Friday, January 15, 2016

Occom Pond Ice Record

Skaters on Occom PondOccom Pond, conveniently located at the Northwest part of town, just a short distance from the campus center and the village of Hanover, has long been a destination for winter recreation and fun. Dartmouth students and local community members take to the ice for free skate and pond hockey.

However, with the unusually late onset of freezing temperatures in Hanover, the pond has yet to ice over completely.  Turning to the college archives for some answers, or at least some comparative data, we were able to locate a record book documenting the “frozen over” and “ice going out” dates of Occom Pond from 1914-1965.

1965 entry from Occom Pond Ice record
The creator of the record book, known only by the initials F.H.C provides detailed notes down to the day of the month of when ice first appears on the pond until it disappears in the spring. The last entry from April 17, 1965 states:
ice all out of the Pond
a nice Sunday ice disappeared from this
end up to the other-
From the record book it appears that on average the pond was frozen over by the end of November or early December. This year’s data definitely logs in as below average. For those already hoping and praying for signs of spring you may be interested in knowing that on average the ice melted by April of each year… only a few more months of winter?

Horses on Occom Pond
F.H.C also maintained detailed notes on daily observations of usage, recreation, temperatures and snowfall. An entry from 1939 states that on “Dec. 26th horses put on, Dec. 27 tractor.” Perhaps, a way to measure the safety of the ice for human masses? More probable, the horses and tractors were used for plowing and maintaining the pond.

cover to Occom Pond Ice Record
1949 entries from Occom Pond Ice RecordOur daily observations here at Rauner report that as of yesterday, January 14th  the DOC has not yet approved the pond for skating. The snow covered pond may look inviting but please be advised that the ice is still considered too thin. We would not risk the lives of our horses, nor our tractors. According to the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center website, the college will test the ice again next week.  So, stay tuned!

Whether you are counting down the days until spring or sharpening your skates in anticipation of some future frozen fun, come take a look at Codex MS 914269, "The Occom Pond Ice Record." You can also search for “Occom Pond” to browse additional photographs of the pond from our digital photo files collection.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Turn and Face the Strange

image from Reuff's De conceptu, 1580History is pretty strange, and human curiosity even stranger. One of our favorite genres is monstrosities. People hear "monster" and immediately think of horror film beasts or Frankenstein's creation, but the Latin root of the word is monstrare, or "to show." For centuries, monstrosities were seen as a window into the wonders of God's creation, not to be feared, but to be understood to better comprehend the divine.

This 16th-century obstetrics manual, Jacob Rueff's De conceptu et generatione hominis (Frankfurt, 1580), has a whole section celebrating the history of anatomical abnormalities--some witnessed, others read about in the histories.
image from Reuff's De conceptu, 1580
Come on in and experience the strange, and marvel over what they show us by asking for Rare RG91.R9.