, or, Deeds not Words: A Christmas Game.

The book begins with an introduction to the history of charades (French), so started because of the national "inability to sit still for more than half and hour." As to the actual game, the two "most celebrated performers" choose their teams, then decide upon a two syllable word or phrase. One team then performs a charade -- silently, as "nothing more than an exclamation is allowed" -- "as puzzlingly as possible" in the order of "my first, my second, and my whole." It's somewhat similar to how nowadays, we do "1st syllable" and so on. But these pantomimes are not simple.

Let's follow "Mistletoe."

Kiss the pope's toe!Act I. Mistle -- (Mizzle). A Poor Tenant cannot pay his rent; he and his family remove all of their belongings from the home. The Angry Landlord arrives and is angry.

Act II. Toe. An English gentleman refuses to kiss the Pope's toe. An Irish gentleman attempts to help, but when the English gentleman is escorted away at broom-point, he joins the Catholic cheers.

Act III. Mistletoe. A grandfather sets up some mistletoe over the Christmas dinner table. Everyone is delighted at this"wickedness," and many couples embrace theatrically ("by crossing their heads over their shoulders") under the mistletoe. Then they have to get married.

Not sure I'd be able to guess "mistletoe" from that, but that's just my 21st century attention-span speaking. Maybe if I were a Victorian scholar ...

My favorite part is the incredible set-up to the actual action itself. It's not like our version of charades -- this requires costumes. And though they understand their are constraints, they expect "high-pressure ingenuity" to save the day. They have seen a Louis XVI with an "ermine victorine wig for a well powdered peruke, and the dressing-gown for embroidered coat." Let me just go get my ermine victorine wig.

To try a charade of your own, ask for Sine Illus H56act. The British Museum also has provided a scanned version via Google Books if you want to try during the winter holiday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How Monahan Saved Christmas (Trees)

Photo of Robert MonahanHow the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel ’25) and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert May ’26 are two of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time. Here at Rauner Library, the holidays are an opportune time of year to celebrate our alumni connection to these holiday classics and to share with you a lesser-known, true story about the pilferage of Christmas trees in New Hampshire.

Letter from MonahanI for one was unfamiliar with this story until I came across a letter in the papers of Robert S. Monahan, Dartmouth College Class of 1929, college forester and member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In the letter, dated December 16, 1966, Monahan writes to a Mr. and Mrs. Annis of Millsfield, New Hampshire regarding an ongoing issue of theft:
When we last met you mentioned the problem of Christmas tree pilferage, which you have observed on your own property, and wondered why somebody didn’t try to do something about it. Well, I did, back in 1957!
 It seems that throughout the state of New Hampshire Christmas tree theft was so prevalent that legal support became paramount.

In March of 1957, The Manchester Union reported, “the protection of natural resources has to have legal support. That is because human ‘wild life’ is predatory, because it cares nothing about the rights and property of others, and because it is unconcerned when it leaves havoc in its wake.” Illegally cutting a tree was not only considered an act of thievery but broke trespassing laws and posed an imminent threat to the protection of natural resources.

Newspaper clipping, 'Destruction of Trees'Newspaper clipping, 'Tree Stealers'

Later that year Robert Monahan introduced House Bill No. 254 addressing said havoc and calling for closer regulation of the transportation of Christmas trees.
Anyone apprehended transporting more than three coniferous trees on public highways outside of the compact parts of cities or towns from October 1 to December 23 is liable to a $50 penalty unless he can produce proof of ownership and name and address of seller.
House Bill No. 254In 1959 the bill was amended to decrease the number of trees from three down to “one or more” and increased the fine to $300.00.

Outside of the Dartmouth community the story of Robert Monahan may not be as well known as The Grinch or Rudolph, but at Rauner he will forever be remembered as a son of Dartmouth, college forester and savior of Christmas trees.

If you would like to learn more about legislation related to Christmas trees or Monahan’s forestry career ask for MS-1088 and his Alumni File.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Who Am I?

As mentioned in a previous post, Rauner Library holds Abner Dean's papers. Dean (Dartmouth class of 1931) was a cartoonist whose work appeared in Esquire, Collier's, The New Yorker, and Life magazines. In the collection is a set of masks - one of which we know is of Franklin D. Roosevelt and was used as part of the illustration for the September 1932 cover of Life magazine.

Identifying the other masks is a bit trickier.

For example, this next one is probably Winston Churchill - or perhaps W. C. Fields.

And almost certainly Ed Wynn - the nose helps a lot here.

And we think this might be Truman Capote, though if this mask is a contemporary of the Roosevelt, that would be highly unlikely since Capote would have been 8 years old at the time.

But for the rest...well we're not sure. Let us know what you think!
Ask for ML-44 to see the Dean papers. A guide to the collection is available.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lest Old Traditions...

Editorial Cartoon reading 'An Old Dartmouth Tradition ... Goes to Pot'Doesn't this just scream 1968? The College was cracking down on campus drug use, and a week earlier a student was forced to "resign" from Dartmouth for the "alleged use and sale of hallucinatory drugs." The D responded with an editorial decrying the severity of the punishment alongside this editorial cartoon.

Here in Rauner, we have documentation of many old Dartmouth traditions that have gone to pot--figuratively.

To see the cartoon, ask for The D from February 28, 1968. Issues from the prior week discuss the campus drug controversy (and also feature lots of great materials from the 1968 Presidential primaries).

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Black Box ... of Canada?

outside of box
One of the best parts of being a staff member at Rauner is wandering through the stacks. You come across strange and wonderful items that you have no idea existed -- like this mysterious black box.

I've been eyeing this box for quite some time. It's in our "Illustrated" collection, so I wondered if there were racy images that had to be locked up (I mean, we just did a class using some of our uncatalogued erotica). But no. After struggling with the latches, I was greeted by a serene title page: Canadian Scenery Illustrated, from Drawings by W. H. Bartlett. Not quite what I was expecting, but still cool!
view of Montreal
The box contains a series of magazines published in London in 1842 concerning Canada. During this period, Canada was under British rule. Canadian Scenery becomes a participant in the project of British imperialism, bringing "human interest" scenes of Canada to London homes, from descriptions of Native American life to engravings of Montreal.
advertisement for Shakespeare's playsThe author, Nathaniel Parker Wills (Esq.), also wrote "Pencillings by the Way" and "Inklings of Adventure," two titles with a bit more punch than Canadian Scenery Illustrated. He was one of the highest-paid magazine writers of his day and established the Home Journal, which would eventually become Town and Country. We have a lot of other items in our collection by Wills, including a play titled Bianca Visconti; or, the Heart Overtasked and Hurry-graphs; or, Sketches of scenery, celebrities and society, taken from life. 

But, as in almost all nineteenth-century serials, the most comic part is the advertisements. My favorite advertises an edition of The Works of Shakespere [sic], which includes "the Attributed Plays" -- Locrine, Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord Cromwell, The London Prodigal, The Puritan, and Yorkshire Tragedy. I've never even heard of any of these plays, but it turns out we have several copies of those plays, too -- a future blog entry?!

Ask for Illus B258c to learn more about nineteenth-century Canada.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tour of America

Opening page form John Tawse's journalOn Monday, July 1st, 1839, John Tawse and George Lyon set off from Edinburgh on a journey to America. They were representing the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge and their mission was to investigate Moor's Indian School located on the Dartmouth College campus. The Society had been a major source of funding for the school since Eleazar Wheelock founded Moor's in 1754. The pair produced a published report of their investigation, but it is the unpublished journal kept on the voyage by John Tawse that provides an intimate account of the impressions of the two rather stodgy travelers.

Tawse filled 260 pages in his journal, drew a map of their travels, and even created an index so he could easily refer back on his reflections. Most of the journal is dedicated to describing the places and people they met, but he occasionally launched into impassioned discourses on subjects he found most interesting. There is a diatribe against slavery and another on the treatment of people of color in free states, a long description of the American system of government, a section on the Oneida Indians, and a odd passage about American women's lack of beauty (no symmetry of form!). For the most part he is curious, morally judgmental, and somewhat in awe of the grandeur of the country.

Index to John Tawse's journal
His visit to Hanover gets scant coverage. He arrived quite ill, was treated by Doctor Oliver Wendell  Holmes, who taught at the Dartmouth Medical School from 1838-1841, and then spent the rest of his short stay meeting with President Lord and inspecting the school.

To see his journal, ask for Codex MS 003114

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Johnny Johnson's Rum and Molasses Fund

Johnny Johnson turkey eats studentRum and Molasses -- what better way to spend a Thanksgiving holiday at Dartmouth? The Rum and Molasses Fund provided turkeys and other delicious foods for Dartmouth Outing Club members staying in Hanover over the break.

We have a few documents from the 1930s and 1940s outlining the festivities. One year, there was the "Thanksgiving feed at Moose" cooked by a member of the class of 1934 at Moosilauk, then the "Annual Thanksgiving Mt. Washington Trip," a trip with members of the Yale Outing Club ("For a real bunch of fellows, a Dartmouth-Yale combination is hard to beat!"), as well as hikes in the Adirondacks, hiking to various DOC cabins, and some cabin work at Jobildunc.

In a letter from 1940 (above), "Sir Robert Montcalm," "Loafing Trips Big-Blowout" and the "Agent Extraordinary of Yhoodi," announces that you can reserve a free turkey and go off and have your own wilderness adventure -- unless, of course, your Johnny Johnson Turkey eats you first!

The Fund was established by "Johnny Johnson '66," also known as John Edgar Johnson, Class of 1866 (picture below).  In 1913, an article by Fred Harris, the founder of the DOC, inspired Johnson to donate a 100-acre farm called Skyline to the DOC. This was only the beginning of his generosity. Johnson was not a wealthy man, but he was a passionate gifter, constantly surprising DOC members with random presents -- from a case of Worcester sauce for one Thanksgiving feast, to 24 scarlet jackets for DOC members during Carnival to a black bear cub. Some of the funds that Johnson established still exist, but the Rum and Molasses fund is sadly defunct.
John Johnson Class of 1866
Johnson described himself as a "wall-flower" at Dartmouth, but he was certainly a passionate and outspoken man later in life. He was a member of Kappa Kappa Kappa, served in the Civil War, and later became a minister. Reverend Johnson also claimed that the Class of 1866 had chosen green as Dartmouth's color. His alumni files is bulging -- come in and check it out!

In all our research, it remains unclear whether the funds were ever used to purchase rum and molasses ...or just turkey.

For more trending Thanksgiving topics, we've blogged about what Dartmouth students in 1946 were thankful for ("I'm thankful that after eating in Thayer Hall for two months I can go home for a decent meal"), early recipes, and the tragic death of Molly Goosey, back before turkey was the Thanksgiving bird of choice. To see the original Rum and Molasses documents, ask for DO-1, Box 6138, Folder 22. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Warning of Things to Come

Letter from Benjamin Hale to his father, 18 June 1832We usually miss the early signs of impending doom and only later look back and piece together the clues. But one Dartmouth faculty member saw with sobering clarity the spread of the 1832 cholera pandemic into North America. On June 18, 1832, Benjamin Hale, professor of Chemistry, wrote a letter to his father reporting that a ship had arrived at Quebec and "40 or 50 persons are said to have died on the passage." Worse, another report stated that of the 90 people who had contracted cholera in Montreal the week before, 60 had died.

Then it gets scarier: the Hanover postmaster said that one person had died on a boat coming from Montreal to Burlington that week, and there was another unconfirmed case "at the extreme southern part of Lake Champlain." He went on to warn:
There seems to be no doubt that this dreadful disease has at length reached this part of the world and we may expect it to sweep over our land. And we should each be prepared for its visitation. It will doubtless sweep thousands into their graves with very little warning--We ought to anticipate its approach and be ready if it should summon us to our account.
He was right. The pandemic ravaged North America, killing well over 100,000 people, often within 24 hours of the first sign of illness. To see the letter ask for MS 815363.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Independent of Politics

Dawley on horsebackIn 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps under the directorship of R. Sargent Shriver. During the first year, volunteers were deployed to nine countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Chile, Columbia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, St. Lucia and Pakistan. By 1962 Honduras became one of 28 total host countries. The following year Honduras requested an additional 50 volunteers to serve in rural communities throughout the country. Among the fifty new volunteers was recent Dartmouth College graduate, David Dawley.

Dawley’s service abroad began during a period of political unrest for the Honduran government and national tragedy for the United States. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination occurred during Dawley’s training in New Mexico and just two months prior to his scheduled departure, the Honduran military staged a “golpe de estado”, overthrowing the government and replacing President Ramon Villeda Morales, with General Oswaldo López Arellano. The military takeover was condemned by the United States and subsequently led to a break of diplomatic relations between the two governments.  Despite the strained relationship between Honduras and the United States and the drama created by the assassination of J.F.K, the Honduras Rural Community Action Program moved forward as planned, affected only by a two-week delay.

Image of letter from Dawley to LowtherIn a letter dated November 24, 1963 to Kevin Lowther, his Dartmouth classmate, who was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, Dawley noted the justification for moving forward with the program:
Sorry for the delay in writing, but I was waiting to hear the final word. Our training was extended two weeks as a result of the revolution…. At any rate, I’m off for Honduras on December 6, with diplomatic relations still broken. The justification for sending us in is that the Peace Corps is a people to people program and operates independently of politics. This is simple in words, but the reality remains that we are an experimental group. Though all factions in Honduras--except the Communists--support our program, the implications of our aid are very uncertain…
This excerpt is from Dawley’s last letter to Lowther before his arrival in Honduras for his two-year assignment in El Triunfo, Choluteca, a rural town in the southern region of the country. His service is thoroughly documented through journaling, extensive correspondence to family and friends and summary reports.

Peace Corps group photo, Honduras
His papers offer vivid descriptions and detailed reflections upon his interactions with the Honduran people, the programming, the uncertainty of his work, and his overall experience as a community organizer.  Anecdotal memories of his Dartmouth days as well as updates about Big Green’s athletic pursuits are fondly recapped throughout his correspondence with Lowther and other classmates. His reflections consider the possibility of having “mistakenly romanticized” the notion of serving in the Peace Corps and whether or not he is making an impact.

In a letter dated May 9, 1964, Dawley explains to Lowther, “You’re the first guy I know who has said that he knows he is accomplishing something. The... unreflecting humility in wondering if you are really doing any good is out for this volunteer. In terms of latrines built, schools constructed, or water systems installed, I suppose this might be a valid preoccupation for some. But this is a false index to measuring the success of Peace Corps.”

Dawley’s service abroad ended in 1965. In 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed him to the National Advisory Council of Peace Corps under Chairman Neil Armstrong.

Girls' track meet, HondurasBoys' track meet, Honduras

Request MS-1329 at the reference desk if you would like to learn more about Dawley’s community organizing efforts and his work developing the first interscholastic track and field competition in Honduras. His papers documenting the Peace Corps are just part of a larger collection. Upon returning to the United States, Dawley continued his community organizing efforts in Chicago after two years of graduate school at the University of Michigan. He worked with the Vice Lords, a street gang from the Lawndale neighborhood of the city. However, that story is for another blog post…

Friday, November 13, 2015

Coloring Books

detail of Paris panorama Until Louis Prang popularized chromolithography in the second half of the 19th century, printing in color was economically impractical. The few methods that had been invented were too difficult or expensive for regular use. Instead, printers would hire a team of colorists to hand-color images printed in black and white. Our Audubon double elephant folio on display in the reading room is one of the most famous examples, but we just bought an amazing hand-colored lithograph panorama of Paris that is stunning in its details, colors and brightness.

This year, during finals week, we are offering students a chance to do some of their own hand coloring. We have scanned and printed some of our favorite black and white images from the rare book collections and put them out with some colored pencils for people to relax with. So, take a study break from November 16th to the 25th and come upstairs to the Galleries in Rauner to do come coloring!  The books that the images come from will be on hold in the Reading Room all week (but you can't color in those!).

If you want inspiration, ask for the Panorama interieur de Paris (Paris: Ches Aubert, ca. 1840; Rare NE2439.25 P76 1843) or take a look at the Audubon in the display case.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Cozy Book for Colder Days

Wind in the Willows coverAs winter comes closer, sometimes you just need a good old favorite to curl up with (or admire in the reading room!). Here at Rauner, we have a first edition of The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

Wind in the Willows spine with toadOn the front cover, a serious satyr plays panpipes as Mole and Ratty glide down the river. The best part is the spine where Toad, "arrayed in goggles, cap, gaiters, and enormous overcoat," displays his swagger, exactly as I imagined him from the text! (p. 123) The spine entices a potential reader to choose to adventure with Toad by pulling the book off the shelf and diving in.

Of course, we don't sanction Toad's terrible behavior, but we do laugh along with him. Grahame fills his text with apt descriptions of human (or animal) interaction:
Indeed, much that he [Toad] related belonged more properly to the category of what-might-have-happened-had-I-only-thought-of-it-in-time-instead-of-ten-minutes-afterwards. Those are always the best and raciest adventures; and why should they not truly be ours, as much as the somewhat inadequate things that really come off? (p. 277)  
Come into Rauner and have some racy adventures with Toad and all, or look for your own childhood favorite! The edition of The Wind in the Willows featured in this post is Val 826 G766 Y711. We also have a later edition with illustrations by Arthur Rackham, Presses qW165gr.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Gaping Maw of the Sea

Image of boats attacking whales, 1836
With a big-budget movie coming out next month "based on the incredible true story that inspired Moby-Dick," and with our own Moby-Dick exhibit coming down later this month, we had to take a look at our first edition of the Narrative of the Essex (New York: W. B. Gilley, 1821). What a title page! It says it all, and with the hyperbole of a movie trailer:
Title page of Narrative of the Essex
Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing  Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, of Nantucket; which was attacked and finally destroyed by a large Spermaceti-Whale, in the Pacific Ocean; with and account of the Unparalleled Sufferings of the Captain and Crew during a space of ninety-three days at sea, in open boats, in the years 1819 & 1820. By Owen Chase, of Nantucket, first mate of said vessel.
That's a mouthful, but not as bad as what the crew had to resort to (spoiler alert: they eat each other!).

The image above is from a more sedate book on whaling, also used by Melville as source material: Thomas Beale's The Natural History of the Sperm Whale (London: John Van Voorst, 1836).

To see the Narrative of the Essex ask for Melville G530.E7 1821; the Natural History of the Sperm Whale is Melville QL737.C4B4. Moby-Dick, or, the Plurality of the Whale will be on display here in Rauner Library through November 15th.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November

Guy Fawkes accordion bookThe Fifth of November is once again upon us, with the catchy rhyme reminding us of Guy Fawkes' treason (or heroism?!). As with most historical events, there are the serious renditions, and then there are the comic. Here are two of my favorites.

Illustrated by Percy Cruikshank, Guy Faux: A Squib* mocks Guy himself, figuring him with wiggly legs and a pointy goatee. It's also an accordion book.

Guy Fawkes burlesque*For those of us who grew up with Harry Potter, a squib isn't only the child of wizard parents who doesn't have magical abilities, but also a small stick of dynamite.

A burlesque version of the story from 1866 contains horrible pun after horrible pun. Guy Fawkes survives by proclaiming to the King that he was just about to throw a party:
"Now can you doubt 
I'd be the better for a light blow-out?
And that was all I meant--not blowing up,
I vos preparing for some friends to sup--"

The barrels are filled with beer, oysters, and gunpowder ... tea.

For the play, ask for Williams/Watson PL4976 while the accordion book is Sine Illus C783magu.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Ennui

Image of Dartmouth Student in costume, 1991
From the Archival Photo Files
We went looking into The D for some good Halloween stories. We found a few off-color pranks we do not really want to celebrate, and a few sweet articles on Hanover kids, but mostly we found a kind of bored resignation to the holiday--not the fun we hoped for.

The November 6, 1896, edition complained that "the decadence of the old-fashioned Hallowe'en party has been very much regretted by many" and that "a majority of the students forgot entirely" about Hallowe'en. One party was held, "although of course the absence of the fair sex detracted from the pleasure as is generally the case." 78 years later, on October 30, 1974, and in a co-educational campus environment, The D was pretty much just as zombie-like in its enthusiasm: "People just want something to do on Halloween night.... So this year we've got something--they can put on their uni's, dance, watch cartoons..."

We hope your Halloween is more exciting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Excavating Hamlet: The Play as a Palimpsest

Here at Rauner, we love Hamlet. We’ve previously written about an edition of the play performed in French and a 1949 woodcut version that resembles a graphic novel style, but we figured there’s no such thing as too much Shakespeare.

Mary Heebner’s The Tragic History of Hamlet: An Artist’s Interpretation of the Classic Text by William Shakespeare is a 2008 edition that produced only 20 copies. The “book” (I use the term loosely) is encased in a clamshell case and features loose-leaf excerpts from the text, which fold over paintings that follow the subject matter. Heebner says in her Artist’s Note that her works are “palimpsests of sorts” created by painting over printed text and then scraping into the paint. Drawn to the play’s subtext about female relationships that manifests itself through the figures of Gertrude and Ophelia, she meditates deeply upon the nature of feminine emotional conflict through her repeated depictions of the female body.

Interacting with a play as a series of paintings is definitely a unique experience. Each piece has to be carefully lifted out of its case and handled individually, forcing readers to reflect upon each one as a unique art object. Instead of being presented with the play as a whole, it’s an ant’s eye view of Heebner’s perspective of Hamlet - and what a view it is!

To explore Heebner’s interpretation of Hamlet, ask for Presses S579heh.

Posted for Emily Rutherford '16

Friday, October 23, 2015

Grimm in English

Title page to Grimm, 1823We just acquired the first English translations of the brothers Grimm's German Popular Stories. The first volume was published in 1823 and the second in 1826. The presentation of Grimm's fairy tales in English is much different than the first German editions from 1812 and 1815. The brothers Grimm were engaged in a philological exploration of German language and culture. The German title,  Kinder und Hausmärchen, suggests that the stories were for children, but the scholarly apparatus and some of the more disturbing tales made the books a little less kid friendly.

Title page to Grimm 1826When the volumes were translated in to English, though, the publisher commissioned the popular George Cruikshank to illustrate the volumes. Some of the more gory details of the stories were softened to appeal to multiple audiences and Cruikshank's illustrations give an indication of those audiences. For the first volume, the title page shows a man in a tavern reading aloud from a book to a group of entertained revelers of all ages. It is interesting that the tales come from a book in Cruikshank's vision, since they were collected by the Grimms from an oral tradition.

Frontispiece to Perrault, 1697The second volume's illustration is an homage to the first printings of Charles Perrault's Mother Goose tales. The two images of an older woman sitting by a fire regaling a listeners with her tales are remarkably similar, even down to the cat warming itself by the fire. The big difference is that in Cruikshank's image, the listeners are obviously children, while there is plenty of ambiguity in the age of Mother Goose's audience.

To see the Grimm, ask for Rare PT921.K5613 1823.  The 1697 Perrault is Rare PQ1877.C513 1697.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My Dinner with Alessandro

I Promessi Sposi, 1845In 1836, while touring Europe, the well connected, wealthy Bostonians, George (Dartmouth class of 1807) and Anna Ticknor, paid a visit to Alessandro Manzoni at his villa in Milan. Manzoni, famous for his classic novel I Promessi Sposi, was a major force in the nineteenth-century Italian unification movement. Both George and Anna Ticknor recorded the visit in their journals. Their impressions of the day's events differed.

Anna noted that Manzoni "is not striking in his appearance or manner, and in conversation is neither fluent nor very interesting." George was granted a longer time with Manzoni and found him more talkative: "Thus, for instance, he was positively eloquent, when he urged his fears, that the attempts to introduce liberal institutions into Europe would end in furthering its claims of a heavier despotism on the people; and that the irreligious tendencies of the age would but arm the priesthood with new and more dangerous power."

Image of exhibit in Rauner Library
Ian Blanco, Claire Daly, Paul Maravelias, and Zonia Moore, the four members of Nancy Canepa's Italian 24 class, "Questions of Identity in the 19th Century," have just mounted an exhibit in the Rauner Reading Room showing the Ticknor diaries alongside early editions of Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi. The exhibit will be up until the end of term, so come in to see their amazing work.

After the exhibit comes down, you can see the diaries by asking for MS-1249, Box 1 and MS-983, Box 3.